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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.
Depolymerization of terephthalic acid using hot compressed water
Ke Bei, Zhiyan Pan , Junliang Wang, December 2016
Investigations into the phase behavior, stability, and the mechanism for stability of terephthalic acid in hot compressed water may enable more effective recycling of polybutylene terephthalate.
SPE Sustainability Division 1st Quarter 2017 Newsletter
SPE Sustainability Division, January 2017
Read the latest issue of the SPE Sustainability Division newsletter.
Mechanical and crystal enhancements to polylactide with silver-nanoparticle filler
Shahir Karami, Saul Sanchez, Tomas Lozano-Ramirez, Ana B. Morales-Cepeda , Jesus Bautista-Del-Angel, Pierre Lafleur, January 2017
Processing poly(lactic acid) with low concentrations of silver using a twin-screw extruder leads to nanocomposites with enhanced crystallinity and improved mechanical properties.
Bioplastics to eliminate environmental pollution from agricultural plastic waste
Evelia Schettini, Giuliano Vox, Luciana Sartore, February 2017
Biodegradable polymeric materials based on hydrolyzed proteins from leather waste can be used as biodegradable mulch spray-coatings in horticulture and as containers for seedlings.
Functionalizing gum arabic for adhesive and food packaging applications
Neelima Tripathi, Vimal Katiyar, March 2017
A new bio-based hydrophobic gum arabic-based copolymer is an excellent adhesive and improves the properties of polylactic acid for potential food packaging applications.
SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division April 2017 Newsletter
SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division, April 2017
Read the latest issue of the SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division newsletter.
SPE Sustainability Division 2nd Quarter 2017 Newsletter
SPE Sustainability Division, April 2017
Read the latest issue of the SPE Sustainability Division newsletter.
ISRI 2017 - SPE Plastics Session Unconventionl Fillers in Plastics Applications
Chris Surbrook, April 2017
Integration of waste materials streams into plastic composites is an interesting approach to solving disposal issues and developing useful materials for plastic applications. Projects are described where: (1) wood sawdust is incorporated into polypropylene ( PP) and compared to conventional talc filled polypropylene, (2) ground paper waste is dispersed into polyethylene (PE) sheet for a thermoforming application, (3) paint waste and filtration media were collected and compounded in PP for applications such as paint brush handles and dunnage trays, (4) a composite material containing ground tire rubber and PE was developed for a structural foam molded dunnage tray. Physical properties and comparison to conventional materials are described. Key decisions for determining the use of unconventional fillers is discussed.
A Journey Toward Packaging Sustainability
Donna Visioli, Karlheinz Hausmann, Sarah Perreard, May 2017
Packaging sustainability has many contributing factors including: renewable materials; reduced package weight; recyclable materials; reduced food waste (for food packaging); and reduced packaging waste. These factors and interactions among them are described, along with examples of implementation.
A Model for Permeability Reduction in Polymer Nanocomposites
Sushant Agarwal, Man Chio Tang, Fares D. Alsewailem, Hyoung J. Choi, Rakesh K. Gupta, May 2017
A simple theory that builds on the tortuous path concept is developed to quantitatively predict mass transport through a polymer containing dispersed nanoplatelets, and data are presented on polylactic acid (PLA)-matrix nanocomposites. PLA is a bioderived biodegradable polymer that is being employed in food packaging where the plastic is discarded after a single use. However, the poor water vapor barrier property of PLA limits its use in this regard, and it is of interest to reduce moisture permeability through this polymer. In the present work, Cloisite 30B, an organoclay that is compatible with PLA, was dispersed in the polymer via melt-mixing, and processing conditions were optimized to reduce platelet agglomeration. Nanocomposite morphology was characterized with transmission electron microscopy, and moisture permeability was measured as a function of clay content. There was good agreement with the proposed theory, and it was found that at a 5.3 vol% filler loading the water vapor permeability was reduced by almost 70%.
A New Method to Characterize Environmental Stress Cracking Resistance (ESCR) of Polyethylene Pipes
Ben Jar, Patrick Ward, Chester Jar, Yi Zhang, Wajdy Ateerah, May 2017
A new test method has been developed to evaluate environmental stress cracking resistance (ESCR) for polyethylene (PE). The new test method applies transverse loading to the central area of a plate specimen, to generate local stretch that results in a truncated cone. Time for crack initiation in the truncated cone, during the exposure to an aggressive agent (10% Igepal CO-630 solution), is used to characterize ESCR. Results from the new test method are consistent with those from ASTM D1693, but the former does not require any pre-notch and takes less than 3% of the time required for the latter. Based on the new test method, a stand-alone device has been developed to characterize ESCR, which uses change in electrical conductivity to measure the time for the crack development. The device is compact and easy to operate. Using this device, time for crack initiation can be determined automatically and accurately without the use of a commercial test machine.
Cellular Polymers for Oil/Water Mixtures Separation – Evaluation of Process Conditions
Pavani Cherukupally, Amy M. Bilton, Chul B. Park, May 2017
This study investigates the usage of cellular polymers for large scale oil/water separation. The model polyester polyurethane foam was characterized for sustainability and oil adsorption efficacy in a batch system. The temporal mass uptake and its efficacy were experimentally optimized at various temperatures and stirring speeds. With favorable surface, morphology, and bulk properties in conjunction with process conditions, and a mass uptake of 21 g/g of foam, this polymer lends itself as a very promising material for oil adsorption.
Automotive Prototype from Recycled Carbon Fiber Reinforced Recycled Polyamide Composite
Omar Faruk, Birat KC, Jimi Tjong, Mohini Sain, May 2017
Automotive industries are promoting and working to improve the sustainability of their vehicles by using materials, which includes increasing of recycled and lightweight materials. Increasing recycled materials is to improve resource efficiency by recycling consumer and industrial waste and increasing lightweight materials is to improve vehicle fuel efficiency by expanding the use of lightweight materials. An automotive prototype (oil pan) is developed from 100% recycled material (20 wt% recycled carbon fiber with 80 wt% recycled polyamide) to improve fuel efficiency by light weighting and as well as sustainability. The material properties and processing parameters are compared to current production part. A global thermal cycling durability test of prototype part has been performed where the continuous high temperature is mainly concerned. It is found that the prototype part is 15% lighter than current part and as well as lower processing time. The prototype part has successfully passed the global thermal cycling durability test.
Bio-Based Construction Adhesives
David Grewell, Kendra Allen, Eric Cochran, Chris Williams, Ty’Jamin Roark, May 2017
This papers reviews the development and characterization of a bio-based construction using glycerin from transesterification of soybean oil for the production of biodiesel. The results indicate that the bio-based adhesive has the ability to perform as well as, and in some cases better than commercially available petrochemical adhesives. The bio-based adhesive is based on renewable feedstocks, has zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), and is sustainable. The bio-based adhesive was compared to commercial petrochemical adhesives in terms of lap shear strength, water stability, creep resistance, and three point bend strength. In addition, construction materials, such as oriented strand boards (OSB) were produced with the bio-based adhesive and compared to commercially available OSBs. Based on three-point bend tests and water stability, the results indicate that the bio-based OSB products performed as well as OSB products based on petrochemicals. Future tasks involve discovering and optimizing more applications for the bio adhesive such as rubber adhesion and flexibility, and pressure sensitive applications.
Food Contact and How We Got There for SPE
Tamsin Ettefagh, May 2017
• Brief introduction to Envision Plastics • Getting to an LNO • Food Grade for HDPE: EcoPrime™ • Markets served using recycled HDPE • Our Newest LNO and Patent • LCA and Conclusions
Biopolymer Compounds for Applications Requiring Marine Degradation
Mustafa Cuneyt Coskun, Stanley Dudek, May 2017
The tremendous production and consumption of plastics in various industries has led to some serious environmental concerns. The persistence of synthetic polymers in the environment poses a major threat to natural ecological systems. Therefore, some people believe that the use of biodegradable plastics is the only way to significantly reduce the environmental pollution due to plastic waste because biodegradable polymers can be environmentally friendly. Biopolymers or bioplastics are plastics which include living microorganisms in their production process. Bioplastics have the biochemical advantage of being totally or partially produced from renewable materials such as vegetable oils, sugar cane, and cornstarch, and can be biodegradable into carbon dioxide, methane, water, and inorganic compounds. Research studies have been performed to better understand the degradation of different degradable polymers in marine environments. Typically, these studies are performed on single polymers and not blends of polymers. In various applications, however, blends of different polymers are needed to fulfill the requirements of the application. This study was initiated to understand the biodegradation of biopolymer compounds made from blends of different biopolymers. Specifically, the mechanisms of the degradation and how the different mechanisms affect the use of the compounds in a marine environment were investigated. The specific application of netting for oyster bed rebuilding was the focus.
Innovation in Emerging Areas in Packaging
Narayan Ramesh, May 2017
Markets trends of cost reduction, consumer convenience, sustainability & down-gauging drive the need for new and improved packaging solutions. Development of such solutions requires a look across the entire value chain – an Asset to Market look. This talk will focus on what is required for a successful packaging solutions to be launched in a competitive space. Key examples will be presented and will cover the trends related to recyclability and downgaging.
Degradation of PBSA in Water
Douglas Hirt, Mary Mitchell, Treyton Ryder, May 2017
The degradation of poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate) (PBSA), a biodegradable polyester that can be made from renewable feed stocks, was investigated in this work. PBSA-starch-furfural blends of up to 20 wt% corn starch and up to 15 wt% furfural were made to determine if these systems could be used to deliver a control amount of furfural, a known nematicide, for agricultural applications. The PBSA-starch-furfural blends were aged in distilled water for up to 30 days. There was only a slight downward trend in molecular weight of the PBSA and PBSA-starch blends over the 30-day aging period. Changes in the total weight of samples and the concentration of furfural in the water surrounding the pellets indicated that furfural was quickly released from the pellets and a total furfural release of 92% was achieved by day 10 of degradation.
Designing Electrical and Electronics Equipment for the Circular Economy by Using Recycled Plastics
Brian Riise, May 2017
In order to conserve resources and at the same time spur economic growth, the European Union is pushing to establish a Circular Economy. For global businesses, including manufacturers of electrical and electronics equipment (E&EE), some of the principles of the Circular Economy will likely be applied globally rather than just within the European Union. This paper describes how the recycling of plastics from shredded waste electrical and electronics equipment (WEEE) fits within the Circular Economy, and provides some guidance to manufacturers looking to incorporate these recycled plastics in new E&EE. Furthermore, we provide recommendations on the design of E&EE such that plastics may be recycled more easily in the future.
Developing a Soft Sensor Random Forest Model for the Inline Product Characterization of Polylactide (PLA) in a Twin Screw Melt Extrusion Process
Konrad Mulrennan, Marion McAfee, John Donovan, Leo Creedon, Fraser Buchanan, Mark Billham, May 2017
The melt processing of Polylactide faces challenges due to its poor thermal stability which is influenced by processing temperatures and shearing. The characterization of processed products takes place offline in laboratory environments. Typical scrap rates of a medical grade product can be up to 25-30%. This work discusses the development of soft sensor random forest models for a twin screw melt extrusion process. The resulting models can predict product end characteristics from inline data. These include mechanical properties and percentage mass change of a product during its degradation cycle. These models will act as novel inline indicators as to whether products will be in or out of specification. This will reduce manufacturing costs and minimize waste as well as accurately predicting future performance and behavior of products.

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