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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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Sustainability
Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
Thermoplastic Semiconductive Power Cable Jacket
Jianmin Liu, Sathish Kumar Ranganathan, Sean Culligan, May 2016
A new thermoplastic semiconductive power cable jacket compound is presented. The compound is designed by adding carbon blacks to a blend of linear low density polyethylene and elastomer to achieve overall excellent performance, including good electrical conductivity, excellent mechanical properties, superior environmental stress crack resistance, and low moisture vapor transmission rate as well as low temperature brittleness property. The compound meets wire and cable industrial specifications such as ICEA S-94-649-2013.
Fabrication and Characterization of Bio-based PCM Microcapsules for Thermal Energy Storage
Maryam Fashandi, Siu N. Leung, May 2016
Bio-based phase change microcapsules (MicroPCM) consist of polylactic acid (PLA) shell and butyl stearate core were fabricated by emulsion evaporation method. Scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) were employed to characterize the morphology, the chemical structures, and the thermal properties of the fabricated MicroPCM. The results indicated that higher energy input during the emulsion step, utilized a sonicator, is critical to fabricate microPCM with smaller size (i.e., 10-12 ?m) and narrower size distribution. In short, the experimental results demonstrated the possibility to fabricate 100% bio-based MicroPCM with enhanced environmental sustainability for thermal energy storage applications.
Farmlands for Plastics, Textiles, Dyes or Food: Are Bio-Based Materials Really Sustainable?
Majid Sarmadi, May 2016
This presentation aims to contribute to an honest dialog on sustainability of oil-based vs bio-based materials in a consumer context that often includes significant “greenwashing” based on misinformation. This consumer context has raised consumers’ expectations and has put undue burden on many industries and in particular on the plastic and textile industries. Textile companies have tried to find a niche or “green” appeal in this increasingly competitive market; therefore, some are using labels such as “Sustainable”, “Eco-friendly”, “Eco-fashions” etc. As a result of high competition and low margin of profit, some companies have adapted practices such as creative marking and creative reporting/labeling that makes the consumer feel good about a “sustainable” choice, while the carbon footprint, or overall environmental impact, of the products or their production processes on the environment is not significantly better, and in some cases is even worse, than the alternative. Therefore, consumers either have false assumptions about the products they purchase, or are receiving conflicting information and are confused. Consumers are not the only ones that are confused; some members of industry have a hard time sorting out information on sustainability and, in turn, making decisions about where to invest their resources to create more sustainable products. This presentation will attempt to shed some light on these issues and raise some serious questions.
Green Plastics: Utilizing Chicken Feather Keratin in Thermoplastic Polyurethane Composites to Enhance Thermo-Mechanical Properties
Firoozeh Pourjavaheri, Oliver A.H. Jones, Farzad Mohaddes, Frank Sherkat, Arun Gupta, Robert A. Shanks, May 2016
A 'green', sustainable resource, in the form of chicken feather derived keratin, was used to enhance the thermomechanical properties of polyurethane bio-composites. Solvent–casting–evaporation method was used to incorporate three levels of chicken feather fibers (0, 10 and 20 %·w/w) into a polyurethane matrix. The thermomechanical properties of the resulting composites were then assessed using differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetry, dynamic mechanical analysis and stress–strain measurements with hysteresis loops. The uniformity of the dispersion of the keratin fiber in the plastic matrix was investigated via macro photography and optical microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy of fracture surfaces was used to verify that the adhesion between fiber and polymer was effective. Addition of chicken feather fibers to the polyurethane matrix was found to decrease the glass transition temperature, recovery strain and mass loss of the composites but increase the elastic modulus, storage modulus, and char level. The results demonstrate that keratin derived from what is currently a waste product from the poultry industry (with significant disposal costs) can improve the thermo-mechanical properties of composites, simply and cheaply, with potentially large environmental benefits.
High Performance High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for Hot Fill Closure Applications
Yijian Lin, Babli Kapur, John Sugden, May 2016
High performance bimodal high density polyethylene (HDPE) was developed for the hot fill closure applications. Performance of the bimodal HDPE was benchmarked versus incumbent unimodal HDPE resins. The bimodal HDPE resin delivered better environmental stress cracking resistance (ESCR) than a conventional HDPE homopolymer while maintaining a good heat deflection temperature (HDT) and a good Vicat softening point. The high performance HDPE also exhibited greater shear thinning behavior, indicative of good processability under the high shear rates typically encountered in the injection molding process. In addition, the closures made from the new HDPE resin are advantaged with respect to the removal torque.
High Performance Inorganic Pigments: Complex Inorganic Colored Pigments
Mark M. Ryan, Jr., May 2016
Color is as basic to people as emotions. When we are sad we feel blue, when we’re sick we look green and when we’re mad we are red under the collar. In fact, our use of color predates even modern humans.1 Scientists have discovered that humanities ancestors dispersed pigments with an abalone shell and quartz rock into natural resins to produce paints for body adornment and cave paintingsthe first DIY home improvement projects. Those earliest pigments were natural ochres. In the ongoing centuries we have expanded our palette of pigments to include synthetic pigments and organic chemistry based pigments. A special branch of this pigmentation are the Complex Inorganic Color Pigments (CICP)s.
Complex Inorganic Color Pigments provide highperformance color for the most demanding applications for plastics and polymers. CICPs can stand up to the most challenging and aggressive processing and applications. Recent advances have found that these pigments have properties that give them the ability to address regulatory requirements and give not only color, but also functional properties.
Injection Molding and Mechanical Characterizion of Carbon Fiber-Woodfiber/Polyproplene Hybrid Composites
Gangjian Guo, Joseph C. Chen, Guan Gong, MuralidharReddy Lingam, May 2016
Hybrid composites are made by incorporating two or more different types of fillers in a single matrix, which is highly tailorable. Carbon fiber (CF) reinforced composites have been well developed for certain industries such as aerospace and sporting goods. However, the high cost of carbon fiber, as well as lack of cost effective processing technologies for mass production, prevents its penetration to many different markets. Wood fiber (WF), an environmentally sustainable bio-fiber, has been used widely in making wood/plastic composites (WPCs) for building products and automotive applications, due to its low cost and lightweight. Nevertheless, WPCs have very limited structural applications where strong mechanical properties are required. Incorporating CF and WF into a polymer matrix to make hybrid composites through injection molding, would be a path to expanded applications for both. This paper investigated the injection molding of CF-WF/polypropylene hybrid composites and their mechanical properties. The effects of fiber content and hybridization on the mechanical properties were studied.
Melt Devolatilization Extruson Process for Brominated Polymeric Flame Retardant
Eungkyu. Kim, Mark A. Barger, Hyunwoo Kim, Daniel A. Beaudoin, Jun Kakizaki, Daigo Saga, May 2016
A brominated polymeric flame retardant has a significantly advantaged environmental, health and safety profile compared to small molecule halogenated flame retardants due to reduced molecular mobility and thus no bio-availability. The brominated polymeric flame retardant can be prepared using an innovative indirect bromination reaction, which requires the use of a halogenated solvent. A devolatilization extrusion process has been identified as an economically favorable and technically simplest isolation process among many other isolation technologies assessed. The development of a devolatilization extrusion process for the brominated polymeric flame retardant is presented.
Open Cell Microcellular Foams of Poly(Lactic Acid) Blend with Poly(Butylenes Succinate)
Xian-hong Chen, Jin-ling Gao, Zhi-zhong Fu, Xu-huang Chen, Peng Yu, May 2016
Biodegradable poly(lactic acid) (PLA)-based PLA/Poly(butylenes succinate) (PBS) foams with open cell structure were prepared via batch foaming method using supercritical carbon dioxide as blowing agent. It was found that PLA was immiscible with PBS, and PBS phase was dispersed as tiny spheres or large domains at various concentrations. The addition of PBS reduced the viscosity of the blends. During foaming process, the PLA/PBS interfaces acted as cell nucleation sites and the low melt strength PBS contributed to the formation of cell connection channels, which resulted in open cell structure. The investigation of PBS content found that PLA/PBS (80/20) foamed at 100 °C obtained the highest cell opening rate (96.2%).
Polystyrene Foam Insulation: Implementation of Alternate Sustainable Flame Retardant
Shari L. Kram, Christine Lukas, Lorraine Ross, Mark W. Beach, Inken Beulich, John W. Davis, Heli Hollnagel, John W. Hull, Bruce A. King, Ted A. Morgan, Michal E. Porter, William G. Stobby, John Duffy, Richard Fox, May 2016
Sustainable solutions are being increasingly demanded in the construction product market place. Polystyrene insulation is an increasingly important component of green construction. The benefits of insulation in residential and commercial buildings include lower energy consumptions, improved thermal comfort, reductions in the first costs of the heating and cooling equipment and reductions in CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels across the United States.
As with all foam insulations, polystyrene foam insulation is combustible and must comply with stringent building and fire codes, which have been in place since 1976. The basic requirement in codes is a flame spread index of 75 or less and a smoke developed index of 450 or less when tested in accordance with ASTM E84, in addition to separation of the foam insulation from building occupants through use of a thermal barrier, typically ½” gypsum board. Additional requirements are in place depending upon the particular application.
Like many other building products – from electrical wires to structural and decorative wood products to paint – foam insulation uses flame retardants to protect people and property from the hazards of fire. Flame retardants used in foam insulation meet current regulations and their history of safe use is supported by scientific research.1 Manufacturers are committed to product safety and the effectiveness of flame retardants, and support research and development efforts to continually advance and improve these materials.
A recent announcement by the Design for the Environment program of the U.S. EPA detailed a suitable polymeric flame retardant for use in polystyrene foam insulation. The chemistry is a brominated polymeric flame retardant to replace Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)2. HBCD has recently been listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) under the UNEP Stockholm convention and is on the Authorisation List (Annex XIV) under the European Union REACH (Regi
Preparation and Characterization of Biodegradable Polylactide/Ethylene Methyl Acrylate Copolymer Blends
Lin-Qiong Xu, Yong-Qing Zhao, Xiang-Fang Peng, May 2016
The poly(lactic acid)/ethylene methyl acrylate copolymer (PLA/EMA) blends were melt blended with by a twin-screw extruder. The phase morphologies, mechanical, and rheological properties of the PLA/EMA blends with three weight ratios were investigated. The results showed that the addition of EMA improves the toughness of PLA at the expense of the tensile strength to a certain degree. All the PLA/EMA blends display typical droplet-matrix morphology, and different characteristic linear viscoelastic properties in the low frequency region, which were investigated in terms of their complex viscosity, storage modulus, and Cole-Cole plots. The interfacial tension between the PLA and EMA is calculated using the Palierne model conducted on the 80/20 PLA/EMA blend, and the calculated result is 3.3 mN/m.
Production of In Situ Microfibrillar Composites as a Novel Approach towards Improved Bio-Based Polymeric Products
Adel Ramezani Kakroodi, Yasamin Kazemi, WeiDan Ding, Chul B. Park, Aboutaleb Ameli, May 2016
In this work, we introduce the in situ microfibrillation of poly (lactic acid) (PLA)/polyamide-6 (PA6) blends as an effective approach in improving PLA’s properties as well as its foaming-ability. The in situ microfibrillation of the PLA/PA6 blends was performed using a facile and cost-effective extrusion process followed by hot stretching of the extrudates. The morphological studies proved the successful formation of fully stretched PA6 microfibrils with diameters as low as 200 nm. Inclusion of a small concentration of PA6 microfibrils (3 wt.%) was shown to lead to significant improvements in the crystallization kinetics and mechanical properties of PLA. In addition, formation of a physically entangled network of PA6 microfibrils improved the melt strength and elasticity of PLA which, in turn, improved the microstructure of PLA foams.
Properties of Melt Blended Chitin Nanowhisker-Polypropylene Composites
Sharon Chi-Yan Li, Yu-Chen Sun, Hani Naguib, Qi Guan, May 2016
Chitin is a well-known biopolymer that can be extracted from crustacean shells and inherently has good mechanical properties. This paper focuses on using chitin nanowhiskers as a filler to improve the properties of neat polypropylene. Melt blended chitin nanowhisker polypropylene composites with chitin nanowhisker loadings ranging from 2 to 10 wt% was used for analysis. A combination of thermal, barrier, and mechanical properties were examined using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), water vapor transmission test, and tensile test respectively. It was observed that the chitin nanowhisker helped improve thermal stability and crystallization. Additionally, an improvement of about 20% and 17% in elastic modulus and ultimate tensile strength respectively was observed at 5 wt% chitin nanowhisker loading. Lastly, a 258% improvement in water vapor resistance was displayed for the 2 wt% chitin nanowhisker loading. Results from the study showed that chitin nanowhisker is a suitable biodegradable filler material for polypropylene to strengthen its thermal, barrier, and mechanical properties.
Recycling of PP/LDPE Blend: Miscibility, Thermal Properties, Rheological Behavior and Crystal Structure
Chuanchom Aumnate, Claudia Spicker, Raphael Kiesel, Majid Samadi, Natalie Rudolph, May 2016
Blending of plastics used in packaging is an interesting approach for recycling or upcycling. Therefore, this study focused on the effects of processing on the properties of recycled PP and PP/LDPE blends. MFI measurements, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and hot-stage polarized optical microscopy techniques were used to investigate the miscibility of PP/LDPE blends based on the thermal properties, degree of crystallinity, crystallization and morphology development in the blends. The MFI indicates, that PP and PP/LDPE blends are marginally sensitive to degradation at common processing conditions. The degree of crystallinity of the blends decreases with an increase of the LDPE content. Furthermore, the spherulite growth rate and crystal size of PP decrease with an increase of LDPE content.
The shifts of crystallization temperatures from the DSC measurement, in conjunction with the crystallization kinetics, indicate that PP/LDPE (25 wt% LDPE) is partially miscible.
Rubber Toughened Polylactide (PLA) via Catalyzed Epoxy-Acid Interfacial Reaction
Christopher Thurber, Liangliang Gu, Jason C. Myers, Timothy P. Lodge, Christopher W. Macosko, May 2016
Polylactide (PLA) is a promising material, with favorable modulus, renewable sources, and biodegradability. However, its low extension at break (4-7 %) and toughness (notched Izod, 26 J/m) limit its applications [1]. PLA toughening has been the subject of recent reviews [1,2], and is the basis for several commercial products. This work aims to increase PLA toughness using rubbery linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), glycidyl methacrylate functional PE compatibilizer (EGMA), and novel catalysts that promote copolymer formation at the interface of immiscible blends of PLA and EGMA/LLDPE. Droplet size was reduced from 2.7 ?m to 1.7 ?m with addition of 5 wt% EGMA, and further to 1.0 ?m with the addition of cobalt octoate catalyst. Extension at break of 200 % is achieved with only 5 wt% reactive compatibilizer, 15 wt% LLDPE, and 0.01 M cobalt octoate.
Soy Protein Isolate Films with Improved Mechanical Properties via Bio-Based Dialdehydecarboxymethyl Cellulose Crosslinking
Ting Zheng, Xiaoyan Yu, Srikanth Pilla, May 2016
Glycerol-plasticized soy protein isolate (SPI) films with dialdehyde carboxymethyl cellulose (DCMC) as crosslinking agent were solvent casted and tested for their mechanical properties. Results indicate that the addition of DCMC increased tensile strength (TS) up to 218%, suggesting effective crosslinking between SPI and DCMC. The significant improvements in the TS compared to other dialdehyde polysaccharide crosslinking agents such as the dialdehyde starch is due to higher compatibility of DCMC with SPI, which was confirmed by SEM imaging. Furthermore, based on stress-strain features, a hypothetical mechanism was proposed to illustrate the effect of the polymeric cross-linking agent.
Stability of Poly (Etheretherketone) and Poly [2, 2’ (M-Phenylene- Bibenzimidazole] Blend under Harsh Environments
Peng Liu, Michael Mullins, Tim Bremner, Hung-Jue Sue, May 2016
The objective of this work is to investigate the degradation mechanisms and property changes of a blend of poly (etheretherketone) (PEEK) with poly [2, 2’-(m-phenylene-5, 5’-bibenzimidazole] (PBI) upon exposure to water at temperatures up to 288 °C. The molecular scale damping behavior of PEEK/PBI blend was probed using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Atomic Force Microscopy based nanomechanical mapping has been used to assess the moduli profile near the interface of PEEK and PBI with various environmental exposure histories. The results demonstrate that the incorporation of water influences the compatibility behavior of PEEK and PBI through enhanced interfacial adhesion. Fracture toughness of the PEEK/PBI blend is significantly reduced by hot water exposure at 288 ºC.
Tannic Acid: A Bio-based Intumescent Char-forming Additive for Nylon 6
Weeradech Kiratitanavit, Zhiyu Xia, Ankita Singh, Ravi Mosurkal, Ramaswamy Nagarajan, May 2016
Intumescent and char forming additives are typically blended into certain types of commercial plastics to impart resistance to fire propagation. Intumescent compounds such as ammonium polyphosphate/ melamine/ pentaerythritol, silica gel/potassium carbonate are already used as flame retardant (FR) additives. In this work, a naturally occurring polyphenol, namely tannic acid, is explored as an intumescent and char forming additive for polyamide - Nylon 6. The tannic acid was meltblended into Nylon 6 and the compounded plastic was evaluated for thermal stability, total heat release (THR) and heat release capacity (HRC). It was found that HRC and THR of nylon blended with tannic acid decreased by 50% and 20% respectively.
The Flameretardancy Study of PVA Using for Furniture Made from Corrugated Cardboard
Yoshihiro Mizutani, Yusaku Mochizuki, Masayuki Okoshi, Hiroyuki Hamada, May 2016
Corrugated cardboards have truss structure, so these have advantageous in terms of specific strength, workability, price and recycling efficiency. Because of these properties, corrugated cardboards are used as not only packing materials but also furniture etc. When a disaster caused in Japan, refugees sleep directory on the floor with a blanket. It caused the second healthy damage like the economy class syndrome. For prevent refugees from its damage, beds made from corrugated cardboard has been used instead of cots in Japanese shelters. We need to give flameretardancy to the cardboard bed for enhancing safety. In this research, flameretardancy of corrugated cardboards is aimed to using Poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA). PVA is useful for the coat of the cardboard. The coating PVA on the cardboard is possible to be recyclable, because PVA has water solubility. We used 2 kinds of flameretardant in this time. In the result of combustion test, the Halogen, Phosphorous and Nitrogen based compound show great flameretardancy for PVA.
The Flameretardancy Study of The Cardboard Bed Made from Corrugated Cardboard
Yusaku Mochizuki, Yoshihiro Mizutani, Masayuki Okoshi, Hiroyuki Hamada, May 2016
Recently corrugated cardboard is utilized for not only packing materials but also furniture and beds at shelters in Japan. The reason why the cardboard has the characteristics of lightness, high strength, cheapness and recycle ability. Therefore, there is the strong needs to add flameretardancy for cardboard beds in medical facilities for prevention of second disaster. The purpose on this study is to add flameretardancy to the cardboards with keeping the recycle ability. In this paper, the cardboard of combusting behavior was measured by using a calorimeter under the UL-94 standard. So far we have used 6 kinds of flameretardant include 3 kinds of commercial flameretardant. As a result ammonium sulfate has given superior flameretardancy to cardboards. However we considered that it has no practical use, because flameretardancy of cardboards must be safety from chemical toxicity. Therefore we selected 2 kinds of flameretardant. As a result a flameretardant which contain phosphorus and nitrogen gave great flameretardancy to cardboards with small quantity.


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