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Various topics related to sustainability in plastics, including bio-related, environmental issues, green, recycling, renewal, re-use and sustainability.
Surface Cleaning of Mold Release Compounds from Metals and Non-Metallic Materials
Michael J. Rich, Sara Pschigoda, Lawrence T. Drzal, May 2002
Mold release compounds can be transferred to molded parts and interfere in downstream painting, decorating, and bonding operations. These agents also accumulate on tool surfaces necessitating periodic cleaning which disrupts productivity and can involve the use of caustics or solvents. This study reports the promising results of using short duration exposures to UV irradiation to remove mold release compounds from both metals and non-metallic materials, such as plastics and polymer composites. In this study assorted materials were intentionally contaminated with heavy amounts of industrial mold release agents. The surfaces were rapidly and efficiently cleaned following exposure to high intensity UV light as demonstrated by a significant reduction in the water contact angle. UV treatments provide an environmentally benign alternative means to remove mold release compounds from tool or molded part surfaces.
The Effect of Additives on the Processing and Physical Properties of Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (RPET)
Mark Kegel, Igor Sbarski, Edward Kosior, Syed Masood, May 2002
This paper describes the effect of individual additives that are present in masterbatch formulations, and the role they play in modifying physical properties and processability of blends based on RPET. Additives such as titanium dioxide, carbon black, linear low-density polyethylene and polyethylene wax are often incorporated in masterbatch compositions. The blends based on these additives have been analysed for shifts in thermal transition points, levels of crystallinity and physical properties such as tensile and impact strength. The results show that at the addition rates used, some additives had significant effects on processability and crystallinity, negligible effects on physical properties and antagonistic effects were noted when additives were combined.
The Effect of Orientation on Mechanichal Properties of Recycled PET
Angela D. Hasenbalg, May 2002
The use of plastic products is becoming more prevalent in society. Scrap from plastics processing is reground and reused by plastics manufacturers. When the percentage of reground plastic becomes higher than 30% a decrease in mechanical properties is seen. No research has currently been found to encourage runner, vent, or gate modifications to enable manufactures to use a higher percentage of recycled material. The objective of this investigation determine if pin point, standard, or fan gates have an effect on the molecular orientation of virgin, 30%, and 80% recycled PET. Molecular orientation can be evaluated by performing mechanical property testing such as yield strength, tensile modulus, percent elongation, and hardness testing. Tensile bar inserts will be machined with pin point, standard, and fan gate styles. The resulting bars will be subjected to the mechanical tests of yield strength, tensile modulus, percent elongation, and hardness. By using a 2k factorial designed experiment, the results will be analyzed to determine which, if any, gate causes the mechanical properties of the recycled plastic to be similar, within 10%, of the virgin material.
The Effects of Multiple Heat Histories on the Mechanical Properties of High-Impact Polystyrene
Jonathan DeSousa, May 2002
The plastic materials that make up consumer items are most often discarded after use. However, thermoplastics can be subjected to several recycle histories before they are disposed of in a landfill. Many studies have shown that mechanical recycling can cause some level of degradation of polymer properties. However, few studies have looked at the effect of repeated recycle histories on the properties of plastics. In this study, the effects of multiple recycle histories on the mechanical properties of high-impact polystyrene were determined in an attempt to show that plastics can be quite recyclable even after a large number of recycle histories. In this study, the high-impact polystyrene was reprocessed a total of thirty (30) times. Melt flow rate, tensile properties, and impact properties were determined for these multiple recycle histories. In most cases, the change in properties was relatively small, even for the large number or recycle histories studied.
The Effects of Power Ultrasonic Wave on In-Situ Polymerization and Formation of PMMA-Clay Nanocomposites
Joung Gul Ryu, Hyung Soo Kim, Jae Wook Lee, May 2002
Several methods have been used to synthesize polymer-clay nanocomposites. In-situ polymerization with clay belongs to a classical way to develop nano-structured materials, while melt intercalation is being recognized as another useful approach due to its versatility and environmentally benign character.In this research, we prepared polymer-clay nanocomposites based on the poly (methyl methacrylate) and organically modified montmorillonite via two-stage sonication process. According to the unique mode of power ultrasonic wave, the sonication during processing led to enhanced breakup of the clay agglomerates and reduction in size of the dispersed phase. Optimum conditions to form stable exfoliated nanocomposites were studied for various sonication times, sonication ratios, addition of initiator and different kinds of clay.It was found that a novel attempt carried out in this study yielded further improvement in the mechanical performance of the nanocomposites compared to those produced by the conventional melt mixing process, as revealed by DMA, XRD and TEM.
Thermal and Mechanical Studies of Recycled HDPE, PP and PET from Blow- Extruded and Blow -Injected Bottles
Imarú Baquero, Natalia Moreno, Miren Ichazo, Marco A. Sabino, May 2002
This work examines the melting point and crystallinity behavior applying differential scanning calorimetry; mechanical properties by tension and Charpy-impact behavior and Melt Flow Index of recycled High Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polyethylen terephthalate used in blow-extruded and blow-injected bottles from post-consumer and post-industrial scrap. Some of the DSC results indicate a small decrease of the melting point for HDPE and a lower super cooling for the materials tested. Mechanical properties suffer minor deteriorations making possible the use of these recycled polymers in some industrial applications with reduction of cost.
Upgrading Recycled Waste Stream Polyethylene by Modification with Nanoscale Clay Hybrids
Amrutheswar H. Puttarudraiah, Lloyd A. Goettler, May 2002
Recycled polyethylene (RPE) - clay hybrids (RPECHs) were prepared by melt mixing of RPE with modified montmorillonite clay using maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene oligomer (PE-MA) as a compatibilizer. Electron microscopy and X-ray diffractometry revealed that dispersion of hydrophilic clay in the highly hydrophobic polyethylene matrix increased with increasing PE-MA content. The highly dispersed RPECH nanocomposites provide substantially enhanced mechanical properties over neat RPE. The results of experimental parametric studies are reported and applied to new value-added applications for this inexpensive and plentiful polymer resource.
Using Recycled Concrete as a Filler in Polyethylene Resins
Joshua R. Bush, Michael H. Goetz, Michel J. McCluskey, May 2002
Adding concrete fillers to base plastic materials can increase mechanical properties such as tensile strength, flexural strength, and hardness. This can be done through the addition of fillers to a virgin and recycled plastic material. By increasing these properties, plastics can be used in applications where they were not previously used.The effects of compounding concrete filler with polyethylene were studied. Two different percentages of the concrete fillers were added to test different properties against a NEAT (nothing extra added to it) sample of both recycled and virgin polyethylene.
Viscosity Characterization of Bulk Molding Compounds
Brett W. Weber, May 2002
Viscosity variations in bulk molding compounds have long been a concern. The reactive nature of the polymer, response to thickening agents, high filler and glass loading, all contribute to this variance. Additionally, environmental factors such as storage temperatures and humidity affect the viscosity of these compounds.Confounding the issue is the often forgotten about gage variation. There have been many test methods developed in an attempt to characterize the viscosity of bulk molding compounds. Most of these contribute, as much, if not more to the total variance.This study examines viscosity characterization methods for bulk molding compounds
Bio-Composite Materials as Alternatives to Petroleum-Based Composites for Automotive Applications
L.T. Drzal, September 2001
Natural/Bio-fiber composites (Bio-Composites) are emerging as a viable alternative to glass fiber reinforced composites especially in automotive applications. Natural fibers which traditionally were used as fillers for thermosets are now becoming one of the fastest growing performance additives for thermoplastics. Advantages of natural fibers over man-made glass fiber are: low cost low density competitive specific mechanical properties reduced energy consumption carbon dioxide sequesterization and biodegradability. Natural fibers offer a possibility to developing countries to use their own natural resources in their composite processing industries. The combination of bio-fibers like Kenaf Hemp Flax Jute Henequen Pineapple leaf fiber and Sisal with polymer matrices from both non-renewable and renewable resources to produce composite materials that are competitive with synthetic composites requires special attention i.e. biofiber- matrix interface and novel processing. Natural fiber reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites have attained commercial attraction in automotive industries. Needle punching techniques as well as extrusion followed by injection molding for natural fiber–PP composites as presently adopted in the industry need a “greener” technology-- powder impregnation technology. Natural fiber–PP or natural fiber–polyester composites are not sufficiently eco-friendly due to the petro-based source as well as non-biodegradable nature of the polymer matrix. Sustainability industrial ecology eco-efficiency and green chemistry are forcing the automotive industry to seek alternative more Eco-friendly materials for automotive interior applications. Using natural fibers with polymers (plastics) based on renewable resources will allow many environmental issues to be solved. By embedding bio-fibers with renewable resource based bio-polymers such as cellulosic plastic corn-based plastic starch plastic and soy-based plastic are continuously being developed at Michigan S
Polyester Resin System Utilizing Renewable Sources - Soybean and Corn
T.D. Wade, September 2001
A resin that utilizes 25% grain-derived organics has been developed. Ethanol and soybean oil are reacted with other materials to produce a durable polyester resin capable of equal or better performance than current polyester resin systems. Utilizing the sheet molding compound (SMC) molding process this unique renewable-source polyester resin has successfully produced large combine parts for use in the agriculture industry. The transportation industry is investigating this resin for use on upcoming vehicles.
Development of Low Density GMT Composites for Automotive Applications
V. Raghavendran, September 2001
The development in the field of composites has been spurred by the need for lightweight fuel-efficient automobile that is environmentally friendly and affordable. A low density light weight GMT composite containing long chopped fiber strands was developed by AZDEL Inc. for use in headliner and other automotive applications. The low density GMT (LD-GMT) is available in grades ranging in basis weight of 600 to 2000 g/m2. This paper presents development of this LD-GMT material for automotive interior and structural applications. This thermoformable material has several advantages over other traditional materials like steel and thermoset composites. The LD-GMT offers design flexibility low weight high rigidity excellent energy absorption characteristics faster cycle times and an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. The design flexibility and application of these LD-GMT composites in automotives and the advantages of applying these composites over the other materials in interior structural and modular applications will be discussed.
A Rational Way to Reduce Number of Colorants Used
Joseph M. Cameron, S.T. Greer, May 2001
The number of colors or colorants used in your operation takes on a life of its own, ever growing in size and complexity. There are valid reasons for the growth; to better match colors, satisfy a key customer, gain more heat or light stability, improve cost or processing properties, more reliable supply or to provide a specialty product. At the time each one is introduced we are typically under some driving force to satisfy a tactical need, what the heck its just one more item, and we lack the time to take a more strategic view. Next thing you know the number has grown from 80 - 100 items to 300 or more! So, do you really need that many colors? If you had fewer colors, your operations would be much simpler and simplicity implies better, less costly more reliable operating. So why not do the job with 50 colors. Well why stop there, why not 20 or maybe 16, shucks the rainbow only has 7, ROYGBIV. You know, we see all the colors on a TV screen or CRT & they are made from just Red Green & Blue, why not 3 colors? This paper will deal with the issue of what is the right number of colors, how you can go about getting there (and maybe staying there) and finally some of the benefits you might expect.
Blends of Recycled Polyethylenes and Metallocene Impact Modifiers for Rotational Molding
E. Takács, M. Kontopoulou, J. Vlachopoulos, E. Voldner, K. Nichols, May 2001
This paper describes the development of blends of recycled polyethylenes suitable for rotational molding. The blends consist of recycled post-industrial polyethylene resins and polyolefin plastomer impact modifiers, produced by single-site (metallocene) catalysts. The rheological properties of the blends were found to be favorable for rotational molding. Rotomolded parts provided satisfactory low temperature impact strength and good tensile properties.
Conductive TPO for Electrostatic Painting
Susan Babinec, Ray Lewis, Robert Cieslinski, May 2001
The TPO (Polypropylene/Elastomer) market for injection molded automotive bumper fascia is driven by cost reduction, a balance of physical properties, ease of processability, and desirable aesthetics. Global volume for this application was approximately 740 MM lbs. in 1999, nearly half of which is electrostatically painted. Decreased application costs, increased productivity, and reduced environmental emissions can be realized through system optimization. This report describes the rheological and morphological phenomena governing the development of a conductive TPO (CTPO) for enhanced electrostatic painting.
Application of Chemo-Rheology to Establish a Process Window for a New Solventless System to Manufacture Pre-Pregs and Laminates for Electronic Applications
L.M. Dehnke, Permadi, Jose M. Castro, May 2001
The most common commercial processes for manufacturing pre-pregs for electronic applications use solvent-based epoxy systems. Solvents are environmentally unfriendly and contribute to voids in the pre-preg and laminate. Voids cause product variability, which is a major source of scrap in board shops. In this paper, we use chemo-rheological and kinetic measurements to identify a potential epoxy-based resin system for a solventless process, based on injection pultrusion. DSC and rheological data show that the candidate system does not react appreciably without catalyst to temperatures of 170°C or with catalyst at temperature below 110°C. The system solidifies below 105°C. It was found that the overall viscosity of the resin system is dependent upon the temperature, degree of cure, and filler content. Kinetic rate and viscosity rise expressions to be used in process modeling and optimization have been developed. A preliminary process window for the process has been established.
Biodegradable Plasticizers for Polylactic Acid
Stephen McCarthy, Xu Song, May 2001
Poly(lactic acid) [PLA] is a well known biodegradable polymer which has been used in drug delivery systems, surgical repair systems such as sutures and bone fracture fixation pins and screws. PLA is biocompatible, has a high tensile strength, and has a high elastic modulus[1,2]. However, one drawback of PLA is the low elongation at break due to a brittle fracture while under tensile and bending loads. The elongation at break of PLA is typically 3 - 5 percent[1]. The reason for this brittle behavior is due to physical aging which occurs during storage at room temperature and has been studied extensively.[3] Plasticization is a common technique used to increase the ductility of a brittle polymer. In the case of PLA a suitable plasticizer must be miscible with PLA so as to decrease the glass transition temperature, as well as be biodegradable and nontoxic so as to provide a useful biodegradable blend. The advantages of the plasticization are low cost, ease of processing, and the ability to alter the properties of the blends by varying the amount of plasticizer. Use of a functionalized plasticizer can be more desirable such that a chemical bond is formed with the PLA polymer thereby preventing loss of the plasticizer through migration.
Blends of Starch with Poly(Vinyl Alcohol)/Ethylene Copolymers for Use in Foam Containers
Geoffrey A.R. Nobes, William J. Orts, Gregory M. Glenn, Gregory M. Gray, Micahel V. Harper, May 2001
The use of foamed polymer packaging such as polystyrene (PS) cups, bowls and clamshells has decreased in recent years because of perceived environmental disadvantages. Blends of starch with poly(vinyl alcohol-co-ethylene), PVOH, a degradable, water-resistant polymer, were processed into viable alternatives to PS providing degradable polymers from renewable resources. Modulated DSC and X-ray crystallography were used to characterize the miscibility and morphology of extruded starch/PVOH blends that contained a series of plasticizers. These included combinations of water, glycerol, triacetin, citrate esters, and amino acids. The optimal blend formulation, based on miscibility, strength, aging characteristics, and capability to replace PS foam was--60-65% wheat starch, -25 -30% PVOH, and -5-10% plasticizer.
Blends of Various Proteins with Poly(Hydroxy Ester Ether)
C. Wang, C.J. Carriere, J.L. Willett, May 2001
Blends of poly (hydroxy ester ether) (PHEE), a recently developed bisphenol A ether-based synthetic biodegradable thermoplastic polymer, with a soybean protein isolate and two hydrolyzed wheat glutens were studied. Blends of the proteins with PHEE were produced from 20-70% by weight of protein content. The Young's moduli of the protein/PHEE blends falls in the range of 0.8 - 1.5 GPa with the tensile strengths ranging from 10-30 MPa. Fracture strengths of the blends ranged from 9-2 MPa-m1/2 depending on the amount of protein added. Morphological analysis indicated acceptable adhesion between the protein and PHEE phases in the blends. In general, as the protein content was increased the materials lost ductility and failed in a brittle manner; however, the mechanical properties of several compositions were comparable to current commercial thermoplastics such as polystyrene.
Combined Process Variables and Process Energy Monitoring for Injection Moulding
A.J. Dawson, P.D. Coates, A.L.Kelly, M. Woodhead, R. Collis, L. Owen, D. Owen, May 2001
Good injection moulding machine control is a necessary requirement for control of the process, however there is an acknowledged lack of process understanding, related in turn to a lack of understanding of the polymer under process conditions which inhibits the development of standardised route to process control. In our laboratory, specific pressure indices in an identified low noise region of the primary injection stage of injection moulding have been found to provide a sensitive indicator of changes in a polymer, including batch to batch changes and process-induced changes, which in turn allows meaningful Statistical Process Control to be undertaken. Growing concern for environmental issues, including international standards agreements such as ISO14001, demonstrate a clear requirement to conserve energy for both environmental and cost issues. Detailed energy measurements on injection moulding machines both in the laboratory and in industry demonstrate the potential of process energy measurements as an aid to the development of a systematic management approach to the environmental concerns of an organization. Laboratory DOE studies allow a further insight into the influence of a variety of machine variable settings on the total energy consumption. We are currently in the process of combining both process variable and process energy measurements, to provide processors with the richest level of process information.

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