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.
Recycling peroxide-crosslinked polyethylene
An ultrasonic single screw extruder produces melt-processable decrosslinked high-density polyethylene with good mechanical performance.
Injection molding of self-hybrid composites
Combining different sizes of particles improves the mechanical properties of composite materials.
SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division TopCon Edition 2014 Newsletter
Read the latest issue of the SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division newsletter.
Annealing conditions for injection-molded poly(lactic acid)
Post-molding annealing increases the degree of crystallinity in injection-molded poly(lactic acid) components and improves their mechanical and heat resistance performance.
A novel biodegradable and conductive composite
Combining electroactive polyaniline and environmentally-friendly poly(1,4-butylene succinate) gives flexible electrical composites with biomedical and engineering applications.
Natural oils improve interfacial adhesion between wood flour and matrix
The boiling temperature and chain length of natural oils used as coupling agents strongly affect the interfacial adhesion and, consequently, the thermal stability of recycled polypropylene wood flour composites.
Acoustic Process Analysis of Rubber Compounding
Properties of rubber compounds differ batch-wise. This can lead to waste and, thus, it is desirable to reduce these variations. One reason for quality variations of rubber compounds is the discontinuous way of compounding in internal mixers. Mixing effects make it difficult to adjust the process parameters of internal mixers in order to guarantee constant qualities. Experienced operators of internal mixers observe that characteristic noises during the mixing process can be correlated with the state of mixing. Thus, a project has been started to use these mixing noises for the development of a control system for internal mixers, which is able to characterize the state of the rubber compound. First, a measurement system has been implemented which allows the online visualization and recording of the mixing noise. It is systematically analyzed how the mixing noise is related to the state of mixing and the resulting elastomeric properties. The results show a correlation between filler incorporation and the characteristic sounds.
Analysis of the Cure Compatibilization Efficiency of Peroxide/Sulphur System on Devulcanized EPDM and Polypropylene Blends with Reference to Devulcanized Tire Rubber and Polypropylene Blends
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. Devulcanized rubber (DR) being relatively more similar to virgin rubber is expected to perform better than ground rubber tire crumb (GRT). There have not been many studies carried out on DR like in case of GRT. The present work is an extension of the previous work  which evaluated the efficiency of peroxide (PX)/sulphur (S) system to compatibilize devulcanized tire rubber (DRT) and PP. In this work, a similar study has been carried out on devulcanized EPDM (DRE)/PP blends and a comparison has been done with the earlier work. A statistical analysis has been carried out on the key mechanical properties namely tensile strength (TS) and elongation at break (EB). SEM pictures have been taken in an effort to understand the reasons for the mechanical properties obtained. The aim behind this work is to expand the commercial worth of DR in various applications.
Applications of Electrospinning to Develop New Biocomposites
Electrospinning has emerged as a versatile method to produce submicron fiber mats from natural or synthetic polymers. Electrospinning is a physical process used for the formation of ultrathin fibers by subjecting a polymer solution to high electric fields. At a critical high voltage (5-35 kV), the polymer solution droplets distort and forms the so-called cone of Taylor that erupts from the solution to form a charged polymer jet. This stretches and is accelerated by the electrical field towards a grounded and oppositely-charged collector. As the electrospun jet travels through the electrical field, the solvent completely evaporates while the entanglements of the polymer chains prevent it from breaking up. This results in the generation of highly functional and flexible ultrathin polymer fibers in the form of non-woven mats. Core-shell structures, produced by coaxial electrospinning, are of great interest for use in food packaging applications. In this area, our group has recently developed high throughput equipment based in a multinozzle coaxial technology that allows high productivity of fibers.
Aqueous Colloidal Suspensions of Polymers for Conformal Coatings
In this work, a mini-emulsion technique is used to prepare aqueous surfactant-stabilized suspensions of bio-based and optoelectronic polymers. Doctor blade coating is used to prepare films of controlled thickness. The relationship between colloidal suspension properties, processing parameters and film morphology is determined. This versatile wet coating process is appropriate for a large variety of applications, and the use of water instead of organic solvents improves the environmental profile of coating preparation. The required coating procedures and resulting properties are studied for two polymers: poly(3-hexylthiophene) and poly(butylene succinate), which find applications in polymer electronics and degradable packaging, respectively.
Artificial Weathering of Materials Used in Collapsible Fuel Storage Tanks
The purpose of this work was to perform a comparative analysis of various candidate nitrile coated fabric materials supplied by potential vendors to be used as fuel storage tanks and compare the results to the currently fielded polyurethane storage tanks. Our strategy is to utilize advanced environmental aging methods to simulate extended weathering conditions. Our results demonstrate that the nitrile coated fabrics performed well in our evaluation. Their breaking strengths are about equal to the currently fielded urethanes and they performed comparably when subjected to environmental aging conditions.
Automotive Prototype from Lignin and Nanocellulose Enhanced Polyurethane Foam: Bio Polyol vs Synthetic Polyol
Polyurethane (PU) foams were prepared using synthetic and bio-based polyol. In both cases, isocyanate content was reduced and cellulosic nanofibers and lignin were incorporated to achieve the desired rigidity. The experimental results indicated that the mechanical properties of 100% bio-based polyol PU foams exhibited higher performance compared to 100% synthetic polyol PU foam. The odor concentration of bio-based and synthetic PU foams showed in similar level. A automotive bumper energy absorber prototype has been developed from lignin and nanocellulose enhanced bio PU foams with reduced isocyanate content.
Bio-Based Elastomers from Cationic/Free Radical Polymerization of Soybean Oil
Recently bio-based polymers procured from different natural resources have attracted greater attention as the viable eco-friendly alternatives to traditional petroleum-based products. Among various bio-based materials, vegetable oils represent one of the most abundant, low cost renewable material having the potential to be an ideal alternative to chemical feedstock/ traditional synthetic polymeric materials. Different derivatives of vegetable oils can be used as preliminary resources for the synthesis of a variety of materials (e.g. polyols, glycol, lubricants and plasticizers for polymers) owing to the high reactivity of their oxirane rings. So in this project, we have synthesized different soybean oil based elastomer using cationic/ free radical polymerization. Some preliminary study on the dynamic mechanical behavior of the synthesized elastomer has also been carried out.
Biobased Fillers for Polypropylene for Interior Application
Coconut shell and torrefied wood are bio-sourced and renewable materials that can be used as fillers in various polymer matrices. Torrefied wood material can be produced from numerous cellulose based materials, such as wood, sunflower hulls, flax shive, hemp and oat hulls. These bio-fillers would replace talc and glass bubbles which are not a renewable resource. Additionally, the implementation of torrefied wood and coconut would reduce the carbon footprint and improve sustainability of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In this study, coconut and torrefied wood filled polypropylene properties are tested for a HVAC Case application.
Effect of the Localization of Silica Particles on the Morphology of Poly(Lactic Acid)/ Polyethylene Blends
In this study, the effect of the addition of spherical silica particles on the morphology of poly (lactic acid)/polyethylene blends is studied. It is shown that the silica particles are selectively localized in the PLA phase. The effect of silica particle concentration in the PLA phase on the overall morphology of the blend structure is studied in detail.
Factors Impacting Formulation Development of Extruded Polystyrene Foam
Extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam has been a useful and cost-effective thermal insulation for commercial and residential buildings for over 50 years. Producers have responded to a variety of factors, such as, environmental regulations, building codes, and energy costs, to obtain effective alternative XPS products. This paper reviews XPS insulation formulations with blowing gases, HFC-134a and HFC-152a, that have long-term thermal performance to meet or exceed current codes. The developed XPS insulations have zero ozone depletion potential and provide a sustainable benefit to society.
Characterization of Recycled Carpet Samples by TG-FTIR, TG-MS, and TG-GC-MS
Limitations in landfill capacity and the environmental impact of disposing of carpet waste in landfills have made recovering nylon from carpet waste an increasingly important enterprise. Since carpet compositions vary and can contain nylon-6 and/or nylon-6,6, along with variety of other materials, characterizing waste carpet composition and its thermal decomposition profile is essential for the recycling process. In this study, material recovered from carpet waste was analyzed by TG-FTIR, TG-MS, and TG-GC-MS. TG-GC-MS proved to be the most informative method of analysis because of its identification of organic decomposition productions characteristic of nylon-6 and nylon-6,6.
Clean and Cost-Saving: New Developments for Meeting Medical Molding Challenges
Medical products understandably must meet the highest level of quality and consistency due to the nature of their use. This often puts difficult demands on molders of plastic medical products who must work hard to meet quality restrictions through elimination of such things as hydraulic fluid and other contaminants in the molding area. As with all manufacturing there is the additional demand for reducing costs in a competitive market and this is always challenging. Finally, the global effort toward sustainability in manufacturing challenges molders and mold builders alike to jointly plan and implement more green manufacturing processes via a reduction in energy usage among other things. This paper will discuss the use of innovations within the injection mold manufacturing and molding markets that will help medical molders achieve clean room molding, cost reductions, and lower energy consumption.
Composition Dependence on the Mechanical Behavior of Hydrophobic Lignocellulose-Reinforced Poly (Trimethylene) Terephthalate Composites
Lignocellulosic fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites offer many property and environmental benefits. The major issue to overcome is moisture absorption due to the hydrophilic nature of the lignocellulosic component. The aim of this work is to combine hydrophobic natural fibers (NF) and a thermoplastic to produce a novel wood polymer composite that offers moisture resistance, dimensional stability, and resistance to microbial attack. Hydrophobic NFs are combined with polytrimethylene terephthalate using a novel, injection molding method and the flexural, tensile, and impact resistance mechanical properties presented.
Controlled Migration of Antifog from Flexible Polyethylene Films
Antifog (AF) agents are chemicals that prevent the condensation of water as small droplets on hydrophobic surfaces which resemble fog. Antifogs function by minimizing the water surface energy, thus resulting in a continuous film of water rather than single droplets. Inside a greenhouse, the temperature and humidity are usually higher than the outside temperature and fog will thus appear on the inner surface of the PE film. In the present work, a new method of controlled migration of AF is described, by grafting AF molecules to the surface of sub-micron inorganic particles. Glycerides and fatty acids are used as AF. During the grafting reaction two fractions are formed: attached AF fraction to the inorganic particles’ surface, a fraction which cannot be detached by extraction, and an unreacted, thus unattached AF fraction. Aging tests, developed in the present work, have shown a significant decrease of the AF migration rate.
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