SPE Library

The SPE Library contains thousands of papers, presentations, journal briefs and recorded webinars from the best minds in the Plastics Industry. Spanning almost two decades, this collection of published research and development work in polymer science and plastics technology is a wealth of knowledge and information for anyone involved in plastics.

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Conference Proceedings

Relaxation Behavior of Metal-Polymer Hybrid Structures Mechanically Joined by Clinching
Eric Brueckner, Wolf Georgi, Michael Gehde, Peter Mayr, May 2017

Present and further part constructions will be increasingly designed as hybrid material combinations. Due to the optimized local material adaption, the final part properties can reach maximized performance and efficiency. The present article deals with metal-polymer hybrid structures joined by clinching. Clinching is a mechanical joining technology which enables the production of high-strength joints especially for thin-walled components. The realized investigations consider the resultant stability of the created form closure between the used mating parts. For the process evaluation the different material properties of steel (DC04) and short glass fiber-reinforced polymer (PA6-GF15) were analyzed regarding their mechanical and thermal behavior. The glass transition temperature of PA6-GF15 as a function of the conditioning level could be detected as a rate of the loss of tightness and preservation of form closure. However, suitable pre-treatment strategies ensure reliable joining with a high degree of automation as well as without additional elements.

Novel Liquid-Dispersion Technology for Making Industry Leading Highly Filled, Well-Dispersed Masterbatches
Philip Brunner, Larry Doerr, Jeff Cernohous, May 2017

A novel method for making highly filled masterbatches (MBs) has been developed by Interfacial Consultants, LLC (IFC) and now employed commercially by REV Materials, LLC (REV). This patent-pending approach has set a new standard for the development and production of the market’s highest filled MB materials. The manufacturing method consists of three-steps: pre-coating of mineral or filler, removal of liquid carrier, and finally pelletization. To date, REV has designed, developed and manufactured using this technology MBs consisting of 93+ wt% talc, 93+ wt% calcium carbonate, 90+ wt% wood, 85+ wt% cellulose fiber, and 37+ wt% carbon nanotubes in polyolefin, polyamide, and polyester carriers. Furthermore, it has been shown that these MBs are compatible and disperse extremely well in the main plastic.

The Influence of Blend Composition on the Properties of LDPE-PA6-EVAL-Blends
Christoph Burgstaller, Thomas Uttendorfer, Wolfgang Stadlbauer, May 2017

The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of the composition on the properties of LDPE-PA6-EVAL blends with an emphasis on the influence of the EVAL grade on the system. Furthermore, also the effects of additional compatibilization by maleic anhydride grafted PE on the blend properties should be investigated. We found, that EVAL has some compatibility with PA6, as long as the vinyl alcohol content is high enough, in this case at least 62 mol%. This results, in combination with the high shear intensity applied, in a fine dispersed morphology and reasonable properties. In case of the non-compatible EVAL grade, the addition of MAPE improves the properties like impact strength and elastic modulus, which can also be seen from the morphology of the samples. The addition of a compatibilizer also shows an expectable stabilization effect, which can be seen by comparing the morphology of the extruded melt strands after compounding with the morphology of the injection molded specimen afterwards. In conclusion this shows that with compatibilisation, the blend properties are stable and sufficient for various applications, therefore such blends could be reused for another life cycle.

High Speed Twin Screw Extrusion for Biodegradable Polymer Blends: Analysis of Compatibility and Rheology Prediction
Bárbara A. Calderón, Margaret J. Sobkowicz, May 2017

This work examines the effects of high shear on the degradation and compatibility of blends of poly(propylene carbonate) and poly(butylene succinate) (PPC/PBS) in twin screw extrusion. Also, since solid PPC has poor flowing capabilities, different feeding methods for the TSE trials were compared for their ability to produce consistent results. The blends were compounded at 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 rpm. Viscosity measurements were used to estimate degradation, and it was found that the Maron - Pierce model for viscosity of composites accurately predicted blend viscosity at low shear. The viscosity change was inversely proportional to the screw speed, indicating matrix degradation. Moreover, the blend was more sensitive to thermomechanical degradation than the neat PBS. However, the molecular weight loss did not exceed 22% even at the highest screw speed of 2000 rpm. Finally, morphology investigation showed that the TSE blends had smaller droplet size with a broader shape distribution than the batch mixed blends. All results supported the idea that the high levels of shear stress are the governing factor in the morphology and the degradation of blends in twin screw extrusion.

Investigation of the Effect of Filler Concentration on the Flow Characteristics of Filled Polyethylene Melts
Gregory A. Campbell, Mark D. Wetzel, John C. Howe, Michael T. Sterling, May 2017

All polymer slurries that have a high concentration of filler are shear thinning. Shear thinning is an important characteristic of polymers, filled and unfilled, because it leads to being able to increase the throughput, shear rate in a die or mold without having to use substantially more power to increase the flow rate. With a perfect pseudoplastic fluid, n = 0, there would be no increase in energy as the flow rate is increased. This is of course not allowed by the second law of thermodynamics. Newtonian fluid based slurries show an increase in shear thinning as the concentration of “filler” increases above the percolation threshold. As the maximum packing factor is approached they approach a perfect pseudoplastic fluid. At times the shear thinning characteristics of a filled polymer does not increase substantially as the filler is increased in the same manner as the Newtonian fluid based slurry. Therefore, it is important to investigate the physics that controls shear thinning so that flow in extrusion and injection flow models can be more predictive when dealing with filled polymer systems.

Characterizing the Flow of Concentrated Slurries and Polymer Melts Using Percolation Theory Based Functions
Gregory A. Campbell, Michael E. Zak, May 2017

The production of many polymers such as PPO is carried out as a two phase suspension in essentially a Newtonian carrier fluid. This paper brings together three percolation based theories that provide insight into the effect of fillers on the rheological response of concentrated Newtonian fluid slurries to shear rate. First, a previously proposed limiting, zero shear, viscosity model based on percolation theory concepts is reviewed. Second, all Newtonian fluid based slurries that have a high concentration of filler become shear thinning at some shear rate. A new theory is reviewed that correlates the power-law constant, n, to cluster formation of the fillers suspended in the fluid. Third, this cluster percolation based rheological analysis is then extended in this paper to a newly proposed model for the calculation of the ratio of infinite shear, ?8, to the zero shear viscosity, ?0, as a function of the power-law. Using literature data and a modification of this theoretical treatment, it is demonstrated that, ?8/?0 the viscosity ratio measurements correlate well with the power-law. Unfilled polymers also can reach the second Newtonian plateau and that has been seen to be related to the power law, n, of the polymer melt.

Analysis of Heat Transfer Coefficients and No-Flow Temperature in Simulation of Injection Molding
Juan Fernando Campuzano Vallejo, Alberto Naranjo, Iván López, May 2017

Material properties and boundary conditions are important inputs for any simulation. For the injection molding process, there are still many challenges to measure the polymer properties under processing conditions and there is not consensus about the thermal boundary conditions between the polymeric material and mold walls. This work is oriented to analyze the effect in the simulation results of the heat transfer coefficient (HTC), which is related to the boundary conditions, and the no-flow temperature (NFT), which is related to the material rheological behavior. The results for cavity pressure and temperature evolution from three well-known commercial software packages (CadMould®, MoldFlow® and Moldex 3D®) were analyzed and compared with experimental measurements. A semicrystalline material, PP 505P, from Sabic was used. In particular, the variation effect of heat transfer coefficients (HTC) and no-flow temperatures (NFT) were analyzed through a 32 factorial design of experiments (DoE). Based on the results, the most recommendable criteria to determinate NFT and HTC values for a semicrystalline material is proposed. The physical meanings of the obtained values are discussed.

Optimizing Chemical Blowing Agent Content in Foam Injection Molding Process of Polypropylene
Eunse Chang, Mayesha B. Mahmud, Xiping Li, Abolfazl Mohebbi, Chul B. Park, May 2017

Use of chemical blowing agent in foam injection molding process is appealing to industries owing to its low implementation cost. If chosen properly, chemical blowing agent can help produce foams with very uniform cellular structure and good surface quality. However, it also presents many processing challenges. Relatively high processing temperature is required to induce chemical reaction or decomposition, which narrows down the foam processing window to reduce the cell size. It may lead to degradation of resins in some cases, and compatibility with resins is also very crucial. In this work, we examined the processing parameters in foam injection molding process of polypropylene, particularly the chemical blowing agent content, to find out its effect on foam, mechanical, and surface properties.

New Innovative Method for the Fabrication of Small Lens Array Mold Inserts
Po-Cheng Chen, Chih-Yuan Chang, May 2017

This paper proposed a new innovative method for the fabrication of small lens array mold inserts using polymer hot embossing with a small steel ball array. Only one hot embossing step is required, and a small concave lens array pattern is directly fabricated onto a polymer substrate. The polymer substrate with a small concave lens array pattern can be used as a mold insert for rapid replication of the small polymer lens array by a UV molding process. In addition, the diameter and depth of the small concave lens array pattern on the surface of the polymer substrate can be controlled by adjusting the conditions of the hot embossing process. Therefore, various small lens array mold inserts with different dimension can be effectively fabricated with high throughput and low cost.

Micro-Graphite Enhanced Extrusion Foaming of PET Resin
Feng Chen, Zhi-Yu Min, Eusebio Cabrera, Jose Castro, Ly James Lee, May 2017

Extrusion foaming of neat and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins are difficult due to their high melting temperature and low melt strength. Chemical crosslinking modification of the PET resins is the most widely used method to solve this problem. However, the modified resins are expensive and difficult to be re-used. In this work, micro-graphite or nanoclay particulates were added to PET to adjust its melt viscosity and strength and to serve as a nucleation agent to facilitate cell growth during extrusion. Micro-graphite is an excellent infrared attenuation agent (IAA) that may provide enhanced thermal insulation to PET foams. Using our small lab extruder, the foamed micro-graphite/PET composite extrudates could reach a low density of 0.21 g/cm3, close to that achieved by chemical crosslinking modified PET resins, using injected hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) as a blowing agent in extrusion. Properties of the PET foam including density, cell size, and crystallinity depend on particulate type and processing conditions.

Mechanical Properties and Thermal Characteristics of Poly(lactic Acid) and Paraffin Wax Blends Prepared by Conventional Melt Compounding and Sub-Supercritical Gas-Assisted Processing (SGAP)
Yann-Jiun Chen, An Huang, Lih-Sheng Turng, May 2017

In this study, poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/paraffin wax (PW) blends containing different amounts of PW were investigated. The blends were prepared by a twin-screw extruder in two ways: conventional melt compounding extrusion and sub-supercritical gas-assisted processing (SGAP). Then, these blends and the neat PLA were injection molded into ASTM 638 Type V tensile bars for evaluation. To observe the effects of the different melt compounding processes and the amounts of PW on the blends, the thermal stability and mechanical properties of the tensile bars were characterized. The results showed that the addition of paraffin wax changed the fractural mechanism and yielded tremendous improvements in elongation compared to neat PLA. In addition, samples made by the sub-supercritical gas-assisted processing (SGAP) extrusion exhibited better and more consistent results.

Cellular Polymers for Oil/Water Mixtures Separation – Evaluation of Process Conditions
Pavani Cherukupally, Amy M. Bilton, Chul B. Park, May 2017

This study investigates the usage of cellular polymers for large scale oil/water separation. The model polyester polyurethane foam was characterized for sustainability and oil adsorption efficacy in a batch system. The temporal mass uptake and its efficacy were experimentally optimized at various temperatures and stirring speeds. With favorable surface, morphology, and bulk properties in conjunction with process conditions, and a mass uptake of 21 g/g of foam, this polymer lends itself as a very promising material for oil adsorption.

Micro Organic Pollutants Removal Using a Foam Filter through Rationally Selected Hydrophilic Media
Pavani Cherukupally, Amy Bilton, Juan Hinestroza, Chul B. Park, May 2017

Here, we present an interesting and new application of cellular foams to separate stable oil/water emulsions for large scale water treatment. The hydrophilic polyester polyurethane foam with large pores measuring hundreds of microns can effectively adsorb micro-oil droplets from stable oil/water emulsions. The foam, when configured in a flow-through filter, operates at low pressure, low mass transfer resistance, and high flow rate. The cellular polymers are promising new class of filtration media for practical oil/water separation that minimize the use of coagulants, are cost effective, and are energy efficient. The foam-based filtration technology has the potential to be a game changer in advanced water treatment.

3D Printed Highly Elastic Strain Sensors of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube/Thermoplastic Nanocomposites
Josef Christ, N. Aliheidari, A. Ameli, P. Pötschke, May 2017

3D-printable, flexible, and electrically conductive thermoplastic-based material was successfully developed for strain sensing applications. Thermoplastic polyurethane/ multiwalled carbon nanotube (TPU/MWCNT) nanocomposites were compounded, their filaments fabricated, and sensor samples 3D printed using fused deposition modeling (FDM). Mechanical, electrical, and piezoresistivity behaviors for bulk and 3D printed TPU/MWCNT nanocomposites were investigated under monotonous and cyclic loadings. The results revealed very modest decreases in the printed nanocomposites moduli (~14.4%, compared to those of bulk counterparts), indicating excellent interlayer adhesion and performance. Electrical conductivity was largely preserved after printing and piezoresistivity gauge factors for the printed and bulk samples were found to be similar, indicating no decay in the printed samples under applied strains as large as 100%. Furthermore, a highly repeatable resistance-strain response was observed under cyclic loadings. The results demonstrate TPU/MWCNT nanocomposites as excellent piezoresistive feedstock for 3D printing.

Cell Nucleation in High-Pressure Foam Injection Molding
Raymond Chu, Lun Howe Mark, Chul B. Park, May 2017

Manufacturing polymeric foams with high cell densities with injection molding is of great interest to industry, primarily because of the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the technology. Foams manufactured from high-pressure foam injection molding processes, in general, possess relatively uniform cellular morphology. When used in conjunction with the mold-opening technique, high-pressure foam injection molding would also enable the manufacture of foams with higher void fractions. This work undertook an experimental approach to study the difference in cell nucleation and growth behavior in high-pressure foam injection molding with and without implementing the mold-opening technique.

Aligned Nanocomposites from Cellulose Nanocrystals by Electrospinning with a Soluble Polymer Followed by Thermoset Impregnation
Craig Clemons, Phil Walsh, May 2017

A two-step procedure for preparing vinyl ester nanocomposites containing aligned, cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) was investigated. First, aligned, continuous fibers of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and CNCs were electrospun. Then the aligned mats were impregnated by a vinyl ester resin in which the PEO was readily soluble. Preparation of aligned, electrospun fibers with a CNC content of up to 50% by weight were possible. The CNCs formed an aligned network with sufficient integrity to maintain its structure during impregnation with a vinyl ester resin and curing. The resulting aligned CNC composites showed different optical and mechanical behavior than randomly aligned CNC composites.

Revisions to ASTM D7310 "Standard Guide for Defect Detection and Rating of Plastic Films Using Optical Sensors"
Brenda Colegrove, Richard Garner, May 2017

Gels are a critical-to-quality defect in plastics, and the measurement of gels is a routine part of product quality assurance for resin suppliers as well as film producers. Early gel test methods were based on visual counting of gel defects in a film sample. An industry standard method was issued as ASTM D3351 “Standard Test Method for Gel Count of Plastic Film” in which gels in a film were counted by observing the image obtained when light is projected through the film. With the development of suitable cameras and digital image analysis software, automated optical analysis of films using cameras has become the analysis technology of choice with turn-key systems available from several vendors, including Optical Control Systems (OCS) and Brabender. In addition to eliminating the subjectivity of human visual inspection, another key advantage is that these systems can be implemented in at-line configuration to provide continuous product quality monitoring. ASTM D3351 was withdrawn in 2000, and a new guidance document ASTM D7310 “Standard Guide for Defect Detection and Rating of Plastic Films Using Optical Sensors” was issued in 2007, and revised in 2011. Unlike ASTM D3351, ASTM D7310 is not a test method, but rather a guide that provides general equipment information along with operational recommendations, troubleshooting tips, and suggested reporting. It is fairly general and insufficient to fully describe how to achieve a result that is reproducible across different laboratories/installations. Therefore, there is no uniform measurement scale for comparing materials from different resin suppliers, and customers must establish acceptable performance based on “fitness for use” with each supplier independently. Additionally, no precision and bias information is included. This is in contrast to other critical-to-quality polymer properties (melt index, density, yellowness index, etc.) where the industry has adopted standard test methods promulgated by external standards organizations (ASTM and ISO), and external proficiency programs are available for assessing the consistency of results between different laboratories. A cross industry task group has been working to propose revisions to ASTM D7310 with the intent to move the document from an ASTM guide toward an ASTM practice by adding the following elements: • Protocol for establishing extruder conditions • Protocol for determining appropriate camera settings for defect detection • Camera calibration and verification procedures • Description of information that should be recorded in a manner that is traceable to reported results • Initial Interlaboratory Uniformity Study results for precision statement

Modelling and Validation of a Direct-Write 3D Printed Track
John Cordonier, Debangsu Bhattacharyya, Maria A. Torres Arango, Kostantinos A. Sierros, Rakesh K. Gupta, May 2017

Additive manufacturing (AM) is of great interest since complex, designer materials can be developed for a multitude of applications based on the performance criteria. However, consistency and repeatability of manufactured items must be ensured. A model that can satisfactorily estimate the specifications of interests such as the dimensions and geometry with the change in the operating conditions and the change in the dimensions of the AM hardware can be very useful not only for optimal design, but also for controlling the operating conditions so that materials of desired specifications can be manufactured reliably. While a detailed model can be useful for design, a reduced model that is reasonably accurate and can be run real-time is needed for real-time control of the robotic deposition process. With these incentives, a detailed model and a reduced model of a fluid track created by a direct-write 3D printer is developed in COMSOL Multiphysics software and MATLAB, respectively. Model results are compared with the experimental data.

Biopolymer Compounds for Applications Requiring Marine Degradation
Mustafa Cuneyt Coskun, Stanley Dudek, May 2017

The tremendous production and consumption of plastics in various industries has led to some serious environmental concerns. The persistence of synthetic polymers in the environment poses a major threat to natural ecological systems. Therefore, some people believe that the use of biodegradable plastics is the only way to significantly reduce the environmental pollution due to plastic waste because biodegradable polymers can be environmentally friendly. Biopolymers or bioplastics are plastics which include living microorganisms in their production process. Bioplastics have the biochemical advantage of being totally or partially produced from renewable materials such as vegetable oils, sugar cane, and cornstarch, and can be biodegradable into carbon dioxide, methane, water, and inorganic compounds. Research studies have been performed to better understand the degradation of different degradable polymers in marine environments. Typically, these studies are performed on single polymers and not blends of polymers. In various applications, however, blends of different polymers are needed to fulfill the requirements of the application. This study was initiated to understand the biodegradation of biopolymer compounds made from blends of different biopolymers. Specifically, the mechanisms of the degradation and how the different mechanisms affect the use of the compounds in a marine environment were investigated. The specific application of netting for oyster bed rebuilding was the focus.

Foam Injection-Molding Process Designed to Produce Sub-Micron Cells
Stéphane Costeux, Hyunwoo Kim, Devin Foether, May 2017

Significant progress has been made in recent years towards the production of low density foams with cell size around 100 nm. However, the process commonly used is batch foaming with high pressure CO2, which is not easily scalable and ill-suited for the production of larger specimen with controlled dimensions necessary for reliable property testing. A new approach to generate sub-microcellular foams with expansion ratio up to 4 by a modified injection-molding process is presented. Homogeneous polymer/CO2 mixtures produced by an extrusion foaming line are injected under controlled pressure into a variable thickness mold, which can then be opened at a controlled speed to adjust cell morphology. Foams with cell size below 500 nm were made by this process.

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