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.
Renewable Based High Performance TPU
J. Santamaría, November 2011

The company Merquinsa SL | located in Barcelona | Spain | produces classical polyurethane as well as new (ECO) polyurethane based on several raw materials from renewable sources. This particular study was based on biogenic oil as primary renewable source for TPU. A new family of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) is presented. This new TPU series has application for polyurethane adhesives | polyurethane for extrusion | and injection molding markets. A full range of vegetable plant-based sources derived from bifunctional polyols has been developed. The reaction of these polyols in the TPU formulation allows new TPU with a renewable content ranging from 30% to 90% by weight. Compared to the standard petrochemical-based grades | the new ‘green-TPU’ shows better hydrolytic resistance | and maintain equivalent mechanical properties like first-class thermoplastic polyurethanes. Merquinsa will present the latest results for its ECO-TPU range | based on different renewable raw materials.

Surface Modification Techniques for Optimizing Adhesion to Automotive Plastics
Rory A. Wolf, November 2011

Automotive plastics with a low polarity, such as PE, PP, TPO, POM, PUR and PTFE typically require surface treatment when decoration is required. Metallic surfaces may also require cleaning to remove low molecular weight organic materials prior to decoration. Once the above-mentioned interior and exterior grades of substrate surfaces are cleaned and activated, printing, gluing and painting are possible without the use of adhesion-promoting primers. This paper describes the latest innovations in three-dimensional surface treating technology for plastics finishing which address the need to advance adhesion properties, increase product quality, and achieve environmental objectives within the automotive industry. These innovations include advanced thermal and non-thermal discharge treatment processes for raising the polarity of surfaces to be painted, bonded, decorated, laminated, printed, or to have tape applied.

Cardona F. | Fedrigo J., November 2011

Novel phenolic resins (PF) with improved fracture toughness and flexibility properties were synthesised and evaluated. A first modification consisted in the copolymerization of Phenol with a natural renewable component (Cardanol) during the synthesis of PF resins (CPF). An increases in the content of Cardanol resulted in a proportional increases in the flexural strength and in the fracture toughness together with a decreases in the flexural modulus of the cured CPF/PF blended resins. Further increased plasticizing and toughening effect was observed by the blending of the CPF/PF resins with propylene glycol (PG).

Marianna I. Triantou | Petroula A. Tarantili, November 2011

In this study | blends based on poly(acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) were prepared and studied | in an attempt to explore the performance of mixtures deriving from recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The modification of ABS and ABS/PC blends via the incorporation of reinforcing fillers | such as organic modified montmorillonite nanoparticles (OMMT) | was also explored and its effect on the structure and properties was evaluated.

Ashok M. Adur, November 2011

Polyamides are widely used in many applications. There is a vast amount of recycled polyamide coming from the carpet and textile and other industries. Due to degradation and loss of viscosity, this recycled polyamide has reduced performance and limited its use. The unique chemistry of alternating copolymers of ethylene and maleic anhydride provide several advantages for upgrading recycled polyamide. This paper discusses the results obtained with compounding prime grade polyamide as well as recycled polyamide with the addition of small quantities of this copolymer and specific property improvements for applications in injection molded compounds.

Bioplastic nano-reinforcement extracted from phormium leaf fibers
Carlo Santulli, Marco Monti, Jose Maria Kenny, Elena Fortunati, Luigi Torre, Debora Puglia, November 2011

Cellulose nanofibers from a native New Zealand plant are extracted for use as fillers for biodegradable polymers.

Post Consumer Recycled Plastics in Electronic Products
James Drummond, October 2011

Closed Loop Inkjet Cartridge; Recycling Program: – Cartridges torn down and 100% recycled – Recycling/Cleaning partners – PPO/PS resin is collected – Cleaned and recompounded – Compounding partners – Reintroduced into new ink cartridges

Removing Barriers to Create a Better World
John Bradburn, October 2011

All manuf. sites will have a wildlife habitat certification or equivalent (where feasible) • GM will utilize 125 MW of renewable energy sources • Reduce energy intensity by 20% (baseline 2010) • Reduce carbon intensity by 20% (baseline 2010) • Reduce total waste by 10% (baseline 2010) • Reduce water intensity by 15% (baseline 2010) • Reduce VOC intensity by 10% (baseline 2010) • 100 mfg. sites and 25 non-manufacturing sites are landfillfree

Marine Biodegradation of PLA, PHA, and Bio-additive Polyethylene Based on ASTM D7081
Joseph P. Greene, October 2011

Topics: Introduction • Marine Pollution • Biodegradable Plastics Definitions • Biodegradation Results: – Compost testing – Marine testing • Conclusions

Improved Recycling of Difficult to Process Materials.
John Capece, October 2011

Common Issues With Recycling Heavily Printed Materials: Printing inks contain binders and additives that emit gases when heated to required melt temperatures. Gases and other contaminants enter melt and often result in poor quality pellets.

A Comparison of Technologies to Recycle Mixed and Dirty Plastics
Dr. Brian Coleman and Dr. Seetha Coleman-Kammula, October 2011

US EPA waste plastics data show that in 2010: A total of 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated making up 12.4 % of total MSW. Only 8 % of this waste was recovered for mechanical recycling. The rest most likely goes to landfills as dirty and soiled plastic.

Comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Bio-Fibers, Mineral and Glass Fiber Reinforced Polypropylene Composites
Andrew Hopkins, October 2011

Embodied energy values were determined for bio-fibers, mineral and glass fiber using data obtained from recently published technical papers. This data, together with other LCA and actual physical property data was used to explore the comparative performance and environmental footprints for a wide range of reinforced polypropylene composites. The data show that RheVision® bio composite materials present competitive and useful physical performance coupled with improved environmental impacts.

Unique Performance Characteristics of New, Durable, Biobased Polyamide and Copolyester
Jim Conkey, October 2011

Plant oil based derivatives have been noted in polymer chemistry dating back to the fist developments of polyamides in the 1940's. In the world of elastomers, natural rubber has always been plant based. Today the use of bio mass derivatives has gained new attention given the quest to reduce the dependence of polymer production on petroleum sources. One notable monomer is sebacic acid derived from caster oil and used in polyamides. The advantage this monomer brings to the resulting polymers is not its Green Character alone. First, it can be applied to standard polymerization processes already in place for making the petroleum based relatives. This is a key aspect in bringing new bio based polymers to market at scale and cost effectively. Second, it imparts unique performance characteristics that differentiate the resulting polymers from their petroleum based relatives. This allows them to fill true performance gaps in their polymer families. We will examine the performance characteristics of PA 410 relative to the existing range of polyamide demonstrating that unique features (and ultimately - economic value) beyond Green Character can be realized.

Advancements in Marine Biodegradable Bioplastics
Robert Whitehouse, October 2011

The erosion of our coastlines and estuaries is a problem that is getting some help from an unlikely source – bioplastics. Restoration is achievable through sound planning, use of advanced environmental practices, and understanding the importance of natural habitat in both the water and surrounding land. However, advances in bioscience can help achieve these goals. We will discuss how the properties of bioplastics make the material a suitable solution for manufacturing marine-related products. Certain bioplastics have the unique ability to biodegrade in marine and freshwater environments, in accordance with ASTM D7081 for marine-biodegradable non-floating plastics. This standard specification, along with the standard method ASTM 6691 for determining aerobic biodegradation of plastic materials in the marine environment, was developed at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, Massachusetts, with support from the U.S. Navy and the Waste Reduction Afloats Protects the Sea (WRAPS) Program. This session will explain what is required to meet the standards for the biodegradation of water-resistant yet marine-biodegradable bioplastics. The presentation will also discuss how bioplastics safely biodegrade in marine environments, highlighting the types of commercial product applications that are ideal for these new materials.

Marine Biodegradation of PLA, PHA, and Bioadditive Polyethylene Based on ASTM D7081
Joseph P. Greene, October 2011

PHA compostable plastic materials demonstrated marine biodegradation per ASTM D-7081 standard. Two PHA-based films and cellulose paper biodegraded over 30% after 180 days while at 30°C and under conditions of the ASTM D-6691 test method. Biodegradation was measured by CO 2 evolution from samples in glass jars. PLA based plastic cup, PLA-based snack bag, and polyethylene film negative control did not meet 30% biodegradation in 180 days. Bio-additive polyethylene based trash bag and ziplock bags did not meet the marine biodegradation standards in ASTM D-7081.

Improving the Mechanical Properties of Polyethylene and Polypropylene Recycled Streams using Polyolefin Elastomers and Functionalized Polyolefins
Ray L. Laakso, October 2011

An important attribute for many plastics is the ability to be recycled. By melting and reprocessing thermoplastics for re-use, the carbon footprint can typically be reduced compared to the use of virgin materials. The benefits of incorporating recycle content into new and existing applications, however, must be tempered by the reality that recycled plastics may not have the same performance as virgin materials due to either 1) degradation by weathering/aging, 2) contamination, or 3) thermo-mechanical degradation from re-processing. To minimize the intrinsic effects of the recycling process and allow usage of recycled plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), or streams with mixed content, it is important to understand the benefits of utilizing impact modifiers and compatibilizers.

Reclamation of Polyester Waste: Cost Effective Improvement in IV and Melt Viscosity
Michael Kutsenko, October 2011

Reclamation of polyester waste in the fiber industry is well known and a seemingly well developed process. It offers numerous benefits to fiber producers. These benefits include but are not limited to the following: conservation of oil, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, saving landfill space and energy conservation. Unfortunately, in spite of these benefits, total recycling of polyester does not exceed 25%. The main reason for low recycling rates is the hydrolytic instability of polyester resin leading to a severe drop in the polymer’s viscosity. This deterioration in polyester viscosity is amplified due to high temperatures and shear rates involved in fiber processing. Existing methods to preserve IV and melt viscosity of polyester resin include solid state polymerization (SSP), and gaining popularity in the last 25 years, Erema recycling technology. Both of these approaches include significant capital investment in equipment and both are rather energy consuming. We are offering an alternative approach to maintain or even increase IV of polyester resins during recycling or direct processing of fibers and yarns. Developed by Goulston Technologies, internal polymer additives work like linear chain extenders and offer a cost effective improvement in IV and melt viscosity of polyester resins. These additives are based on bi-functional reactive chemicals and are available in a form of highly concentrated master batches that can be dosed directly into the waste stream. These additives are capable of significant increase in IV and melt viscosity without cross linking and corresponding gel formation, and clogging of the spinning packs. This additive technology offers polyester processors a safe and cost effective alternative to capital intensive investments.

Paper-Plastic Biocomposites
Takamichi Matsushita, October 2011

ECO Research Institute (ERI) has developed a dry grinding method that pulverizes waste paper to the micron size range and that powdered recyclate is then used as filler in thermoplastics. Using this technology reduces carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as 60-80 percent compared to using traditional thermoplastics while also enhancing mechanical properties. ERI has seen its business growth very rapidly in Japan as the technology does not suffer from any of the processing and performance limitations of other bio-plastics. The ERI materials are now widely used in automotive, electric, food, housing, transportation and toy industries. ERI is now expanding capacity through its US subsidiary in cooperation with Michigan Molecular Institute, which will bring compounding capabilities to the U.S. under the name Eco Bio Plastics Midland, Inc. Paper has been one of the oldest products for the history of human being and it has been produced on a huge scale basis all over the world. The basic application relies on the technology of utilizing long cellulose fiber for processing. Paper is also known for high level of recycling, mostly by producing recycled paper. We have investigated the possibility of: 1. Finding new technology of paper other than the application of long cellulose fiber 2. Recycling paper other than producing recycled paper 3. Creating more environmentally friendly material by utilizing non-hydrocarbon based paper We have succeeded in developing new technology of pulverizing paper into micro powders as minute as 30μm and compounding it with conventional plastics in the form of pellets for the purpose of mass production. Pellets can contain up to 70% paper. This paper-reinforced plastic composite can reduce CO2 emission dramatically since the main material is paper. Currently the technology is commercially available in polypropylene for injection molding or thermosetting products but other formulation with different based materials such as PE, PS, PLA and PHA for different processing is on-going.

Development of a Recycling Database for Material Re-Use and Landfill Tracking
Keith D. Weyer, October 2011

International Automotive Components Group has developed an internal database to track manufacturing scrap, material re-use, landfill and team action items among other things. The database enabled IAC to measure the amount of landfill resulting from various processes and then target specific areas. Regrind use was optimized to assure quality and best possible application. Via this database, landfill numbers, regrind use, and projects were graphically displayed to show the progress in each area. The database proved the adage ‘What is measured is managed and what is managed is improved” Examples of the capabilities of the database will be presented. The ability to track and measure also proved this database to be a very useful tool for management reporting. Based on these efforts, IAC was able to reduce their landfill from manufacturing by 36 million pounds in 2010.

Research and Application of Post Consumer Recycled Plastic in Electronic Products
James Drummond, October 2011

Over the years there has been an on again - off again relationship between consumer electronic products and post consumer recycled materials. The use of these materials is ultimately desired for the environmental benefit to our world, but also for the potential financial benefit of reclaiming a high value waste stream. To most outside the plastics or recycling industries, recycling plastics seems like a simple and obvious thing to do. The reality of it however is much more complicated. Ever-changing variables such as supply and demand, shifting waste streams, environmental regulations, and the price of oil, keep the sand shifting under the feet of those trying to succeed in this field. We will try to bring to light many of the issues and present some achievements along the way. With the learning of the past twenty years and new technological advancements it seems that this industry is beginning to turn a corner and achieve a stable, quality supply of post consumer recycled (PCR) materials. Coupling this improved supply with a more stable and increasing demand for Post consumer materials may make it possible for recycled engineering plastics to soon make their way into more consumer electronic products.

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