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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M.D. Sanchez-Garcia , E. Gimenez , M.J. Ocio , J.M. Lagaron, May 2008
It is well-known that the nanocomposites technology can significantly enhance among others the thermal mechanical and barrier properties of plastics. It is also known that most bioplastics including the thermoplastic biopolymers have lower than desired levels for certain properties which makes their use in certain packaging applications problematic. The combination of active technologies such as antimicrobials and nanotechnologies such as nanocomposites can synergistically lead to bioplastic formulations with balanced properties and functionalities for their implementation in packaging applications. The present work presents the development and characterization of novel nanocomposites of polycaprolactone (PCL) with enhanced barrier properties and with controlled-release of biocide natural extracts.The antimicrobial nanocomposites of biodegradable materials were prepared in solution by a casting method.The morphology of the biocomposites was visualized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and by Atomic Force microscopy (AFM) the thermal properties were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and the solubility and kinetics of released biocide were determined by Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transformed Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. Water and limonene barrier properties were also enhanced in the biocomposites.
Biopolymers are generally defined as polymers that are found in nature derived from nature or utilized as medical implants. Polymeric biomaterials which are utilized as medical implants are typically characterized for enduse performance as well as processability. While lactic acid is found in the human body polylactic acid is derived from natural resources and utilized as medical implants. This paper will utilize poly(lactic acid) as an example of a bioplastic where the morphological and isomeric structure has an influence on end-use properties such as mechanical properties biodegradability and biocompatibility.
Starch a low-cost annually renewable resource is naturally hydrophilic and its properties change with relative humidity. Starchƒ??s hygroscopic nature can be used to develop materials which change shape or volume in response to environmental changes (eg humidity). For example starch-based graft copolymers have been produced using reactive extrusion for potential superabsorbent and hydrogel applications. Besides absorbing large quantities of water some of these copolymers display large volume changes in aqueous alcohol depending on solvent quality. Other examples include starch-poly(methyl acrylate) graft copolymer films which shrink at high humidities. Various levels of shrinkage can be triggered in response to changes in relative humidity. (AAm) and varying amounts of 2-acrylamido-2-methyl- 1-propane sulfonic acid (AMPS) display various degrees of swelling in aqueous solutions and approximately discontinuous volume changes in aqueous ethanol solutions over narrow ethanol concentrations. Blown films of starch-PMA graft copolymers display controlled shrinkage in response to increases in relative humidity.
Hossein Hosseini , Mohammad Mosaddegh , Behzad Shirkavand-Hadavand, May 2008
Solid state shear pulverization is a novel technology in polymer processing for production of new polymeric materials. By implementation of this technology various processes such as polymer recycling compounding and improving of mechanical-chemical properties of polymers can be enhanced. This is a continuous and one-stage process with low energy consumption. During this process polymers are subject to high pressure and shear forces. In this paper this technology and its applications to polymer processing is perused. At the end recycling of PET wastes by this technology is presented that have higher efficiency in comparison with existing methods.
The importance of three inter-dependent factors i.e.
(1) materials (2) manufacturing and (3) design and
engineering is generally recognized. All factors are
indispensable and equally important for product
development. Manufacturing is often the least structured
factor and many designers and materials experts do not
consider themselves capable to deal with it. Fortunately
expertise is sufficiently available and the best
professionals are able to utilize plastics expertise properly
in collaborative product development.
For bio-based plastics which are rapidly emerging in
some specific markets it is already clear that the relation
between the three factors is different and more varied than
for the currently well-known plastics. Critical factors for
increased successful application of bio-based plastics will
be product manufacturing and the expectations of
applicators and consumers. From interviewing a variety of
professionals it was found that clear true and complete
information is currently not accessible for most whereas
some assumptions are not realistic or not correct
particularly the ones related to degradability and to
environmental effects. Better and well-structured
information will be needed resulting in fulfillment of
elementary consumer expectations.
What is Impact of PLA Biopolymer
on Corn Supply and Uses? Based on 2001 Harvest of 9.8 billion bushels (NCGA Data): Export 20%; Alcohol 1%; Other 2%; HFCS 6%; Sweeteners 2%; Starch 3%; Ethanol 7%; PLA 0.6%; Feed 59%
Roelof van der Meer, BASF Nederland, Volker Frenz, BASF AG, Germany, Marco Villalobos, Abiodun Awojulu, BASF Corporation, Wyandotte, MI, March 2008
Engineering polymers based on condensation thermoplastics like PET, PBT,
Polyamides, Polycarbonates and Biopolyesters
have to be reprocessed during recycling at very high temperature, where
degradation of these polymers are extremely rapid.
As the result of this regradation, the possiblities for reprocessing
internal process regrind as well as postconsumer - recycle reclaims
back into demanding application is very limited.
The polymeric chain extender offer a possibility to rebuild molecular
weight and melt strengths of these polyester, blends and
related product and open a new window of opportunity for recycling.
PALLMANN develops and manufactures size reduction machines and complete systems
for the plastics and recycling industries. We have over 100 years in the industry, one of
the largest R&D facilities, and a firm commitment to the sustainability movement.
PALLMANN continues to offer innovative solutions to the industry, including Size
Reduction technology and Agglomeration of Thermoplastics with our Plast-
Agglomerator. Our innovating technology is presently applied in such processes as
reclamation of carpet waste, packaging products including biodegradable plastic
materials such as PLA foam, plastic fibers and non-woven materials, films, etc.
PLA (Polylactide resin) is one of the bio-plastics that has found some product applications and seems to be an
extrudable material of growing interest. Any polymer that is made from a renewable resource and that it is a
degradable and/or environmentally friendly material seems to gain favor in some markets, especially if it can be
processed on existing machinery.
This paper will discuss the requirements to efficiently extrude PLA on a single screw extruder with an optimum
screw design and processing conditions. Different sizes of extruders will be looked at to give some guidelines as to
the required equipment to successfully extrude this material.
Joseph Greene, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering Mechatronic Engineering, Joseph Greene, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering Mechatronic Engineering, and Manufacturing Technology, California State University and Fengyu Wang, NWS Jepson Prairie Organics Inc., March 2008
Biodegradable and oxodegradable plastics degraded in an in-vessel compost operation along with food
waste from San Francisco, California. Biodegradable plastics included, corn starch based biobag, Mirel
PHA bag, BioTuf Ecoflex bag, Husky corn starch based trash bag, PLA lids, sugar cane lids, and Kraft
paper. Also buried were polyethylene shrink-wrap, UV degradable plastic bag, and oxodegradable
plastic bag. The samples were placed in perforated plastic sacks and mixed with food waste at NorCal
and Jepson Prairie Organics (JPO) composting operation in Vacaville, California. After 180 days, the
materials that completely degraded included PLA lids, Mirel bags, Ecoflex bags, Husky bags, and corn
starch trash bags. Small fragments of sugar cane lids and Kraft paper were visible. The sugar cane and
Kraft paper fragments were very moist and would disintegrate when picked up. The Kraft paper and
sugar cane fragments did not completely biodegrade due to the lack of mechanical agitation while in the
plastic sacks. If the materials were placed in the compost soil, higher degradation would occur due to
better interaction with the compost soil. The oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, LDPE plastic bags and
UV-degradable plastic bag did not experience any degradation and did not fragment into smaller pieces.
Cynthia M. Flanigan, Christine Perry, Deborah F. Mielewski, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Laboratory, Ford Motor Company, Systems Division, Lear Corporation, March 2008
Using agricultural crops as material feedstock is becoming more prevalent as scientists search for
alternative choices to petroleum based products. Soybeans are one crop within North America that is
economical and readily available for use in plastic applications. Recently, we have been evaluating the
use of soy as reinforcement and resin in a variety of polymer matrices, including flexible and rigid
polyurethanes. Our main focus has been on using functionalized soybean oil in the manufacture and
formulation development of flexible, polyurethane foams for seating applications. Soy-based foams
reduce the environmental footprint compared with the manufacture of petroleum-based foams. These
materials utilize a sustainable material, decrease our dependency on petroleum and reduce carbon dioxide
emissions. Ford Motor Company has researched methods to overcome several technical issues such as
reducing odor in the foam and maximizing soy content in foam formulations, while meeting rigorous,
automotive interior applications. In a partnership between Ford Motor Company and Lear Corporation,
we have demonstrated the feasibility of formulating and processing soy-based polyurethane systems that
have the key properties required for automotive interior and seating foam applications. Prior to launch of
this soy technology, numerous processing trials were completed on headrest, armrest and seating
applications. We will review the main steps required in moving the technology from a laboratory
research setting to production environment and launch of the soy technology in 2008 Mustang. We will
also discuss the technical and commercial challenges and benefits of implementing soy-based foam.
The punched sections of composite substrate/foam/skin (punch outs) have
traditionally gone to landfill, typically at a cost of $0.05/lb. to the Tier 1 supplier.
Wipag Recycling in Germany has developed a process whereby the substrate
material is recovered from the composite structure, separating the resin from the
foam and skin. The resin has 99.8% purity and can be subsequently blended
back into virgin resin for production at a specified percentage without statistically
varying the physical properties of the LFPP IP substrate. The WIPAG laminate
separation process has been in commercial operation at American Commodities
Inc. (ACI) in Flint, MI for the past 7 years albeit with SMA, PC/ABS and TPO
With regard to recycling LFPP, traditional wisdom dictates that the material
properties of the resin will be reduced after each heat history due to glass fiber
length attrition, caused from the processing of the material. This study shows
that up to 30% of resin reclaimed from the composite substrate can be added to
virgin material with a minimal effect on the properties of the final part.
Advances in the field of polyolefin resins in the area of PP
copolymers, PE homopolymers, and PP & PE blends have
allowed for the creation of new and improved polyolefin
bead foams. These polyolefin bead foams are capable of
improved performance due to the advancements that have
been made in the area of polyolefin resin catalyst systems
and additives. The benefits of polyolefin bead foams allow
for lower densities to be used where higher density
extruded foams are currently being utilized.
There is a move in the automotive industry to promote the
use of sustainable products. Sustainability considerations in
automotive design must include a variety of factors. These
• Weight reduction
• Commonization of materials
• Use of more environmentally friendly materials
• Ease of disassembly at vehicle’s End-Of-Life
• Consideration of RoHS requirements
• Compliance to OEM, Federal and Industry
• Recyclability of materials and current recycling
• Component design and performance requirements
• Vehicle and occupant safety
While evaluating all of these considerations when designing
for sustainability, it is necessary to understand the
allowances for performance and cost trade-offs as they
relate to meeting the needs of both the OEM and end user
This paper will explore the industry trends, particularly
those published by the OEM’s as they relate to designing
for sustainability and recyclability. This paper will
compare some of the newer industry recycling guidelines,
as well as vehicle End-Of-Life dismantling requirements.
This paper will also explain the intention of the newer
vehicle component part guidelines for sustainable
development as they relate to automotive component design
and ease of disassembly and recyclability. Case studies will
be presented to evaluate component part design and the
move toward the use of more commonly recycled and
Industry trends will also be reviewed as they apply to
market demand for more environmentally friendly
materials. The pros and cons of using some of the new biobased
materials will also be compared and contrasted.
Being sustainable means that a product or service meets both today’s needs and results in
minimized burden to our children and their children and to the environment for the future.
This paper will present a proven alternative to environmental issues such as heavy metals used
chrome plating for application to plastic components in the global automotive, light truck, and
heavy truck industry. It will highlight how this technology, Fluorex® bright film, further
contributes to a “greener” environment by eliminating environmental hazards and residual
footprints from substances such as heavy metals by using film based solutions contributing to
the development of lighter and potentially “greener” light weight vehicles. This translates in both
better fuel economy in vehicles using this technology and reductions in emissions from the
manufacturing processes. Other environmental benefits for other coating opportunities using
Flourex® Paintfilm will be evaluated based on this technology that specifically involve more
opportunities to minimize the environmental impact and improve recyclability while contributing
to a more aesthetically pleasing environment by enhancing the appearance of vehicles
This is a solution for manufacturers to provide the appealing and marketable look of chrome or
other pleasing surface characteristics on plastic components while being environmental
compliant and responsible. This is a sustainable solution for coloring and coating – Fluorex®
bright film and Fluorex® paintfilm – a “green” alternative to painting metal and plastic products
that enhances the environmental benefits of plastics is both possible and here today.
The years 2006 and 2007 saw popular culture embrace issues such as global warming, alternative
energy production, biofuels, hybrid transportation, and carbon credits. Clean Technology became
the fastest growing investment sector and produced some of the most-watched initial public
offerings of the recent past. While this new 'fame' has led to an increase in new companies and
initiatives, investment dollars, state and federal legislation, and media coverage, it has also led to
concerns that the marketplace is a bubble without strong fundamentals to drive the marketplace.
Certain investment funds have set up new funds designed to purchase failed and distressed cleantechnology
companies. What is the current status of the clean-technology marketplace? What
fundamentals exist for the companies that are succeeding and those that fail? Where are the
investment dollars and how can companies take advantage of the current marketplace? While
some may question aspects of the clean technology revolution, it is without question that a
fundamental shift in our consciousness and our culture are occurring -- that has led to unique
opportunities and challenges for tomorrow's leaders in clean-technology markets.
Advanced Blending Technologies has developed a software program that creates low cost
optimized blends from wide-/off-spec and/or recycled Polyethylene streams of material, by
providing blend formulations based on up to seven selectable material properties. The resulting
blends are prioritized by least cost and eliminate the need for costly “Trial and Error”
experimenting with blends. Combined with rapid testing of incoming material streams, the
OptiMISER® system has successfully been used to convert 100% virgin material processors to
100% recycled usage, at substantial bottom line savings. The OptiMISER system provides the
materials engineering needed to maintain production efficiency and insure product quality. Using
recycled or wide-/off-spec PE usually results in decreased manufacturing efficiencies, increased
scrap and worse; decreased end product quality. This paper discusses a systematic approach which
allows the use of up to 100% recycled and/or wide-/off-spec materials while maintaining or even
increasing manufacturing efficiencies, reducing process scrap, insuring a consistent end quality
product, and significantly reducing overall finished product costs.
K.Verghese, RMIT University Centre for Design , M.Jollands & M.Allan , RMIT University School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, March 2008
Single use plastic bags are used by the billion in supermarkets, fast food outlets and retail stores
because of their excellent fitness for use, resource efficiency and cheap price. They come in many
varied shapes, sizes and materials. Because of their light-weight nature they are only a tiny fraction
of the tonnage of plastic used in the packaging industry, yet they make a major contribution to litter,
thanks to their large surface area and lack of biodegradability. In 2006 the Australian Government
Department of Environment and Heritage initiated and funded, courtesy of the Natural Heritage
Trust, a study to investigate the effect of bag design on litterability. This paper draws on report
materials from the study that are the intellectual property of the Commonwealth. The paper presents
a review of previous studies on plastic bags, a review of international plastic bag regulations, as
well as the results of an assessment of the environmental impact of bag design using a streamlined
life cycle assessment and the litterability of bag design using equipment including wind tunnels. The
paper concludes with recommendations for bag design to maintain resource efficiency while
To be both green and profitable, many plastic manufacturing processes need to reprocess
scrap into useful, saleable products. By its very nature the regrind derived from scrap is usually
heterogeneous particularly by way of its melt properties. The proper use of peroxide masterbatches can
transform regrind, and also post consumer waste, into a useful raw material stream where not only the
melt properties are homogenous, but other desirable properties are developed, resulting in high quality
products. This paper shows the chemistry behind peroxide‐induced modifications of polypropylene and
polyethylene, the increased melt flow rate by using peroxides in reaction extrusion, the advantages of
using the peroxide additive in concentrate form, and a method for increasing the properties of
commingled polypropylene and polyethylene.
Unsaturated polyester resins based on renewable resource raw materials (soy and corn) have been commercially available since the late 1990s. These resins have successfully been formulated into sheet molding compound and are compression molded into parts used by the John Deere Corporation to manufacture farm machinery. This paper will discuss the economics and environmental effects of using renewable resource based composites describe the current applications where the technology is being used and consider the future of bio based technology in the composites industry.
Bio-based resin systems obtained as blends of functionalized vegetable oils and petroleum based resins have been found to increase toughness of petroleum based resins and improve their environmental friendliness. Nevertheless this improvement in toughness generally compromises the stiffness of the resin system. Nano-scale layered silicate (nano-clay) polymer nanocomposites exhibit enhanced mechanical and physical properties at relatively low weight fractions of inclusions. The reported study shows that proper stiffness – toughness balance along with enhancement in many other physical properties can be obtained by incorporating nano-scale layered silicates in bio-blended polymers. Polymer nanocomposites with varying clay contents and varying bio-blend (epoxidized soya bean oil) in unsaturated polyester resins were manufactured. Tensile properties and moisture absorption properties were studied. Fracture surface morphologies and characterization of nanocomposites were performed using electron microscopy. The resulting bio-blended polymer nanocomposites exhibit promising results for use in structural applications.
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Society of Plastics Engineers
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