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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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Sustainability
Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
A New Approach for in-Mold Finishing: The Valyi Surface Finishing/Compression Molding Process
Stephen P. McCarthy, Qing Guan, Sandip R. Patel, Thomas M. Ellison, May 1999
The Valyi SFC molding process for surface finishing/compression molding (SFC) provides an economical route to molding and Class A finishing of large thermoplastic parts in one step. In the Valyi Process, decorative film or fabric is placed over a mold cavity in a press. Plastic melt is then deposited onto the film which subsequently heats the film to a formable temperature. Positive air pressure may be supplied to support the film/molten plastic. The press is then closed to form the final finished part. The process is similar to the textile back molding process. The Valyi Process uses much lower pressures than conventional injection molding. Molding (cavity) pressures for the Valyi Process are <<10 MPa (1450 psi) as compared to conventional injection molding which is typically >30 MPa (4350 psi). The in-mold lamination of paint film achieves the paint appearance and protection without the environmental and cost impact of conventional painting. Also, heating the film using the heat from the deposited melt eliminates the pre-heating step in the in-mold injection molding process. This paper describes the Valyi SFC Molding Process and reveals the advantages such as the mechanical performance of the part, reduction in cost and reduction in paint pollution, which can be achieved over the conventional injection molding - painting process.
A Procedure for Determination of Thermal Properties of Polymers from Transient Temperature Data
L. Sridhar, Max Roman, K.A. Narh, May 1999
Thermal properties are important parameters in both process and product design. In the case of plastics, the need for quick and accurate determination of thermal properties is gaining importance due to large variety of blends and recycled materials that are becoming available. A procedure based on an inverse method is presented for the determination of thermal conductivity and specific heat. The method makes use of transient temperature measurements. The temperature measurements are made in reference metal blocks and no temperature sensors are inserted in the plastic specimen. The method shows potential for obtaining the thermal properties over a wide range of materials and temperatures, and as a function of pressure. The method has been tested in simulation and results are presented.
A Study of Polymer/Clay Nanocomposites for Biodegradable Applications
Jo Ann Ratto, Diane M. Steeves, Elizabeth A. Welsh, Bert E. Powell, May 1999
A series of biodegradable polymer/clay nanocomposites have been prepared using two techniques: in-situ polymerization and twin screw extrusion. These samples containing 5-25% clay and polycaprolatone (PCL) were characterized with regard to processability, biodegradability, morphology, thermal behavior and mechanical properties. The processing at different screw speeds (20, 40, 60 rpm) did not alter the polymer/clay interactions. Biodegradation results in soil showed 50% mineralization of PCL/clay in 50 days as compared to 10% for the pure PCL film. X-ray diffraction patterns demonstrated that the polymer had different degrees of intercalation in the silicate layers of the clay. Dynamic mechanical analysis showed no change in the PCL glass transition temperature with the addition of clay.
A Study on the Feasibility of Using Granulated Polyvinyl Chloride Coated Fiberglass Screen as a Filler and/or Reinforcement in Specimens Molded from Recycled High Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene,
John Raybuck, Daniel Heuer, May 1999
This paper will analyze the feasibility of using granulated polyvinyl chloride-coated fiberglass screen as a filler and/or reinforcement in injection molded plastic products. The screen, composed of the trim cuts from large rolls and defective sections, will be granulated and blended, in different weight ratios, with recycled high-density polyethylene and polypropylene. The resulting composites will be injection molded to produce ASTM D638 testing specimens. Also, one population of specimens will be produced from a composite of the granulated screen and commingled post-consumer recyclate. The process- ability of the composites and several mechanical properties will be observed and recorded. Statistical methods will be applied to the data, in order to predict the effect of adding different levels of filler/reinforcement on the mechanical properties of the composites.
Banning Heavy Metal Pigments in Minnesota - The Next Iceberg?
Terry Golding, May 1999
For several years the Minnesota Legislature, guided by the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), has been evolving a law to significantly reduce heavy metal pigment use in the state. The finalized law takes CONEG (Coalition of Northeastern Governor's) guidelines to a higher level. CONEG was intended to reduce the amount of heavy metals in the consumer waste stream by limiting their use in disposable packaging materials. The Minnesota law applies CONEG limits of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium to all pigments, including plastic colorants. This paper will review the evolution of this law. What could this mean to the plastics industry if similar events occur in other states?
Biodegradable Bags Comparative Performance Study: Multi-Tiered Approach to Evaluating the Compostability of Plastic Materials
T.J. Adamczyk, D.C. Broe, R.E. Farrell, J.S. Lee, B.L. Daniels, S.P. McCarthy, May 1999
Modern municipal waste disposal strategies involve the development of integrated waste management systems in which the waste is disposed of in a safe, efficient, and cost effective manner. Such systems require alternative methods of collecting, handling, and processing solid waste according to the unique characteristics of the various fractions (ASTM, 1996). This includes composting of the biodegradable fraction of the organic waste including paper, food & yard waste, and new biodegradable" plastics. Indeed aerobic composting represents an attractive alternative to the disposal of solid wastes in landfills. Composting by biologically mediated oxidative decomposition produces highly stable organic matter that can be used for land applications or horticulture. However the degradation of plastics within a compost can affect the decomposition of materials enclosed in the plastic and the resulting composition and appearance of the composted material. From an environmental perspective biodegradable polymers offer an attractive alternative to traditional petroleum-based non-biodegradable polymers; i.e. they need not be landfilled will re-enter normal geochemical (natural) cycles with timeand many are derived from renewable (agricultural) resources. Nevertheless as a new generation of biodegradable products enters the marketplace questions regarding the long-term fate of these materials in the environment and their effects on the environment are being asked by industry government and consumer groups. In particular: how do specific materials degrade in different compost environments? and how well do standardized laboratory scale biodegradation tests predict a product's biodegradability in an actual full-scale compost environment?"
Biodegradable Bags Comparative Performance Study: Multi-Tiered Approach to Evaluating the Compostability of Plastic Materials
T.J. Adamczyk, D.C. Broe, R.E. Farrell, J.S. Lee, B.L. Daniels, S.P. McCarthy, May 1999
Modern municipal waste disposal strategies involve the development of integrated waste management systems in which the waste is disposed of in a safe, efficient, and cost effective manner. Such systems require alternative methods of collecting, handling, and processing solid waste according to the unique characteristics of the various fractions (ASTM, 1996). This includes composting of the biodegradable fraction of the organic waste including paper, food & yard waste, and new biodegradable" plastics. Indeed aerobic composting represents an attractive alternative to the disposal of solid wastes in landfills. Composting by biologically mediated oxidative decomposition produces highly stable organic matter that can be used for land applications or horticulture. However the degradation of plastics within a compost can affect the decomposition of materials enclosed in the plastic and the resulting composition and appearance of the composted material. From an environmental perspectivebiodegradable polymers offer an attractive alternative to traditional petroleum-based non-biodegradable polymers; i.e. they need not be landfilled will re-enter normal geochemical (natural) cycles with time and many are derived from renewable (agricultural) resources. Nevertheless as a new generation of biodegradable products enters the marketplacequestions regarding the long-term fate of these materials in the environment and their effects on the environment are being asked by industry governmentand consumer groups. In particular: how do specific materials degrade in different compost environments? and how well do standardized laboratory scale biodegradation tests predict a product's biodegradability in an actual full-scale compost environment?"
Integrated Approach to Cleaning during the Recycling Process
May 1999
With an ever-present desire to increase the amount of plastics, being recycled, specifically PET and HDPE, a premium has been put on optimizing the whole recycling process. This process involves many steps including collection, sortation, cleaning and reuse. Each of these steps includes many stages with varying degrees of sophistication. In this paper we will look specifically at the cleaning process and the parameters effecting cleaner performance.
Commercial Epoxy + Monomer Liquid Crystal Epoxy Blends: Compatability and Curing Kinetics
Prakaipetch Punchaipetch, Veronica Ambrogi, Nandika Anne D’Souza, Witold Brostow, May 1999
Epoxy resins are known to have numerous applications. To improve their performance of the epoxy, we are applying molecular reinforcement by using polymer liquid crystals (PLCs). PLCs are well known for their excellent dimensional stability, good mechanical properties, high temperature usability, and outstanding environmental resistance. A novel retention class of LC thermosets can be obtained by endcapping mesogenic rigid rod molecules with reactive glycidyl groups. These thermosets potentially combine the performance of an epoxy resin with the excellent properties of LC. We have studied the simultaneous cure of the monomer liquid crystalline epoxy (diglycidyl ether of 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenol) with an anhydride cured diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F (DGEBP-F) epoxy. As a first step to determine optimum conditions for network formation, we report on the curing kinetics of molecular reinforcement of epoxy with a monomer liquid crystalline epoxy (MLC). The study was done by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) using autocatalytic expressions. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) is used to verify compatibility of the blended systems by investigating the glass transition temperature as a function of %composition.
Considerations in the Computer Aided Engineering of Pallets
S.I. Krishnamachari, May 1999
Plastic pallets and containers are used increasingly for storing, moving and warehousing various industrial and consumer products, thanks mainly to its several benefits besides environmental consciousness. The conventional wooden pallets are limited in their load capacity, useful life, cleanability, and above all, imaginative product-specific design. Contrarily, the structural foam molded plastic pallet, meets the demands heavy payloads, dynamic and impact loads, hostile weather conditions, size limitations, process effects, strength and stiffness requirements. Plastic pallets are used for up to 30000 lbs carrying capacity. Beyond their passive appearance, the plastic pallets are a product of engineering optimization encompassing materials, technology, design, stress analysis, and several end-use specific constraints. This paper is a review of the various considerations involved in the computer aided engineering of pallets as a product class.
Crystallization of Isotactic Polypropylene: Pigment, Nucleating Agent and Recycling Effects
Y. Mubarak, E. Harkin-Jones, P. Martin, M. Ahmad, May 1999
In order to produce thermoformed products of consistent quality, an understanding of the effect of material and process parameters on end part performance is necessary. In this investigation the effect of pigment, nucleating agent, and recycling regrind on the nucleation of homopolymer isotactic polypropylene have been studied. Differential Scanning Calorimetry was used to reveal the effect of these additives on the crystallinity, type of crystals, crystallization and melting temperatures at different cooling rates. It has been found that percentage cystallinities were increased as the concentration of the nucleating agent and first and fifth generation regrinds increase up to the saturation level. Although more hexagonal ? crystals were formed by increasing the concentration of the pigment, the enthalpy of fusion was decreased.
Polymer Alloys of Polyvinyl Butyral: A Viable Means of Recycling Windshield Interlayer
George H. Hofmann, May 1999
Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sheet is used as the energy absorbing interlayer in most safety glass applications including automobile windshields. A large supply of industrial and post-consumer PVB scrap is currently being disposed of by burning and landfilling. Polymeric modifiers can be used to compatibilize blends of PVB with PVC and polyolefins. These alloys can have a wide range of useful properties ranging from super-tough thermoplastics to thermoplastic elastomers.
Product Design with High Value Recyclable Plastic Waste Streams
K.A. Narh, J. Guo, M. Xanthos, U. Yilmazer, V. Tan, May 1999
As part of on-going studies on the manufacturing of re-engineered materials from waste plastic streams, rheological, mechanical and thermal characterization of recyclable plastics from old computer housings and used carpet materials were carried out, with anticipated use in thin-walled products. A combined stress and mold cavity flow analysis has been used to obtain optimum design and process parameters for the anticipated products.
Dimensional Changes of PPS in Environmental Testing
Lee Hornberger, Rick D’Onofrio, Scott Kopacek, May 1999
The actuator arms in some hard drives were found to distort after being subjected to an 80°C environmental test. This distortion was believed to be due to a relaxation of thermal residual stresses in the glass filled polyphenylene sulfide component of the arm due to the molding process. Changes were made in the molding process and this diminished the problem but did not eliminate it. Differential scanning calorimetry test on the plastic revealed that physical aging of the PPS was occurring during the 80°C environmental test and the changes in the molding process would have little impact on the motion which resulted in this process.
Rheological Study of Soy Protein-Based PRF Wood Additives
John D. Clay, Bhima Vijayendran, Jan Moon, May 1999
The gelling of soy protein-based PRF wood adhesives is studied. Soy protein isolate, in combination with phenol resorcinol formaldehyde (PRF) resins is useful in the finger joining of lumber. This unique technology has several advantages including an ability to bond green lumber, very rapid set at room temperature, excellent water resistance, and reduced formaldehyde emissions. The goal of this study is to quantify the effect of soy protein hydrolysis conditions and amine functionality on the gelling and ultimate modulus of soy-derived wood adhesives.
Effects of Drying Parameters on Recycled PET
Scott Kennedy, May 1999
With the rising usage of plastic PET bottles and the rising need to recycle them, there is an increasing demand to refine the recycling process. It is very important to have the recycling process be cost and time efficient. The focus of this study is on the drying aspect of the recycling of PET. In this experiment, different parameters of the drying process were varied, specifically the time and the temperature. The strength was not significantly affected by time or temperature of drying. The melt index data showed that drying the PET at 177°C gave the best results. The overall best results seemed to be at 177°C, and a time around six hours. Longer or shorter drying times appear to degrade the material.
Enhanced Automatic Sortation of Post-Consumer Bottles
Edward Kosior, Robert Dvorak, Pio Iovenitti, Syed Masood, May 1999
The selection of an automatic sortation system for separation of post-consumer bottles is of high importance for today’s recycler. The configuration of a modern recycling plant also needs to be carefully assessed, as different configurations in plant equipment have their own advantages and disadvantages and this can make the difference between a successful operation and a failure. This article examines the performance of spectroscopic sorting equipment in a recycling environment, which has to be viable at high speeds, problems associated with this technique as well as possible solutions to improve performance.
Environmental Stress Cracking (ECS) of Abs (II)
Takafumi Kawaguchi, Hiroyuki Nishimura, Fumiaki Miwa, Takashi Kuriyama, Ikuo Narisawa, May 1999
Environmental stress cracking (ESC) of acrylonitrile-butadiene- styrene (ABS) co-polymer caused by two kinds of non-ionic surfactants was studied by edge crack tension (ECT) tests. The dependence of the ESC on temperature and on the kind of surfactant was investigated. The fracture surfaces were investigated by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). It was found that the rise of temperature had a different effect on each surfactant. The crack propagation behavior of each surfactant at different temperatures was understood from the change of morphology at the crack tip.
The Effect of Salt Absorption on Nylon
Scott Steward, Ron Kander, May 1999
One of the most common environmental exposures that nylon undergoes when used for automotive applications is that of salt splash, which commonly occurs during winter driving. This study looks at the effect of various salts (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2) on the mechanical and thermal properties of nylon when exposed to one and four molar aqueous salt solutions. Also, the partition of the salt/water solutions was studied, as well as the preferential absorption of one salt over another.
ESCR Behavior of Plastic Materials in Medical Environments
Chuan Qin, Y.S. Ding, H. Dhyani, T. Kivlehan, K.Z. Hong, M. Monaghan, J. Penn, L. Woo, May 1999
Besides other facets of product development, it is imperative for medical device manufacturers to take great efforts through proper evaluation and consideration of material properties under practical conditions to prevent product failure at the end-uses. The environmental stress crack (ESCR) induced by chemical agents plays a significant role on material performances. In this contribution, in-depth studies have been carried out on different medical plastic materials, such as polycarbonate, copolyesters, ABS, acrylics, rigid thermoplastic polyurethane and their blends. More attention will be focused on a copolyester material for its unique ESCR behavior. Variation of chemical agents (such as different types of hospital disinfection solutions) have great impacts on physical and functional properties. Various plastics shows distinct environmental stress cracking phenomena under different conditions. Mechanisms of ESCR phenomenon under different environments have been explored. Fibril reinforcement by cold crystallization and chain session by hydrolysis of the copolyester may have contributed to its excellent chemical resistance against a wide range of chemicals and its catastrophic failure in acidic or basic environment. In addition, appropriate definition of product failures is also critical in making materials decisions.


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