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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PlasticsTrends, a website focused on trends and technologies in plastics, was founded in 2000 by Prithu Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D. Articles were written by scientists and industry experts. Here you will find an archive of PlasticsTrends articles from 2000-2018.
21st Century Advanced Plastic Additive Solutions to Watch
A lot has changed in the plastics additive segments in the last few years. The need for product differentiation is the primary driving force behind the wealth of new additives those are being incorporated in the plastics products. These additives are tailor-made systems to meet ever changing applications of plastics. The plastics additives global market of $46.3 B by year end 2014 has been growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4.5% over the last five years. Property modifiers have the largest share of the market, worth an estimated $22.8B by year end 2014. New market development is growing rapidly in Asia and likely to do so in coming years.
Fluorinated Polymer Processing Aids: How a Laboratory Cleanout Mistake Created a Family of Polymers That is Still Growing Even After 50 Years
Mistakes in science often lead to inventions. Polymer science is no exception. Around 1961, a laboratory scientist processing fluoroelastomers and polyolefins on the same extrusion line, discovered that for some reason he was able to process the most difficult polyolefins obtaining good appearance at higher throughput rates. An important patent was granted as a result of this work; the patent claimed the addition of small amounts of fluoropolymers (0.1 – 2.0 wt %) to polyolefins gave amazing processing benefits . This is how fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers gained their fame as polymer processing aids (PPA).
Fluoropolymer – A Solution for the Most Extreme Weathering Conditions
Poly-vinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a thermoplastic fluropolymer is selected by architects worldwide because of its proven long-term weathering resistance in outdoor environments. Plastics that are not modified may become brittle or weak over time and/or lose their original attractive appearance. This paper looks at the weathering stability of Kynar resin in a thin film geometry after 5 years exposure in South Florida. Thin films are more sensitive to UV degradation than thicker specimens. Unlike traditional thermoplastics, Kynar resins do not need UV or thermal stabilizers. This means that the stability seen in this test program is “built-in” to the backbone chemistry. Thus, their utility and performance in applications that require long-term outdoor protection is largely unrivaled.
My Career in Plastics
I have been retired from active business in the Plastics Industry for 5 years and now feel that this is a good time to look back and assess my career, to see if my course of action can be of any help to anyone else in the Industry.
Expanding the Impact of Polymeric-based 3D Printing Technologies
Over the past two decades, additive manufacturing (AM) technology has become fully ingrained into pop culture, with Do it Yourself (DIY) applications for the home, schools and other locations in addition to industrial applications for the aerospace, automotive, and biomedical industries. While AM can be used to fabricate objects from metals, polymers, and ceramics, polymeric materials are currently the most common. ASTM Standard F2792-12a describes techniques that can convert polymeric materials into useful products: 1) sheet lamination; 2) material extrusion; 3) vat photopolymerization; 4) powder bed fusion (with polymers); 5) binder jetting; and 6) material jetting. The automotive industry was an early adopter of 3D printing of polymeric materials, for example in the early 1990s a Japanese manufacturers used a commercialized vat photopolymerization process (widely known as stereolithography (SL)) to manufacture prototype door panels. More recently, an extrusion-based AM system was used on the International Space Station (ISS) .
A Perspective on Current Trends in 3D Printing Technology
The present pace of technological advancement is fast and furious. It is becoming harder than ever to predict what will come next. When Stratasys announced that it had produced world’s first color multi-material 3D printer, the race for faster new product design began. It has the ability to produce anything regardless of the complexity of the shape and color. Call it hype or not, the 3D printing technology is already in the spotlight and is undoubtedly an important fabrication technology. The incredible range of potential consumer applications that this game changing technology is starting to provide has caught the eye of the general press, for example Stuart Dredge wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper that starts “from jet parts to unborn babies, icebergs to crime scenes, dolls to houses: how new technology is shaking up making things.”
Inside the Box Creativity: A systematic Method for Yielding Extraordinary Innovation
It’s easy to get comfortable using the same innovation methods over and over again. We convince ourselves the lackluster methods we’ve been using all along will continue to produce inventive products and services to fill the organizational pipeline. But what if there was a method of innovation that could systematically yield extraordinary innovation?
Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics - Part III
In this third article about thermoplastics Flame Retardant (FR) trends, we will discuss unmet flame retardant needs. Like any other needs, opportunities for new flame retardants should be validated against commercial interests and regulatory requirements before resources are spent on meeting them. With that caveat in mind, the discussion below reflects what this author believes to be some of the key problems to be resolved in the near future. The article describes thermoplastic uses that require either unusual processing conditions or applications that result in the need for significant changes in the performance of flame retardant materials. The resulting changes in design may greatly shake up the thermoplastic flame retardant material market.
Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics – Part II
In Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics Part I, we discussed flame retardant (FR) regulations and how they might be expected to change. Nevertheless, the market is still strong for non-halogenated flame retardants. Therefore, the objective of this second part article is to summarize notable experimental results obtained with commercial Flame Retardants, and approaches that are likely to be important over the coming decade. New Flame Retardants chemistries and approaches will also be discussed.
Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics – Part I
Fire safety is crucial to our modern society. Flame retardants play an important role in the fire protection strategy. In recent years, regulatory demands have put enormous pressure on developing environments friendly flame retardants for thermoplastics. The aim of this series of articles is to review new flame retardant technology and trends in their use with thermoplastics. It describes advances in non-halogenated flame retardant technologies, new polymeric flame retardant additives, and advances in testing and fire risk evaluation.
Graphene-based Polymer Nanocomposites: The new Frontier
Here we go again. After intercalated compounds of graphite (1974), fullerenes (1985), and carbon nanotubes (1991), it is time for another allotrope of elemental carbon to be at the forefront of scientific curiosity (Boehm 2010). The allotrope is: “graphene”. By graphene, we mean the basal plane of graphite, a one atom thick two dimensional honeycomb layer of sp2 bonded carbon. Conversely, when many graphene layers are stacked regularly in three dimensions, graphite is created.
The Evolution of Screw Design Technology for the Injection Molding Process - Part 1
The screw is the heart of an injection molding process. Over the past several decades, screw design for the injection molding process has played a vital role in delivering high quality and value added plastics parts. That’s where the story begins.
‘Plug-and-Play’ Weight Reduction Solution by Hollow Glass Microspheres
Fillers have been in use since the early days of plastics. Today’s enormous growth of the polymer industry is due to the unique properties of fillers they impart to polymers. Glass bubbles (low density hollow glass microspheres) as fillers have been incorporated into thermoset polymers for decades. They are tiny hollow spheres and are virtually inert. These glass bubbles are are compatible with most polymers. Until recently, their use with thermoplastic polymers has been limited because of high rates of bubble breakage from the high shear forces to which they are exposed during such thermoplastic processing operations as extrusion compounding and injection molding. At issue has been the strength of the glass microspheres.
Trends in Bio-renewable Thermoplastics Elastomers
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) have been traditionally compounded and manufactured from raw materials based on fossil fuels. Current trends in marketplace abounds sustainability programs. TPEs are no exception to this trend. In a recent editorial, the authors stated “Through research and application, sustainability can evolve from a catchphrase to a societal one”. More than two decades ago the Brundtland Commission (formerly the World Commission on Environment and Development, WCED), deliberated sustainable development issue and gave a definition of sustainability: “Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Trends in Graphene and Graphene-based Nanocomposites
Since graphene was isolated by a group of physicists from Manchester University, UK in 2004, interest in graphene research throughout the world has skyrocketed. This huge activity stems from graphene’s unusual and extraordinary electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. Professor Geim, who was instrumental in the separation of graphene, recently commented, “Graphene is a wonder material with many superlatives to its name”. Why such glorification of graphene as a material? Because it is the thinnest known material in the universe and its strength is the highest ever measured. Prior to its separation into platelets, graphene was a controversial material and the subject of much speculation.
Improving processing and properties of polylactic acid
Poly(lactic acid) or PLA is a thermoplastic polymer made from the polymerization of lactic acid derived from the fermentation of natural sugars from corn, beets, or sugar cane (Figure 1)1-3. The polymer is biobased and can also be composted under industrial compost conditions. With increasing interest in sustainability and finding alternatives to petroleum-based products, PLA is at the forefront of the current trend towards bioplastics usage. PLA is being used as a replacement for many traditional PET and PS applications such as thermoformed packaging, fibers, card stock, foamed food trays and in blends with other thermoplastics such as polycarbonate for electronic or automotive applications. PLA is rapidly gaining increasing commercial acceptance and new applications are continually appearing on the market.
Publicizing Your Research
Companies send press releases to publications to inform readers about their products and services; and you can do the same with a technical release about your technical paper or research. If you have lab notes that you are willing put into an intelligible document, this could be a valuable technical resource to others in your science/technology community. Just keep in mind that the science and technology will come under the scrutiny of your peers.
Aspects of Electron Beam (EB) Processing of Polymers
Of the many ways one can modify traditional polymers, electron beam irradiation (EBI) is one of the most attractive technique to the scientific and the industrial community, since it can profoundly affects the molecular structure providing polymeric materials with unique properties.
Seeing Through the Plastic Hype
The current media focus on BPA was stimulated by a couple of studies that measured the amount of this chemical that leached into water stored in polycarbonate bottles. Such studies are motivated by one of the well-established chemical characteristics of BPA, namely that it has hormone-like effects. And since hormones can be physiologically active at very small doses, the potential effects of BPA certainly merit investigation, especially given that some hormone-driven cancers appear to be increasing.
The Role of Molecular Architecture in the Development of New Melt-Processable Fluoropolymers
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) is a material of choice in the chemical process industry (CPI) for many reasons such as high resistance to harsh chemicals combined with its stability against UV light and heat, high electrical resistance and its high purity. These properties make it a good material for insulating electrical wires, especially ones that get hot during it's use. PVDF is used in the manufacturing of thick wall pipes, fittings and other components used in the transportation and storage of aggressive chemicals. In fact, high purity of PVDF allows its use in the semi-conductor business for transportation and storage of ultra-high purity water.
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