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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.
New Advances in Torque Rheometry
Andrew Yacykewych, May 2001

The torque rheometer has been an essential instrument for a wide spectrum of research and development and quality control testing laboratories throughout the years. The torque rheometer has evolved just as quickly as advances in material chemistry. Highly sophisticated software and hardware technologies have now been introduced to better serve the needs of a modern laboratory. New challenges in such areas as plastics recycling and environmentally friendly fillers for plastics are some of the needs being met by using this multifunctional instrument. This paper intends to discuss how these changes have made the instrument more relevant than ever.

Non Woven Textiles from Melt Spun Recycled PET
Mark Kegel, Igor Sbarski, Edward Kosior, May 2001

This study examines the effect of nucleating agents on the physical properties of melt drawn fibres made from post consumer Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (RPET). Clear and coloured RPET derived from carbonated soft drink bottles have been used in this study. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) and carbon black (CB) have been added at varied addition rates in a linear low density (LLDPE) and PET carrier. The effect these additives have on the physical properties of the finished textile were evaluated. Evaluations show that reprocessed bottle grade PET is suitable for fibre applications if the intrinsic viscosity and the final fibre properties are carefully controlled. LLDPE masterbatch containing TiO2 and CB at addition rates in the order of one percent were able to improve processing, physical properties and the rate of crystallisation.

Numerical Simulation of Co-Injection Molding
James Wang, May 2001

In the co-injection molding process, two (or more) different polymers are injected into the cavity simultaneously or sequentially. Different properties of these two polymers and their distribution in the cavity greatly affect the applications of this molding process. The skin layer can use special polymers to provide good appearance and texture, strength, chemical resistance, EMI shielding and other functions. The core layer can use recycled or inexpensive materials. Together these can improve part quality and lower the cost. However, due to the dynamic interaction of two polymers in the manufacturing process and their difference in properties, process control becomes more complicated and process design becomes a challenge. The rules used for the traditional injection molding process design may not always be useful for co-injection molding any more. An integrated CAE software can be used to simulate the co-injection molding process. In this study, the capability and usefulness of the CAE tool will be shown. The control of polymer distribution will be discussed. The effects of polymer properties and their distribution on part quality will also be studied.

One-Step-Sandwich-SMC: A New Method for the Production of Lightweight Vehicle Parts
A. Hermann, U. Reimer, R. Bjekovic, A.K. Bledzki, May 2001

In respect of weight reduction an increasing request for light weight materials exists in the automotive industry. The compression molding of sheet molding compounds (SMC) has been established as a cost-efficient and widely applied process for semi-structural automotive components, especially in commercial vehicles. The deficiency of this material is the relatively low Young's modulus, which prevents these materials from being used in loaded structures. Therefore the idea was to increase the performance of these materials by forming a sandwich, but in principle use the same fast and cost-effective process of conventional SMC. The principle of this new technology is based on a one-step process using one sheet containing a blowing agent disposed between two conventional SMC sheets in the mold. By closing the mold the three layers are compressed and heated up until the expansion of the core material starts. The foaming process resulting from the expansion of the core material is controlled by a defined opening motion of the mold according to the requested sandwich height. After the foaming process the curing of the part is completed. The result is a rigid lightweight sandwich structure. The advantages of the One Step Sandwich-SMC in comparison to typical sandwiches are the decrease in production cost and the recycling properties, since no separation of the single layers is required (single material system) and since additionally the core layer may contain a high amount of SMC scrap material. The developing process of this technology was conducted by the simultaneous integration of fundamental research (material development, testing, processing technology) and by the development of the structural part (part conception/design). This demonstrator component is the front hood of a commercial vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz Actros, which was produced with optimized processing parameters. For the demonstrator chosen a cost potential of 30 % and a weight reduction potential of 10-1

Plastic Media as a Mold/Screw Cleaning Alternative
John M. Todd, May 2001

Maintaining molds/screws integrity through regular thorough cleaning is a key factor in producing quality plastic molded parts. The ability to clean quickly and economically (while being aware of environmental issues) is a challenge and a goal for all molders. Non-abrasive blast cleaning utilizing plastic media is the answer to all of the above. Not only is plastic media blasting quick/efficient, it will not alter/damage the mold or screw surface, round/erode corner and edges, or alter tolerances. In addition, all this can be attained with a product that is completely non-hazardous, which makes disposal a non-issue. All of the above has been documented through years of research. Data has been gathered on cleaning times, equipment and material costs with consideration for waste disposal costs comparing hand cleaning, chemical cleaning, and plastic media blast cleaning.

Polyester Polyols for Polyurethanes from Recycled PET
Peter Rossi, Edward Kosior, Pio Iovenitti, Syed Massod, Igor Sbarski, May 2001

Plastic packaging forms a significant portion of household waste, and PET soft drink bottles represent a major percentage of the waste. Consequently, PET bottle grade material makes up a significant portion of the feedstock in the recycling plant at Visy plastics. The end uses are theoretically many, however, there are few applications for less purified grades of recycled PET. This paper presents the preliminary results of an industry based collaborative research project which aims to investigate the breaking down of recycled PET into its chemical building blocks using glycolysis. The main objective is to produce a polyester polyol for the polyurethane industry from recycled PET and to compare the properties with that of a virgin resin.

Process Optimization for Reactive Blending and Compatibilization of PA 6 and PET in Extrusion
Sven Prollius, Edmund Haberstroh, May 2001

Blends of PA and PET do not have a minor significance in industrial production any more. Especially since the European beverage industry decided to use (multi- and single layer) PET bottles containing PA, the economic and ecological interest in recycling PA and PET is stringently increasing. In former research projects, where IKV has been involved, the compatibilization of PA and PET in extrusion was simply established. New investigations, focussing on the process optimization, enable to correlate the process parameters with the material properties. Therefore an extruder cascade was developed for a one-step-in-situ compatibilization and in addition a new characteristic parameter was constituted which is independent of the type of extruder.

Recovery of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste via Solid State Mechanochemistry
Klementina Khait, Erin G. Riddick, John M. Torkelson, May 2001

A new solid-state mechanochemical technology is being developed to create value-added materials from post-consumer plastic waste. The process, called solid state shear pulverization (S3P), can recycle various mixtures of ordinarily incompatible plastics, including post-consumer film waste, by subjecting the polymers to high shearing forces in the solid state. This produces uniform, light-colored powders of variable fineness suitable for processing by all conventional plastic fabrication techniques. The resulting materials consistently exhibit high elongation and impact strength. Northwestern University and Material Sciences Corporation are transitioning S3P from the laboratory to the commercial scale.

Recycling of 100% Cross-Linked Rubber Powder by High-Temperature High-Pressure Sintering
Jeremy E. Morin, Richard J. Farris, May 2001

Studies estimate there are two billion scrap tires in U.S. landfills with over 270 million tires added yearly. An overview of a simple technique for recycling thermosets will be discussed. In short, it is possible to recycle rubber powders made from scrap tires with the application of only heat and pressure and achieve good mechanical properties. An investigation of the mechanical properties of typical consolidated rubber powders as a function of the molding variables is be shown. To date every type of cross-linked elastomer investigated could be sintered, including silicone rubbers, natural rubbers, ethylene-propylene-diene rubbers, styrene-butadiene rubbers and fluoroleastomers.

Recycling of Crosslinked Multi-Layer Thermoplastic Films - Miscibility Studies
Marcel G. Sittel-Faraj, Ferenc Cser, Margaret Jollands, Sati Bhattacharya, May 2001

This study was part of a program of work undertaken to develop recycling technology for multi-layer films which are not currently recycled. These multi-layer films comprise barrier layers with surface layers for mechanical strength, and tie layers between. Crosslinking is used to enhance various mechanical properties. The crosslinked layers have a high viscosity which creates processing problems, eg. if the film is recycled, high processing pressures are required. Furthermore, material blend component incompatibilty can result in inferior mechanical properties. Monolayer films of the virgin materials were produced. Multi-layer film with crosslinked EVA/LLDPE and a barrier layer was produced on a blown film line. This multi-layer film was agglomerated" then reprocessed in a twin screw extruder with virgin LDPE and LLDPE and blown into film. The blend miscibility was then determined using a TA Instruments TMDSC. It was found that LDPE blends were initially miscible with the containing scrap whereas LLDPE blends were immiscible. The LDPE miscibility was partly reversible as the blend components phase separated after the second heat treatment during testing in the TMDSC instrument. The initial miscibility was attributed to being induced by high shear during processing."

Recycling of Multilayer and Barrier Coated PET Containers
Mark Kegel, Edward Kosior, May 2001

This paper describes the process for removing barrier layers and coatings (oxygen and carbon dioxide) from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrates through a conventional mechanical bottle recycling system. Varied wash chemistry and barrier medium have been examined and the effect on residual multilayer material or coating has been evaluated. Wash chemistry was found to be the controlling factor in improving the external coating removal efficiency. Delamination through mechanical working was found to be the controlling mechanism for separating multilayer materials. The conclusion drawn from our experiments is that the PPG Bairocade coatings were removed most efficiently. Internal deposition techniques may contribute fewer residues to the RPET, however substantiating this is difficult.

Reinforcement of Thermoplastics Using Microcomposite Fillers
Peter R. Hornsby, Charles E. Bream, May 2001

Thermoset recyclate fillers are considered as microcomposite reinforcements for polymers. Emphasis is given to glass fibre-reinforced phenolic and polyester waste products as functional fillers for polypropylene, where with appropriate surface modification, significant enhancement in mechanical properties can be achieved. In this respect, the role of a two component treatment package is discussed, in terms of fibre-matrix interfacial bonding, the effect on properties of the host polypropylene matrix, and the failure mechanism induced. Novel integrated compounding technology is described for the cost-effective preparation of polymer composites, containing thermoset recyclate fillers.

Rheology and Crystallization in Fiber Optic Cable Jacket and Conduit Extrusion
Scott H. Wasserman, J. LaMonte Adams, May 2001

Rheological tests measure melt-state polymer flow, delineating molecular structure and predicting extrudability. Rheology of compounds used in fiber optic (FO) cable jackets and in the conduits that contain such cables will be our focus. Polyolefin-based jackets strengthen the FO cable and protect internal components, while the conduit provides long-term strength and protects the cables against environmental stresses. High density polyethylene use in these applications is growing rapidly, spurred by FO cable growth. Important properties in both applications include melt-state processability, stress crack resistance and solid-state stiffness. Melt rheology directly influences processability, combining with crystallization behavior to dictate final solid-state properties.

Solvent Welding of Abs and Hips-A Case Study in Methylene Chloride Substitution
J. Desai, C.M.F. Barry, J.L. Mead, R.G. Stacer, May 2001

An investigation was conducted to evaluate replacements for methylene chloride in the solvent welding of an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene system (ABS) and a high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). Fourteen candidate solvents were experimentally considered. These were divided into three general categories: traditional, green and clean." A relative hazard rating was assigned to each solvent by taking the maximum concentration that the solvent could keep in equilibrium in a specified air space and dividing this value by the threshold limit value (TLV). Solvent welding was tested in both bond-in-tension and single-lap shear geometries. Parameters affecting resultant bond strength that were quantified included time polymer in contact with solvent time after surfaces joined temperature (pre- and post-bonding) contact pressure and vacuum."

The Blends of Polypropylene (PP) with Functional Polyolefin Elastomer (FPOE) for Recycling of Xerographic Toners
Hui Tang, Charles L. Beatty, May 2001

This paper presents experimental results on the blends of polypropylene (PP) with functional polyolefin elastomer (FPOE) for recycling of xerographic toners. All experiments were carried out in a co-rotated reactive twin screw extruder. The investigation of the mechanical properties and morphology for different blends consist of PP, xerographic black toners and functional POE (FPOE) through reactive compounding. It is of interest to note that the notched Izod impact resistance of the blends with functional POE (FPOE) is significantly improved relative to physical blends. However, tensile strength at yield (?y) and modulus of elasticity (E) of the reactive blends are reduced. The reason why the impact properties should be so is clearly shown by the stress-strain behavior of the blends. Morphology of the cryogenic fracture surfaces of the blends was studied through scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results of morphological studies indicated that not only the domain size of the phase of black toners could be reduced but also the interfacial adhesion could be enhanced through proper functional POE (FPOE). The phase morphology of the blends also illustrated that better dispersion of black toners could be obtained through using FPOE whereas serious agglomeration of black toners was found in the physical blends. It is elucidated that the functional POE could be an excellent candidate of compatibilizer for recycling xerographic black toners.

The Carbon Dioxide Technology Platform
Joseph M. DeSimone, May 2001

What if the electronics industry used specially designed photoresists that could be deposited using a spin coating process based upon liquid CO2 instead of organic solvents? Also what if this industry didn’t have to use hundreds of millions of gallons of water per day to remove sub-micron particles during the manufacture of integrated circuits and flat panel displays? Imagine polymerizing monomers in a continuous stirred tank reactor with the resulting polymers instantly dry, avoiding the trillions of BTUs needed every year to dry commercial polymers made in aqueous reaction media. Imagine an automotive industry that doesn’t expose its employees to toxic chlorinated solvents during metal degreasing processes. Imagine a textile industry that doesn’t need to use 100 lbs of water for every 1 lb of yarn that was dyed. Imagine local dry cleaners that don’t need to clean garments in perchloroethylene and local businesses that don’t need to pay exorbitant, newly enacted taxes on solvent use or carry newly mandated liability insurance policies. What if the demands on municipal water systems and municipal waste water systems could be dramatically reduced by changes in manufacturing technology? Imagine an educational environment where students become grounded in the fundamentals of their core disciplines, are exposed to cutting-edge, multidisciplinary science, and can experience the satisfaction and excitement that comes from doing research that makes a difference to society. The discussion will focus on the latest developments from the NSF Science & Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes. In particular, the detailed synthesis and CO2 solution properties of fluorinated and siloxanebased homopolymers and block copolymers will be discussed. The utility of such macromolecules will also be demonstrated for use in coatings (photoresists and textiles), separations, stabilizers for polymerizations, and scaffolds for catalysis. Particular attention w

The Effect of Residual Impurities on the Rheological and Mechanical Properties of Engineering Polymers Separated from Mixed Plastics
Ruifeng Liang, Rakesh K. Gupta, May 2001

This paper reports the results of an investigation of the effects of purity level and nature of impurities on the properties of recycled polycarbonate and recycled acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene polymers blended with the corresponding virgin resins. The relevant thermal, mechanical and flow properties were measured. It is concluded that properties of recycled polymers depend not only on the amount of impurity present but also on the kind of impurities and contaminants that are present. The latter factor even plays an important part in relation to compatibility of polymers. However, polymer melt rheology seems less sensitive to impurities than some mechanical properties such as impact strength. More than 99% purity is needed for recycling these polymers back into their original, high-value applications.

The Role of Testing in the Failure Analysis of Plastics
Edward W.S. Bryant, Steve Ferry, May 2001

Failure analysis (FA) of products and materials always requires careful observation of the general circumstances involved. The product failure analyst never overlooks external causes or environmental effects. All FA also requires a healthy dose of common sense and a 'Sherlock Holmes' investigatory sense. However, specialized material and product tests are also essential components of successful FA including: material mechanical properties, tests for composition and uniformity, residual stress tests, tests for contamination, identification and quantification of residual solvents, microstructural examination, and many more. An overview of general FA techniques will be presented, followed by specific examples of plastic FA. These specific examples will be discussed in detail, with special emphasis on the key findings derived from specialized laboratory testing. Examples will include plastic piping systems, consumer products, industrial equipment, and sporting equipment. Techniques discussed will include residual solvent identification by GC/MS, various spectroscopic techniques, optical and electron microscopy, thermal analysis, and mechanical properties testing.

Thermal Analysis of Blends of Recycled HDPE and Virgin Polyolefins
Paul Miller, Edward Kosior, Igor Sbarski, Syed Masood, Pio Iovenitti, May 2001

This paper investigates the melting point and crystallinity behaviour of blends of recycled milk bottle HDPE with injection moulding and film blowing grade high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) as part of a larger investigation into blends of recycled HDPE and virgin polyolefins. The variation in melting points and crystallinity levels for blends of recycled HDPE with either HDPE or LLDPE were linear with composition, and displayed only one melting point, while recycled HDPE with LDPE displayed separate melting points for each compositional component.

Vibration-Assisted Injection Molding Applied to Recycled General Purpose Polystyrene
Akihisa Kikuchi, John P. Coulter, May 2001

Because of their previous thermal and shear history, recycled plastic materials have properties that are significantly inferior to those of their unrecycled counterparts. Thus, the applications of these materials are limited. With the aid of Vibration-Assisted Injection Molding (VAIM) technology, during the present study the properties of products made from recycled polymeric materials were improved. In this paper, the property enhancements realized with recycled polystyrene are presented compared with those obtained through the convention injection molding of virgin material. Also, a potential theoretical basis for the phenomena is discussed.

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