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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Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
Reactive Process for Recycling of Cellular Phone Housing
The front cover of the cellular phone housing was ground to be as the same size as the original particles before use using the knife mill and the undesired materials were separated with the sink-float process in water and salt. The unprinted glass fiber reinforced epoxy circuit boards were size reduced and pulverized using both the knife mill and the hammer mill. The separated epoxy powder and glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) were added as the additive and the reactive species for the reactive process using the batch mixer and the twin screw extruder, respectively. Izod impact strength at various temperatures, tensile test, particle size distribution analysis for the ground circuit board, SEM on the fracture surface, and dynamic mechanical spectroscopy were performed to characterize the reactive polymer alloys and mixtures compounded by the batch mixer and the twin screw extruder.
Recycleability of Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites: Part 1 - The Influence of Multiple-Extrusions on Structure and Mechanical Properties
The effects of multiple-extrusions, up to eleven cycles, on the structure and properties of virgin and nanoclay-filled nylon-12 were investigated. X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy studies showed that the degree of clay exfoliation improves with each successive extrusion sequence up to the seventh cycle. The impact strength of the nanocomposites were enhanced while that of the virgin nylon-12 deteriorated. Regrinding of the nanocomposite resin prior to subsequent extrusion was shown to further improve the clay exfoliation and mechanical performance.
Recycleability of Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites: Part 2 - The Influence of Multiple-Extrusions on Thermal and Rheological Properties
Nylon-12 and nylon-12/clay nanocomposite were recycled by up to eleven times using the melt-extrusion process. Changes in thermal and rheological properties were investigated using DMTA, DSC, TGA, and capillary rheometry techniques. Both materials showed a gradual decrease in phase transition temperatures and storage modulus following repeated extrusions. In addition, the materials melt viscosity increased in response to successive reprocessing. Relative to the nylon-12, the melt viscosity of nanocomposites was reduced by more than 20% and their glass transition temperature was elevated by about 2.0 to 6.5degC depending on the number of extrusion cycles.
Recycled Newspaper and Chicken Feathers as Reinforcement Fiber in Bio-Composite Materials
Nonwoven mats of cellulose and keratin fiber were manufactured from recycled kraft paper, newspaper, and processed chicken feathers using a wetlay process. Hybrid fiber mats were produced by mixing different ratios of the three fiber types together in the wetlay process. Composite materials were manufactured by infiltrating these mats with an acrylated epoxidized soybean oil- (AESO) based resin using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM). The room temperature cured composite panels contained between 16 and 25% by weight fiber depending on the original mat structure. The fiber mats contained 0 to 50 wt% recycled milled newspaper, 40 to 100 wt% pulp fiber recycled from kraft paper and 0 to 60 wt% cleaned and chopped feathers. These composites are low cost, environmentally friendly, derived from renewable resources, energy efficient, and could be used in many applications such as civil infrastructure, automotive and trucking, temporary roadway matting.
Reducing Paint Particle Size for Painted TPO Regrind
Many industries, such as the automotive industry, are faced with a high volume of plastics scrap associated with painted plastic parts. Ideally, the paint is removed prior to reuse of the painted regrind. Paint removal methods include differential thermal expansion, chemical attack and abrasion. If not removed, paint flakes in the regrind material influence the mechanical properties and aesthetics of the product molded from the painted regrind. The size of the paint flakes will likely have an influence on the mechanical properties of the molded part.A reground painted thermoplastic olefin (TPO) will be extruded using a general purpose and a “grater” screw being developed at UML. The grater section design will then be modified to implement a progressive grating technique. The effect of the design change on paint flake size, output, melt temperature and mechanical properties will be monitored.
Solid Phase Graft Copolymerization of PE-g-MA
The solid phase graft copolymerization method was used to graft maleic anhydride onto commercial polyethylenes. This process is environmentally friendly since it requires minimal recovery or no use of solvent and the process conditions are mild. NMR analysis confirms the successful grafting of maleic anhydride onto the backbones of both linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Graft levels for all the polymers were quantified by FTIR absorbance as well as wet-chemical titration. Significant processing parameters were identified based on statistical design of experiments.
Static Charging Methods and Graphic Material Properties for Low Scrap In-Mold Decoration
The use of static charging techniques has been investigated to understand which methods produce the most highly repeatable results for in-mold decoration. The techniques studied were the direct and remote charging methods.In addition to charging methods, the study evaluated material properties, gate location and environmental conditions that contribute to the success and repeatability of in-mold decoration.The optimal method, environmental conditions and material properties were found that produce low scrap results. Conclusions were made regarding optimal charging methods and graphic label constructions.
Strength, Toughness, Lifetime and Reliability of Plastics in Engineering Applications
Major factors affecting short term and longterm performance of plastics in engineering applications include a) chemical makeup and molecular architecture, additives etc; b) material and parts manufacturing conditions; c) installation and service conditions that include load, loading rate, temperature and other environmental conditions. Successful design of plastic components for intended application requires an understanding of the role of the above factors together with economic considerations that account for a cost of fabrication as well as for a price of failure. Material characterization and ranking with respect to strength, toughness and durability provide a basis for rational design with plastics. There are industrial standards and regulations develop to assist in product selection. Advantages and limitations of widely publicized standards and methods for durability and lifetime of engineering thermoplastics will be illustrated by examples of field failure analysis. Methodology of material durability and structural reliability assessment will be discussed.
Structural BioComposites from Natural Fibers and Biopolymers
BioComposites are emerging as a viable alternative to glass-reinforced composites. Natural fibers have advantages over man-made fibers (e.g. glass and carbon) in areas such as low cost, low density, competitive specific mechanical properties, reduced energy consumption, carbon dioxide sequestration, and biodegradability. The combination of bio-fibers like kenaf, hemp, flax, henequen and sisal with polymer matrices from both non-renewable and renewable resources to produce composite materials that are competitive with synthetic composites requires special attention to the biofiber-matrix interface, and its resulting adhesion, as well as to the processing methods used to produce these materials. The development of useful biocomposite materials also requires that water-based sizings or dry coupling agents be used to improve fiber-matrix adhesion.. Through bio-fiber surface treatment, biopolymer modification, and adequate processing techniques, novel bio-composites can be designed and engineered so as to substitute/supplement glass fiber composites in various applications.
Structural Design of Polypropylene Stormwater Chambers
Environmental Protection Agency requirements for control of stormwater runoff are increasing the need to provide on-site stormwater storage as part of site development projects. Underground stormwater storage is one solution to this need. Open bottom thermoplastic chambers make use of profile design theories established for thermoplastic pipe and allow maximum area at the bottom for natural seepage of the stored water into the ground. This paper reports on analysis and testing of archshaped, open bottom, corrugated polypropylene stormwater storage chambers that have spans of 1270 mm (50 in.) and are supported on a flat, turned-out foot. Computer analysis included finite element, soil-structure interaction models of chambers with 450 mm (18 in.) and 2440 mm (8 ft) of fill with AASHTO HS20 design axle load. Field-testing included chamber installations at shallow cover from 150 mm (6 in.) to 600 mm (24 in.) with vehicle live loads and at deep cover with 3500 mm (11.5 ft) fill. Design calculations were based on the new AASHTO procedures for profile wall thermoplastic pipe. Using prescribed installation procedures, the factor of safety is greater than the required AASHTO factor for thermoplastic pipe of 1.95.
Sustainable Polymers: From a Glorious Past to a Bright Future
In the coming decades it will become increasingly difficult to cheaply satisfy society's thirst for petroleum-based polymers. Additionally, the problems associated with disposal of non-renewable, non-degradable petroleum based polymers will drive the search for agriculture based plastics that do not sacrifice cost or performance. Although agriculture based plastics have been around for over a century, they were largely forgotten after the advent of synthetic, petroleum based polymers. This paper revisits the literature left to us by early twentieth century engineers who made protein based plastics from casein and soy protein on an industrial scale. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in this type of material. This paper reviews current research on biopolymers such as casein and soy protein based plastics as well as polylactide acid, or PLA.
The Effect of Absorbed Moisture on the Elevated Temperature Properties of Polyetherimide
The effects of moisture absorption on products molded from polyamides are well documented. However, other high-performance materials such as polyetherimide and polyethersulfone also absorb significant amounts of moisture from the atmosphere. Early tests suggest that this moisture absorption influences the glass transition temperature of these polymers. This has implications for short-term elevated temperature service as well as creep resistance and fatigue resistance at lower temperatures. This paper quantifies the effects of absorbed moisture on the elevated temperature properties of polyetherimide and characterizes rates of moisture gain and loss at different environmental conditions.
The Effect of Composition on Properties of Blends from Recylced Rubber and Polypropylene
Incorporation of waste (ethylene propylene diene rubber) EPDM into polyolefins has emerged as a new recycling technique that is eco-friendly and cost effective. The purpose of this study was to recycle EPDM, as well as to develop new impact modified blends. This study, which involved reactive blending of waste EPDM and polypropylene (PP) in a co-rotating twin screw extruder in the ratio range of 10/90 to 60/40, determined the effect of t-butyl hydroperoxide compatibilizer, low and high MFI grade of PP and ethylene-propylene impact copolymer on the mechanical properties of the blends. Formulations were injection molded and subsequently tested for tensile, flexural and impact properties. It was noted that the peroxide and the impact copolymer significantly improved the tensile elongation at break and impact resistance, but resulted in a decrease in the modulus. The approach of this investigation was to determine the optimum blending ratio of the components to achieve a balance in the flexural modulus and impact strength.
The Effect of Injection Speed on the Weld Line Properties of Jute Fiber/Poly (Butylene) Succinate Biodegradable Composites
This presentation focuses on effects of injection speed and weld line on the properties of PBS/Jute fiber composites. It was found that toughness especially elongation at break is sensitive to the presence of weld line while tensile modulus and flexural properties are little affected. The presence of jute fibers improved toughness i.e. retention of EB and impact strength across the weld line. Ultrahigh speed injection facilitated the recovery of EB and hence toughness. Morphological studies with SEM revealed that some of the jute fibers were aligned across the weld line.
The Rheological and Mechanical Performance of Commercial uPVC Formulations
Rheological and mechanical analysis of a range of virgin, recycled, and pigmented uPVC formulations used in extruded profiles for conservatory roofing applications is reported. The shear viscosity, tensile properties and dynamic mechanical thermal properties of the various formulations were shown to be dependent on stabiliser type, thermal processing history and pigment concentration. Lead stabilised uPVCs were shown to have better impact properties than Ca/Zn stabilised compounds and slight differences in Tgs, storage modulii (E’) were recorded for all formulations.
Ultra-Low Permeation Test Method for Fuel System Applications
The new and more stringent regulations due in the USA by 2004 call for technical development on both fuel barrier structures and on innovative fuel system designs. They also require new techniques to evaluate emissions from such high performance systems. An experimental technique is described which can measure permeability factors on material samples such as films or plates. In-depth analysis of the technique reveals significant benefits, which makes it a powerful tool to evaluate and compare complex system components such as sub assemblies or large parts such as fuel tank shells. When combined with a gas chromatography, this tool offers an additional advantage of being able to determine the hydrocarbon types permeating from the system. This can be an advantage in developing green" for fuel systems which can control the emissions of toxic and reactive hydrocarbons.
Use of Natural Fibre as Reinforcing Agent in Biodegradable Foamed Packaging Materials Made from Wheat Flour
The use of packaging materials is expected to increase annually on average by about 5 percent in the foreseeable future, but the technology for reusing and recycling of packaging waste is lagging behind. This paper considers the evaluation of an alternative packaging material, derived from renewable resources, which is economical to use, biodegradable and recyclable by composting. In this paper consideration will be given to the preparation, characterisation and properties of starch-based materials derived from wheat flour. A range of techniques, used to characterise these materials will be discussed, including image analysis, SEM, thermogravimetric analysis, compressive strength, impact and recovery measurements.
Use of Recycled Polymer Modified Asphalt Binder in Asphalt Concrete Pavements
Since polymer modified asphalt cements (PMAC) have been employed for a decade, the lifetime and wear on of some of these roadbeds are reaching a stage where resurfacing will be necessary. This paper considers the potential problems associated with recycling of polymer modified asphalt cements, PMAC's, in particular blending aged PMAC with tank PMAC. A standard PMAC was selected and characterized using typical asphalt binder qualification techniques, i.e., the Superpave Strategic Highway Research Protocol. Procedures were developed to separate the PMAC into its asphalt resin and polymer additive components as well as to characterize the relative concentrations of each component. Infrared and chromatographic techniques were used to identify changes in the components as a result of aging. The impact of the extraction and recovery process on binder properties has been ascertained and found to be minimal.The standard PMAC was aged under accelerated aging conditions in a Pressure Aging Vessel (PAV) that produced a material equivalent to 5-8 years in the field. The aged PMAC was then reanalyzed both chemically and rheologically and all changes in its properties due to aging were noted. Finally blends of the PAV aged PMAC with fresh PMAC, as well as blends where the PAV aged PMAC was replaced with road-aged binder, were prepared and analyzed. Our initial results indicate that aged PMAC can be blended successfully with fresh PMAC. Thus we anticipate that resurfacing of aging PMAC roadbeds can proceed, but further tests will be required to establish the precise conditions necessary to conduct this process.
UV Degradation of Recycled Photo-Degraded Polymers
The ultraviolet (UV) degradation of molded bars containing recycled polymer has been studied to determine whether products of photo-degradation act as pro-degradants. Recyclate that had been photo-degraded prior to recycling was mixed with virgin granules to mold new bars. Bars were also prepared from a mixture of virgin polymer with recyclate that had not been photo-degraded.Bars made from blends of virgin and recycled polymer were photo-degraded in the laboratory. For exposures of less than a month, the mechanical properties of both polystyrene and polypropylene were inferior when previously photo-degraded material was included. After extended exposure, the effect of including photo-degraded material diminished but by this time, the properties of the materials were unacceptable.
Weld Lines Behaviour in Melt Blended and In-Situ Polymerised Nylon 6 Nanocomposites
Nylon 6 nanocomposites containing organically-modified montmorillonite made either by the melt blending or in-situ polymerised routes are investigated. Both nylon 6 nanocomposites are examined in X-ray diffraction and Transmission Electron Microscopy, to verify the level of intercalation / exfoliation of the organoclay layers in the nanocomposites. The materials are injected into tensile specimens either with single or double end-gated (with a weld line). Neat nylon 6 and single end-gated samples are used as a control, allowing comparison the performance of nylon 6 nanocomposites when weld line is present. The results show that the tensile strength and strain-to-failure of the neat nylon 6 exhibits little variation when comparing the single and double end-gated samples and thus no weld line behaviour is seen clearly. The melt blended nanocomposites show a greatly reduced in strain-to-failure for both single and double end-gated samples although the tensile modulus is increased significantly. In contrast, the in-situ polymerised nanocomposites show more ductile behaviour at single end-gated, compared to the double end-gated samples. Both nanocomposites show brittleness when the weld line is present. The fracture tensile surfaces are examined using Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy and the results show that much larger micron-sized organoclay entities exist in the melt blended nanocomposites and that these, rather than nano-sized individual layers, cause the final behaviour. Whilst the dispersion is much finer for the in-situ polymerised than that of the melt blending nanocomposites.
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