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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.
3D printing biocomposites
Branden Lewandowski, Steven Ott, Louis Reifschneider, Victoria Finkenstadt, Zengshe Liu, Brent Tisserat, January 2015
Poor interfacial binding reduces the mechanical properties of 3D printed tensile bars prepared from filaments of blends of biomaterials with polylactic acid.
Biodegradable porous structures derived from multiphase polymer blends
Costas Panayiotou, Ioannis Zuburtikudis , Apostolos Baklavaridis, January 2015
Reinforcing multiphase porous biopolymer composites with clay platelets increases their mechanical strength, making them a promising candidate for future tissue engineering applications.
Tunable drug delivery from a smart rubber composite
Melodie I. Lawton, Patrick T. Mather, April 2015
A strong, elastic synthetic biomaterial that mimics soft tissues remembers shapes and provides controlled release of a model drug.
3D Thickness Mapping by Micro-Computed Tomography Aiding Design
Masoud Allahkarami, Sudheer Bandla, Jay C. Hanan, May 2015
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the most used packaging material for water and carbonated soft drinks. Raw materials used in making PET are typically based on non-renewable resources and does not biodegrade at the end of their service life. Designing PET bottles to use less PET significantly reduces carbon emissions. This involves optimizing the part design and manufacture process which requires advancing accurate techniques for thickness and physical property measurements. The bottle base section is one of the locations that can often be modified in a mold. Due to the complex shape and curved surfaces, thickness measurement on the base section is difficult. Here, a micro X-ray tomography method was used for thickness measurement and visualization. Knowledge of the final thickness distribution at different locations of the bottle base is beneficial for both design and process optimization.
A New CMR-Free Polyamide Imide Resin
Limor Ben Asher, May 2015
Polyamide imide [PAI] resin polymers are well-known thermally stable polymers that are used for many high performance coating applications due to their excellent adhesion, temperature resistance, and high strength.
For the various coating uses, PAI resins are used in solvent-based formulations. However, ever-evolving regulations dictate the need to find a solution and replace the traditionally used n-methyl- and ethyl-pyrrolidone [NMP/NEP] solvents. NMP is the most-commonly used solvent in a variety of coating applications. In the 1980?s and 1990?s NMP was used to produce ?environmentally friendly? coatings, replacing cresol as the predominant solvent at that time. Now NMP and NEP have been classified as reprotoxic chemicals, based on the EU REACH regulations and, once again, PAI users face a similar threat which will close entire segments in Europe unless an alternative solvent can be found.

As a key sustainability initiative, Fujifilm Hunt has successfully developed a proprietary alternative solvent solution to the REACH-classified CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic) chemicals currently available for PAI coating applications.
Bioadhesive from Lignin and Dried Distillers? Grains with Solubles (DDGS)
Tao Wang, Manjusri Misra, Amar Mohanty, May 2015
Lignin and dried distillers? grains with solubles (DDGS) were utilized to prepare biobased adhesives at different DDGS-to-lignin ratios. The adhesion properties of the bioadhesives for bonding plywood were then evaluated. The adhesives prepared from the mixture of DDGS and lignin showed higher bonding strength than the adhesives prepared from DDGS and lignin alone. Analysis of the hot pressed adhesives showed that the DDGS extract and lignin had favorable interaction, which contributed to better performance of the hybrid adhesives.
A Study on the Relationship between the Size of the Company and It?s Sustainability Spending in the Plastics Industry
Bonnie J. Bachman, Shikhar P. Acharya, Shristy Bashyal, Margaret H. Baumann, May 2015
Business corporations? emphasis on sustainability is ever increasing which is evident by the increase in sustainability spending. Each year, companies are spending more on sustainability. This research is an attempt to understand if the sustainability spending depends upon the size of the company as measured by its revenue. Moreover, the paper focuses on the relationship between sustainability spending and size of the company in plastic industry. The study is the second survey of its kind and is based on the global inquiry with the members of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). Based on the results of Chi-square test for independence, we found that there is no relationship between sustainability spending and the size of the company.
Adhesive Technology for Bonding Dissimilar Materials during the Injection Molding Process
Paul A. Wheeler, Chris Schneider, May 2015
LORD offers adhesive solutions that effectively bond plastics to substrates directly in an injection molding process. A specially designed injection mold was created to evaluate adhesive technologies and their effectiveness in bonding various thermoplastics, such as nylon, polycarbonate, PC/ABS, and TPU?s, to substrates such as aluminum and glass. This paper focuses on in-mold bonding of PC, PC/ABS, and nylon 66 to aluminum. Molded assemblies were tested for adhesion directly after molding and after environmental exposures (thermal cycling, heat and humidity, and anodizing). This process and product technology offers a number of design and cost benefits, such as light weighting, design freedoms, and manufacturing efficiencies.
Aging Behavior of Polyamide 12 during Selective Laser Melting Process ? Influence on Mechanical Properties
Katrin Wudy, Dietmar Drummer, May 2015
Selective laser melting is a well-established manufacturing technique in prototype construction. In recent years a tendency to rapid manufacturing applications and the production of ready to use components with this technology can be observed. If components made by laser melting are desired to be applied in technical series products, their achievable properties play a major role. The high process temperatures in combination with long build times during laser melting process lead to chemical and physical aging mechanisms on the polymeric feed material. The unmolten partcake material, which acts as a supporting structure, can be removed after each building process and reused for further processes. To achieve part properties which endure the necessary mechanical loads, refreshing of partcake powder with 30 up to 50 % by weight virgin material is necessary. However, constant refreshing strategies will lead to varying component properties due to an undefined aging state of the basic partcake material. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of the correlation between the feed material aging state and resulting mechanical properties is alienable.
This paper deals with the analysis of the relationship between the aging state of the feed material focused on rheological behavior, mechanical part properties and deformation behavior. Therefore, polyamide 12 powder is used for at least five processing cycles without refreshing. Before and after each build process, bulk and material characteristics like bulk density, hausner ratio, viscosity number, melt volume rate and average molecular weight were determined. Tensile tests were conducted in order to study the mechanical material and deformation behavior. Finally, mechanical behavior as a function of feed material can be evaluated. On this basis, powder life cycles in dependency of mechanical properties can be derived.
Corn Protein Composites for Agricultural Products
Jake Behrens, Jay-Lin Jane, David Grewell, James Schrader, Ines Khnert, May 2015
Corn protein based polymer composites were developed for use in different agricultural consumer products. Addition of corn protein to polymer matrices increased thermal degradation, water absorption, and generally showed a slight decrease in mechanical properties. Thus, these composites are well suited for short-lived or controlled-degradation applications. For example, used as crop containers, the composites outperformed their petroleum-based counterparts in terms of enhancing plant growth.
Applications for Recycled Pots, Tubs and Trays
Jonathan Mitchell, Edward Kosior, Paul East, May 2015
With pots, tubs and trays being a recent addition to recyclables collections, end markets and values are yet to develop in the same way as plastic bottles. The value of pots, tubs and trays depends primarily on the level of contamination and polyolefin content (polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) plastics). An assessment was undertaken to review markets conditions affecting the recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pots, tubs and trays (PTTs). This considered the supply of clear PET, potential available markets, and alternative technologies to provide a comparative assessment of market values (e.g. EFW, landfill, export markets). The actual cost of disposal of PTTs is somewhere between œ44.9m and œ55.5m. The business case for collecting pots, tubs and trays develops further when actual values are gained per tonne, and with new sorting facilities for pots, tubs and trays being commissioned, once end markets have developed the financial benefits to local authorities in the UK will increase. This work focuses on finding markets for recycled PTTs with a number of trials at major manufactures across Europe.
Bio-Based Aliphatic Epoxy Clay Nanocomposites
Andres Rigail-Cede¤o, Daniel F. Schmidt, May 2015
The focus of the present research is the development of a new family of bio-epoxy nanocomposites for coatings and other high performance applications. A sorbitol glycidyl ether (SGE) epoxy resin has been cured with two different aliphatic polyetheramines: a poly(ethylene oxide) diamine (PEO) and a poly(propylene oxide) diamine (PPO). The degree of dispersion of commercial organo-montmorillonite clay (Cloisite 93A, C93A) was assessed optically in both the neat resin components and cured films. In general, the compatibility of the polyetheramines with the nanoclay was found to be good. While this would seem to imply enhanced dispersion, in practice it is well-known that poly(ethylene oxide), for instance, will intercalate but not exfoliate montmorillonite layers due to its inability to screen interactions between adjacent layers. Curing behavior of all samples was followed by Near-IR (NIR) spectroscopy. The extent of epoxy conversion is very high for SGE/PEO and SGE/PPO networks. The effect of the C93A in the systems is related to interactions between the curing agents and the clay modifier as well as the silicate layers themselves. When C93A was added to the systems, a slight enhancement in the rate of epoxy-amine conversion was observed prior to gelation in the SGE/PPO system as compared to the SGE/PEO system. Consistent with greater levels of dispersion in the neat resin, this may imply that the resin components have greater access to the clay modifiers, which are known to have catalytic properties in epoxy polymerizations, resulting in a greater degree of polymerization within vs. outside of the interlayer galleries. In order to quantify these effects, gelation times were studied by viscosity measurements. Consistent with the aforementioned arguments, shorter gel times were detected in the SGE/PEO compared to the SGE/PPO system. In addition to cure kinetics, mechanical properties were also studied. The SGE/PPO/C93A system displayed a larger increase in Young?s mod
Biocomposites and Bioblends Based on Engineering Thermoplastics for Automotive Applications
This paper presents innovative solutions concerning the utilization of engineering polymers in bioblends and biocomposites designated for automotive applications. The studied biomaterials have lower-cost, lower-weight, and at least same performance comparing with the current engineering thermoplastics used in automotive parts. Polyamide (PA6) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) were formulated using different types and concentrations of cellulosics, polylactic acid (PLA) as a bio-sourced polymer, and in a combination of cellulosics and PLA. These biomaterials were characterized in terms of morphology, mechanical properties, and heat deflection temperature. The extruded biocomposites, foamed in injection molding process, presented similar properties as the unfoamed and reference counterparts while being around 25-30% greener, lighter and less expensive.
Fabrication of Biocompatible Poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) PBAT Coating for Biomedical Applications
Syed Hussain R. Rizvi, Alicia D?Souza, Mickey Richardson, Tre Welch, Nandika D?Souza, May 2015
The objective of the present study is to investigate the mechanical strength and thermal properties (melting, crystallization and glass transition) of petroleum based biocompatible poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) as well as its synergistic blend with a nanofiller LDH (Layered double hydroxide). In the present study a bionanocomposite with a higher percentage of nanofillers was prepared and deformation response examined.
Biodegradable Latex Paper Coatings Based on Polyhydroxyalkanoates for Improved Moisture Resistance
Christopher Thellen, Michael Andrews, Allen Padwa, Zhiguan Yang, May 2015
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-based latex paper coatings were investigated for improved water resistance in Kraft paper samples. Cobb testing of samples with paper coating weights ranging from 10-30g/mý indicated improved moisture resistance with coating thickness as well as improved performance through heat treatment of the samples. Microscopy investigations indicated the formation of localized concentrations of surfactant after exposure to water. The PHA-surfactant structure and the effect of the annealing process on moisture resistance were investigated.
Bioplastics for Solar Thermal Applications: Potential of Bio-Poly(Ethylene) and Poly(Trimethylene Terephthalate) for Swimming Pool Solar Collectors
Andrea Klein, Katharina Resch, Gernot Oreski, May 2015
Within this study bioplastics ? bio-poly(ethylene) and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) ? i.e. polymers based on renewable resources, are comprehensively evaluated and tested as to their principle applicability as absorber mate?rial in swimming pool solar collectors. Investigations showed that the considered bioplastics possess a high potential for application in solar thermal devices in general. However, further optimization, especially of long-term performance and maximum operating temper?ature by tailoring molecular and super-molecular structure as well as by addition of additives and fillers is required.
Catalytic Technology and Controlled Chemical Release for Post-Harvest Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables
Vinod Malshe, Rajen Raje, Leena Raje, Rupali Hande, May 2015
Roughly 1/3rd (1.3 billion tonnes) of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets wasted every year. Fruits and vegetables have highest wastage rates of almost 40-50%. This is partly due to ethylene action and improper storage and handling. Ethylene, a catalyst generated by climacteric fresh produce is responsible for their ripening. Ripened fruits have more risk of microbial spoilage due to increased sugar %. Improper handling, storage, lack of cold chain etc in post-harvest conditions further increases the loss. In the past, we have reported ?niche? technologies for fruit preservation, such as chemical agents responsible for adsorption and destruction of ethylene. In continuation, now we are introducing some more ?unique? technologies such as using a) Catalytic converters (of ethylene to ethylene oxide), b) Ethylene adsorbers and c) Halogen releasers. We believe that these simple and cost-effective techniques will be the trendsetters to reduce horticultural wastage considerably and in the end benefit the farmer, the retailer and also the consumer. Efficacy of these products was tested by using them as novel additives in flexible packaging, punnets etc. which are commercially used for storage and transport of various fruits and vegetables in which they were effective in reducing ethylene from the storage area. We also experimented use of these products by incorporating them in a plastic film and all through we could acquire considerable shelf life extension of both climacteric and non-climacteric fruits and vegetables. We firmly believe by using such value-added packaging post harvest horticultural losses will be considerably reduced and it can result in a service to mankind.
Cellulose Acetate as a Tunable Bio-Based Engineered Material
Naresh Budhavaram, Bing Lu, Christopher D. McGrady, Michael Combs, Karthik Vaideeswaran, May 2015
Cellulose acetate (CA) is one of the oldest plastics, with an application history dating back over 100 years. Recent drivers towards an engineered bio-based material that can be used in demanding applications have caused revitalization in CA product development. This paper illustrates the ability to fine-tuning mechanical and thermal properties through plasticizer selection. A case study is also presented where CA can be used to enhance the bio-content of the petro-based plastics such as polypropylene (PP) while improving performance of the final blend.
Improving the Physical Properties and Versatility of PLA with PHA Copolymer Blends
Michael Andrews, Allen Padwa, Zhiguan Yang, May 2015
Blends of 100% biobased, fully biodegradable amorphous polyhydroxyalkanoate (a-PHA) copolymers and polylactic acid (PLA) exhibit good toughness and clarity in injection molding, extruded sheet and blown film. It will be shown that the level of toughness increase and modulus reduction can be tuned by blend composition. Results will also be presented that show that the addition of only 5% a-PHA significantly modifies the behavior of PLA in cutting and trimming typical of thermoforming operations.
Conversion of Lignin: Sustainable and Cost-Effective Carbon Fibers Usable within the Automotive Industry
Hendrik Mainka, Enrico K”rner, Axel S. Herrmann, May 2015
Lightweight design is an essential part of the automotive strategy for reducing the CO2 emission. The use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) offers an enormous lightweight potential in comparison to aluminum, enabling a weight reduction, if a load-adapted (unidirectional) CFRP-design is used, of up to 60% in automobile parts without a degradation of the functionalities. Today, the use of CFRP is limited in mass series applications of the automotive industry by the cost of the conventional carbon fiber precursor Poly-Acrylic-Nitrile (PAN). Fifty percent of the cost of a conventional carbon fiber already belongs to the cost of the PAN precursor.
The analysis of lignin as an alternative precursor shows clearly a significant reduction in the cost of CFRP and reduction of CO2 emission during carbon fiber production. This fact is essential to make carbon fibers ready for a mainstream use within the automotive industry.
For qualifying Lignin as a precursor for automotive carbon fiber a detailed chemical understanding of the material is necessary. Lignin, which was used for carbon fiber production, is analyzed with the help of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy in this paper, and the major chemical reactions during conversion process are highlighted.

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