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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A particle additive is reported that simultaneously improves ductility and biodegradation behavior of poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Our approach explores the use of encapsulation technology to create degradation-promoting additives while limiting any breakdown of the matrix during melt extrusion and service life. In addition to promoting biodegradation such encapsulated particles are designed to enhance toughness of the matrix. Such dual use particles have the potential to broaden the uses of PLA. In this work, particle properties are examined and the accompanying tensile behavior and compostability of the composite investigated. Particles were dispersed within the PLA matrix by extrusion to 3D printer filament. Elongation at break was improved over neat PLA with limited loss of yield strength. Degradation rate in compost is accelerated and decoupled from environmental conditions by embedding a degradant material into the PLA matrix itself, aided by encapsulation technology that isolates and protects the degradant. The additive has been found to improve mechanical properties while accelerating the biodegradation of parts produced by extrusion-based methods.
This research investigated the effect of the addition of Orotic Acid (OA) on the crystallization kinetics of Polylactic Acid (PLA) in quiescent and non-quiescent conditions. A differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) study was used to investigate and understand the effect of the addition of orotic acid on 2500 HP PLA under quiescent conditions. DSC technique was utilized to capture the crystallinity, melting point, and other thermal parameters of PLA-OA blends. Conventional injection molding (CIM) was used to investigate the influence of adding OA into PLA under non-quiescent conditions. Two concentrations of orotic acid, 0.3 wt% and 0.7wt% were mixed with neat PLA and then investigated. It was observed that the 0.3 wt.% orotic acid provided significant improvement in crystallization kinetics by increasing the crystallinity and reducing the incubation time. Both blends under quiescent conditions showed almost the same crystallinity in which the maximum crystallinity that was observed was around 63% in the blend of the PLA/0.7OA at 85°C. For 2500HP PLA, Orotic acid (OA) showed to be an effective nucleating agent. A small amount (0.3 wt%) was sufficient to achieve 61% of crystallinity in injection molding at 80°C mold temperature.
A method was developed for fabricating recycled composites from post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) carpets and recycled PET resins. Compression molding of the components under different pressures, temperatures, and compositions was performed. Preliminary molding conditions were arrived at based on analyzing the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), and melt viscosity data for different raw material combinations. Molding factors were screened to define applicable ranges for each parameter. The effects of configuration and composition of components, temperature, molding time, and pressure were considered in the screening process. Mechanical properties of composites were determined by 3-point flexural (according to ASTM D790) and creep tests. The molded materials showed acceptable mechanical strength and modulus values required for structural applications.
Ultrasonic welding (USW) is a surface mating process where absorbed moisture in the surfaces of hydrophilic materials can negatively affect the weld joint quality and strength. USW is a secondary processing operation that is performed post-molding or extruding. Hence, during the storage time between primary processing and USW, the parts are susceptible to moisture absorption. Therefore, it is necessary to characterize the moisture sensitivity to meet the specified weld strength. Moisture sensitivity of Industrial standard test parts (ISTeP) made with PLA, PBS, and PLA/PBS 25/75 blend was characterized for USW in this study. ISTeP parts were moisture conditioned for one week at different relative humidity (RH) levels and then tested for weld strength. It was found that the weld strength decreased with increase in RH for 100% PLA ISTePs but it was not statistically significant. Above 65% RH, weld strength of 100% PBS was significantly decreased. Scanning electron microscopy of weld areas after the pull test revealed an increased amount of trapped porosity in the fractured surfaces of high relative humidity samples. It was also demonstrated that PBS and PLA/PBS composite can be ultrasonic welded.
In this paper, the tensile properties of indoor and outdoor post-consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonates (PC) have been compared with virgin PC at various aging conditions. 50% recycled PCs showed comparable tensile strength at breakage (~70 MPa) and maximum strain (~190 - 200%) before aging, when compared to virgin PC of same MFR of ~10 g/10 min. Three different high temperature and high humidity aging conditions were investigated: 40oC 90% RH, 60oC 90% RH, and 85oC 85% RH for up to 500 hours. Strength at breakage was found to decrease as the aging stress or aging time (with the same aging condition) was increased. Both the indoor resins were comparable in strength up to 60oC 90% RH. But in 85oC 85% RH both showed significant drop in strength. On the other hand, outdoor PCR resin showed much better performance (only ~12% degradation) in 85oC 85% RH compared to other two indoor resins (25 - 40% degradation). Outdoor UV aging characteristics were also compared between 0%, 50% and 75% PCR and degradation up to 600 hours were found to be within 5%.
Recycling of plastic waste at Forward Operating Bases. (FOBs) is continuing to be a topic of considerable interest to the Department of Defense. A previous paper  by the current authors described the need and opportunity to convert this waste stream to plastic lumber that could be used by the warfighter for various construction applications at forward operating bases (FOBs). The selected technique of flow intrusion molding of recycled PET (rPET) into 1 inch by 1 inch by 36 inch test specimens showed feasibility of this recycling technique and the resulting specimens were very stiff with high modulus but they failed during testing in a brittle fashion with fragmentation. This is not a desirable failure mode and work was conducted to improve the ductility of the plastic lumber specimens using both chain extenders and impact modifiers. This paper describes the investigation of using additives to improve ductility and therefore the utility of rPET to make plastic lumber using flow intrusion molding and the resulting performance characteristics.
Inovia Materials LLC is positioned to develop new generation flame retardants and flow enhancers based on ionic liquids, to replace and expand the applications of traditional additives with high “green chemistry” qualities, superior performance and enhanced properties. we have developed new flow enhancers for PC, TPU, TPAE and high-performance plastics: PAR, PPA, PPS, PSU, PEI, PEEK, etc. Our flowing enhancers have superior thermal stability (400 degree C TGA), perfect compatibility (ionic liquids being tailorable), significant increase melt flow index at very low loading level, and mild effects on the physical-mechanical properties of plastics. We welcome product application opportunities from industries.
A commercially available grade of thermally conducting TPE was characterized and processed into tubing for use in a microclimate cooling system. This paper details the material characterization, extrusion of the resin into tubing, and the evaluation of tubing properties. A series of extrusion trials was conducted to establish a relationship between processing parameters. It shows there is a weak relationship between draw ratio and tensile properties. At last, future work is proposed to further improve the thermal conductivity of this material.
The objective of this work is to study the rheological characteristic of the formulations and the processing of plastic production. In this work, introduced two polycarbonate resins were melt blended using two different twin-screw extruders, targeted to investigate the PC blends on the characterization behavior of the grade. Formulation and processing parameters showed an excellent effect on controlling the viscosity. The research aims to identify the underlying science by conducting a systematic study of two stages. First, the polycarbonate 30/70% (Grade-3) was chosen from historical data mining extracted in our project as was showing a high number of adjustment; the material was melt-blended using (Coperion) a Co-rotating twin-screw extruder (SB). The two polycarbonate resins (PC1/PC2) were PC1 content (30wt%-pph) of MFI (25gm/10mins) and PC2 content (70 wt.%-pph) of MFI (6.5gm/10mins). The grades also included four different color pigments and three additives. The second stage, the same material was included the same composition were blended in steps of eleven in a Thermo Haake Mini Lab II twin-screw micro compounder (ML). The steps (%PC1/%PC2) were (100%/0%), (90%/10%), (80%, 20%)… (0%/100%). This resulted in eleven batches. The rheological behavior of the compositions with pigment (WP), without pigments and additive (WOP) at 280 0C have been characterized through experimental measurements. The viscosity measurements of Variation PC blends of (30-70%) and at (0%, 30%, and 100%) were characterized at certain processing of (SB) and (ML). Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was performed under the effect of heating rate, Glass transition temperature (Tg) for PCs blends was measured and related it is affected by the minute variation blends, viscosities, and the various interactions indicated a significant effect on color changes.
This study compared the longevity performance of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) based thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) waterproofing membranes. It was demonstrated that PE-TPO outperformed PP-TPO for both heat aging and standard UV aging in terms of tensile property retention, weight retention and resistance of surface cracking. Better longevity for PE-TPO is attributed to the lack of tertiary carbon which is intrinsic to PP and prone to chain scission.
Shape memory polymers represent a family of stimuli-responsive materials that can be used in many applications. Polylactic acid (PLA) is a type of shape memory polymers that is biocompatible and biodegradable. By blending PLA with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), its shape memory effect would be improved. This study aims to optimize the shape memory effect of TPU/PLA polymer material systems and investigate the influence of material compositions and processing conditions on their shape memory effects. Blends were fabricated with different compositions and/or different thermal history. Experimental results revealed that the addition of TPU increased the recovery but decreased the fixity at the same time. Overall, the 65/35 TPU/PLA blend has the best shape memory performance. The duration of stretching at the transition temperature in the process of the test of the shape memory properties influenced the crystallization of samples. The sample could show a bad shape memory effect if the stretching time is too long.
This communication presents a systematic investigation of polypropylene (PP) formulations modified using SEBS (Styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene) and POE (Polyolefinic elastomer) block copolymers for impact modification. Impact performance of PP formulations containing POE, SEBS+POE and SEBS is compared under extreme conditions (high strain rate at -15°C and -30°C) and during quasi-static fracture tests at 25°C. Present work also discusses the effect of talc reinforcement on the fracture toughness of these formulations. The focus of the present work is to investigate the failure mechanisms of these formulations and understand how it correlates with the size, shape and other morphological features of the phase-separated SEBS and/or POE domains. The results show that the formation of crazes is the major energy absorbing mechanism at subzero temperatures. The 1 um domain sizes for SEBS modified PP leads to the stabilized craze formation and the highest fracture energy absorption amongst all the formulations investigated. It is shown that the effective stiffness of the dispersed phase and optimum particle size controls the damage density and energy absorption for polypropylene under extreme conditions.
Additives are commonly used in polyethylene applications to provide processing and long-term stability as well as to enhance or modify polymer performance for specific physical properties. Slip agents are one type of modifier used to alter the coefficient of friction in polyethylene films. Fatty amide based slip agents function by migrating to the surface of the film to provide a lubricating layer which enables the film surfaces to slide more easily across one another and when in contact with blown film extrusion and conversion equipment to facilitate processing. A combination of direct (e.g. XRF) and indirect (e.g. HPLC) analytical methodologies are used to measure the additive types and levels used for polyethylene applications. For slip agent analysis, the fatty amide is typically separated from the polymer matrix using an extraction technique (e.g. Soxhlet, Microwave, ASE) or by use of total polymer dissolution followed by polymer precipitation. The extract is then filtered and analyzed by a chromatographic technique, typically, HPLC-UV, GC-FID, or GC-MS. In some instances, polymer matrix signals from oligomers or other additives can interfere with the analysis. Furthermore, the slip agents from various suppliers are a mixture of fatty amides so analysis of the erucamide peak requires inherent knowledge of the specific amide distribution for the supplied slip agent. In this paper, a new and novel use of a gas chromatograph with a nitrogen chemiluminescence detector will be presented which illustrates a universal calibration of erucamide slip agents that compensates for the various amide distribution profiles from three different suppliers. This approach can also be extended to other slip agents such as behenamide and oleamide.
An oligomeric hydrocarbon, Poly(α-olefins) (PAOs), were previously reported as a potential greener solvent to replace conventional alkanes solvent due to its lower toxicity, flammability and volatility. However, its poor solubility toward most organic substrate may limit its applications as solvent. This work demonstrated three strategies to introduce polarity in PAOs and recycle polar additives simultaneously: polymerization of polar monomers onto a PAO anchor, host-and-guest interaction and end-group modification of a PAO anchor, vinyl-terminated polyisobutylene (PIB). In the first method, RAFT polymerization gave a better control of polar polymers onto PIB in order to maintain hydrocarbon solubility over other two polymerizations (hydroboration/O2 initiation, ATRP polymerization). Secondly, the polar polymer, poly(isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) could be successfully brought into and recover back out an alkane phase by treating with chemicals via a hydrogen bond network. The reversible solubilization of PNIPAM were used in recyclable Rhodium catalyzed hydrogenation. Lastly, a hydrophilic moiety (Hexamethylphosphoramide, HMPA) was successfully incorporated onto PIB. The hydrocarbon soluble Lewis base catalyst can be used in allylation of benzaldehyde in PAOs. Other ongoing studies are exploring this molecular recognition based solubilization with other solubilizing agents, other precipitation agents and exploring the use of this chemically responsive solubility both as a tool to prepare new solvent systems and new sorts of recyclable catalysts.
Most engineers and designers come from the metal world. Therefore, many of them make assumptions on the predicted performance of plastic properties based on their metals background. Unlike metals, the knowledge of color and appearance is extremely important in the case of plastics. Most plastic parts have dual functions— physical performance and aesthetics. Aesthetics are important since very few of the parts need to be painted or otherwise decorated if designed and manufactured with due diligence. On the other hand, even if we are designing the most aesthetically critical metal components such as exterior automotive parts, we mostly choose the metals and alloys based on the physical properties, weight, and cost. The aesthetics are left to the paint specialist, who will in most cases find a paint system (primer, paint, and application method) that will meet the cost, durability, and cosmetic requirements. In other words, aesthetics and physical properties are quite independent of each other. A vast majority of metal parts meet their aesthetic and environmental requirements just by getting brushed, plated, chromate conversion coated or anodized. Plastic parts not only need to meet the short-term color and appearance requirements, but also need to be resistant to long term color shift and fading. This paper is in two parts. Part 1 - Appearance and Color Factors - Material - Design - Tooling and Processing Part 2 –The fundamentals of Color and Appearance, Specifications, Measurement and Tolerances
The aim of this work was to compare the effects of compatibilisation with different additives on the properties of polyolefin blends, made from different PP and PE grades, to mimic the mixed polyolefins found in post-consumer waste and investigate ways to improve the properties of these mixtures. We found, that it is possible to compatibilize such polyolefin blends via the addition of ethylene-octen- or olefinic-block copolymers, where the type of copolymer shows an influence on the properties achievable. Also the blends show differently improved impact behavior, depending on the polyolefin which builds the major phase of the blend. These results show that it is possible to recycle such mixed polyolefin streams towards a suitable material with reasonable properties.
The snack flexible packages on the market today, such as potato chips, pita chips, taco chips, tortilla chips, etc., are typically sold by weight, that is, the packages need to fulfill the label claims by weight. However, the size of the packages is determined by the overall volume of the products. The determination of the overall volume of a given product weight is not trivial. The volume is a function of chip broken rate, chip size distribution profile, bag width, bag film gage and material, production line speed (bag/minute), VFFS machine type, etc. Traditionally, the size of the bag is determined by trial & error process through iterative lab testing and production trials. This approach typically results in unnecessary large bags due to the concerns of sealing contamination induced leakage issues in the case of the bag being too small. This leads to significant sustainability issues in shipping and distribution since the shipping trucks are often cubed out by volume (not by weight) for chip/snack packages. The energy is wasted by shipping more air (thus, less chip/snack packages) during distribution. In this work, authors propose a novel approach of bag size determination by using a virtual simulation of the VFFS chip filling process, where the potential influential attributes, such as chip broken rate, chip size distribution profile, bag width, bag film gage and material, production line speed (bag/minute), and VFFS machine type, can be modeled and their impact on the bag size can be quantified. A progressive 3-case simulation is performed and presented in this paper. The results are directionally correct based on the authors’ observation and past experience. Currently, authors are looking for industry partners (brand owners, co-packers and machine manufacturers) to collect production data and validate the analysis model. The intent of this paper is to bring the awareness of applicability of the simulation technology regarding to the bag size determination and chip/snack filling process, and ultimately help the industry in adopting the technology to make the chip bag filling process more sustainable, i.e., to ship less air.
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