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.
Sustainable Materials for Horticultural Application
Bioplastic materials were compounded utilizing soy, poly-lactic acid (PLA) and poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers along with ethanol industry co-products and biomass additives to manufacture horticultural plant containers. Various formulations and processing conditions were studied to improve mechanical properties of the plastics. These materials were developed and compounded at Iowa State University and subsequently injection molded into 4.5 inch greenhouse pots at R&D/Leverage, Lee's Summit, Missouri. The bioplastic pots were evaluated for their performance by studying plant growth of vegetable and ornament crops grown in them under greenhouse and field conditions. The pots were also characterized for degradation and water retention. Commercial polypropylene pots, 4.5” green color, were used as the control treatment for the study. Comprehensive growth studies along with degradation results identified numerous bioplastic types that performed as well as or better than commercial polypropylene plant containers. Among the different material types, SPA-PLA, a blend of soy and PLA resins, was observed to produce the best results in terms of plant growth compared to polypropylene plastic pots during plant production. This is attributed to the slow release of fertilizing compounds during the degradation of soy protein. Certain bioplastic pot types were observed to retain soil moisture content over a longer time period than pots made from other environmentally friendly materials, such as paper or peat moss. Such properties are considered beneficial during the plant production cycle when using horticultural pots because they require less watering.
Tensile Property Changes in Commercial Biopolymer Products Based on Environmental Conditons
The current trend towards sustainability has created new interest in biodegradable plastics. While many investigations have examined the behavior of biodegradable plastics, the changes in properties that may occur during use have not been fully developed. The mechanical properties of seven types of biodegradable plastics were analyzed. In addition, the properties of polystyrene (PS) used in similar applications were examined. The effects of UV exposure, humidity and accelerated aging on the mechanical properties were studied. In general, the strength of several biopolymers was less than that of PS. Polylactic acid and wheatstraw had a higher strength than PS. The properties of biodegradable plastics deteriorated significantly upon exposure to UV radiation and humidity. Accelerated aging data indicates that after 6 months under ambient conditions, the biodegradable plastics also have a reduction in strength and modulus. Additional improvements may be necessary to resist environmental effects so that biopolymers can be effective replacements for traditional plastics.
The Effect of High-Recycle-Content on CSD PET Bottle's Thermal Stability
It is not uncommon to see a 25-30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in a carbonated soft drink (CSD) PET bottle on the market. With the growing availability of PCR resin, food and beverage brand owners are pushing for higher recycling content in their packaging. Recent studies have been published showing that high-recycling-content in PET packaging will adversely affect the performance of pressurized bottles when compared to virgin material or low-recycling-content counterparts. However, little has been done to quantify the degradation of the specific material properties that govern pressurized bottle performance. This paper focuses on quantifying changes in the short- and long-term material properties that govern a bottle’s ability to retain its original shape when subjected to sustained carbonation pressurization. This performance attribute is typically characterized as ‘thermal stability,’ which is the ability of the package to retain its shape and molded-in feature definition over time, after pressurization. Two commercially available packages, one molded of 100% recycled PET and another molded of typical PET (30% recycled PET content), are used to extract the test samples. The study indicates that the effect of the high-recycle-content on the CSD PET bottle cannot be over-looked. The results of the tensile tests show that the 100% recycled PET is stiffer and tougher in the axial direction (up to 26%), but softer and weaker in the hoop direction (up to 14%), compared with its typical PET counterpart. Based on the creep test results, the 100% recycled PET also creeps 50% faster. This will have a noticeable effect on the bottle’s thermal stability, which is only 1-2% (height and diameter growth or contraction under carbonation pressure) for most commercial packages on the market. The effect will become more pronounced for non-cylindrical designs or designs with non-cylindrical features. Failure to adequately retain the bottle’s shape (thermal stability) will a
The Potential for Solid Biomass Wastes as Fillers in Polymer Compounds
Two solid waste streams that originated either directly from biomass or from the processing of biomass material have been evaluated for their potential as fillers in thermoplastic compounds. In this initial investigation the two materials were taken directly form the source and compounded with the thermoplastic without any conditioning. Injection molded samples were characterized, mechanically tested and compared to compounds made from a commercial masterbatch. The results indicated that both of the waste materials could be used to make compounds with consistent, and, for some applications, improved properties compared to current commercial compounds.
The Response of Highly Loaded Polylactic Acid Masterbatches Containing Pigmentary Titanium Dioxide
The use of bio-based polymers continues to gain commercial acceptability. With this growth, the need to impart opacity, whiteness, UV protection and printability to commercial articles is becoming more critical. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is typically the pigment of choice to meet these criteria. While TiO2 is traditionally delivered as a highly loaded masterbatch, it is well known that many bio-based polymers are sensitive to masterbatch processing conditions. Understanding whether bio-based polymers are tolerant of the processing conditions used in high solids loading without significant performance degradation is the subject of this paper. Using polylactide (PLA) as a model system, the compounding performance of highly loaded TiO2-PLA masterbatches is discussed.
The Role fo PVC Resins in Sustainable Design
The concept of sustainability is often stated in a number of ways but four core principles appear throughout: Protect the environment, promote human health, conserve resources, and assure social and economic well-being to the global population. PVC resin has intrinsic properties that allow finished products to meet all four of these objectives. PVC resin and products compare favorably to other materials in life cycle assessments when reviewing key impacts of resource and energy conservation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainability assessments at the business level are excellent tools to promote these principles and track performance. This paper was prepared for the Society of Plastics Engineers Annual Technical Conference (SPE ANTEC) Vinyl Session, April 22, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Role of Surface Interactions in Renewable Poly(Butylene Succinate)-Silica Nanocomposites
Polymers from renewable resources are beginning to compete with conventional fossil fuel derived materials as fossil resources become increasingly expensive and difficult to extract. The same lightweight, high-strength properties of petroleum-based polymers and composites are required for renewable materials, and a better understanding of processing properties will improve their prospects in the market. One route to widening the thermophysical property window of biobased polyester poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) is the incorporation of reinforcing fillers. In this work, PBS is melt-mixed with high-surface-area fumed silica to create nanocomposites. The surface of the silica nanofiller is chemically modified to explore the effects of surface functionality on filler dispersion and required mixing energy. Rheological and thermal measurements show that structural properties of the filler have a larger influence than surface modification. Comparison of blending techniques provides guidance for improved nanocomposite preparation. The demonstrated mechanical property improvements over neat polymer enable a broader range of applications for these novel renewable materials.
The Roles of Multiple Factor Concurrency and Statistical Distribution in Plastic Part Failure
When a plastic part fails, a tough question is often asked, “Why are a limited number of parts failing?”. This is particularly true with seemingly random failures at significant, but low, failure rates. Two aspects are generally linked to such low failure rates, multiple factor concurrency and the statistical nature of plastic failures. Failure often only takes place when two or more factors take effect concurrently. Absent one of these factors, failure will not occur. Plastic resins and the associated forming processes produce parts with a statistical distribution of performance properties, such as strength and ductility. Likewise, environmental conditions, including stress and temperature, to which the resin is exposed through its life cycle is also a statistical distribution. Failure occurs when a portion of the distribution of stress on the parts exceeds a portion of the distribution of strength of the parts. This paper will review how the combination of multiple factor concurrency and the inherent statistical nature of plastic materials can result in seemingly random failures.
Thermal ageing performance of novel Ultrol® Nuclear 60 year Cables.
Wire and Cable manufacturers generally qualify products for class 1E application by envelope type testing to user specifications and environmental conditions recommended by IEEE standards 323- 1974 and 383-1974. Early cable qualification required only radiation in 1960s. 1960s and early 1970s added thermal aging to ICEA requirement. However the ageing requirement was very minimal (1 week @ 121°C). The long term ageing requirement was not as nearly stringent as present until IEEE 383- 1974 was added to standards. To determine the ability of samples to withstand normal operation, IEEE 383- 1974 introduced ageing samples to “End of Life” condition. Samples were heat aged to a timetemperature condition in excess of 40 years of service life. Federal law and regulation recently allowed electric companies to renew their nuclear plants’ operating licenses for 20 years beyond their original, 40-year license term, which in turn triggered IEEE standard 383-2003 to govern minimum requirements to meet 60 years. General Cable Corporation, GCC simply in this paper, recently completed qualification programs. The major milestones in the development included (a) product life improvement of our established products, Ultol® products, from 40 yrs to 60 yrs. (b) introduction of Ultrol® medium voltage power cable with 60 year life. Cable constructions tested were 600V instrumentation cables, 600V power cables, 600V control cables, 2000V power cables and 15kV Power cables. This paper presents Arrhenius thermal aging data collected for materials used in the qualification programs using IEEE 101-1987 as basis confirms that a 90°C conductor temperature has a life in excess of 60 years.
Thermal and Crystallization Behavior of Poly(Lactic Acid) and Poly(Trimethylene Terephthalate) Blend Fibers
Biodegradable poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT) blend fibers were prepared in this study. PLA and PTT were blended in a twin screw extruder with varied contents of PTT 0-50 wt%.The PLA/PTT blend fibers were prepared by melt spinning technique. Thermal properties and crystallization behavior of PLA/PTT blends were investigated. PLA fiber was glossy and transparent while PTT fiber was opaque. The spinning of PLA/PTT blends fiber was difficult due to the difference in melting characteristic of PLA and PTT. However, the PLA/PTT blend fiber was successfully spun at PTT content of 10 wt% with the barrel temperature of 250 °C and would be suitable for textile application.
Thermal Stability of Castor Oil Derived Polyurethanes
Polyurethanes synthesized using both unmodified and epoxidized, ring opened castor oil as a polyol were prepared and their thermal properties tested using thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Chemical changes upon degradation were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The kinetics of degradation were elucidated using the Flynn-Wall and Flynn procedures. Epoxidized castor oil produces a rigid polyurethane exhibiting glassy behavior at ambient temperatures. All methods to determine activation energy of degradation indicate that, in a nitrogen environment, polyurethanes from unmodified castor oil are more thermally stable than those from modified castor oil. The appearance of peaks corresponding to amines, amides, and esters in FITR analysis of degraded samples suggests that the initial degradation step of the polyurethanes studied is the breaking of the urethane bond.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane/Polylactic Acid Tissue Scaffold fabricated by Twin Screw Extrusion and Microcellular Injection Molding
Polylactic acid (PLA) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) are two kinds of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers that can be used in biomedical applications. They possess rigid and flexible mechanical properties. The TPU/PLA blend tissue scaffolds at different ratios were fabricated via twin screw extrusion and microcellular injection molding techniques (a. k. a. MuCell) for the first time. Multiple test methods were used in this study. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) verified the presence of the two components in the blends. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) confirmed the immiscibility between TPU and PLA. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images affirmed that the PLA was dispersed as spheres or islands inside the TPU matrix, and that the phase morphology further influenced the surface roughness of cells. The blends exhibited a wide range of mechanical properties that cover most human tissue requirements. It was found from DMA and viscosity tests that 25% PLA significantly reinforces the blends at low temperatures or deformation frequencies.
ToolingEDGE - High Performance and Sustainable Production
The strong emergence of new" economical and industrial regions on the globe supported by lower hand labor costs puts European Engineering & Tooling face to new challenges that evidence the necessity to develop new and revolutionary ways of making things. It is in this context and to answer to the new global challenges it was created an industrial and scientific Cluster the Portuguese Engineering and Tooling Cluster (E&T). This cluster represents an industrial value chain with specialized skills and competences from Design and Engineering to Tooling and Plastic Products. The E&T cluster is responsible for setting up a national strategy for the development and sustainability of this important economic sector combining a strong investment in technological and organizational innovation that will support a constant and progressive evolution on technical and organizational efficiency. The E&T strategic plan within 10 years is to be recognized worldwide as one of the most advanced in technological point of view and having the capacity to offer added value in the design and production of molds special tools and precision machined parts produced by injection or in materials with specific features for new applications. The R&D project ToolingEDGE - High Performance and Sustainable Production is one example of research activities being held by E&T cluster. The project aims to deploy technological solutions to prepare the E&T sector for sustainable competitiveness and to enable the penetration in new and/or added value markets considered strategic for the E&T notably: the aeronautics medical devices electronics automotive and packaging industries."
Toughening of Polylactide with Pre-heat Treated Natural Rubber
Both polylactide (PLA) and natural rubber (NR) are biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. PLA possesses high strength and modulus but low toughness, while NR exhibits excellent elasticity and ductility. In view of their complementary properties, NR seems an ideal candidate to toughen PLA. To the best of our knowledge, PLA blends showed increased ductility only when more than 10 wt% rubber was added. This study demonstrates a significant improvement in the toughness of PLA by melt blending PLA with pre-heated NR. SEM studies showed that the rubber phase was uniformly dispersed in the PLA matrix. With as little as 1 wt% NR, the elongation at break and tensile toughness of PLA/NR blend were significantly improved over those of neat PLA (207% vs. 16% and 83 MJ/m3 vs. 9 MJ/m3, respectively) without loss in tensile modulus and stress. In addition, by blending in PLA with 20 wt% NR, samples obtained did not even break in the notched Charpy impact test. FTIR spectrum indicated that carbonyl groups were generated in NR chains after hot shearing and led to enhanced compatibility between PLA and NR, which accounted for the improved toughness
Using Novel Ethylene-maleic anhydride (EMAh) Copolymers To Upgrade Recycled Nylon To Match or Exceed Prime Virgin Nylon Performance
Nylon is widely used in many applications. There is a vast amount of recycled nylon coming from the carpet and textile and other industries. Due to degradation and loss of viscosity, this recycled nylon has reduced performance and limited its use. The unique chemistry of alternating copolymers of ethylene and maleic anhydride provide several advantages for upgrading recycled nylon. This paper discusses the results obtained with compounding prime grade nylon as well as recycled nylon with the addition of small quantities of this copolymer and specific property improvements for applications in injection molded compounds. The resulting compounds are performance that can match or exceed prime virgin nylon at 30-50% cost savings.
UV Monocoat: Ad Advanced Coating Technology for Consumer Electronics
Surface coatings on plastic substrates with excellent physical performance, low application cost, and minimum environmental impact are highly desirable for various commercial applications. Here we describe PPG’s ultraviolet (UV) monocoat technology for consumer electronics, which afforded both protection and decoration of plastic substrates with a single-layer colored coating system. Studies demonstrated that UV monocoat applied on plastic computer and cellphone parts successfully met or exceeded customers’ specifications, showing good adhesion to plastic substrates, excellent abrasion and scratch resistance, good chemical resistance, and high weathering stability. UV monocoat also enabled a variety of colors with a wide range of gloss for decoration of plastic substrates. In addition, UV monocoat uniquely combined a single-layer design with UV cure technology, which significantly increased on-line coating capacity and efficiency and dramatically reduced application cost and environmental impact.
Vandar® High Impact Strength Polyester for Sporting Goods
andar® 2100 is an impact modified engineering thermoplastic resin developed to deliver consistent performance over a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions, primarily in injection molded articles. Vandar 2100 provides outstanding ductility and stiffness combined with the excellent chemical and environmental resistance properties of polyesters. The unreinforced and higher flexibility Vandar® grades fill the property gap between standard thermoplastic polyesters and elastomers. These plastics are easy to process including by injection molding and retain their impact strength down to -30 °C.
Multifunctional nanocomposites for environmental remediation
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.
Improved blown film extrusion of biopolymers
Poly(lactic acid) optimized with chain extenders, plasticizers, and nucleating agents forms stable and defect-free films with improved mechanical properties.
Economical and environmentally friendly synthesis of porous cation-exchange resins
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.
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