SPE Library

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.
The Evolving Role of Packaging in the Circular Economy
Jennifer Ronk, February 2018
Sustainability in Packaging
Towards Sustainability
Robert Flores, February 2018
Sustainability in Packaging
Unilever’s Packaging Journey
Julie Zaniewski, February 2018
Sustainability in Packaging
Influence of Post-Consumer Recycled Content (PCR) and Pigments in Polyethylene Properties
Emily Hurban, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Paper: Commercially recycled linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) pellets containing pigments were blended individually by weight then extruded with varying levels of recycled content. Either calcium carbonate only (white) or a mixture of white and carbon black pigment were blended with recycled polymer at virgin/recycled ratios of 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% wt/wt. Each blend was evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) and fluorescence spectroscopy. Linear relationships were investigated for statistical significance of PCR content and pigment on extruded sheet properties. Extractions in n-hexane were carried out in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, B, Part 177.1520 to determine compliance for uses with direct food contact. Results of thermal and spectrophotometric analysis did show potential for PCR marker identification. All extractives were below allowable threshold of 5% per CFR suggesting the potential use of recycled polyethylene for direct food contact applications. More research is needed to evaluate the use of various feedstock sources of recycled polyethylene for direct food contact application.
Influence of Post-Consumer Recycled Content (PCR) and Pigments in Polyethylene Properties
Emily Hurban, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Presentation: Commercially recycled linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) pellets containing pigments were blended individually by weight then extruded with varying levels of recycled content. Either calcium carbonate only (white) or a mixture of white and carbon black pigment were blended with recycled polymer at virgin/recycled ratios of 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% wt/wt. Each blend was evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) and fluorescence spectroscopy. Linear relationships were investigated for statistical significance of PCR content and pigment on extruded sheet properties. Extractions in n-hexane were carried out in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, B, Part 177.1520 to determine compliance for uses with direct food contact. Results of thermal and spectrophotometric analysis did show potential for PCR marker identification. All extractives were below allowable threshold of 5% per CFR suggesting the potential use of recycled polyethylene for direct food contact applications. More research is needed to evaluate the use of various feedstock sources of recycled polyethylene for direct food contact application.
In-process Monitoring of Recycled Polyethylene for Catalyst and Regulated Metals Using Novel Applications in X-ray Technologies
Keith Vorst, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Paper: Commercially available virgin and post - consumer recycled (PCR) polyethylene was characterized fo r catalyst (Ti, Pb, Al, Cr, Fe) during sheet extrusion of varying levels of PCR content (0, 30, 40, 90, 95 and 100%). An energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (XRF) detection system was installed in the extrusion line directly after the die. The X-ray spectra and raw counts were obtain ed every 45 seconds and reported with sample time and sheet location within the roll. Data were uploaded every 45 seconds to a secured custom web-based software platform. Process samples were compared to bench top analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasm a Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Our results indicate the potential use of XRF for in-process catalyst and regulated monitoring for polymer performance, safety and traceability in recycled plastics before and during conversion. More research is needed for validation of in-process monitoring systems for conversion processes and feedstock sources.
In-process Monitoring of Recycled Polyethylene for Catalyst and Regulated Metals Using Novel Applications in X-ray Technologies
Keith Vorst, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Presentation: Commercially available virgin and post - consumer recycled (PCR) polyethylene was characterized fo r catalyst (Ti, Pb, Al, Cr, Fe) during sheet extrusion of varying levels of PCR content (0, 30, 40, 90, 95 and 100%). An energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (XRF) detection system was installed in the extrusion line directly after the die. The X-ray spectra and raw counts were obtain ed every 45 seconds and reported with sample time and sheet location within the roll. Data were uploaded every 45 seconds to a secured custom web-based software platform. Process samples were compared to bench top analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasm a Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Our results indicate the potential use of XRF for in-process catalyst and regulated monitoring for polymer performance, safety and traceability in recycled plastics before and during conversion. More research is needed for validation of in-process monitoring systems for conversion processes and feedstock sources.
Model Validation for Composite Railroad Ties Using Micro-Mechanics Modelling and Experimental Four-Point Bend Testing Made from Recycled Polyolefins
Daniel Pulipati, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Paper: The purpose of this research is to model the deflection behavior of railroad ties fabricated from recycled polyolefin post-consumer/post-industrial waste composed of HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) and PP/FG (Poly Propylene/Fiber Glass). A technical challenge in predicting the final part performance is a limited understanding of the impact of microstructural variations due to processing variability on the final produced part's spatially varying material properties. The ties fabricated using extrusion molding techniques have a solid shell region on the outer surface and an inner foamed core. The foamed core region has cells of differing dimensions and the resulting effective material properties will vary as a function of the cell size and density. The shell and the foamed core regions are an alyzed using micromechanics models for the prediction of the stiffness. The stiffness of the foamed core is calculated using the Monte Carlo method to investigate the macroscopic sensitivity to microstructural variations. The elastic moduli obtained from micromechanics is used for the shell and foam regions in a Finite Element model, and the computational results are compared to those obtained from experimental four point bend test results with a difference between the model and experiment being less than 2% for the predicted effective stiffness.
Model Validation for Composite Railroad Ties Using Micro-Mechanics Modelling and Experimental Four-Point Bend Testing Made from Recycled Polyolefins
Daniel Pulipati, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Presentation: The purpose of this research is to model the deflection behavior of railroad ties fabricated from recycled polyolefin post-consumer/post-industrial waste composed of HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) and PP/FG (Poly Propylene/Fiber Glass). A technical challenge in predicting the final part performance is a limited understanding of the impact of microstructural variations due to processing variability on the final produced part's spatially varying material properties. The ties fabricated using extrusion molding techniques have a solid shell region on the outer surface and an inner foamed core. The foamed core region has cells of differing dimensions and the resulting effective material properties will vary as a function of the cell size and density. The shell and the foamed core regions are an alyzed using micromechanics models for the prediction of the stiffness. The stiffness of the foamed core is calculated using the Monte Carlo method to investigate the macroscopic sensitivity to microstructural variations. The elastic moduli obtained from micromechanics is used for the shell and foam regions in a Finite Element model, and the computational results are compared to those obtained from experimental four point bend test results with a difference between the model and experiment being less than 2% for the predicted effective stiffness.
Multivariable Regression of Recycled HDPE
Greg Curtzwiler, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Paper: Polyethylene has been adopted for a variety of industrial, agricultural, and packaging applications with an estimated market of $164 billion and a projected global demand growth of 4% through 2018. The pressure for landfill diversion strategies have increased with cons umer awareness of traditional end-of-life practices. Regulatory bodies have instituted minimum post-consumer recycled ( PCR ) content laws to increase the long-term sustainability efforts of polymer use in commodity goods (e.g., SB 270 in California); thus, the ability to empirically quantify the post-consumer recycled content is vital for compliance. A stepwise multivariable regression approach was employed to develop a n equation capable of empirically determining the post-consumer recycled content from a va riety of certification markers. The empirical equation determined the post-consumer content of unknown film samples within ~10 wt% of the true value.
Multivariable Regression of Recycled HDPE
Greg Curtzwiler, February 2018
Sustainability Metrics and Characterization - Presentation: Polyethylene has been adopted for a variety of industrial, agricultural, and packaging applications with an estimated market of $164 billion and a projected global demand growth of 4% through 2018. The pressure for landfill diversion strategies have increased with cons umer awareness of traditional end-of-life practices. Regulatory bodies have instituted minimum post-consumer recycled ( PCR ) content laws to increase the long-term sustainability efforts of polymer use in commodity goods (e.g., SB 270 in California); thus, the ability to empirically quantify the post-consumer recycled content is vital for compliance. A stepwise multivariable regression approach was employed to develop a n equation capable of empirically determining the post-consumer recycled content from a va riety of certification markers. The empirical equation determined the post-consumer content of unknown film samples within ~10 wt% of the true value.
SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division March 2018 Newsletter
SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division, March 2018
Read the latest issue of the SPE Bioplastic and Renewable Technologies Division newsletter.
3D Printing Feedstock From Recycled Materials
Nicole Zander, May 2018
United States Army warfighters in theater are often faced with the challenge of broken, damaged, or missing parts necessary to maintain the safety and productivity required. Waste plastics can be utilized to improve the self-reliance of warfighters on forward operating bases by cutting costs and decreasing the demand for the frequent resupplying of parts by the supply chain. In addition, the use of waste materials in additive manufacturing in the private sector would reduce cost and increase sustainability, providing a high-value output for used plastics. Experimentation is conducted to turn waste plastics into filament that can be used in fused deposition modeling. The effect of extrusion temperature and number of extrusion cycles on polymer viscosity and crystallinity are explored. The effect of blends and fillers to impart additional functionality are also examined. Tensile specimens were tested and compared to die-cut and injection molded parts. Parts printed from recycled polyethylene terephthalate had the highest tensile strength of all recycled plastics evaluated (35.1 ± 8 MPa), and were comparable to parts printed from commercial polycarbonate-ABS filament. Elongation to failure of all recycled plastics was similar to their injection molded counterpart. In addition, select military parts were printed with recycled filament and compared to original parts. This research demonstrates some of the first work on the feasibility of using recycled plastic in additive manufacturing.
A Characterization Of Soy Additives In Biobased Polyethylene Films
Peter Perez, May 2018
Four different soy additives were compounded into Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE). The four different additives were compounded and pelletized by FKuR. After a film was produced for each of the four batches, the mechanical, barrier, and thermal properties of each batch was characterized and compared to a control sample. The use of soy in polymeric films improved mechanical properties in LLDPE, reduced the cost and amount of plastic used, and improved water vapor barrier of the polymer. The modulus of each film increased with the use of filler. However, the ultimate extension and ultimate tensile strength decreased in the samples containing soy fillers. The films showed increased crystallinity in samples containing soy fillers. Additionally, thermal analysis indicated large amounts of weight loss in the soy loaded films when heated.
Accelerated Aging Of Medical-Grade Resins: Q10 Factors And Material Aging Models
Rob Klein, May 2018
Accelerated aging is used throughout the Medical Device sector and other sectors to evaluate materials and devices in an accelerated fashion. If used properly, it can shave years off of validation efforts. If used improperly, it can generate misleading or completely incorrect data about the resins and products in question. This paper explores the fundamental principles and provides supporting data. It is critical to understand the four primary modes of aging for polymers: (1) physical aging (embrittlement and loss of free volume); (2) chemical aging, which includes oxidation, chemical damage, sterilization, etc.; (3) sustained strain cracking, creep rupture, and environmental stress cracking; and (4) fatigue. For sustained strain or sustained load environments, stress relaxation and creep are also key factors. A case study is presented for polycarbonate and copolyester resins that are undergoing physical aging, sustained strain cracking, and environmental stress cracking (ESC), and a model presented to account for the various factors.
Developing Ultrasonic Processing Of Cnt Nanopaper/Solventless Epoxy Prepreg
Dan Zhang, May 2018
In this work, we propose an environmentally friendly innovative ultrasonic process to impregnate solventless epoxy into carbon nanotube (CNT) nanopaper (NP) (approximately 50 um thick) for fabricating prepreg nanocomposites. Both multi-wall carbon nanotube (MWNT) NP and single-wall carbon nanotube (SWNT) NP are used for prepreg fabrication. The prepregs show multi-functional performance in EMI shielding and sand erosion resistance. Process parameters including ultrasound time, amplitude level and pressure are studied for the fabrication process.
Automotive Lightweighting With Reduced Density Polyamide Blends
Ying Shi, May 2018
Schulamid RD “reduced density” nylon is obtained through an immiscible polymer blend which requires the optimization of the compatabilization system, component viscosities, and, most of all, design of the compounding process. In addition to low density, low moisture absorption is achieved which provides part designers with more predictable physical properties and part dimensions when their application is exposed to real environmental conditions. For processors, lower moisture absorption means less moisture to remove. Cost savings can be realized by the reduced melt temperatures that can be used due to the improved flow characteristics of Schulamid RD. Less heat added means less heat to remove which reduces energy consumption for the entire process. A tailored heat stabilization technology has allowed use in under the hood applications like active grille shutters, fan shrouds, and other components requiring temperatures up to 150C.
Effects Of Different Fillers On The Thermo-Mechanical Properties And Coefficient Of Linear Thermal Expansion Of Polypropylene Composites
Manjusri Misra, May 2018
We study and report on the effect of different fillers on the coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) of polypropylene (PP) by melt extrusion technique. We examine and review the effect of some fibers such as glass fiber and carbon fibers as well as traditional mineral filler like talc. Moreover, we study the effect of new biocarbon as an environmentally friendly filler on the CLTE of neat PP and compare with the previous samples. On the basis of these results, properties and potential applications of PP composites are discussed.
Biodegradable PHA For Use In Fashion Textiles
Anne Schauer-Gimenez, May 2018
Mango Materials has developed an innovative platform technology to turn waste gas streams into ecofriendly, biodegradable materials at competitive economics. Utilizing a biological process, microorganisms convert the carbon from methane into polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which can be formulated to produce various products. The recent application development of biodegradable bio-polyester production will be highlighted. By substituting persistent polyester with this biodegradable bio-polyester made of PHA, brands can finally produce truly sustainable garments. Until now PHA has never been developed into commercial textile fibers, making this discovery an opportunity to accelerate the market growth of PHA.
Biodegradation Of Biodegradable And Compostable Plastics Under Industrial Compost, Marine, And Anaerobic Digestion
Joseph Greene, May 2018
Biodegradation was measured for biodegradable, compostable, and oxodegradable plastics while exposed to aerobic composting, marine, and anaerobic digestion environments. Biodegradable plastics included, corn-starch based biobag, PHA bag, Ecoflex bag, and PLA lids. Positive and negative controls included, Kraft paper and polyethylene. Other plastics included, and oxodegradable plastic bags. For industrial composting environment, compostable plastic products, along with oxodegradable, cellulose paper, Kraft paper, and polyethylene plastic wrap, were placed in an environment consistent with ASTM 5338 conditions. For marine environment, the plastic samples were placed in a test environment consistent with ASTM 6691. For anaerobic digestion, plastic samples were placed in an environment consistent with ASTM 5511. The degradation was evaluated by measuring CO2 gas, which evolves from the degrading plastic samples. For industrial compost conditions, the compostable plastics, namely, PLA, sugar cane, PHA, Ecoflex, and starched-based biobag, degraded at least 90% and met the degradation time requirement in the ASTM D-6400 standard. The oxodegradable, UV-degradable plastics, and LDPE plastic bag had negligible degradation. After 180 days placed in a commercial food-waste composting operation, PLA, PHA, Ecoflex, and corn starch plastics completely degraded. Small fragments of sugar cane lids and Kraft paper were visible. The oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, LDPE plastic bags and UV-degradable plastic bag did not fragment nor degrade. The samples were also exposed to a simulated marine environment. Under marine conditions, PHA experienced significant biodegradation. Alternatively, corn-starch based trash bag, PLA cup, Ecoflex bag, sugar cane lids, UV-degradable plastic ring, and Kraft paper did not exhibit biodegradation under marine conditions. Under anaerobic conditions PHA experienced biodegradation, but PLA, paper, and polyethylene did not.


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