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.
Investigation of Fracture Mechanism of HDPE Subjected to Environmental Stress Cracking
Environmental stress crack resistance (ESCR) is a commonly used test to characterize cracking failure of high density polyethylene (HDPE) used in rigid packaging applications. From a resin design standpoint it is important to understand the mechanism of environmental stress cracking (ESC) especially in the case of materials with significantly different ESCR values. In this report, the morphology of ESC is studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A model to predict polymer ESCR using tie chain concentration considering the permeability of IGEPAL® solution is proposed.
Ionic Liquids as Additives for Thermoplastics
In attempts to develop new process modifiers for thermoplastics, two ionic liquids with long chain hydrophobic cations and different anions were introduced in a biodegradable polymer. Methods of incorporation included melt blending, solvent casting and microencapsulation from w/o/w systems at concentrations up to 10 wt%. The modified polymers were characterized rheologically and by TGA to determine process and thermal stability, respectively, and by DSC to determine miscibility and types of the polymer-ionic liquid interactions. Potential applications in plasticization, lubrication and emulsification are discussed for selected polymer-ionic liquid combinations.
Manufacture and Mechanical Characterization of a Composite Material Made of Wasted Tires and Recycled Polyethylenetherephtalate (PET)
Solid residue was obtained by two processes to reduce discarded tires: pyrolysis and thermal shock. Techniques such as X-ray, FTIR, TGA and SEM were used to characterize the samples. Two types of polyethylenetherephtalate, PET (virgin and recycled) were analysed physicochemical and mechanically to be used as matrix. A composite material was manufactured by employing a Brabender mixing chamber in order to use the granules as filler on PET at different concentrations. The mixed material was laminated and tension test were undertaken in samples to acquire the mechanical properties. Studies of fractography were performed to understand the failure mechanics.
Micropatterning Poly(Acrylamide) on PLA Films Using Photolithography
Micropatterning is a robust tool to surface-modify bioplastics like poly(lactic acid) (PLA) for biomedical applications. We used a sequential two-step photografting and photomask approach to micropattern poly(acrylamide) (PAAm) on PLA film. In step one, a PLA specimen, dip coated in benzophenone solution in ethanol covered with the photomask, was sandwiched between two glass plates and exposed to UV in an inert atmosphere. In step two, benzophenone-micropatterned film was immersed in 10% v/v monomer solution in water and exposed to UV for 3 h to grow poly(acrylamide) (PAAm) from the film surface. The resultant film surfaces were examined by AFM and optical microscopy, which revealed the resolution and acuity of the micropatterns.
New Materials from Polylactide Bioplastics
Renewable resource based bioplastic are the next generation of materials, which will play a major role in building of a sustainable bioeconomy. Polylactide (PLA) is a renewable resource based bioplastic. The realm of PLA bioplastic is expanding through innovative research methodology, products and processes. There is pressing want to enhance the versatility of this bioplastic, so that it can compete with conventional polymers. Inclusion of nanostructures in polymeric matrices is looked upon as unique approach to create revolutionary material combinations. Harnessing the benefits of nanotechnology in generating new biobased material is considered as a benign approach. Biodegradable polymer-clay nanocomposites have already been explored extensively. The niche application of nanotechnology to bring breakthrough research in the field of biobased polymer is still elusive. Recently, polylactide (PLA) has been modified with a new technology based on nanoscopic hyperbranched polymers (HBP) at Michigan State University. The modified PLA has shown a unique balance of stiffness and toughness. Such modified PLA bioplastic will act as ideal matrix for nano-clay, talc as well as natural fiber reinforcements leading to the development of new materials from PLA bioplastics.
Opening the Pandora's Box to Find Elastic Breakup as the Origin of Various Nonlinear Flow Behavior of Entangled Polymers
Chain entanglement is an essential concept in polymer science. It has been explored for six decades since the 1946 transient network theory of Green and Tobolsky. Another three decades after the 1971 de Gennes' reptation idea have passed before a method has been devised in computer simulation to depict chain entanglement . More recently, the time-resolved determination of velocity profiles during and after shear of entangled polymers  have led to a specific molecular mechanism for chain disentanglement . This work describes the latest understanding on the subject of polymer flow.
Phosphate Esters as Stress Crack Agents – Case Studies in Failure Analysis
With a recent push toward non-brominated flame retardants, phosphorus-based alternatives, such as phosphate esters, are used more frequently for various applications. Their use as plasticizers is also well known. However, their function as environmental stress crack agents of various thermoplastics is less well recognized. Two case studies, one - in which a triaryl phosphate was a component of the formulation, the other – in which it was migrating from an adjacent component illustrate some of the problems with their use. Fractographic analysis and various analytical techniques were used to determine a root cause of each of the two failures.
Potential Ultrasonic Compaction of Zein and Distiller's Dry Grain (DDGS)
As the demand for ethanol as fuel additive increases, a consequent rise in the production of distiller's dry grain with solubles (DDGS) and commercial zein is expected. Corn dry milling processing produces two major coproducts; ethanol and DDGS. In wet-milling, pure zein is a high value by-product of corn processing. This study evaluates the potential of ultrasonic compaction of zein and DDGS composites to produce biodegradable biorenewable plastics. Various amplitudes, compaction times and compositions were characterized in terms of tensile strength. It was found that samples could be formed within a few seconds with tensile strengths as high 12 MPa.
Product Design Support for Nanocomposite Materials Application
Biopolymers offer sustainability advantages over oilbased polymers as well as unique new property profiles, in addition to the ones of oil-based polymers. Advantages of polymer nanocomposites include high reinforcing effectiveness at low additive concentrations, and greatly improved recyclability as compared with fiber-filled polymers. A project was initiated to address both practical nanocomposite behavior in products and product design with bio-based nanocomposites. Such design support is useful to facilitate conversion of new materials and technologies into design opportunities. Additionally, new and surprising opportunities may be very inspiring in early design stages.
Production of a Tractor Cab Roof Module Using Direct In-Line Compounding of Long Glass Fiber Thermoplastics
Composite Products, Inc. continually adapts their Advantage In-Line Compounding Process to produce products that use novel composite molding tools and methods. In a recent agricultural application, a tractor cab roof combined long glass fiber thermoplastics with innovative tooling and molding methods to simultaneously maximize structure and aesthetic appearance. Additionally, significant cost and performance advantages were realized through part consolidation, material waste reduction, reduction in manufacturing steps at the OEM, and corrosion resistance. The launch of this product was achieved through the successful combination of materials, tooling and process.
Recycled Poly (Ethylene Terephthalate) (PET) Blends for Hot - Fill Bottles
Injection stretch blow moulded PET bottles offer glass like clarity, excellent gas barrier properties and good overall mechanical strength. However, PET bottles required for hot-fill (85 oC ) applications have encountered limitations due to its relatively low glass transition temperature.In this study, two virgin PET grade materials are blended with post consumer recycled PET. The heat-setting technique is used for the manufacturing of injection stretch blow moulded bottles for ‘hot-fill’ applications. The process parameters (the preform temperature, the heat-setting timing and blow mould temperature) and the blend ratios for PET bottles are optimised based on thermal and mechanical characterisation.
Recycled Vinyl Wallpaper- A New Composite
Mechanical recycling of waste polymeric based composites allows production of same or similar products, but in the case of vinyl wallpaper the quality of recovered material combines the cellulose component with the vinyl PVC resulting in a new composite which can have completely different applications compared with the original vinyl wallpaper.Vinyl wallpaper is generally composed of Polyvinyl chloride combined with cellulose fibre and with certain formulations a small percentage of different polymer based additives.It has been demonstrated and described in a previous presentation that this post industrial waste material can be recycled, the present paper will demonstrate that this recyclate can be claimed to be a new vinyl based composite. The present paper will also demonstrate advantages of using modified extrusion technology to recycle wallpaper continuously without degradation of base components. With properties characterisation and evaluation it will be demonstrated that this material can have different applications compared with vinyl wallpaper.
Sandwich Injection Molding of Polypropylene and Biodegrable Polymer
Polypropylene (PP)-based sandwich injection moldings with biodegradable polymers in the core were carried out. A compatibilizing agent and high flow PP were used as modifiers to improve interfacial adhesion between the skin and the core. In order to investigate the interfacial strength between the skin and the core, 180o peel test was conducted whereby the skin was peeled from the core. It was found that the interfacial strength between skin and core was improved by incorporation of modifiers, whose functions were understood by the morphological observation. From the combination of sandwich molding and polymer alloying technologies of this study, the possibility was derived to make products composed of PP and biodegradable polymer.
Selection of Colorants and Other Additives for Durable Products
Polyolefins are utilized frequently in durable products that call for extended life in a variety of environmental conditions. Many of these products require color and almost all require and enhanced degree of resistance to the stresses of an exterior environment. The selection of plastic colorants that can withstand harsh environmental conditions is critical to ensuring the long term appearance of a polyolefin based durable product. Likewise, the correct choice of plastic additives for exterior applications must be made in order to ensure acceptable product appearance and performance over time.This paper examines key design considerations for durable polyolefin products in terms of additive selection. Special consideration is made in terms of selecting colorants that are considered non-toxic. A practical example is presented.
Study of Damage in Filament Wound Thermoplastic Matrix Composite Pipes
Reinforced thermoplastic matrix pipes may be subjected to different types of loading conditions as well as different environmental conditions. However, they may suffer damage due to unexpected working conditions (low velocity impact, such as stones, tools, etc). This paper describes a methodology based upon fracture mechanics to evaluate possible pipe damages. It reports a set of tests made to characterize materials and pipes. Fracture Mechanics tests were made in samples subjected to low velocity impact. The study of damage evolution was done by using the ESPI (Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry) technique in order to determine the delamination area.
Synergistic Biodegradable and Bio-Based Blends and Nanocomposites Created Using Pulverization
Well-dispersed biodegradable and bio-based blends and nanocomposites have been successfully created by solid-state shear pulverization. Pulverization of granular starch and polyethylene (PE) resulted in damaged starch granules. This altered granule morphology led to improved oxygen barrier properties and tensile modulus in PE/starch blends. High levels of dispersion were also achieved in polymer/clay nanocomposites using poly(caprolactone) as the matrix. Varying levels of clay exfoliation were achieved by altering processing conditions during pulverization. These materials also had improved barrier properties.
Synthesis and Properties of Telechelic Poly(Lactic Acid) Ionomers
A chemical recycling process was used to synthesize ?- and ?,?-(metal carboxylate) poly(lactic acid) (PLA) ionomers. Telechelic PLAs containing carboxylic acid groups, which were neutralized with appropriate metal acetates to produce Na-, Li-, K-, Zn-, Ca- and Y-?- and ?,?-telechelic PLA ionomers. Functionalization of the PLA was confirmed by FT-IR and 1H-NMR. In general, the Tg and Tm of the ionomers increased with molecular weight (which also lowered the ion-concentration) and ionization of the carboxylic acid. For a fixed molecular weight, the increase in Tg and Tm were linearly dependent on the ratio of q/a, where q is the cation charge and a is its ionic radius. Crystallization behavior was dependent on the ion concentration and location of the metal ions. The presence of the ionic groups increased the modulus of the polymer and the largest changes were observed with multivalent cations. The ?-(Y carboxylate) PLA even displayed a rubber-like plateau in its softening behavior.
The Marriage of Packaging and Biomaterials. Present and Future
Containers and packaging represent 32% of solid waste in the USA. Around 65% of this amount is derived from biobased materials such as paper, paperboard and wood, and the rest is composed of glass, metal and plastic. Glass and metal are abundant. Plastics in contrast are mainly obtained from scarce petroleum resources. Therefore, there is much interest in the production of biopolymers obtained from biobased resources, which are forecasted to reduce petroleum dependence. This article provides an overview of the current development and use of biopolymers in packaging applications, and examines their sustainability. It presents a cradle to cradle analysis and the current regulation of these materials.
The Reinforcement of Poly(Lactic Acid) Using High Aspect Ratio Calcium Carbonate Based Mineral Additive
As a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived products, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is gaining a lot of interest in recent years. PLA has good optical clarity and high stiffness, but it is also intrinsically brittle. In this paper, the comparison between a specially engineered high aspect ratio mineral-EMforceTM Bio calcium carbonate, mica and talc in reinforcing PLA was performed. It was found that EMforceTM Bio calcium carbonate was extremely effective in improving the low temperature impact toughness as well as increasing the stiffness of PLA. Further the addition of EMforceTM Bio calcium carbonate to PLA does not hinder its compostability at elevated temperatures.
UV Curable Ink-Jet Formulations for the Ever Expanding Realm of Industrial Applications
Digital inkjet printing has escaped the traditional confines of the graphic arts market and exploded into the realm of industrial applications. UV curable inkjet inks are enjoying the fastest growth due to their instantaneous cure, excellent jetting, and green" attributes. The industrial possibilities are limitless and each application requires a specific ink formulation to meet precise requirements. The inks must demonstrate robust characteristics including high flexibility and elongation abrasion resistance adhesion to a myriad of substrates including metals low surface energy plastics glass and ceramics as well as excellent lightfastness and rapid curing. This paper explores the challenges that a formulator encounters while pursuing industrial opportunities and offers suggestions to create inks that are a perfect match for each application."
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