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Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
Manufacturing of Polypropylene/Ground Tire Rubber Thermoplastic Elastomers by Ultrasonically Aided Extrusion
Jieruo Liu, Avram I. Isayev, May 2013

Compounding ground tire rubber (GTR) with thermoplastic polyolefins, such as polypropylene (PP), is a possible way to manufacture thermoplastic elastomers and also to recycle waste tires, thus solving a major environmental problem. The effect of ultrasonic treatment on the mechanical, rheological and morphological properties of PP and PP/GTR (ground tire rubber) blends in an ultrasonic single screw extruder (SSE) and an ultrasonic twin screw extruder (TSE) were investigated. PP and GTR was fixed at a ratio of 50:50. The treatment was carried out under amplitude of 5, 7.5 and 10 ?m, and at a flow rate of 2 lbs/hr. Pressure and ultrasonic power consumption were measured. Mechanical and rheological properties of untreated and ultrasonically treated PP indicated that TSE provided more degradation than in SSE. For 40 mesh blends from SSE, the mechanical properties improved with increasing ultrasonic amplitude. The viscosity indicated very little dependence on ultrasonic amplitude, which is evidence a formation of covalent bonds between PP and GTR. Viscosity of 140 mesh blends was lower than that of 40 mesh blends from both SSE and TSE, indicating a larger degree of degradation of blends with smaller rubber particle size. In addition, with smaller rubber particle size, much better elongation at break is obtained which indicates better adhesion between PP and GTR.

Material Optimization and Performance Evaluation of PolyVinyl Alcohol (PVOH) Films in Fresh and Salt Water for Decelerator Applications
Christopher Thellen, Corey Hauver, Jo Ann Ratto, May 2013

Material optimization of biodegradable and water soluble polymers along with the influence of fresh and salt water conditions on the performance of polyvinyl alcohol-based films was examined for a U.S. Naval sonobuoy decelerator application. PVOH films of various thicknesses were produced on a manufacturing-scale lamination line using a solvent-based adhesive. Salt water and its temperature significantly influenced dissolution properties of the films. Mechanical properties of the as-received and laminated films were also examined and reported.

Mechanical Properties and Crystallization of Talc Filled Poly(Lactic Acid)/Poly(Butylene Succinate) Blend Composites
Weraporn Pivsa-Art, Supaphorn Thumsorn, Sommai Pivsa-Art, Hideki Yamane, Hitomi Ohara, May 2013

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) were blended in a twin screw extruder at various contents of PBS from 0-30 wt% with 0-20 wt% of talc by the extrusion process. The effects of PBS and talc contents on crystallization behavior and mechanical performances of PLA/PBS talc composites were investigated. The non-isothermal crystallization of the PLA/PBS/talc composites was carried out by a differential scanning calorimetry. The mechanical performances of the composites were investigated by tensile and impact testing. The incorporation of talc increase tensile modulus and perform constantly impact strength of the composites. In this study, the relationship between crystallization behavior and mechanical property was also elucidated.

Mechanical Properties of High Density Polyethylene - Pennycresss Press Cake Composites
Louis Reifschneider, Brent Tisserat, May 2013

Pennycress press cake (PPC) is evaluated as a bio-based fiber reinforcement. PPC is a by-product of crop seed oil extraction. Composites with a high density polyethylene (HDPE) matrix are created by twin screw compounding of 25% by weight of PPC and either 0% or 5% by weight of maleated polyethylene (MAPE). Tensile, flexural, and impact properties are assessed from injection molded test specimens. An improved PPC bio-filler was produced by solvent treating PPC (STPPC). Composite blends composed of STPPC were superior to their PPC counterparts. Composites made with STPPC and MAPE had significantly improved tensile and flexural properties compared to neat HDPE.

Melt Compounding of Poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) / Nanofibrillated Cellulose (NFC) Nanocomposites: Properties and Solubility of Carbon Dioxide
Yottha Srithep, Lih-Sheng Turng, Thomas Ellingham, Ronald Sabo, Craig Clemons, May 2013

Biodegradable nanocomposites were prepared using nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) as the reinforcement and poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate, PHBV) as the polymer matrix. PHBV powder was dispersed in water, mixed with an aqueous suspension of NFC fiber, and freeze dried. The resulting PHBV/15 wt% NFC was then used as a masterbatch in a subsequent melt compounding process to produce nanocomposites of various formulations. Its properties, such as mechanical properties, crystallization behavior and solubility of carbon dioxide (CO2), were evaluated. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images revealed that individual fibers with diameters less than 1 ?m were still clearly distinguishable even though some of the NFC agglomerated. Adding NFC increased the tensile modulus of the PHBV/NFC nanocomposites nearly twofold. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis showed that the NFC served as a nucleating agent, promoting the early onset of crystallization. However, high NFC content also led to greater thermal degradation of the PHBV matrix. The solubility of CO2 in the PHBV/NFC nanocomposites decreased and the desorption diffusivity increased as more NFC was added.

Modification of PVC with bio-based PHA rubber. Part 2.
Yelena Kann, May 2013

Blends of biobased polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) with PVC have been developed and demonstrated very unique properties when added between 5 and 30 phr. These blends promise to improve both mechanical and environmental performance of PVC. The breakthrough is based on the miscibility of PHA and PVC resins and similar processing windows. Based on the miscibility and performance requirements, specific compositions of PHA copolymers were created to improve plasticization, impact and processing modification. In impact modification, PHA rubber copolymers outperform the best available MBS core/shell impact modifiers and do not compromise PVC transparency and UV stability. In plasticization, PHA copolymers perform as high molecular weight, readily dispersible plasticizers and enable formulation of compounds with low additive migration, low extractables, volatile loss and staining. As a processing aid, the metal adhering properties of PHA copolyesters promote homogeneous shear melting of PVC particles and prevent overheating and degradation. It will be shown that due to their multifunctional performance, the PHA modifiers could significantly simplify the formulation of PVC compounds and reduce the overall amount of required additives. The PHA rubber copolymers are commercially biosynthesized by fermentation technology from renewable resources. They satisfy requirements on sustainability and biodegradability.

Molecular Structure and Thermal Properties of Recycled and Virgin Nylong and Their glass Fiber Reinforced Composites
Amin Mirzadeh, Hesam Ghasemi, Philip J. Bates, Musa R. Kamal, May 2013

The effects of molecular weight and molecular structure on non-isothermal crystallization behavior of recycled and virgin nylon and their composites with glass fiber (GF) were studied. Two different recycled nylon resins,namely post-industrial waste (PIW) and post-consumer waste (PCW) were used. The former was obtained from a fiber manufacturer and the latter was recycled from used carpets. Intrinsic viscosity (IV) measurements and 13carbon nuclear magnetic resonance (13C-NMR) were used to characterize the molecular weight and the structure of the resins. Non-isothermal crystallization of the resins was studied using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The molecular weights of recycled materials (without glass fiber) were found to be higher than that of virgin PA6, but their crystallization rates (implied by the reciprocal of t1/2) were faster. It is due to their higher cis conformer content and consequently advanced segmental mobility. Recycled materials contain TiO2 which can act as heterogeneous nucleating agent.

Natural fiber Composites for low cost automotive systems
Vinay Mathur, May 2013

The objective of this study is to develop a polymer matrix based composite technology for its use in low cost mass transit (automotive) System, considering the matrix/fiber compatibility, stiffness, strength, hardness, damping and moisture absorbance characteristics of Natural fiber Composites. This objective is achieved through formulation of a low cost composite material which meets the required demands for mass transit system and identifying the most economic manufacturing/fabricating process to produce components to be used in mass transit systems as the next crucial step. For manufacturing continuous laminate, commonly used reinforcement materials such as glass fiber as well as new materials such as natural fibers including, grass, bamboo and jute will be investigated in this study. Both hand layup and RTM method using unsaturated polyester resin matrix were used to fabricate continuous fiber laminate. The mechanical properties are measured and compared with respect to the reference material glass fiber composites manufactured through compression molding process. The investigation shows that Natural fiber Composites have mechanical properties as high as glass fiber composites or even higher in some cases. The effect of water absorbance in the case of natural fibers on their mechanical properties was also determined. Such good mechanical properties in combination with light weight and lower cost, makes the use of these natural fiber composites very attractive for low cost mass transit (automotive) industry. The composite performance is analyzed in terms of constituent properties and product quality.

New Biopolymer Alloys: Plexiglas® Rnew for Durable Applications
Carmen Rodriguez, Robert Barsotti, May 2013

Altuglas International, a division of Arkema Inc. has recently developed Plexiglas® Rnew acrylics, a new technology based on poly(methyl methacrylate)/biopolymer blends. These resins, containing ? 25% renewable carbon, are in line with Arkema’s commitment to sustainability while offering exceptional performance for transparent or opaque durable goods in medical, transportation, building and construction, and consumer applications. As opposed to many green plastics, where material performance must be sacrificed for bio-content, this technology allows for impact properties, chemical resistance, and processability far superior to traditional acrylic products.

Optimizing the CO2 footprint through defined usage of recyclates.
Dennis Decker, Jens Hahnemann, Achim Schmiemann, May 2013

Plastics are an indispensable part of daily life no longer. The CO2 balance of a plastic component is improved by using recycled materials, since the provision of the recyclate is energetically less costly than the production and delivery of new products. These relationships, particularly in response to a defined use of recycled materials in plastic parts have not yet been extensively studied. Our experiments showed that the mechanical properties of plastics, especially fiberreinforced, can be predicted when using recycled materials. The program we designed to perform this calculation has a CO2 accounting for a variety of arbitrary recyclate shares offered. This shows clearly how much CO2 eq. can be saved by recycling.

PLA melt crystallization and stereocomplex formation enhancement by means of nucleation and plasticization
Sajjad Saeidlou, Michel A. Huneault, Hongbo Li, Chul B. Park, May 2013

Effect of the two crystallization enhancement strategies, i.e. nucleation and plasticization, which are commonly used to promote polylactide (PLA) homocrystallization was investigated on the stereocomplex formation between poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and poly(D-lactic acid) (PDLA). The goal was to enhance the kinetics and yield of stereocomplex formation from the melt for future applications in PLA melt processing. Blends with 5% PDLA with nucleating agent and/or plasticizer were prepared via melt-blending and characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) technique. Results suggest that combination of nucleation and plasticization is very effective in simultaneous enhancement of stereocomplex formation and homocrystallization.

PLA Thermoplastic Lignin Blends
Hongbo Li, Nathalie Legros, Minh-tan Ton-that, Alex Rakotovelo, May 2013

In this paper, for the first time the PLA/TPL (Thermoplastic Lignin or Plasticized Lignin) blends were developed and investigated. The PLA/TPL blends were prepared by twin-screw extrusion. The lignin and plasticizers were mixed together in the first half of the extruder to complete the plasticization of lignin. Water was removed by devolatilization at mid-extruder and the PLA matrix was mixed with the water- free TPL in the latter portion of the extruder. The PLA/TPL blends comprised 20% and 33% TPL in the PLA matrix. The TPL phase comprised 36% plasticizers in the form of glycerol and sorbitol mixtures. Very fine dispersion of TPL in the PLA matrix was obtained with the particle size less than 1µm based on SEM observation. It was found that the viscosity of the PLA/TPL blends was dramatically increased by adding a small amount of epoxy-based chain extender (CE). The PLA/TPL blends are of great interest for industrial applications such as film-blowing and foaming.

Plastic Composite Material of Bamboo and Bamboo Charcoal
Yasushi Ono, May 2013

The use of natural fiber reinforced composites has continuously increased during recent years due to their low density, low cost and environmental friendliness. The use of bamboo biomass plastic has been examined by various researchers because bamboo has a regenerative power, and is leading the bamboo reinforced composites as biomass resources. On the other hand, the bamboo charcoal has various functions, then the following effects can be expected: Good adsorption performance, removal effect for harmful gas and moisture adjustment capability. As current study, a preliminary investigation on the mechanical properties and morphologies of polypropylene (PP) reinforced by bamboo powder and bamboo charcoal were carried out. Additionally, the effect of sandwich structure of bamboo powder and bamboo charcoal on the composites has also been carried out.

Poly(butylene succinate)/fumed silica nanocomposite: functionality and rheology
Xun Chen, JeongIn Gug, Margaret SobkowiczKline, May 2013

Plastics Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell Nanocomposites based on biodegradable poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) and silica fillers were prepared by a melt-blending process. Two types of unmodified fumed silica and octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) functionalized silica were used as fillers. Rheology was used to study relaxation dynamics and viscoelastic properties of these nanocomposites in the melt state. The effects of polymer-particle and particle-particle interactions on viscoelastic properties of nanocomposite materials were investigated. Linear viscoelastic data indicate a transition to a solid-like response at low oscillation frequencies for particle weight fractions as low as 5%. The long-time response upon a step shear strain demonstrates that liquid-like behavior persists in the nanocomposites below 5 wt% loading, which is related to the relaxation of the temporal polymer-particle network. Dynamic viscoelastic and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) measurements of the PBS/silica nanocomposite reveal that fumed silica with the smallest primary particle size has the largest dynamic moduli over the testing temperature range. The hydrophobic functionalization of silica filler does not appreciably change the thermal transition temperatures in the nanocomposites.

Polymerization of Lactide to Polylactic Acid and Co-polymers of Polylactic Acid using High Viscosity Kneader Reactors
Boyd T. Safrit, George E. Schlager, Ziang Li, May 2013

Polymerization of lactide to polylactic acid (PLA) can be performed using conventional reactor technology such as stirred tank reactors, but the conversion and/or final molecular weight may have to be controlled to a lower level. At higher conversion and/or molecular weight, the reaction mass will become very viscous, which limits the ability of conventional reactor technology to provide adequate mixing, minimize mass transfer effects on reaction kinetics, remove exothermic heat of reaction and ensure proper heat transfer in order to eliminate hotspots/thermal degradation. Kneader reactor technology has been used over 60 years in many high viscosity applications such as reactions and polymerization, devolatilization, and drying. This technology can handle the higher conversion and molecular weight polymerizations of lactide and other copolymers of lactide, while also providing the heat transfer required for proper temperature control. Using model kinetics and rheology data, a study was performed that shows the capability of kneader reactor technology for lactide polymerizations as well as other copolymers. Kneader reactor technology can also be used to remove the unconverted monomers from the polymer and expected results from the continuous operation of a polymerizer and finisher will be shown.

Polyphenol-Titania Complex as a Possible Flame Retardant Additive for Polyolefins
Weeradech Kiratitanavit, Zhiyu Xia, Sethumadhavan Ravichandran, Ruchi Bakshi, Jayant Kumar, Ramaswamy Nagarajan, May 2013

Flame Retardants (FR) are often compounded into plastics to ensure fire safety. However, some types of halogenated FR additives are environmentally persistent and toxic to humans. Here we report the development of an alternative FR additive based on polyphenol-titania complex that exhibits a combination of radical scavenging and char forming properties. The thermal stability and heat release capacity of blends of this complex with polypropylene are compared to those containing conventional halogenated FR.

Post Consumer Recycled Based NORYL™ Engineering Thermoplastics Product Portfolio for Electronic and Electrical Applications
Kirti Sharma, Michael Todt, Norihiro Takamura, May 2013

The Noryl™ resin compositions discussed in this paper are prepared using polyphenylene ether and post-consumer recycled (PCR) polystyrene (PS). The use of PCR in these environmentally progressive Noryl™ resin products may reduce plastic waste diverted to landfill, thereby lowering carbon footprint and energy conservation when compared to virgin Noryl™ resins. A comparison of properties of Noryl™ resins comprising PCR PS versus virgin Noryl™ resins will be presented in this paper. Life cycle assessment work is in progress and will also be presented during conference.

Preparation and Biodegradability Study of Polymer Blends of Poly(Lactic Acid) and Poly(R)-3Hydroxybutylate-co-(R)- 3-Hydroxyvalerate)
Sommai Pivsa-Art, Natee Srisawat, Narongchai O-Charoen, Sorapong Pavasupree, Weraporn Pivsa-Art, Hideki Yamane, Hitomi Ohara, May 2013

Polymer blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-(R)-3-hydroxyvalerate] (PHBV) for biodegrdadable textile application purpose were prepared to improve the flexibility of PLA. using twing screw extruder at 180-190°C. The ratios of PLA:PHBV were varied with 100:0, 90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50 and 0:100 by weight. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) having molecular weight of 6000 and 4000 were added to the polymer blends as compatibilizer at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 phr. It was found that addition of PEG having molecular weight 4000 g/mol showed better mixing and flexibility. PEG molecular weight 4000 g/mole resulted in higher tensile strength and Young’s Modulus than PEG 6000 g/mole). The biodegradability of PLA/PHBV was analyzed. The crystallization parts in the polymer blends retarded the biodegradation.

Preparation and Characterization of Poly(Lactic Acid)/Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Blend
Peng Yu, Bin-yi Chen, Tai-rong Kuang, Xiang-fang Peng, May 2013

In this study, polymer blends based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and organic particles polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) were prepared by melt mixing using a triple screw extruder. Phase morphology, thermal properties, dynamic mechanical properties and mechanical properties of the blends were investigated. Differential scanning calorimetry reveals that the addition of PVOH remarkably decrease the cold crystallization temperature and increase the degree of crystallinity of PLA/PVOH blends. Dynamic mechanical properties show that a general decrease of E? is observed with the addition of PVOH content, yet the loss tangent peaks broaden and slightly shift to higher temperature. From mechanical tests, it is found that tensile strength and the elongation at break decreased markedly with the addition of PVOH content, yet notched impact strength slightly increase.

PVC or a Power Plant
Shreekant M. Diwan, Abhijit G. Patil, Arunakumari Gs, May 2013

Conservation of energy and environment is the call of the day. Every human being is aware of the terrifying rate at which the natural resources are being depleted and very well knows the difficulties in replenishing them, leave alone replenishing them at the same rate. The demand supply gap in the electricity is resulting in load shedding not only in residential areas but also in the industrial sector. On the other hand, serious efforts are being made to augment forest cover by adding to the ‘artificial forest’ with the tree plantation drive across the country, yet the natural forest coverage in India is actually on the decline. Scarce natural resource like wood and energy dependent metals - being major components of construction sector, need of the hour is to select alternatives which are more environment friendly and energy efficient. PVC – well established in the Western Hemisphere and finding increasing acceptance in the developing countries as well - is one such wonderful alternative to many of the conventional materials in the building and construction sector. This has resulted in this material getting designated as “Construction Polymer” – very rightly so! Owing to its excellent inherent resin characteristics and adaptability to numerous compounding ingredients, PVC can be formulated in various ways to meet different end use requirements. Further, technological advancements in processing have also given means to make this commodity polymer meet the ‘engineering’ requirements. A polymer which consumes much lesser energy and creates much lesser environmental impact compared to many of the traditional construction materials and even some of the major polymers during its entire life cycle, PVC has established itself in significant end use applications in the construction sector. This paper makes an honest attempt to critically evaluate the advantages of PVC Pipes & windows in saving energy and environment in a typical house over the cradle to grave co

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