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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Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
Marina Rogunova , Jim Mason , Robyn Francis, May 2008
Automotive original equipment manufacturers are consistently looking for low-gloss materials for interior applications that can stand up to years of wear and tear and environmental exposure yet maintain aesthetic quality without painting. Bayblend® LGX 300 resin is specifically developed for automotive interior applications requiring a material that is inherently low in gloss with extra flowability good weathering and good scratch and mar resistance. Another important attribute of Bayblend LGX 300 is its low-emission characteristic which is particularly important as automotive manufacturers strive to reduce the levels of VOCs in their automobiles to improve the interior environment and meet federal regulations. Because LGX 300 resin is a low gloss high-flow polycarbonate (PC) blend with good heat and impact performance; thin-wall part design can be achieved without painting.
M.D. Sanchez-Garcia , E. Gimenez , M.J. Ocio , J.M. Lagaron, May 2008
It is well-known that the nanocomposites technology can significantly enhance among others the thermal mechanical and barrier properties of plastics. It is also known that most bioplastics including the thermoplastic biopolymers have lower than desired levels for certain properties which makes their use in certain packaging applications problematic. The combination of active technologies such as antimicrobials and nanotechnologies such as nanocomposites can synergistically lead to bioplastic formulations with balanced properties and functionalities for their implementation in packaging applications. The present work presents the development and characterization of novel nanocomposites of polycaprolactone (PCL) with enhanced barrier properties and with controlled-release of biocide natural extracts.The antimicrobial nanocomposites of biodegradable materials were prepared in solution by a casting method.The morphology of the biocomposites was visualized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and by Atomic Force microscopy (AFM) the thermal properties were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and the solubility and kinetics of released biocide were determined by Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transformed Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. Water and limonene barrier properties were also enhanced in the biocomposites.
J. L. Willett, May 2008
Starch a low-cost annually renewable resource is naturally hydrophilic and its properties change with relative humidity. Starchƒ??s hygroscopic nature can be used to develop materials which change shape or volume in response to environmental changes (eg humidity). For example starch-based graft copolymers have been produced using reactive extrusion for potential superabsorbent and hydrogel applications. Besides absorbing large quantities of water some of these copolymers display large volume changes in aqueous alcohol depending on solvent quality. Other examples include starch-poly(methyl acrylate) graft copolymer films which shrink at high humidities. Various levels of shrinkage can be triggered in response to changes in relative humidity. (AAm) and varying amounts of 2-acrylamido-2-methyl- 1-propane sulfonic acid (AMPS) display various degrees of swelling in aqueous solutions and approximately discontinuous volume changes in aqueous ethanol solutions over narrow ethanol concentrations. Blown films of starch-PMA graft copolymers display controlled shrinkage in response to increases in relative humidity.
Hossein Hosseini , Mohammad Mosaddegh , Behzad Shirkavand-Hadavand, May 2008
Solid state shear pulverization is a novel technology in polymer processing for production of new polymeric materials. By implementation of this technology various processes such as polymer recycling compounding and improving of mechanical-chemical properties of polymers can be enhanced. This is a continuous and one-stage process with low energy consumption. During this process polymers are subject to high pressure and shear forces. In this paper this technology and its applications to polymer processing is perused. At the end recycling of PET wastes by this technology is presented that have higher efficiency in comparison with existing methods.
Rolf Koster, May 2008
The importance of three inter-dependent factors i.e. (1) materials (2) manufacturing and (3) design and engineering is generally recognized. All factors are indispensable and equally important for product development. Manufacturing is often the least structured factor and many designers and materials experts do not consider themselves capable to deal with it. Fortunately expertise is sufficiently available and the best professionals are able to utilize plastics expertise properly in collaborative product development. For bio-based plastics which are rapidly emerging in some specific markets it is already clear that the relation between the three factors is different and more varied than for the currently well-known plastics. Critical factors for increased successful application of bio-based plastics will be product manufacturing and the expectations of applicators and consumers. From interviewing a variety of professionals it was found that clear true and complete information is currently not accessible for most whereas some assumptions are not realistic or not correct particularly the ones related to degradability and to environmental effects. Better and well-structured information will be needed resulting in fulfillment of elementary consumer expectations.
Banana Fiber Composites for Automotive & Transportation Applications
Lina Herrera-Estrada, September 2008
The purpose of this work was to establish and optimize a process for the production of banana fiber reinforced composite materials with a thermoset suitable for automotive and transportation industry applications. Fiber surface chemical modifications and treatments were studied along with processing conditions for epoxy and eco-polyester banana fiber composites. Flexural tests show that banana fiber/eco-polyester composites have a higher flexural strength and modulus due to improved fiber/matrix interaction. Environmental tests were conducted and the compressive properties of the composites were evaluated before and after moisture absorption. The resulting banana fiber/epoxy composites were found to yield a flexural strength of 34.99 MPa and compressive strength of 122.11 MPa when alkaline pretreated with improved environmental exposure resistance. While the non alkaline pretreated banana fiber/polyester composites were found to yield a flexural strength of 40.16 MPa and compressive strength of 123.28 MPa with higher hygrothermal resistance than pretreated fiber composites with the same matrix.
E-Coat Sustainable Long-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites for Structural Automotive Applications
Raman Chaudhari, September 2008
Polypropylene and glass fibre (PP/GF) based Long Fibre Reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) are nowadays established as state of the art materials for semi-structural applications in the automotive industry. However PP/GF LFT materials are limited for producing automotive components for use in general assembly. The use of LFT based components for structural applications and their implementation directly into the body in white assembly is still a challenge for the automotive industry. In order to develop LFT materials for such applications a feasibility study to investigate the e-coating process sustainability of LFT materials was conducted. The current article addresses the developed LFT formulations and their basic mechanical properties. For this purpose polyamide / glass fibre (PA/GF) based LFT materials were thoroughly investigated. The change of mechanical performance of the LFT materials due to applied temperatures of the e-coating process was investigated by benchmarking of non-temperature-treated against tempered LFT specimens. In addition the combined influence of temperatures and chemicals on the LFT properties was evaluated by running the LFT specimens through the actual painting line that included e-coating and subsequent painting and drying processes. Finally it was found that it is possible to manufacture LFT parts capable of withstanding the e-coating process without causing major changes in the performance of the LFT materials.
Recent Developments in Renewable Resource-Based Resins
Darcy Culkin, September 2008
PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2008.
Samsung's Bioplastics for Automobiles
Brian Grosser, September 2008
PowerPoint Presentation at ACCE 2008.
High Performance Plastic Components for Engine Mount Applications
Hans-Juergen Karkosch, Holger Klink, September 2008
In the face of dwindling resources rising energy prices and increasing environmental pollution reductions in consumption and emissions are topics of increasing importance in all fields of technology. To achieve these goals specifically in the automotive industry new engine concepts are needed in connection with thorough-going implementation of lightweight construction. Whereas weight-optimized plastics components are already utilized in many vehicle subsystems and components steel and/or aluminum structures are usually used for load-bearing structural elements. This statement also applies fundamentally for the engine mounting subsystem. In this area plastics components have been used previously only for subordinate moderately loaded semi-components. Now for the first time a mechanically highly-loadable torque reaction mount has been conceived as a plastics structural part and implemented in the series production of a vehicle with a transverse-mounted engine. In addition to weight reduction it also helps create a more advantageous load distribution on the axles. Load reduction on the front axle has positive effects on driving dynamics and safety. The paper begins by stating fundamental requirements for components of engine mounting systems. The principle procedure in developing load-bearing plastics components includes the topics of integrative simulation laboratory component tests and in-vehicle testing.
Lightweight Structural Parts with Rigid Integral PUR Foams
Stephan Schleiermacher, September 2008
With climate change and the current situation regarding energy and environmental policy dominating the agenda car manufacturers are faced with the complex problem of drastically lowering the fuel consumption of their vehicles in order to reduce CO2 emissions. One way of tackling the problem is to pursue a consistent strategy of lightweight construction. Self-activated as well as thermally activated rigid integral polyurethane foams from BaySystems can help to realise reductions in weight. They are ideal for use in structural parts. The presentation covers some of their state of the art solutions and techniques followed by a vision of a new composite design for roof modules which combines the aforementioned polyurethanes and their processing technologies with a sprayed polyurethane barrier layer.
Natural Fibers Plastic Composites for Automotive Applications
Jay Amarasekera, September 2008
The use of natural fibers in composite plastics is gaining popularity in many areas and particularly the automotive industry. The use of natural fibers in polymers can provide many advantages over other filler technologies and areas of application appear limitless. The automotive industry is currently shifting to a “green” outlook as consumers are looking for environmentally friendly vehicles. Natural fibers are a renewable natural resource and are biodegradable which is an important characteristic for components that must be disposed of at the end of their useful life. They are recyclable and can be easily converted into thermal energy through combustion without leaving residue. Among the natural fibers with potential application as reinforcement for polymers curauá fiber is one that recently received special attention from researchers. Curauá is a plant from the Bromeliad family cultivated in the Brazilian Amazon region. The fiber is extracted from its leaves providing a high mechanical strength over traditional fibers like sisal jute and flax. We have developed thermoplastic composites using either curauá fiber or wood flour. These materials provided a lighter weight product with good physical properties and unique surface aesthetics. This paper reviews the properties of these bio composites in comparison with glass and mineral filled products. The products were tested in some automotive applications and the results will be discussed.
New Methods to Produce Reinforced Polyamide-6 for Improved Material Properties in Engineering Plastic Applications
Ab van Geenen, September 2008
Polyamide-6 is widely used in many mechanical applications also in automotive replacing more and more traditional materials such as metals thermosets and elastomers. Good process ability along with outstanding physical properties also long term stability under tough conditions and a high value recycling ability make this thermoplastic material also commercial interesting for new demanding machinery parts. A broad variety of materials is achieved by producing PA-6 “in situ” by anionic polymerisation of Caprolactam which can be performed on extruders on RIM machines or in different casting processes. Nano-Clay or Glass fiber reinforced granules short or long-glass fiber reinforced molded parts glass-mat reinforced manhole covers or wind turbine blades are some examples of Brüggemann’s AP-Nylon® Material applications completed by NYRIM® the wide range impact modified grades. This paper gives an overview of the new developments in this field we were involved in during the last 2 years.
Opportunities and Development of Bio-Based Materials for SMC (Sheet Molding Compound)
Dwight Rust, September 2008
Current and future changes in the automotive industry present an increased opportunity for thermosets. Bio-based materials in SMC present an opportunity to help automotive manufacturers in the US to meet the 2020 Freedom Car weight and 14.9 km/L (35 mpg) CAFÉ requirements as currently mandated by the federal government. Developments in the industrial bio-technology sector are also leading to knowledge to provide opportunities to use bio-based materials to provide solutions using SMC to lower costs and weight. The National Composite Center is leading collaborative efforts in the development of biobased resins fillers and reinforcements. The result of these collaborations in both biobased materials and the interface of nano technology are presented. The opportunities exist for the development of biobased materials to produce a lighter weight SMC.
Renuva Soy-Based Polyol RIM for Automotive Exterior Applications
Dow Automotive & Magna/Decoma International, September 2008
There are many formative trends in today’s OEM composite marketplace which are driving the investigation and development of alternative feedstocks from natural or renewable resources in the plastics industry such as environmental sustainability reduced dependence on crude oil and the high cost of petroleum-based derivatives. This paper will describe the development of a novel soy oil based polyol (under the RENUVA™tradename) which has technological advantages in terms of odour physical properties compatibility and processability in polyurethane application over existing soy-based polyol. The paper will further describe the development partnership undertaken by The Dow Chemical Company and Polycon Industries (a division of Magna International) to utilize this “green” polyol to develop a Reaction Injection Moulded (RIM) polyurethane formulation suitable for painted exterior applications. The paper will outline the development aliterations done to accomplish this goal and to maximize the soy-based polyol content in the RIM composite for physical property and processability optimization. The paper’s conclusion will demonstrate the viability of a 50% soy-based polyol solution to meet the processability paintability and physical property specification of a current Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) RIM program through direct comparison of extensive trial work done on series production fascia tooling at Polycon. The paper will extend this development work into potential opportunities for the RIM polymer involving exterior composite applications for heavy equipment or agricultural machinery where natural resource feedstocks would have clear market desirability.
Life‐Cycle‐Analysis of Hot Beverage Cup Technologies: Coated Paper, PS Foam, and Expanded Recycled PET
Tom Malone, February 2009
A cradle‐to‐grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is performed to compare the environmental impact of using polymer‐coated paper, polystyrene foam, and recycled PET foam in the hot liquid cup applications. The study identifies the material, energy emissions, and waste flows of the products, processes, and services he environmental impact in terms of al warming potential for these alternative utilized over the entire lifecycle. Finally, t energy use, carbon footprint, and the glob technologies is quantified and compared.
An Innovative Equipment Solution To Reclaiming Post Industrial And Post Consumer Film That Contains High Levels Of Moisture And Printing
Kevin Slusarz, February 2009
This paper will show a new approach of venting high levels of volatiles on reclaim film. The paper will discuss how a cascaded extrusion platform can be utilized to remove high levels of volatile contaminates as material is extruded from a Ram Stuffer extruder and cascaded into a melt fed two stage extruder.
Engineered Recycling Systems for Post-Consumer and Post-Industrial Scrap
Brian Woodcock, February 2009
Auxiliary equipment manufacturers, specifically those who manufacture polymer filtration equipment, have learned through experience what designs and configurations work better than previous ones. Filtration demands today are not what they used to be. Utilizing recycled resin in extrusion is becoming more and more popular. In order to gain maximum efficiency utilizing recycled resins in polymer extrusion, the filtration equipment alone is sometimes not enough. Empirical data will be reviewed comparing several types of filtration media, along with scrap percentages successfully filtered. This data will help illustrate the benefits of one recycling system to another.
Automotive Applications & Expectations of Bio-Based Materials
Eric Connell, February 2009
From the viewpoint of greenhouse gas reduction and resource security, bio-plastics are attractive as carbon neutral polymer materials, but limitations currently exist for industrial usage including automotive applications. Although some parts made of polylactic acid (PLA) have been introduced to certain models in the past five years, in order to adopt bio-plastics extensively in the future, further research and development to overcome their technical issues is necessary. Bio-plastics are also facing non-technical challenges such as their economical aspect and stability of their supply/procurement. We need to deal with the recent situation of soaring prices of agricultural products and future uneasiness of cultivated land and water shortages while bio-fuel attracts recent attention worldwide, and also need to precisely prove the influence of bio-plastics on global environmental impact based on LCA through to material production, parts molding and their disposal. Recent progress on development of bio-plastic materials and automotive parts will be reported and our expectations and demands toward innovation of bio plastic technology will be discussed from the viewpoint of an OEM.
Recycling of Agricultural Film
Werner Herbold, February 2009
With more of the market of plastics scrap being sold into China and US users of recycled plastics try to escape the high prices. There is search for new sources of secondary plastics that are not yet under more or less “Chinese” control and high prices. One big source of raw material is post consumer agricultural film. Since it is often highly contaminated it was not considered being very much worth the effort of recycling. However this opinion is changing based on the rising costs of virgin resin and other forms plastic scrap. The contamination once removed, agricultural film is a very homogenous material that can be used after washing, drying and compounding for many kinds of transformation, from blow film to injection molding. The lecture describes the Herbold size reduction, wash, separation and drying equipment that ends with agglomerated PE-film, ready for compounding or direct transformation in an extrusion or injection molding process. The system comprises a primary shredder, a prewashing unit, a wet granulator, a friction washer, a hydrocyclone separation step to remove foreign plastics and other contamination, a centrifugal dryer, a thermal dryer, finally an agglomerator to produce densified film flakes, easy to transport, easy to feed into its end use in pelletizing, direct extrusion or direct injection molding. See www.herbold.com The problems of agricultral film recycling are to cope with the wear in the machines caused by the high amounts of earth and stones, to cope with the fact that the system produces up to 50% of non plastic output (sand, earth, stones, contaminations) besides the plastics, to cope with the fact that more and more very thin film is used in the business and more and more stretch film, both very difficult to dry. These obstacles can be overcome with the proper know how and equipment.

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