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.
Recent Case Studies of Engineering Thermosets for Under-the-Hood Applications (Part A: Overview)
Cedric Ball, September 2013

Automotive engineers are looking for options to reduce weight and increase engine efficiency to comply with new CO2 emission and fuel economy regulations. As a consequence under-the-hood operating temperatures continue to increase. Engineering thermosets are an effective lightweighting alternative to heavier conventional steel and aluminum die-cast products. They combine outstanding temperature stability long-term mechanical strength dimensional stability and high chemical resistance. This presentation focuses on 2 recent automotive underhood applications where phenolic-based engineering thermosets successfully replaced traditional metals. First a thermoset water pump housing was shown to outperform cast aluminum in dimensional stability while lowering overall weight; and a thermoset vacuum pump also originally designed in die-cast aluminum provided high mechanical strength and improved dimensional stability at reduced cost and weight. Finally various recycling methods for these thermoset materials are described.

Toughening PLA Composites with Natural Fibers and ENR
Abdul Shakoor, September 2013

Biocomposites are recent advancements used to develop cost-effective sustainable materials for numerous applications in response to the mounting needs to find substitutes for polymers based on fossil fuels. Polylactic acid (PLA) is an aliphatic and is the most promising in the bioplastics’ family although its use can be constrained by its poor mechanical properties lower thermal stability and processing difficulties. The objective of this research was to investigate and improve mechanical and thermal properties of PLA by developing PLA composites reinforced with hemp natural fibres results of which are discussed in this presentation.

Influence of graphene oxide on the thermal properties of phenolic resin
Yongxin Chen, Zhengjun Yao, Jintang Zhou , Tishou Xu, Yibing Wu, August 2013

Addition of graphene oxide enhances the elasticity, stiffness, and tensile strength of phenolic resin, and improves its heat stability by nearly 30°C.

Cellulose nanocrystals from garlic stalks as reinforcing filler for bioplastics
Fumihiko Hirose, Bashir Ahmmad, Joel R. Salazar, Enna Richel De Leon, Jerico Buenaobra, Melissa B. Agustin, August 2013

Starch-based biocomposite films incorporating spherical cellulose nanocrystals from garlic stalks offer a novel application of an underused natural fiber.

Totally bioresorbable stents with improved properties for cardiovascular disease
Jianting Dong, Lan Liao, Zhongyong Fan, Suming Li, Zhiqian Lu, August 2013

Semi-crystalline terpolymers prepared from L-lactide, trimethylene carbonate, and glycolide are promising materials for cardiovascular stents.

Fully bio-based composites from gluten and seaweed waste fibers
Rafael Balart , Alfredo Carbonell, Octavio Fenollar, Begona Ferrero, Maria Dolores Samper, July 2013

Using natural fatty acids to treat the cellulose components of green composites reinforced with agro-waste fibers reduces their water uptake resulting in stable and environmentally friendly materials.

Economical and environmentally friendly synthesis of porous cation-exchange resins
Syed Wasim Ali, Imtiaz Ahmed, Muhammad Arif Malik, July 2013

A method to synthesize strongly acidic cation-exchange resins from porous styrene-divinylbenzene copolymers can quickly monitor porosity and significantly reduce cost, health risks, and pollution.

Improved blown film extrusion of biopolymers
Khalid Lamnawar , Abderrahim Maazouz, June 2013

Poly(lactic acid) optimized with chain extenders, plasticizers, and nucleating agents forms stable and defect-free films with improved mechanical properties.

Multifunctional nanocomposites for environmental remediation
Xi Zhang, Suying Wei, Huige Wei, Jiang Guo, Hongbo Gu, John Zhanhu Guo, May 2013

Polyaniline-magnetite nanocomposites can efficiently remove Cr(VI) from polluted water, be retrieved easily with a magnet, be regenerated with acid, and be reused for further Cr(VI) removal.

Analysis of Sustainability-related Web Content for General and Medical Plastics Packing Firm
Shristy Bashyal, Bonnie J. Bachman, May 2013

The purpose of this study is to determine how plastic-packaging companies define sustainability or sustainable practices and communicate sustainable practices to its target audience e.g., customer, consumer. There are two research questions this study intends to answer. First, how do such companies define sustainability or sustainable practices, and second, what persuasive appeals are used to communicate sustainable practices to their audiences via a company website?

A Study of the Cure Compatibilization of Devulcanized Tire Tread Rubber and Polypropylene
Prashant Mutyala, Mohammad Meysami, Shuihan Zhu, Costas Tzoganakis, May 2013

The usage of waste tire rubber crumb as a dispersed phase in a thermoplastic matrix has been a topic of study for a long time. In order to obtain ‘value added products’ from polypropylene (PP) and waste ground rubber tire (GRT) crumb composites, the use of compatibilizers was found to be essential. The properties achieved remained inferior and thus GRT based thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) have limited applications. Due to similar reasons not many studies have been carried out on blending devulcanized rubber (DR) and plastics. However, DR being relatively more similar to virgin rubber is expected to perform better than GRT and result in improved properties as compared to GRT. This work expands our previous effort on a statistical analysis of compatibility between DR and PP, and the effectiveness of a sulphur cure system in compatibilization. We further study the role of a peroxide based cure system in detail with respect to compatibilization efficiency.

A Very High Molecular Weight HDPE Resin (VHMWPE) with Improved Chemical and Abrasion Resistance
Stanley Dudek, Dane Chang, May 2013

Applications, such as sheet and pipe, often require polymers that can resist abrasion during use. This is especially true if the application is to handle a slurry or grit. Although typical HDPE resins have good resistance to abrasion and can be broadly used with different chemicals, there are several applications that need a resin with improved abrasion resistance and good chemical resistance. For example, HDPE pipes designed to handle gritty water based slurries, such as mining slurries, may not be adequate to handle petroleum based slurries. This is especially true if the application is normally at an elevated temperature such as 60 degrees C. This paper discusses the evaluation of various HDPE resins and shows their differences in relationship to the environmental parameters encountered in slurry handling applications along with the processing parameters needed for manufacture. The different HDPE resins were tested at RT, 40 and 60 degrees C and at different immersion times in water and solvents. After the immersion conditioning, the resins were then abrasion tested. A modified HDPE resin shows acceptable abrasion resistance at both room temperature and elevated temperatures in both water and solvent based slurries. Evaluation of processability parameters were undertaken using melt index, spiral flow, and both lab and production extrusion equipment.

Additives to Improve Regrind Utilization and Recycling of High Barrier Blow Molded Containers
Jose M. Torradas, Renata O. Pimentel, David M. Dean, May 2013

The ability of maleic anhydride grafted polymers to compatibilize non-polar polyolefin polymers with polar polymers or contaminants has been confirmed and publicized by a number of experts in the field. This study reports on a new generation of random copolymers of ethylene and anhydride functional monomers specifically designed for compatibilizing blends of polyethylene polymers with polar components (other polymers or additives) in mixed recycle streams. The results show that these copolymers, with a very high level of reactive functionality (>3% wt. of anhydride), improve the impact strength of molded or extruded part made from mixed recycle streams containing Polyethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) or Polyamides (PA) even when the scrap contains high levels of moisture, lubricants or other resins. Two practical examples are discussed: use in regrind layers of extrusion blow molded containers and use in recycling of mixed polymer streams to produce other parts.

Adhesion Improvements of Nanocomposite Interfaces
Rory Wolf, May 2013

Attention has recently become focused on the performance advantages of nanocomposites, and particularly polymerbased nanocomposites with respect to incumbent “neat” polymers or metallic materials for lightweighting initiatives. In the interest of sustainability, the specific use of bio-reinforced nanocomposite parts and nanostructured coatings within automotive, aerospace, construction, medical and packaging applications is accelerating. These “green” nanocomposites can provide high mechanical strength at low density, low weight, and low cost while generating low carbon dioxide emissions. However, there are interfacial surface adhesion challenges with these and other nanocomposites, in addition to particle distribution and stability issues, which can inhibit full realization of their mechanical performance advantages. This paper will profile polymeric nanocomposites and nanocoatings, as well as define surface modification protocols using atmospheric pressure plasma technologies to optimize interfacial adhesion to similar and dissimilar materials.

Color Compatibilty of Thiol-ene nail polish Formulation
John T. Krieger, Adam J. Beauvais, May 2013

Thiol-ene chemistry is a emerging and environmentally friendly polymer synthesis. It is therefor obvious that new applications would be sought for the process. Currently, the use of Thiol-ene chemistry is being investigated for use as a replacement chemistry for nail polish. However, a nail polish formulation requires a consistent and aesthetically pleasing application of colorant. Our project looks at the application of colorants to Thiol-ene coatings.

An Investigation of the Incorporation of Expandable Microspheres into Stretch Wrap
Lauri Kline, Sarah Cheney, Christopher Thellen, Jacob Boone, Allyson Stoyle, Jo Ann Ratto, May 2013

Expandable polymeric microspheres as stretch film components were investigated for pallet wrap applications. Advantages of this novel technology may include reduced fossil-fuel based plastics, solid waste, film density, and weight. Multilayer stretch wrap samples containing microspheres were produced on a stretch film processing line. Optical microscopy showed that the microspheres were intact and expanded 3-5X. Overall, testing showed that tensile, modulus, water vapor barrier, and cling were decreased by the addition of microspheres.

Crosslinking Recycled Polyethylene For Low End Medical Applications
Danielle Winiecki, Nathan Foltz, May 2013

This experiment determined the most effective technique in crosslinking HDPE to replace PP medical containers. HDPE was crosslinked using silane methods at levels of 2%, 5%, and 10% and irradiation at levels of 21.6kGy, 42.12kGy, and 105.3kGy. After crosslinking, these materials, along with a medical grade PP and a general grade of PE were tested using melt index, stress relaxation, tensile, impact, flexural, HDT, and autoclave sterilization. The e-beam at 21.6kGy yielded the results closest to the PP.

Analysis of the Interfacial Shear Strength of Banana Fiber in Low-Density Polyethylene
Joshua Weed, May 2013

The increasing social pressure for biodegradability, environmentally?friendly products, and sustainable products for developing countries has launched the use of natural fibers in fiber reinforced polymer composites. Due to the integration of organic material in thermoplastics, the fiber?matrix interfacial bonding is quite poor. While the organic material is hydrophilic, able to absorb water, the majority of polymer matrices are hydrophobic, unable to bond with water. The interfacial shear strength, a quantity to measure this bonding, has been shown to be improved through morphological and chemical treatment. In this context, the interfacial shear strength of banana fiber in low?density polyethylene has not been fully characterized. The aim of this study is to analyze and improve the interfacial shear strength of banana fiber in a polymer matrix through a variety of surface treatment and modification techniques. For characterization of the fiber?matrix interfacial bonding, a commonly used micromechanical technique, the pull?out test, is used.

Benefits of Hollow Glass Microspheres in Glass Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics
Baris Yalcin, Steve E. Amos, Mark J. Williams, Ibrahim S. Gunes, Stefan Friedrich, Marcel Doering, May 2013

Hollow Glass Microspheres, due to their unique spherical geometry and low density, provide several benefits in glass fiber reinforced composites. They help produce lighter weight parts in order to achieve stringent fuel economy targets for automotive and aerospace manufacturers. They also provide productivity benefits through shorter cooling times, enhanced dimensional stability and less warpage – helping to reduce waste and improve throughput. This paper demonstrates these benefits with effective formulation strategies in glass fiber filled polypropylene and polyamides.

Biobased and Biodegradable Ternary Blends: Investigation of Properties via Experimental and Theoretical Routes
Srikanth Pilla, Lih-Sheng Turng, May 2013

Biobased and biodegradable ternary blends from poly (lactic acid) (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co- hydroxy-valerate) (PHBV), and poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) were melt-compounded using a K-mixer and fabricated using an injection molding machine. The miscibility, degree of crystallinity, thermal stability, and mechanical properties were investigated. The blends were observed to be immiscible. PPC provided greater thermal stability in the blends compared to PHBV. The toughness and strain-at-break of the ternary blends were far superior to that of the binary blends due to the synergistic effect of the dispersed components. The stiffness and strength of the blends were consistent with those of the PLA matrix. The existing micromechanical models fit well for stiffness but under-estimated the tensile strength. As such, a new empirical model was developed that took into consideration the flexibility that exists between the immiscible blends.

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