Handbook of Plastics Technologies - PDF Free Download (2024)

Source: Handbook of Plastics Technologies

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS Carol M. F. Barry, Anne-Marie Baker, Joey L. Mead University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts

1.1 INTRODUCTION Plastics are an important part of everyday life; products made from plastics range from sophisticated products, such as prosthetic hip and knee joints, to disposable food utensils. One of the reasons for the great popularity of plastics in a wide variety of industrial applications is the tremendous range of properties exhibited by plastics and their ease of processing. Plastic properties can be tailored to meet specific needs by varying the atomic composition of the repeat structure, by varying molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. The flexibility can also be varied through the presence of side chain branching, via the lengths and polarities of the side chains. The degree of crystallinity can be controlled through the amount of orientation imparted to the plastic during processing, through copolymerization, blending with other plastics, and through the incorporation of an enormous range of additives (fillers, fibers, plasticizers, stabilizers). Given all of the avenues available for tailoring any given polymer, it is not surprising that the variety of choices available to us today exist. Polymeric materials have been used since early times even though their exact nature was unknown. In the 1400s, Christopher Columbus found natives of Haiti playing with balls made from material obtained from a tree. This was natural rubber, which became an important product after Charles Goodyear discovered that the addition of sulfur dramatically improved the properties; however, the use of polymeric materials was still limited to natural-based materials. The first true synthetic polymers were prepared in the early 1900s using phenol and formaldehyde to form resins—Baekeland’s Bakelite. Even with the development of synthetic polymers, scientists were still unaware of the true nature of the materials they had prepared. For many years, scientists believed they were colloids—a substance that is an aggregate of molecules. It was not until the 1920s that Herman Staudinger showed that polymers were giant molecules or macromolecules. In 1928, Carothers developed linear polyesters and then polyamides, now known as nylon. In the 1950s, Ziegler and Natta’s work on anionic coordination catalysts led to the development of polypropylene, high-density, linear polyethylene, and other stereospecific polymers. More recent developments include Metallocene catalysts for preparation of stereospecific polymers and the use of polymers in nanotechnology applications.

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CHAPTER 1

Materials are often classified as either metals, ceramics, or polymers. Polymers differ from the other materials in a variety of ways but generally exhibit lower densities, thermal conductivities, and moduli. Table 1.1 compares the properties of polymers to some representative ceramic and metallic materials. The lower densities of polymeric materials offer an advantage in applications where lighter weight is desired. The use of additives allows the compounder to develop a host of materials for specific application. For example, the addition of conducting fillers generates materials from insulating to conducting. As a result, polymers may find application in EMI shielding and antistatic protection. Polymeric materials are used in a vast array of products. In the automotive area, they are used for interior parts and in under-the-hood applications. Packaging applications are a large area for thermoplastics, from carbonated beverage bottles to plastic wrap. Application requirements vary widely but, luckily, plastic materials can be synthesized to meet these varied service conditions. It remains the job of the part designer to select from the array of thermoplastic materials available to meet the required demands.

1.2 POLYMER STRUCTURE AND SYNTHESIS A polymer is prepared by stringing together a low molecular weight species (monomer; e.g., ethylene) into an extremely long chain (polymer; in the case of ethylene, the polymer is polyethylene) much as one would string together a series of bead to make a necklace (see Fig. 1.1). The chemical characteristics of the starting low molecular weight species will determine the properties of the final polymer. When two low different molecular TABLE 1.1

Properties of Selected Materials48

Material

Specific gravity

Thermal conductivity, Joule cm/(°C cm2 s)

Electrical resistivity, µΩ cm

Modulus, MPa

Aluminum

2.7

2.2

2.9

70,000

Brass

8.5

1.2

6.2

110,000

Copper

8.9

4.0

1.7

110,000

Steel (1040)

7.85

0.48

17.1

205,000 350,000

Al2O3

3.8

0.29

>1014

Concrete

2.4

0.01

14,000

>1017

70,000

105 (2000° F)

205,000 350–1,250

Borosilicate glass

2.4

0.01

MgO

3.6

Polyethylene (H.D.)

0.96

0.0052

1014–1018

Polystyrene

1.05

0.0008

1018

2,800

Polymethyl methacrylate

1.2

0.002

1016

3,500

Nylon

1.15

0.0025

1014

2,800

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1.3

FIGURE 1.1 Polymerization.

weight species are polymerized, the resulting polymer is termed a copolymer—for example, ethylene vinylacetate. This is depicted in Fig. 1.2. Plastics can also be classified as either thermoplastics or thermosets. A thermoplastic material is a high molecular weight polymer that is not crosslinked. It can exist in either a linear or branched structure. Upon heating, thermoplastics soften and melt, allowing them to be shaped using plastics processing equipment. A thermoset has all of the chains tied together with covalent bonds in a three-dimensional network (crosslinked). Thermoset materials will not flow once crosslinked, but a thermoplastic material can be reprocessed simply by heating it to the appropriate temperature. The different types of structures are shown in Fig. 1.3. The properties of different polymers can vary widely; for example, the modulus can vary from 1 MN/ m2 to 50 GN/m2. For a given polymer, it is also possible to vary the properties simply by varying the microstructure of the material.

FIGURE 1.2 Copolymer structure.

FIGURE 1.3 Linear, branched, and cross-linked polymer struc-

tures.

There are two primary polymerization approaches: step-reaction polymerization and chain-reaction polymerization.1 In step-reaction (also referred to as condensation polymerization), reaction occurs between two polyfunctional monomers, often liberating a small molecule such as water. As the reaction proceeds higher molecular weight species are produced as longer and longer groups react together. For example, two monomers can react to form a dimer then react with another monomer to form a trimer. The reaction can be described as n-mer + m-mer → (n + m)mer, where n and m refer to the number of monomer units for each reactant. Molecular weight of the polymer builds up gradually with time, and high conversions are usually required to produce high molecular weight

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CHAPTER 1

polymers. Polymers synthesized by this method typically have atoms other than carbon in the backbone. Examples include polyesters and polyamides. Chain-reaction polymerizations (also referred to as addition polymerizations) require an initiator for polymerization to occur. Initiation can occur by a free radical, an anionic, or a cationic species. These initiators open the double bond of a vinyl monomer, and the reaction proceeds as shown above in Fig. 1.1. Chain-reaction polymers typically contain only carbon in their backbone and include such polymers as polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride. Unlike low molecular weight species, polymeric materials do not possess one unique molecular weight but rather a distribution of weights as depicted in Fig. 1.4. Molecular weights for polymers are usually described by two different average molecular weights, the number average molecular weight, M n , and the weight average molecular weight, M w . These averages are calculated using the equations below: ∞

Mn =

nM

i i ∑ ---------ni

(1.1)

i=1 ∞

Mw =

i=1

2

ni M i -----------ni M i

(1.2)

where ni is the number of moles of species i, and Mi is the molecular weight of species i. The processing and properties of polymeric materials are dependent on the molecular weights of the polymer as well as the molecular weight distribution. The molecular weight of a polymer can be determined by a number of techniques including light scattering, solution viscosity, osmotic pressure, and gel permeation chromatography.

FIGURE 1.4 Molecular weight distribution.

1.3 SOLID PROPERTIES OF POLYMERS

1.3.1

Glass Transition Temperature (Tg)

Polymers come in many forms, including plastics, rubber, and fibers. Plastics are stiffer than rubber yet have reduced low-temperature properties. Generally, a plastic differs from a rubbery material due to the location of its glass transition temperature (Tg). A plastic has

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1.5

a Tg above room temperature, while a rubber has a Tg below room temperature. Tg is most clearly defined by evaluating the classic relationship of elastic modulus to temperature for polymers as presented in Fig. 1.5.

FIGURE 1.5 Relationship between elastic modulus and temperature.

At low temperatures, the material can best be described as a glassy solid. It has a high modulus, and behavior in this state is characterized ideally as a purely elastic solid. In this temperature regime, materials most closely obey Hooke’s law: σ = Eε

(1.3)

where σ is the stress being applied, and ε is the strain. Young’s modulus, E, is the proportionality constant relating stress and strain. In the leathery region, the modulus is reduced by up to three orders of magnitude from the glassy modulus for amorphous polymers. The temperature at which the polymer behavior changes from glassy to leathery is known as the glass transition temperature, Tg. The rubbery plateau has a relatively stable modulus until further temperature increases induce rubbery flow. Motion at this point does not involve entire molecules but, in this region, deformations begin to become nonrecoverable as permanent set takes place. As temperature is further increased, the onset of liquid flow eventually takes place. There is little elastic recovery in this region, and the flow involves entire molecules slipping past each other. This region models ideal viscous materials, which obey Newton’s law: σ = ηε˙

(1.4)

In the case of a thermosetting material, the rubbery plateau is extended until degradation and no liquid flow will occur. 1.3.2

Crystallization and Melting Behavior (Tm)

In its solid form, a polymer can exhibit different morphologies, depending on the structure of the polymer chain as well as the processing conditions. The polymer may exist in a ran-

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CHAPTER 1

dom unordered structure termed amorphous. An example of an amorphous polymer is polystyrene. If the structure of the polymer backbone is a regular, ordered structure, then the polymer can tightly pack into an ordered crystalline structure, although the material will generally be only semicrystalline. Examples are polyethylene and polypropylene. The exact makeup and architecture of the polymer backbone will determine whether the polymer is capable of crystallizing. This microstructure can be controlled by different synthetic methods. As mentioned above, the Ziegler-Natta catalysts are capable of controlling the microstructure to produce stereospecific polymers. The types of microstructure that can be obtained for a vinyl polymer are shown in Fig. 1.6. The isotactic and syndiotactic structures are capable of crystallizing because of their highly regular backbone, while the atactic form would produce an amorphous material. The amount of crystallinity actually present in the polymer depends on a number of factors, including the rate of cooling, crystallization kinetics, and the crystallization temperature. Thus, the extent of crystallization can vary greatly for a given polymer and can be controlled through processing conditions.

FIGURE 1.6 Isotactic, syndiotactic, and atactic polymer chains.

1.4 MECHANICAL PROPERTIES The mechanical behavior of polymers is dependent on many factors, including polymer type, molecular weight, and test procedure. Modulus values are obtained from a standard tensile test with a given rate of crosshead separation. In the linear region, the slope of a stress-strain curve will give the elastic or Young’s modulus, E. Typical values for Young’s modulus are given in Table 1.2. Polymeric material behavior may be affected by other fac-

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68 93 68

PUR

PS

PVC—rigid

PVC—flexible

35.8

102

PP

9.6

44.4

45.1

59.4

42.7

PI

38.2 23.6

74

HDPE

11.6

25.9

PMP

43

102

LDPE

PB

49.2

PVDF

90

50.9

34

PCTFE

69

CAB

37.6

17.1

68

CA

41

Tensile strength, MPa

PTFE

99

ABS

Heat deflection temperature @ 1.82 MPa (°C)

Comparative Properties of Thermoplastics 49,50

Material

TABLE 1.2

2.75

3.1

1.24

1.6

3.7

1.10

0.17

0.18

2.5

1.3

.36

.88

1.26

2.3

Tensile modulus, GPa

293

181

59

346

43

320

128

373

NB

NB

202

187

173

346

210

347

Impact strength, J/m

1.4

1.4

1.05

1.18

0.90

1.43

0.83

0.95

0.92

0.91

1.77

2.12

2.2

1.19

1.30

1.18

Density. g/cm3

25.6

34.0

19.7

18.1

25.6

12.2

27.6

18.9

18.9

10.2

22.2

17.7

12.8

16.7

15.7

Dielectric strength, MV/m

5.5

3.4

2.5

6.5

2.2

4.1

2.3

2.3

2.25

10.0

2.6

2.1

4.8

5.5

3.0

Dielectric constant @ 60 Hz

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

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65 90 54 129 160 210 203 224 100 260 174

Nylon 6,6

PBT

PC

PEEK

PEI

PES

PET

PPO (modified)

PPS

PSU

311

LCP

Nylon 6

155

92

PMMA

Polyarylate

136

POM

Heat deflection temperature @ 1.82 MPa (°C)

73.8

138

54

159

84.1

105

93.8

69

52

82.7

81.4

110

68

72.4

69

Tensile strength, MPa

2.5

11.7

2.5

8.96

2.6

3

3.5

2.3

2.3

2.83

2.76

11

2.1

3

3.2

Tensile modulus, GPa

Comparative Properties of Thermoplastics (Continued)49,50

Material

TABLE 1.2

64

69

267

101

75

53

59

694

53

53

59

101

288

21

133

Impact strength, J/m

1.24

1.67

1.09

1.56

1.37

1.27

1.32

1.20

1.31

1.14

1.13

1.70

1.19

1.19

1.42

Density. g/cm3

16.7

17.7

15.7

21.3

16.1

28

15

15.7

23.6

16.5

20.1

15.2

19.7

19.7

Dielectric strength, MV/m

3.5

3.1

3.9

3.6

3.5

3.2

3.2

3.3

4.0

3.8

4.6

3.1

3.7

3.7

Dielectric constant @ 60 Hz

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

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1.9

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

tors such as test temperature and rates. This can be especially important to the designer when the product is used or tested at temperatures near the glass transition temperature, where dramatic changes in properties occur as depicted in Fig. 1.5. The time-dependent behavior of these materials is discussed below.

1.4.1

Viscoelasticity

Polymer properties exhibit time-dependent behavior, meaning that the measured properties are dependent on the test conditions and polymer type. Figure 1.7 shows a typical viscoelastic response of a polymer to changes in testing rate or temperature. Increases in testing rate or decreases in temperature cause the material to appear more rigid, while an increase in temperature or decrease in rate will cause the material to appear softer. This time-dependent behavior can also result in long-term effects such as stress-relaxation or creep.2 These two time-dependent behaviors are shown in Fig. 1.8. Under a fixed displacement, the stress on the material will decrease over time, termed stress relaxation. This behavior can be modeled using a spring and dashpot in series as depicted in Fig. 1.9. The equation for the time dependent stress using this model is σ ( t ) = σo e

–t ⁄ τ

(1.5)

FIGURE 1.7 Effect of strain rate or temperature on mechanical behavior.

FIGURE 1.8 Creep and stress relaxation behavior.

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CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.9 Spring and dashpot models.

where τ is the characteristic relaxation time (η/k). Under a fixed load, the specimen will continue to elongate with time, a phenomenon termed creep, which can be modeling using a spring and dashpot in parallel as seen in Fig. 1.9. This model predicts the time-dependent strain as ε ( t ) = εo e

–t ⁄ τ

(1.6)

For more accurate prediction of the time-dependent behavior, other models with more elements are often employed. In the design of polymeric products for long-term applications, the designer must consider the time-dependent behavior of the material. If a series of stress relaxation curves is obtained at varying temperatures, it is found that these curves can be superimposed by horizontal shifts to produce a master curve.3 This demonstrates an important feature in polymer behavior: the concept of time-temperature equivalence. In essence, a polymer at temperatures below room temperature will behave as if it were tested at a higher rate at room temperature. This principle can be applied to predict material behavior under testing rates or times that are not experimentally accessible through the use of shift factors (aT) and the equation below: 17.44 ( T – T g ) t ln a T = ln ⎛ ----⎞ = – ---------------------------------⎝ t o⎠ 51.6 + T – T g

(1.7)

where Tg is the glass transition temperature of the polymer.

1.4.2

Failure Behavior

The design of plastic parts requires the avoidance of failure without overdesign of the part, leading to increased part weight. The type of failure can depend on temperatures, rates, and materials. Some information on material strength can be obtained from simple tensile stress-strain behavior. Materials that fail at rather low elongations (1 percent strain or less) can be considered to have undergone brittle failure.4 Polymers that produce this type of

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1.11

failure include general purpose polystyrene and acrylics. Failure typically starts at a defect where stresses are concentrated. Once a crack is formed, it will grow as a result of stress concentrations at the crack tip. Many amorphous polymers will also exhibit what are called crazes. Crazes appear to look like cracks, but they are load bearing, with fibrils of material bridging the two surfaces as shown in Fig. 1.10. Crazing is a form of yielding and, when present, can enhance the toughness of a material.

FIGURE 1.10 Cracks and crazes.

Ductile failure of polymers is exhibited by yielding of the polymer or slip of the molecular chains past one another. This is most often indicated by a maximum in the tensile stress-strain test or what is termed the yield point. Above this point, the material may exhibit lateral contraction upon further extension, termed necking.5 Molecules in the necked region become oriented and result in increased local stiffness. Material in regions adjacent to the neck are thus preferentially deformed, and the neck region propagates. This process is known as cold-drawing (see Fig. 1.11). Cold drawing results in elongations of several hundred percent. Under repeated cyclic loading, a material may fail at stresses well below the single-cycle failure stress found in a typical tensile test.6 This process is called fatigue and is usually depicted by plotting the maximum stress versus the number of cycles to failure.

FIGURE 1.11 Ductile behavior.

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CHAPTER 1

Fatigue tests can be performed under a variety of loading conditions as specified by the service requirements. Thermal effects and the presence or absence of cracks are other variables to be considered when the fatigue life of a material is to be evaluated. 1.4.3

Effect of Fillers

The term fillers refers to solid additives, which are incorporated into the plastic matrix.7 They are generally inorganic materials and can be classified according to their effect on the mechanical properties of the resulting mixture. Inert or extender fillers are added mainly to reduce the cost of the compound, whereas reinforcing fillers are added to improve certain mechanical properties such as modulus or tensile strength. Although termed inert, inert fillers can nonetheless affect other properties of the compound besides cost. In particular, they may increase the density of the compound, reduce the shrinkage, increase the hardness, and increase the heat deflection temperature. Reinforcing fillers typically will increase the tensile, compressive, and shear strengths, increase the heat deflection temperature, reduce shrinkage, increase the modulus, and improve the creep behavior. Reinforcing fillers improve the properties via several mechanisms. In some cases, a chemical bond is formed between the filler and the polymer; in other cases, the volume occupied by the filler affects the properties of the thermoplastic. As a result, the surface properties and interaction between the filler and the thermoplastic are of great importance. A number of filler properties govern their behavior, including the particle shape, the particle size and distribution of sizes, and the surface chemistry of the particle. In general, the smaller the particle, the greater the improvement in the mechanical property of interest (such as tensile strength).8 Larger particles may give reduced properties compared to the pure thermoplastic. Particle shape can also influence the properties. For example, plate-like particles or fibrous particles may be oriented during processing, resulting in anisotropic properties. The surface chemistry of the particle is also important to promote interaction with the polymer and to allow for good interfacial adhesion. The polymer should wet the particle surface and have good interfacial bonding so as to obtain the best property enhancement. Examples of inert or extender fillers include: china clay (kaolin), talc, and calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is an important filler, with a particle size of about 1 µm.9 It is a natural product from sedimentary rocks and is separated into chalk, limestone, and marble. In some cases, the calcium carbonate may be treated to improve interaction with the thermoplastic. Glass spheres are also used as thermoplastic fillers. They may be either solid or hollow, depending on the particular application. Talc is a filler with a lamellar particle shape.10 It is a natural, hydrated magnesium silicate with good slip properties. Kaolin and mica are also natural materials with lamellar structures. Other fillers include wollastonite, silica, barium sulfate, and metal powders. Carbon black is used as a filler primarily in the rubber industry, but it also finds application in thermoplastics for conductivity, for UV protection, and as a pigment. Fillers in fiber form are often used in thermoplastics. Types of fibers include cotton, wood flour, fiberglass, and carbon. Table 1.3 shows the fillers and their forms. An overview of some typical fillers and their effect on properties is shown in Table 1.4. Considerable research interest exists for the incorporation of nanoscale fillers into polymers. This aspect will be discussed in later chapters.

1.5 Rheological Properties Viscosity is the resistance to flow. As shown in Table 1.5, polymer melts have viscosities of 100 to 1,000,000 Pa-s, whereas water has a viscosity of 0.001 Pa-s.11 These high viscosities result from the long polymer chains and cause the polymer melt to exhibit laminar

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TABLE 1.3

1.13

Forms of Various Fillers

Spherical

Lamellar

Sand/quartz powder Silica Glass spheres Calcium carbonate Carbon black Metallic Oxides

Mica Talc Graphite Kaolin

Fibrous Glass fibers Asbestos Wollastonite Carbon fibers Whiskers Cellulose Synthetic fibers

flow; that is, the melt moves in layers. Although, these melt layers may move at the same velocity, thereby producing plug flow, the melt layers typically flow at different the different velocities to provide shear. Changes in the cross-sectional area of the melt channel or drawing processes stretch or allow relaxation of the polymer chains, giving rise to elongation or extension. The shear viscosity of polymer melts generally decreases with increasing shear rate. This pseudoplastic behavior contrasts with the shear-rate independent viscosity of fluids, such as water, solvents, and oligomers. The decrease in the viscosity of pseudoplastic fluids, however, does not occur immediately. At low shear rates, the polymer molecules flow as random coils, and the constant viscosity is called the zero-shear rate viscosity (ηo). With increasing shear rate, the polymer chains align in the direction of flow, and the viscosity decreases (Fig. 1.12). The shear rate corresponding to the onset of chain alignment or shear thinning increases with decreasing polymer molecular weight. When the viscosity decreases is proportional to the increase in shear rate, the viscosity can be modeled using:12 η = kγ˙

n–1

(1.8)

where k is the consistency index and n is the power law index. The power law index is an indicator of a material’s sensitivity to shear (rate), or the degree of non-Newtonian behavior. For Newtonian fluids n = 1, and for pseudoplastic fluids n < 1, with smaller values indicating greater shear sensitivity. Since shear rate varies considerably with the processing method (Table 1.6),13 the degree of alignment, shear thinning, and material relaxation varies considerably with the process. Compression and rotational molding typically induce very little alignment of the polymer chains and thus produce low levels of orientation and retained stress. In contrast, the polymer chains are highly oriented during injection molded, and such parts exhibit high levels of residual stress. As illustrated in Fig. 1.12, shear viscosity also decreases with temperature, since the polymer chains are more mobile. This temperature dependence of viscosity can be expressed using an Arrhenius equation: Ea η = A exp ⎛ -------⎞ ⎝ RT ⎠

(1.9)

where A is a material constant, Ea is the activation energy (which varies with polymer and shear rate), R is a constant, and T is the absolute temperature. Since the activation energy depends on the difference between a polymer’s processing and glass transition tempera-

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Effect of Filler Type on Properties51

+

Reduced shrinkage

+

+

– +

Machine abrasion

Price reduction

+

O

++ large influence, + influence, O no influence, – negative influence.

–+

Extrusion rate

+ +

Chemical resistance

Better abrasion behavior

+ +

Thermal stability +

+

+

+

+

++

Wollastonite

Electrical resistance

Electrical conductivity

+

+

Reduced thermal expansion

++

–+

Impact strength

++

Higher heat deflection temperature

++

Modulus of elasticity

+

+

+

Compressive strength

Asbestos

Better thermal conductivity

++

Tensile strength

Glass fiber

TABLE 1.4

Carbon fiber +

+

++

+

+

++

+

Whiskers O

+

+

–+

Synthetic fibers O

++

Cellulose +

O

+

Mica +

+

+

+

+

++

+

+

+

–+

++

+

Talc +

O

+

O

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

O

Graphite +

O

+

+

+

+

+

Sand/quartz powder ++

+

+

+

+

+

+

Silica +

+

+

+

+

+

+

Kaolin +

+

+

+

+

++

+

+

+

Glass spheres +

O

+

+

+

+

+ +

Calcium carbonate ++

O

+

+

+

+

–+

+

Metallic oxides +

+

+

+

+

+

Carbon black O

+

+

+

+

+

+

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TABLE 1.5

Typical Viscosities

Material Air Water Polymer latexes Olive oil Glycerin Polymer melts Pitch Plastics Glass

TABLE 1.6

1.15

Viscosity (Pa-s) 10–5 10–3 10–2 10–1 1 102 – 106 109 1012 1021

Typical Shear Rates for Selected

Processes52 Process Compression molding Calendering Extrusion Injection molding

Shear rate (s-1) 1–10 10–100 100–1,000 1,000–10,000

FIGURE 1.12 The effect of shear rate and temperature on viscosity, where T1 > T2 >

T3 .

tures, materials such as polyethylene have activation energies less than 20 kJ/mol, whereas higher-temperature polymers, such as polycarbonate, exhibit activation energies that are greater than 50 kJ/mol. Pressure increases viscosity, but the effects are relatively insignificant when the processing pressures are less than 35 MPa (5,000 psi).14 At higher pressures, the increase in viscosity is given by15

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η = η r exp [ α p ( P – P r ) ]

(1.10)

where ηr is the viscosity at a reference Pr , and αp is an empirical constant with values of 200 to 600 MPa–1. Shear viscosity increases with more rigid polymer structures, higher molecular weights, and additives such as fillers and fibers. Long chain branching and broader molecular weight distributions increase the shear sensitivity of viscosity. Blending two polymers can significantly alter polymer viscosity, but the effect depends on the two polymers. Additives such as lubricants typically decrease viscosity, whereas the effect of colorants and impact modifiers varies with type of additive. In contrast, the effect of strain rate on extensional viscosity varies with the polymer structure. Branched polymers generally exhibit extensional thickening and a corresponding increase in viscosity. Linear polymers, such as LLDPE, undergo extensional thinning in which the viscosity decreases as the polymer sample necks. Generally, extensional viscosity is greater than shear viscosity and depends primarily on the molecular weight of the polymer

1.6 PROCESSING OF THERMOPLASTICS Processing involves the conversion of the solid polymer into a desirable size and shape. There are a number of methods to shape the polymer, including injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, blow molding, and rotational molding. The plastic material is heated to the appropriate temperature for it to flow, the material is shaped, and then it is cooled so as to preserve the desired shape. 1.6.1

Extrusion

In extrusion operations, a solid thermoplastic material is melted, forced through an orifice (die) of the desired cross section, and cooled. This method was adapted from metallurgists who use a similar form of extrusion to process molten aluminum and was first adapted in 1845 by Bewley and Brooman to extrude rubber around cable as a coating.16 Extrusion processes are used to continuously produce film and sheet; shapes with uniform cross-sections, such as PVC pipe, tubes, and garden hose; profile with nonuniform cross-sections, such as PVC window moldings and gutters; synthetic fibers; polymer coatings for insulating wire and sealing paper, plastic, and metal packaging. Although there are many types of extruders, the most common is the single-screw extruder (shown in Fig. 1.13).17 This extruder consists of a screw in a metal cylinder or barrel. Electrical heater bands and fans that surround the barrel help bring the extruder to operating temperature during start-up and maintain barrel temperature during operation. One end of the screw is connected through a thrust bearing and gear box to a drive motor that rotates the screw in the barrel. The other end is free floating in the barrel. The barrel is connected to the feed throat, a separate “barrel section,” with an opening called a feed port, and is connected to the feed hopper. A die adaptor is usually connected to the opposite end of the extruder. A breaker plate and a screen pack are sandwiched between the extruder and die adaptor. The breaker plate provides a seal between the extruder and die, converts the rotational motion of the melt (in the extruder) to linear motion (for the die), and supports the screen pack. The screen pack filters the melt, thereby prevent unmelted resin, degraded polymer, or other contaminants from producing defects in the extruded products and/or damaging the die.

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INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

1.17

FIGURE 1.13 A single-screw extruder.

During extrusion, solid resin in the form of pellets or powder is fed from the hopper, through the feed port, and into the feed throat of the extruder. The solid resin falls onto the rotating screw and is packed into a solid bed in the first section of the screw (called the feed zone). The solid bed is melted as it travels through the middle section (transition zone) of the screw. The melt is mixed, and pressure is generated in the final section (metering zone) of the screw. Although the heater bands and cooling fans maintain the barrel at a set temperature profile, conduction from the barrel walls provides only 10 to 30 percent of the energy required to melt the resin. The remainder of the energy is generated from the frictional heat generated by the mechanical motion of the screw; this mechanism is called viscous dissipation. Extruder screws are design to accommodate this pattern of packing, melting, and pressure generation. As illustrated in Fig. 1.14, the outside diameter of the screw, which is measured at the tops of the screw flights, remains constant.18 The root diameter of the screw, however, changes. In the feed zone, the root diameter is small so that the large channel depth (i.e., distance between the outside and root diameters) can accommodate the packed solid resin particles. The root diameter of the transition or compression zone increases with the distance from the feed zone. This change in channel depth forces the solid

FIGURE 1.14 General-purpose extruder screw.57

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into better contact with barrel wall, thereby promoting better melting. It also compresses the molten polymer in the screw channels. The root diameter becomes constant again in the metering zone, but the channel depth is very small. This geometry facilitates pressure generation and helps maintain the temperature of the polymer melt (i.e., polymers are poor conductors of thermal energy, and so thin melt layers have more uniform temperatures). The compression ratio (i.e., ratio of the channel depths in the feed and metering zones) and length of the transition zone significantly affect the melting in the single-screw extruders. Typically, extruder screws have length to diameter (L/D) ratios of about 30:1, with each zone requiring about one-third of the screw length. Barrier screws are used to improve melting performance while an assortment of mixing elements incorporated into the metering zone enhance mixing and the melt temperature uniformity of the melt. These include the addition of mixing pins on the barrel of the screw, ring barriers, and modified designs that involve very large screw diameters so as to force molten polymer through a small clearance between the mixing head and the inside of the barrel wall. Two stage-screws permit devolatilization of polymer melts, thereby eliminating entrapped moisture, air, and other volatiles from the melt. Typical extruders have diameters of 25 to 150 mm, but this can vary from 20 to 600 mm (6 to 24 in). They typically operate at 1 to 2 rev/s (60 to 120 rpm) for large extruders and 1 to 5 rev/s (60 to 300 rpm) for small extruders.19 Output varies as a function of processing parameters (particularly screw speed and pressure), the thermal and mechanical properties of the polymer, and the design and geometry of the screw. A 600-mm dia single-screw extruder is capable of delivering 29 metric tons of product an hour, whereas the smallest 20-mm dia single-screw extruders have a throughput capacity of 5 kg/h.20 Operating pressures are typically 1 to 35 MPa (200 to 5000 psi). Single-screw extruders account for 90 percent of all extruders, with the three types of twin-screw extruders making up the bulk of the remaining 10 percent. In nonintermeshing (tangential) extruders, the counter-rotating screws do not interlock with each other and convey the polymer using drag flow (i.e., like a single-screw extruder). These extruders permit tight control of heating and shear and so have been used for devolatilization, coagulation, reactive extrusion, and halogenation of polyolefins.21 With intermeshing twinscrew extruders (Fig. 1.15), the flights of one screw fit into the channels of the other, and polymer is transferred from the channels of one screw to those of the other, thereby providing positive conveyance of the polymer and increased mixing. In counter-rotating, intermeshing twin-screw extruders, some material flows between the screws and the barrel wall, and the remainder is forced between the two screws. Polymer in co-rotating twin screws moves in a figure-eight pattern around the two screws, with little material flowing between the screws. The longer flow path produces longer extruder residence times than observed with counter-rotating, intermeshing twin-screw extruders but increases the degree of elongational flow and enhances mixing. Intermeshing twin-screw extruders are typically used in applications where mixing and compounding need to be accomplished, because the screws’ elements can be rearranged (programmed) to suit a specific application. They are highly capable of dispersing small agglomerates such as carbon black and can be used, for example, to blend the components of duct tape adhesive as well as coat the finished adhesive onto the tape backing. Counter-rotating, intermeshing twin-screw extruders, which permit tight control of shear and residence time, are also employed for the extrusion of PVC pipes and profiles.22 Although twin-screw extruders have relatively low pressure-generating capabilities, some materials can be compounded and formed directly if a gear pump is added to the end of the extruder. Die designs depend on the product that will be formed. Typically, spiral flow and spider arm dies are used for blown film, tubing, and pipes. Crosshead dies are employed for tubing and wire coating. Wide dies with tee, coat hanger, and exponential are employed

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FIGURE 1.15 Intermeshing twin screws.58

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1.20

CHAPTER 1

for film, sheet, and extrusion coating. In die design, it is critical to avoid “dead spots” where the polymer melt can become stagnant and risk thermal degradation. It is also important that the polymer molecules be allowed to return to an equilibrium position to the greatest extent possible to minimize the orientation as a result of flow. Laminar flow is desired, and finite element analysis is used to design dies that enable laminar flow to the greatest extent. Multimanifold dies, such as plate dies, and feedblocks (along with film, sheet, and extrusion dies) combine melt streams from multiple single-screw extruders to produce co-extruded multilayer products. This common technique is used for producing multilayer packaging films, where each layer provides a particular feature. For example, garbage bags are often multilaminate constructions, as are packaging films where a PVDC layer may be incorporated for moisture or oxygen barrier properties, and HDPE may be used as a less-expensive, relatively strong, layer. EVA is a common “bonding layer” between different plastic layers. As many as eight or more extruders may be used to form highly specialized, multilayer films. Common defects encountered with extrusion include effects associated with the viscoelastic nature of plastic melts. As the melt is extruded from the die for example, it may exhibit sharkskin melt fracture and extrudate (die) swell. Diagrams of these defects are shown in Fig. 1.16.23 Sharkskin melt fracture occurs when the stresses being applied to the plastic melt exceed its tensile strength. Extrudate swell occurs due to the elastic component of the polymer melt’s response to stress and is the result of the elastic rebound of the polymer as it leaves the constraints of the die channel prior to cooling.

(a)

(b)

(c) FIGURE 1.16 Common defects described from rod dies: (a) shark-skin-

ning, (b) die swell, and (c) melt fracture.23

Pressure generated in the extruder forces the melt through the breaker plate, die adaptor, and die. The die forms the melt into the desired shape. Downstream equipment, such as a water bath cools the melt, and a puller draws the extrudate away from the die and through the water bath away from the die. Figure 1.17 illustrates the downstream equipment for tube extrusion. The annular tube exiting the die is pulled though a calibration unit, which maintains the outside diameter of the tube, while being cooled by a water bath. The puller stretches the molten tube, and a cutter slices the tube into preset lengths. In blown film extrusion (Fig. 1.18),24 the melt forced though an annular die is expanded into a bubble using air blown through a hole in the die mandrel, stretched axially by take-up rolls, and cooled by forced convention. This biaxial orientation, thinning of the tube of film through the internal pressurization of the bubble, combined with the thinning of the film as it is stretched upwards, results in a strong, biaxially oriented film. Stretching continues until the freezing line is reached, at which point the film has cooled off to such an extent as to provide a high enough modulus to resist further deformation. Crystallization

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FIGURE 1.17 Extrusion line for pipe and tubing.59

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1.22

CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.18 Blown film process.24

also enables the orientation to be maintained. A pair of collapsing rolls is used to flatten the bubble and allow the film to then be wound into a master roll for later converting processes such as slitting. 1.6.2

Injection Molding

Injection molding is a widely used process to produce parts with variable dimensions. An injection molding machine consists of the following four components:25 • • • •

Injection unit Control systems Drive system Clamping unit

The purpose of the injection unit is to heat and melt the polymer, inject the melt into the cavity, and apply pressure during the cooling phase. The most common type of injection molding machine is the reciprocating screw. In this type of machine, the screw rotates to plasticize the polymer, moving backward to deposit a volume of polymer melt ahead of the screw (shot). Once the correct shot size has been built, the screw then moves forward to inject the melt into the mold. Injection molding is a discontinuous process, and the clamping unit allows for the mold to open and close for part removal and to provide pressure as the cavity is filled. This is depicted in Fig. 1.19. The purpose of an injection mold is to give the shape of the part (cavity), distribute the polymer melt to the cavities through a runner system, cool the part, and eject the part. During the injection molding cycle, the polymer flows from the nozzle on the injection unit through the sprue, then to the runners, which distribute the melt to each of the cavities. The entrance to the cavity is called the gate and is usually small so that the runner system can be easily removed from the part. A typical feed system for injection molding is shown

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FIGURE 1.19 Injection molding.60

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CHAPTER 1

in Fig. 1.20. Figure 1.21 depicts a number of gate configurations. Molding conditions for a wide variety of thermoplastics are given in Table 1.7. The molding process itself can have a large influence on the final properties of the part. The polymer chains undergo orientation in the flow direction during the mold filling phase of the injection cycle as shown in Fig. 1.22. The amount of orientation in the final part depends on how much orientation was induced during filling minus the amount that was been removed through molecular relaxation.26 This is particularly true of the surface of the part, where hot material reaches the cool walls of the mold with rapid solidification coupled with the highest shear and induced orientation at the mold surface. Orientation can result in parts with anisotropic properties and should be accounted for during part design. Mechanical properties are thus typically higher in the direction of orientation.27 For semicrystalline polymers, the injection molding process parameters can have a large impact on the degree of crystallinity. As the cooling rate increases, the degree of crystallinity will decrease.28 Cooling rate effects can cause a gradient of crystallinity across the thickness of a part where interior portions of the part may have higher crystallinity due to their slower cooling rates compared to the surface. The crystalline morphology will also be influenced by the cooling behavior. Slower cooling rates result in larger spherulites, while more rapid cooling rates result in a larger number of smaller spherulites.29 A number of specialized injection molding processes also exist and are outlined below.

FIGURE 1.20 Injection molding feed system.61

FIGURE 1.21 Injection molding gate types.62

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250–265 220–260 190–230 160–230 300–380 200–270 230–280 260–290 240–300 220–260 280–320 185–220 195–255 360–380 205–280 180–280 160–280

ABS BDS CA/CAB/CAP FEP HIPS/TPS PA6 PA66 PA11/PA12 PBT PC PEBA PEEL PEEK PE-HD PE-LD PE-LLD

Melt temp. range, °C

10–60

10–60

10–60

160–170

10–70

20–40

80–120

20–110

30–100

20–100

60–90

10–80

200–240

40–80

10–60

60–90

40–80

Mold temp. range, °C

Injection Molding Guidelines for Unfilled Materials 53

ASA

Material

TABLE 1.7

65

65

65

150

90–120

70–80

120

120–150

85

85–105

80–105

65–70

150

55–85

60

80–85

80–85

Drying temp., °C

3

3

3

3

10

2–6

2–4

2.5–5.5

3–5

5–12

12–16

3–4

2–4

3–4

1

2–4

2–4

Drying times, hr

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350–380 265–295 210–270 190–215 175–220 260–300 300–360 220–275 200–250 350–380 180–300 200–270 180–230 185–205 175–200 140–225

PET/PETP PMMA POM-H POM-CO PPO-M PPS PP GPPS PSU PVDF SAN TPU/PUR UPVC PPVC EVA

Melt temp. range, °C

15–40

30–50

30–60

15–70

40–80

30–120

100–150

10–80

30–80

135–160

60–110

40–120

40–120

60–90

120–140

140–160

Mold temp. range, °C

Injection Molding Guidelines for Unfilled Materials (Continued)53

PES

Material

TABLE 1.7

50–60

65

65

80

70–75

80

135–150

70

80

150

100

110

110

75

135–165

135–150

Drying temp., °C

8

2

2–3

3

3–4

2–4

3–4

2–3

2–3

3–6

2

2–3

2–3

2–4

2–4

3–4

Drying times, hr

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1.27

FIGURE 1.22 Orientation of polymer chains during injection molding.

1.6.2.1 Injection/Compression Molding. Injection/compression molding refers to the process wherein the cavity is not completely filled during injection of the resin.25 In this process, the resin is injected while the mold is slightly open. The two halves of the mold then close, distributing the resin and filling the cavity. This process is useful for products that require high surface replication, such as compact discs or optical parts. Thin-walled parts can also be molded by this process, as the pressure losses are reduced, and there is less risk of premature resin solidification. Figure 1.23 illustrates this process. 1.6.2.2 Lost-Core Process. Products that are hollow or contain complex undercuts can be fabricated using the lost-core process as illustrated in Fig. 1.24. Core materials are typically low-melting alloys (around 150°C), that are removed by heating the part.25 Before each molding cycle, a core is inserted into the mold, and the part is injection molded. The core is ejected with the part and then melted, resulting in the finished product. It is important that the core material melt at temperatures low enough that the plastic material is not affected by the heating cycle. Air manifolds for automotive and pump parts are often fabricated using this method. 1.6.2.3 Gas-Assisted Injection Molding. In gas-assisted injection molding the mold is partially filled with polymer, followed by a gas, which presses the polymer out to the surface of the mold, resulting in a hollow part. This process can be used for producing lighterweight parts, often with reduced cycle times as a result of less material to cool. Thickwalled parts can be produced with fewer surface imperfections, such as sink marks, but equipment costs will be higher. Figure 1.25 shows the gas-assist injection molding method. 1.6.2.4 Coinjection Molding. Coinjection molding refers to a process whereby two materials are injected into the same cavity.25 The first material is injected into the cavity and

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CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.23 Injection compression process.63

FIGURE 1.24 Lost-core injection molding process.64

then followed by the second material as depicted in Fig. 1.26. In this process, the first material goes to the outside of the mold and forms the skin, and the second material forms the interior of the part. This is often referred to as sandwich molding. Materials may be injected either sequentially or simultaneously. Applications include the use of an expensive outer layer and a cheaper core material or with fiber reinforced materials, where a skin material is used for improved surface quality.

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1.29

FIGURE 1.25 Gas-assisted injection mold-

ing.65

FIGURE 1.26 Coinjection molding.66

1.6.2.5 Two-Shot Injection Molding. Two-shot or overmolding refers to a process whereby either different colors or different materials are molded into one part. In this process, the first material or color is injected, then the mold is rotated, and the second shot is injected as depicted in Fig. 1.27. An alternative method is to use a retractable core.67 In this case, the first material is injected, cooled to solidify, and then the core is retracted to allow injection of the second material as shown in Fig. 1.28. Bonding is accomplished through either strictly mechanical means or by adhesion between the two components through diffusion of the chains. This can result in parts with two materials combined with-

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FIGURE 1.27 Two-shot molding with rotating mold.67

FIGURE 1.28 Two-shot injection molding with retractable core.67

out the need for an additional adhesive bonding step.30 In the case where direct adhesion of the materials is desired, proper selection of compatible materials is required. Table 1.8 shows the bonding strength for a number of thermoplastic combinations for use in multicomponent injection molding. 1.6.3

Thermoforming

Thermoforming is the heating of a thermoplastic sheet until it is soft and stretchable and then forcing the hot sheet against the contours of a mold by mechanical (plug assist), vacuum, pressure, or a combination of all three. After cooling, the plastic sheet retains the mold's shape and detail.31 Thermoforming is still a rapidly growing processing method because of the range of products that can be formed and the relatively low cost of required tooling and equipment.32 Thermoformed products include dinnerware, cups, automotive parts, egg cartons, and blister packaging.33 There are a wide variety of processes for thermoforming. One-step processes include the following:34 • Drape forming • Vacuum forming

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+ + + + + + – – + – – –

ASA

CA

EVA

PA 6

PA 6,6

PC

HDPE

LDPE

PMMA

POM

PP

PPO mod.

Material

+

ABS

ABS

ASA –

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

CA –

N

+

+

+

EVA +

+

+

+

N

+

+

PA 6 –

N

N

N

+

+

+

+

+

PA 6,6 –

N

N

N

+

+

+

+

PC –

+

N

+

+

+

HDPE –

N

N

+

+

N

N

+

LDPE –

+

N

N

+

+

N

N

+

PMMA –

N

+

N

N

+

+

POM –

+

N

+

N

+

– N

N

+

PP

+

PPO mod.

Bonding for Thermoplastic Combinations in Multicomponent Injection Molding 54

+

N

+

N

N

PS-GP

TABLE 1.8

PS-HI +

+

N

PBTP –

+

+

+

+

+

+

TPU –

+

+

+

+

+

+

PVC (soft) –

+

+

+

+

SAN N

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

TPR +

+

N

N

N

N

PETP –

+

+

+

PSU –

+

+

+

PC-PBTP –

+

+

+

+

+

+

PC-ABS –

+

+

+

+

+

+

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

1.31 Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com) Copyright © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. PVAC

N N + + + + N +

Material

PS-HI

PBTP

TPU

PVC (soft)

SAN

TPR

PETP

+ +

PC-PBTP

PC-ABS

ASA +

+

+

+

N

+

+

+

+

N

CA –

+

+

+

+

EVA +

+

+

PA 6 +

+

+

+

+

PA 6,6 +

+

+

+

+

PC +

+

+

+

+

+

+

N

HDPE

+ Good bonding; – poor bonding; N no bonding; blank, not evaluated.

+

PSU

PVAC

ABS

PS-GP

LDPE –

N

N

PMMA +

+

+

+

POM –

PP –

+

+

N

+

+

PPO mod.

PS-GP –

+

+

N

+

+

PS-HI

Bonding for Thermoplastic Combinations in Multicomponent Injection Molding (Continued)54

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

PBTP

TABLE 1.8

TPU +

+

+

+

+

PVC (soft) +

+

+

+

+

+

SAN +

+

+

+

+

+

TPR –

+

+

+

+

+

+

PETP

+

N

PVAC +

PSU +

+

+

+

+

PC-PBTP +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+ –

+

+

+

PC-ABS +

+

+

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1.33

• Pressure forming • Free blowing • Matched die molding Drape forming, as shown in Fig. 1.29, involves either lowering the heated sheet onto a male mold or raising the mold into the sheet. Usually, either vacuum or pressure is used to force the sheet against the mold. In vacuum forming (Fig. 1.30), the sheet is clamped to the edges of a female mold, then vacuum is applied to force the sheet against the mold. Pressure forming is similar to vacuum forming except that air pressure is used to form the part (Fig. 1.31). In free blowing, the heated sheet is stretched by air pressure into shape, and the height of the bubble is controlled using air pressure. As the sheet expands outward, it cools into a free-form shape as shown in Fig. 1.32. This method was originally developed for aircraft gun enclosures. Matched die molding (Fig. 1.33) uses two mold halves to form the heated sheet. This method is often used to form relatively stiff sheets.

FIGURE 1.29 Drape-forming process.68

FIGURE 1.30 Vacuum-forming process.66

FIGURE 1.31 Pressure forming.69

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CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.32 Free-blowing process.69

FIGURE 1.33 Matched die thermoforming.70

Multistep forming is used in applications for thicker sheets or complex geometries with deep draw. In this type of thermoforming, the first step involves prestretching the sheet by techniques such as billowing or plug assist. After prestretching, the sheet is then pressed against the mold. Multistep forming includes the following:35

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INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

• • • • • •

1.35

Billow drape forming Billow vacuum forming Vacuum snap-back forming Plug assist vacuum forming Plug assist pressure forming Plug assist drape forming

Billow drape forming consists of a male mold pressed into a sheet prestretched by the billowing process (Fig. 1.34). A similar process is billow vacuum forming, wherein a female mold is used (Fig. 1.35). In vacuum snap-back forming, vacuum is used to prestretch the sheet, then a male mold is pressed into the sheet and, finally, pressure is used to force the sheet against the mold as seen in Fig. 1.36. In plug assist, a plug of material is used to prestretch the sheet. Either vacuum or pressure is then used to force the sheet against the walls of the mold as shown in Figs. 1.37 and 1.38. Plug assist drape forming is used to force a sheet into undercuts or corners (Fig. 1.39). The advantage of prestretching the sheet is more uniform wall thickness. Materials suitable for thermoforming must be compliant enough to allow for forming against the mold, yet not produce excessive flow or sag while being heated.36 Amorphous materials generally exhibit a wider process window than semicrystalline materials. Processing temperatures are typically 30 to 60°C above Tg for amorphous materials and usually just above Tm in the case of semicrystalline polymers.37 Amorphous materials that are thermoformed include PS, ABS, PVC, PMMA, PETP, and PC. Semicrystalline materials

FIGURE 1.34 Billow drape forming.71

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1.36

CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.35 Billow vacuum process.72

FIGURE 1.36 Vacuum snap-back process.71

that can be successfully thermoformed include PE and nucleated PETP. Nylons typically do not have sufficient melt strength to be thermoformed. Table 1.9 shows processing temperatures for thermoforming a number of thermoplastics.

1.6.4

Blow Molding

Blow molding is a technique for forming nearly hollow articles and is very commonly practiced in the formation of PET soft-drink bottles. It is also used to make air ducts, surfboards, suitcase halves, and automobile gasoline tanks.38 Blow molding involves taking a parison (a tubular profile) and expanding it against the walls of a mold by inserting pres-

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1.37

FIGURE 1.37 Plug assist vacuum forming.73

FIGURE 1.38 Plug assist pressure forming.74

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1.38

CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.39 Plug assist drape forming.74

surized air into it. The mold is machined to have the negative contour of the final desired finished part. The mold, typically a mold split into two halves, then opens after the part has cooled to the extent that the dimensions are stable, and the bottle is ejected. Molds are commonly made out of aluminum, as molding pressures are relatively low, and aluminum has high thermal conductivity to promote rapid cooling of the part. The parison can either be made continuously with an extruder, or it can be injection molded; the method of parison production governs whether the process is called extrusion blow molding or injection blow molding. Figure 1.40 shows both the extrusion and injection blow molding processes.39 Extrusion blow molding is often done with a rotary table so that the parison is extruded into a two-plate open mold, and the mold closes as the table rotates another mold under the extruder’s die. The closing of the mold cuts off the parison and leaves the characteristic weld line on the bottom of many bottles as evidence of the pinch-off. Air is then blown into the parison to expand it to fit the mold configuration, and the part is then cooled and ejected before the position rotates back under the die to begin the process again. The blowing operation imparts radial and longitudinal orientation to the plastic melt, strengthening it through biaxial orientation. A container featuring this biaxial orientation is more optically clear, has increased mechanical properties, and reduced permeability, which is important in maintaining carbonation in soft drinks. Injection blow molding has very similar treatment of the parison, but the parison itself is injection molded rather than extruded continuously. There is evidence of the gate on the bottom of the bottles rather than having a weld line where the parison was cut off. The parison can either be blown directly after molding while it is still hot, or it can be stored and reheated for the secondary blowing operation. An advantage of injection blow molding is that the parison can be molded to have finished threads. Cooling time is the largest part of this cycle and is the rate-limiting step. HDPE, LDPE, PP, PVC, and PET are commonly used in blow molding operations. 1.6.5

Rotational Molding

Rotational molding, also known as rotomolding or centrifugal casting, involves filling a mold cavity, generally with powder, and rotating the entire heated mold along two axes to

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79

Butyrate

163 85

Polysulfone Polystyrene

PVC -rigid

66

149

91

PP-glass filled

FEP

88

PP

210

Polyethersulfone-glass filled 82

204

Polyethersulfone

HDPE

77

Polyester (PETG)

138

85

Acrylic

Polycarbonate

71

Acetate

Mold and set temperature, °C 85

Material

104

232

127

190

129

129

127

279

274

121

168

127

149

127

127

Lower processing limit, °C

138–141

288

149

246

204+

154–166

146

343

316

149

191

146

177

149

149

Normal forming temperature, °C

Thermoforming Process Temperatures for Selected Materials55

ABS

TABLE 1.9

154

327

182

302

232

166

182

382

371

166

204

182

193

182

182

Upper temperature limit, °C

INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

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CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1.40 Extrusion and injection blow molding processes.39

uniformly distribute the plastic along the mold walls. This method is commonly used for making hollow parts, like blow molding, but is used either when the parts are very large (as in the case of kayaks, outdoor portable toilets, phone booths, and large chemical storage drums) or when the part requires very low residual stresses. Also, rotomolding is well suited, compared with blow molding, if the desired part design is complex or if it requires uniform wall thicknesses. Part walls produced by this method are very uniform as long as neither of the rotational axes corresponds to the centroid of the part design. The rotomolding operation imparts no shear stresses to the plastic, and the resultant molded article is therefore less prone to stress cracking, environmental attack, or premature failures along stress lines. Molded parts also are free of seams. Figure 1.41 shows a diagram of a typical rotational molding process.40 This is a relatively low-cost method, as molds are inexpensive and energy costs are low, thus making it suitable for short-run products. The drawback is that the heating and cooling times required are long, and therefore the cycle time is correspondingly long. High melt flow index PEs are often used in this process.

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1.41

FIGURE 1.41 The rotational molding process.40

1.6.6

Foaming

The act of foaming a plastic material results in products with a wide range of densities. These materials are often termed cellular plastics. Cellular plastics can exist in two basic structures: closed-cell or open-cell. Closed-cell materials have individual voids or cells that are completely enclosed by plastics, and gas transport takes place by diffusion through the cell walls. In contrast, open-cell foams have cells that are interconnected, and fluids may pass easily between the cells. The two structures may exist together in a material so that it may be a combination of open and closed cells. Blowing agents are used to produce foams, and they can be classified as either physical or chemical. Physical blowing agents include • Incorporation of glass or resin beads (syntactic foams) • Inclusion of an inert gas, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide into the polymer at high pressure, which expands when the pressure is reduced • Addition of low boiling liquids, which volatilize on heating, forming gas bubbles when pressure is released Chemical blowing agents include • Addition of compounds that decompose over a suitable temperature range with the evolution of gas • Chemical reaction between components The major types of chemical blowing agents include the azo compounds, hydrazine derivatives, semicarbazides, tetrazoles, and benzoxazines.41 Table 1.10 shows some of the common blowing agents, their decomposition temperatures, and primary uses.

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CHAPTER 1

TABLE 1.10

Common Chemical Blowing Agents56 Decomposition temp., °C

Gas yield, ml/g

Azodicarbonamide

205–215

220

PVC, PE, PP, PS, ABS, PA

Modified azodicarbonamide

155–220

150-220

PVC, PE, PP, EVA, PS, ABS

4,4’-Oxybis(benzenesulfohydrazide)

150–160

125

PE, PVC, EVA

Diphenylsulfone-3,3’disulfohydrazide

155

110

PVC, PE, EVA

Trihydrazinotriazine

275

225

ABS, PE, PP, PA

p-Toluylenesulfonyl semicarbazide

228–235

140

ABS, PE, PP, PA, PS

5-Phenyltetrazole

240–250

190

ABS, PPE, PC, PA, PBT, LCP

Isatoic anhydride

210–225

115

PS, ABS, PA, PPE, PBT, PC

Blowing agent

Polymer applications

A wide range of thermoplastics can be converted into foams. Some of the most common materials include polyurethanes, polystyrene, and polyethylene. Polyurethanes are a popular and versatile material for the production of foams and may be foamed by either physical or chemical methods. In the physical reaction, an inert low-boiling chemical is added to the mixture, which volatilizes as a result of the heat produced from the exothermic chemical reaction to produce the polyurethane (reaction of isocyanate and diol). Chemical foaming can be done through the reaction of the isocyanate groups with water to produce carbamic acid, which decomposes to an amine and carbon dioxide gas.42 Rigid polyurethane foams can be formed by pour, spray, and froth.43 Liquid polyurethane is poured into a cavity and allowed to expand in the pour process. In the spray method, heated two-component spray guns are used to apply the foam. This method is suitable for application in the field. The froth technique is similar to the pour technique except that the polyurethane is partially expanded before molding. A two-step expansion is used for this method using a low-boiling agent for preparation of the froth and a second higher-boiling agent for expansion once the mold is filled. Polyurethane foams can also be produced by reaction injection molding or RIM.44 This process combines low-molecular-weight isocyanate and polyol, which are accurately metered into the mixing chamber and then injected into the mold. The resulting structure consists of a solid skin and a foamed core. Polystyrene foams are typically considered either as extruded or expanded bead.45 Extruded polystyrene foam is produced by extrusion of polystyrene containing a blowing agent and allowing the material to expand into a closed cell foam. This product is used extensively as thermal insulation. Molded expanded polystyrene is produced by exposing polystyrene beads containing a blowing agent to heat.46 If the shape is to be used as loose-

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1.43

fill packaging, then no further processing steps are needed. If a part is to be made, the beads are then fused in a heated mold to shape the part. Bead polystyrene foam is used in thermal insulation applications, flotation devices, and insulated hot and cold drink cups. Polyethylene foams are produced using chemical blowing agents and are typically closed-cell foams.47 Cellular polyethylene offers advantages over solid polyethylene in terms of reduced weight and lower dielectric constant. As a result, these materials find application in electrical insulation markets. Polyethylene foams are also used in cushioning applications to protect products during shipping and handling.

1.7 REFERENCES 1. F. W. Billmeyer, Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1971. 2. A.W. Birley, B. Haworth, and J. Batchelor, Physics of Plastics, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1992. 3. M.L. Williams, R.F. Landel, and J.D. Ferry, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 77, 3701 (1955). 4. P.C. Powell, Engineering with Polymers, Chapman and Hall, London, 1983. 5. A.W. Birley, B. Haworth, and J. Batchelor, Physics of Plastics, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1992, pp. 283–284. 6. L.E. Nielsen and R.F. Landel, Mechanical Properties of Polymers and Composites, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1994, pp. 342–352. 7. A.W. Bosshard and H.P. Schlumpf, “Fillers and Reinforcements,” in Plastics Additives, 2nd ed., R. Gachter and H. Muller, Eds., Hanser Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 397. 8. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 122. 9. A.W. Bosshard and H.P. Schlumpf, “Fillers and Reinforcements,” in Plastics Additives, 2nd ed. R. Gachter and H. Muller, Eds., Hanser Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 407. 10. A.W. Bosshard and H.P. Schlumpf, “Fillers and Reinforcements,” in Plastics Additives, 2nd ed., R. Gachter and H. Muller, Eds., Hanser Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 420. 11. Sperling, L. H., Introduction to Physical Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley and Sons, New York (1992), 487. 12. W. Ostwald, Kolloid Z., 36, 99 (1925). 13. Morton-Jones, D. H., Polymer Processing, Chapman Hall, New York (1989), 35. 14. Rauwendaal, C., Polymer Extrusion, 2nd ed., Hanser Publishers, New York (1990), 190. 15. Carreau, P. J., De Kee, D. C. R., and Chhabra, R. P., Rheology of Polymeric Systems—Principles and Applications, Hanser Publishers, New York (1997), 52. 16. Osswald, T.A., Polymer Processing Fundamentals, Hanser/Gardner Publications, New York, 1998, p. 67. 17. Brydson, J. A., Plastics Materials, 5th ed., London, England: Butterworths, 1989, p. 151. 18. C. Rauwendaal, Polymer Extrusion, 2nd ed., Hanser/Gardner Publications, Cincinnati, OH (1990), p. 24. 19. Osswald, T.A., Polymer Processing Fundamentals, Hanser/Gardner Publications, New York, 1998, p. 70. 20. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., Vol. 6, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 571. 21. White, J. L., “Simulation of Flow in Intermeshing Twin-Screw Extruders,” in I. Manas-Zloczower and Z. Tadmor, Mixing and Compounding of Polymers, New York: Hanser Publishers, 1994, pp. 331–372. 22. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 92. 23. Morton-Jones, D.H., Polymer Processing, Chapman and Hall, New York, 1989, pp. 107, 110, and 111. 24. Morton-Jones, D.H., Polymer Processing, Chapman and Hall, New York, 1989, p. 118. 25. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995.

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CHAPTER 1

26. R.A. Malloy, Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1994, p. 20. 27. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 115. 28. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 133. 29. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 135. 30. R.A. Malloy, Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1994, p. 120. 31. A.B. Strong, Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996. 32. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996. 33. M.L. Berins, Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 383. 34. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, pp. 17–19. 35. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, pp. 19–22. 36. A.W. Birley, B. Haworth, and J. Batchelor, Physics of Plastics, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1992, p. 229. 37. A.W. Birley, B. Haworth, and J. Batchelor, Physics of Plastics, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1992, p. 230. 38. Michaeli, W., Plastics Processing, An Introduction, Hanser/Gardner Publications, New York, 1992, p. 102. 39. Osswald, T.A., Polymer Processing Fundamentals, Hanser/Gardner Publications, New York, 1998, pp. 149 and 151. 40. Osswald, T.A., Polymer Processing Fundamentals, Hanser/Gardner Publications, New York, 1998, p. 176. 41. H. Hurnik, “Chemical Blowing Agents” in Plastics Additives, 4th ed., R. Gächter and H. Müller, Eds., Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1993. 42. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 553. 43. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 555. 44. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 559. 45. M.L. Berins, Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 593. 46. M.L. Berins, Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, pp. 593-599. 47. M.L. Berins, Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, pp. 600-605. 48. L.H. Van Vlack, Elements of Materials Science and Engineering, 3rd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1975. 49. R.R. Maccani, “Characteristics Crucial to the Application of Engineering Plastics,” in Engineering Plastics, Vol. 2, Engineering Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 69. 50. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 48-49. 51. H.P. Schlumpf, “Fillers and Reinforcements”, in Plastics Additives, 4th ed., R. Gächter and H. Müller, Eds., Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1993. 52. Morton-Jones, D. H., Polymer Processing, Chapman Hall, New York (1989), 35. 53. T. Whelan and J. Goff, The Dynisco Injection Molders Handbook, 1st ed., Dynisco, ©T. Whelan and J. Goff, 1991. 54. http://www.mgstech.com/multishot_molding/materials/battenfeld_plastic_bonding_chart.gif. 55. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 405. 56. H. Hurnik, “Chemical Blowing Agents,” in Plastics Additives, 4th ed., R. Gächter and H. Müller, Eds., Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1993.

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INTRODUCTION TO POLYMERS AND PLASTICS

1.45

57. C. Rauwendaal, Polymer Extrusion, 2nd ed., Hanser/Gardner Publications, Cincinnati, OH (1990), p. 24 58. Twin Screw Report, Somerville, NJ, American Leistritz Extruder Corp., (Nov., 1993). 59. http://www.ndhmedical.com/html/extrusion.htm, last accessed August 30, 2005. 60. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 2. 61. N.G. McCrum, C.P. Buckley, and C.B. Bucknall, Principles of Polymer Engineering, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 334. 62. N.G. McCrum, C.P. Buckley, and C.B. Bucknall, Principles of Polymer Engineering, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 338. 63. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 172. 64. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 173. 65. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 178. 66. G. Pötsch and W. Michaeli, Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, Munich, Germany, 1995, p. 177. 67. R.A. Malloy, Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1994, p. 396. 68. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 17. 69. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 18. 70. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 19. 71. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 20. 72. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 21. 73. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 22. 74. J.L. Throne, Technology of Thermoforming, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1996, p. 23.

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Source: Handbook of Plastics Technologies

CHAPTER 2

THERMOPLASTICS Anne-Marie Baker, Joey L. Mead University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts

2.1 INTRODUCTION Plastic materials encompass a broad range of materials. The effect of structure on the resulting properties was discussed more fully in Chap. 1. Here, we describe the details of the wide variety of plastic materials available for use. For a comprehensive listing of properties, the reader should refer to Chap. 1.

2.2 POLYMER CATEGORIES 2.2.1

Acetal (POM)

Acetal polymers are formed from the polymerization of formaldehyde. They are also given the name polyoxymethylenes (POMs). Polymers prepared from formaldehyde were studied by Staudinger in the 1920s, but thermally stable materials were not introduced until the 1950s, when DuPont developed Delrin.1 Hompolymers are prepared from very pure formaldehyde by anionic polymerization as shown in Fig. 2.1. Amines and the soluble salts of alkali metals catalyze the reaction.2 The polymer formed is insoluble and is removed as the reaction proceeds. Thermal degradation of the acetal resin occurs by unzipping with the release of formaldehyde. The thermal stability of the polymer is increased by esterification of the hydroxyl ends with acetic anhydride. An alternative method to improve the thermal stability is copolymerization with a second monomer, such as ethylene oxide. The copolymer is prepared by cationic methods3 developed by Celanese and mar-

FIGURE 2.1 Polymerization of formaldehyde to polyoxymethylene.

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THERMOPLASTICS

2.2

CHAPTER 2

keted under the trade name Celcon. Hostaform and Duracon are also copolymers. The presence of the second monomer reduces the tendency for the polymer to degrade by unzipping.4 There are four processes for the thermal degradation of acetal resins. The first is thermal or base-catalyzed depolymerization from the chain, resulting in the release of formaldehyde. End capping the polymer chain will reduce this tendency. The second is oxidative attack at random positions, again leading to depolymerization. The use of antioxidants will reduce this degradation mechanism. Copolymerization is also helpful. The third mechanism is cleavage of the acetal linkage by acids. It is therefore important not to process acetals in equipment used for PVC, unless it has been cleaned, due to the possible presence of traces of HCl. The fourth degradation mechanism is thermal depolymerization at temperatures above 270°C. It is important that processing temperatures remain below this temperature to avoid degradation of the polymer.5 Acetals are highly crystalline, typically 75 percent crystalline, with a melting point of 180°C.6 Compared to polyethylene (PE), the chains pack closer together because of the shorter C-O bond. As a result, the polymer has a higher melting point. It is also harder than PE. The high degree of crystallinity imparts good solvent resistance to acetal polymers. The polymer is essentially linear with molecular weights (Mn) in the range of 20,000 to 110,000.7 Acetal resins are strong and stiff thermoplastics with good fatigue properties and dimensional stability. They also have a low coefficient of friction, and good heat resistance.8 Acetal resins are considered similar to nylons but are better in fatigue, creep, stiffness, and water resistance.9 Acetal resins do not, however, have the creep resistance of polycarbonate. As mentioned previously, acetal resins have excellent solvent resistance with no organic solvents found below 70°C; however, swelling may occur in some solvents. Acetal resins are susceptible to strong acids and alkalis as well as oxidizing agents. Although the C-O bond is polar, it is balanced and much less polar than the carbonyl group present in nylon. As a result, acetal resins have relatively low water absorption. The small amount of moisture absorbed may cause swelling and dimensional changes but will not degrade the polymer by hydrolysis.10 The effects of moisture are considerable less dramatic than for nylon polymers. Ultraviolet light may cause degradation, which can be reduced by the addition of carbon black. The copolymers have generally similar properties, but the hom*opolymer may have slightly better mechanical properties, and higher melting point, but poorer thermal stability and poorer alkali resistance.11 Along with both hom*opolymers and copolymers, there are also filled materials (glass, fluoropolymer, aramid fiber, and other fillers), toughened grades, and UV stabilized grades.12 Blends of acetal with polyurethane elastomers show improved toughness and are available commercially. Acetal resins are available for injection molding, blow molding, and extrusion. During processing, it is important to avoid overheating, or the production of formaldehyde may cause serious pressure buildup. The polymer should be purged from the machine before shutdown to avoid excessive heating during start-up.13 Acetal resins should be stored in a dry place. The apparent viscosity of acetal resins is less dependent on shear stress and temperature than polyolefins, but the melt has low elasticity and melt strength. The low melt strength is a problem for blow molding applications. For blow molding applications, copolymers with branched structures are available. Crystallization occurs rapidly with post mold shrinkage complete within 48 hr of molding. Because of the rapid crystallization, it is difficult to obtain clear films.14 The market demand for acetal resins in the United States and Canada was 368 million lb in 1997.15 Applications for acetal resins include gears, rollers, plumbing components, pump parts, fan blades, blow molded aerosol containers, and molded sprockets and chains. They are often used as direct replacements for metal. Most of the acetal resins are pro-

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THERMOPLASTICS

THERMOPLASTICS

2.3

cessed by injection molding, with the remainder used in extruded sheet and rod. Their low coefficient of friction make acetal resins good for bearings.16 2.2.2

Biodegradable Polymers

Disposal of solid waste is a challenging problem. The United States consumes over 53 billion lb of polymers a year for a variety of applications.17 When the life cycle of these polymeric parts is completed, they may end up in a landfill. Plastics are often selected for applications based on their stability to degradation; however, this means degradation will be very slow, adding to the solid waste problem. Methods to reduce the amount of solid waste include either recycling or biodegradation.18 Considerable work has been done to recycle plastics, both in the manufacturing and consumer area. Biodegradable materials offer another way to reduce the solid waste problem. Most waste is disposed of by burial in a landfill. Under these conditions, oxygen is depleted, and biodegradation must proceed without the presence of oxygen.19 An alternative is aerobic composting. In selecting a polymer that will undergo biodegradation, it is important to ascertain the method of disposal. Will the polymer be degraded in the presence of oxygen and water, and what will be the pH level? Biodegradation can be separated into two types: chemical and microbial degradation. Chemical degradation includes degradation by oxidation, photodegradation, thermal degradation, and hydrolysis. Microbial degradation can include both fungi and bacteria. The susceptibility of a polymer to biodegradation depends on the structure of the backbone.20 For example, polymers with hydrolyzable backbones can be attacked by acids or bases, breaking down the molecular weight. They are therefore more likely to be degraded. Polymers that fit into this category include most natural-based polymers, such as polysaccharides, and synthetic materials, such as polyurethanes, polyamides, polyesters, and polyethers. Polymers that contain only carbon groups in the backbone are more resistant to biodegradation. Photodegradation can be accomplished by using polymers that are unstable to light sources or by the used of additives that undergo photodegration. Copolymers of divinyl ketone with styrene, ethylene, or polypropylene (Eco Atlantic) are examples of materials that are susceptible to photodegradation.21 The addition of a UV absorbing material will also act to enhance photodegradation of a polymer. An example is the addition of iron dithiocarbamate.22 The degradation must be controlled to ensure that the polymer does not degrade prematurely. Many polymers described elsewhere in this book can be considered for biodegradable applications. Polyvinyl alcohol has been considered in applications requiring biodegradation because of its water solubility. However, the actual degradation of the polymer chain may be slow.23 Polyvinyl alcohol is a semicrystalline polymer synthesized from polyvinyl acetate. The properties are governed by the molecular weight and by the amount of hydrolysis. Water soluble polyvinyl alcohol has a degree of hydrolysis near 88 percent. Water insoluble polymers are formed if the degree of hydrolysis is less than 85 percent.24 Cellulose-based polymers are some of the more widely available naturally based polymers. They can therefore be used in applications requiring biodegradation. For example, regenerated cellulose is used in packaging applications.25 A biodegradable grade of cellulose acetate is available from Rhone-Poulenc (Bioceta and Biocellat), where an additive acts to enhance the biodegradation.26 This material finds application in blister packaging, transparent window envelopes, and other packaging applications. Starch-based products are also available for applications requiring biodegradability. The starch is often blended with polymers for better properties. For example, polyethylene films containing between 5 and 10 percent cornstarch have been used in biodegradable applications. Blends of starch with vinyl alcohol are produced by Fertec (Italy) and used in

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both film and solid product applications.27 The content of starch in these blends can range up to 50 percent by weight, and the materials can be processed on conventional processing equipment. A product developed by Warner-Lambert call Novon is also a blend of polymer and starch, but the starch contents in Novon are higher than in the material by Fertec. In some cases, the content can be over 80 percent starch.28 Polylactides (PLAs) and copolymers are also of interest in biodegradable applications. This material is a thermoplastic polyester synthesized from ring opening of lactides. Lactides are cyclic diesters of lactic acid.29 A similar material to polylactide is polyglycolide (PGA). PGA is also thermoplastic polyester but formed from glycolic acids. Both PLA and PGA are highly crystalline materials. These materials find application in surgical sutures and resorbable plates and screws for fractures, and new applications in food packaging are also being investigated. Polycaprolactones are also considered in biodegradable applications such as films and slow-release matrices for pharmaceuticals and fertilizers.30 Polycaprolactone is produced through ring opening polymerization of lactone rings with a typical molecular weight in the range of 15,000 to 40,000.31 It is a linear, semicrystalline polymer with a melting point near 62°C and a glass transition temperature about –60°C.32 A more recent biodegradable polymer is polyhydroxybutyrate-valerate copolymer (PHBV). These copolymers differ from many of the typical plastic materials in that they are produced through biochemical means. It is produced commercially by ICI using the bacteria Alcaligenes eutrophus, which is fed a carbohydrate. The bacteria produce polyesters, which are harvested at the end of the process.33 When the bacteria are fed glucose, the pure poly hydroxybutyrate polymer is formed, while a mixed feed of glucose and propionic acid will produce the copolymers.34 Different grades are commercially available that vary in the amount of hydroxyvalerate units and the presence of plasticizers. The pure hydroxybutyrate polymer has a melting point between 173 and 180°C and a Tg near 5°C.35 Copolymers with hydroxyvalerate have reduced melting points, greater flexibility, and impact strength, but lower modulus and tensile strength. The level of hydroxyvalerate is 5 to 12 percent. These copolymers are fully degradable in many microbial environments. Processing of PHBV copolymers requires careful control of the process temperatures. The material will degrade above 195°C, so processing temperatures should be kept below 180°C and the processing time kept to a minimum. It is more difficult to process unplasticized copolymers with lower hydroxyvalerate content because of the higher processing temperatures required. Applications for PHBV copolymers include shampoo bottles, cosmetic packaging, and as a laminating coating for paper products.36 Other biodegradable polymers include Konjac, a water-soluble natural polysaccharide produced by FMC; Chitin, another polysaccharide that is insoluble in water; and Chitosan, which is soluble in water.37 Chitin is found in insects and in shellfish. Chitosan can be formed from chitin and is also found in fungal cell walls.38 Chitin is used in many biomedical applications, including dialysis membranes, bacteriostatic agents, and wound dressings. Other applications include cosmetics, water treatment, adhesives, and fungicides.39 2.2.3

Cellulose

Cellulosic polymers are the most abundant organic polymers in the world, making up the principal polysaccharide in the walls of almost all of the cells of green plants and many fungi species.40 Plants produce cellulose through photosynthesis. Pure cellulose decomposes before it melts and must be chemically modified to yield a thermoplastic. The chemical structure of cellulose is a heterochain linkage of different anhydrogluclose units into high-molecular-weight polymer, regardless of plant source. The plant source however

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does affect molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, degrees of orientation, and morphological structure. Material described commonly as “cellulose” can actually contain hemicelluloses and lignin.41 Wood is the largest source of cellulose, is processed as fibers to supply the paper industry, and is widely used in housing and industrial buildings. Cotton-derived cellulose is the largest source of textile and industrial fibers, with the combined result being that cellulose is the primary polymer serving the housing and clothing industries. Crystalline modifications result in celluloses of differing mechanical properties, and Table 2.1 compares the tensile strengths and ultimate elongations of some common celluloses.42 TABLE 2.1

Selected Mechanical Properties of Common Celluloses Tensile strength, MPa

Form

Ultimate elongation, %

Dry

Wet

Dry

Wet

Ramie

900

1060

2.3

2.4

Cotton

200–800

200–800

12–16

6–13

824

863

1.8

2.2

Viscose rayon

200–400

100–200

8–26

13–43

Cellulose acetate

150–200

100–120

21–30

29–30

Flax

Cellulose, whose repeat structure features three hydroxyl groups, reacts with organic acids, anhydrides, and acid chlorides to form esters. Plastics from these cellulose esters are extruded into film and sheet and are injection molded to form a wide variety of parts. Cellulose esters can also be compression molded and cast from solution to form a coating. The three most industrially important cellulose ester plastics are cellulose acetate (CA), cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB), and cellulose acetate propionate (CAP), with structures as shown in Fig. 2.2. These cellulose acetates are noted for their toughness, gloss, and transparency. CA is well suited for applications requiring hardness and stiffness, as long as the temperature and humidity conditions don’t cause the CA to be too dimensionally unstable. CAB has the best environmental stress cracking resistance, low temperature impact strength, and dimensional stability. CAP has the highest tensile strength and hardness. A comparison of typical compositions and properties for a range of formulations is given in Table 2.2.43 Properties can be tailored by formulating with different types and loadings of plasticizers.

FIGURE 2.2 Structures of cellulose acetate, cellulose acetate butyrate, and cellulose acetate propi-

onate.

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TABLE 2.2

CHAPTER 2

Selected Mechanical Properties of Cellulose Esters Cellulose acetate

Cellulose acetate butyrate

Cellulose acetate propionate

38–40 – – 3.5–4.5

13–15 36–38 – 1–2

1.5–3.5 – 43–47 2–3

13.1–58.6

13.8–51.7

13.8–51.7

6–50

38–74

35–60

6.6–132.7 1.9–14.3

9.9–149.3 6.6–23.8

13.3–182.5 1.9–19.0

Rockwell hardness, R scale

39–120

29–117

20–120

Percent moisture absorption at 24 hr

2.0–6.5

1.0–4.0

1.0–3.0

Composition, % Acetyl Butyrl Propionyl Hydroxyl Tensile strength at fracture, 23 °C, MPa Ultimate elongation, % Izod impact strength, J/m Notched, 23°C Notched, –40°C

Formulation of cellulose esters is required to reduce charring and thermal discoloration, and typically includes the addition of heat stabilizers, antioxidants, plasticizers, UV stabilizers, and coloring agents.44 Cellulose molecules are rigid due to the strong intermolecular hydrogen bonding that occurs. Cellulose itself is insoluble and reaches its decomposition temperature prior to melting. The acetylation of the hydroxyl groups reduces intermolecular bonding and increases free volume, depending on the level and chemical nature of the alkylation.45 CAs are thus soluble in specific solvents but still require plasticization for rheological properties appropriate to molding and extrusion processing conditions. Blends of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers and CAB are available. Cellulose acetates have also been graft-copolymerized with alkyl esters of acrylic and methacrylic acid and then blended with EVA to form a clear, readily processable thermoplastic. CA is cast into sheet form for blister packaging, window envelopes, and file tab applications. CA is injection molded into tool handles, toothbrushes, ophthalmic frames, and appliance housings and is extruded into pens, pencils, knobs, packaging films, and industrial pressure-sensitive tapes. CAB is molded into steering wheels, tool handles, camera parts, safety goggles, and football noseguards. CAP is injection molded into steering wheels, telephones, appliance housings, flashlight cases, and screw and bolt anchors and is extruded into pens, pencils, toothbrushes, packaging film, and pipe.46 Cellulose acetates are well suited for applications that require machining and then solvent vapor polishing, such as in the case of tool handles, where the consumer market values the clarity, toughness, and smooth finish. CA and CAP are likewise suitable for ophthalmic sheeting and injection molding applications that require many post-finishing steps.47 Cellulose acetates are also commercially important in the coatings arena. In this synthetic modification, cellulose is reacted with an alkyl halide, primarily methylchloride to yield methylcellulose or sodium chloroacetate to yield sodium cellulose methylcellulose (CMC). The structure of CMC is shown below in Fig. 2.3. CMC gums are water soluble and are used in food contact and packaging applications. Its outstanding film-forming properties are used in paper sizings and textiles, and its thickening properties are used in starch adhesive formulations, paper coatings, toothpaste, and shampoo. Other cellulose es-

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FIGURE 2.3 Sodium cellulose methylcellulose

structure.

ters, including cellulosehydroxyethyl, hydroxypropylcellulose, and ethylcellulose, are used in film and coating applications, adhesives, and inks. 2.2.4

Fluoropolymers

Fluoropolymers are noted for their heat-resistance properties. This is due to the strength and stability of the carbon-fluorine bond.48 The first patent was awarded in 1934 to IG Farben for a fluorine-containing polymer, polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE). This polymer had limited application, and fluoropolymers did not have wide application until the discovery of polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) in 1938.49 In addition to their high-temperature properties, fluoropolymers are known for their chemical resistance, very low coefficient of friction, and good dielectric properties. Their mechanical properties are not high unless reinforcing fillers, such as glass fibers, are added.50 The compressive properties of fluoropolymers are generally superior to their tensile properties. In addition to their high temperature resistance, these materials have very good toughness and flexibility at low temperatures.51 A wide variety of fluoropolymers are available, including polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE), fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE), ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), polyvinylindene fluoride (PVDF), and polyvinyl fluoride (PVF). 2.2.4.1 Copolymers. Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) is a copolymer of tetrafluoroethylene and hexafluoropropylene. It has properties similar to PTFE but with a melt viscosity suitable for molding with conventional thermoplastic processing techniques.52 The improved processability is obtained by replacing one of the fluorine groups on PTFE with a trifluoromethyl group as shown in Fig. 2.4.53 FEP polymers were developed by DuPont, but other commercial sources are available, such as Neoflon (Daikin Kogyo) and Teflex (Niitechem, USSR).54 FEP is a crystalline polymer with a melting point of 290°C, and it can be used for long periods at 200°C with good retention of properties.55 FEP has good chemical resistance, a low dielectric con-

FIGURE 2.4 Structure of FEP.

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stant, low friction properties, and low gas permeability. Its impact strength is better than PTFE, but the other mechanical properties are similar to PTFE.56 FEP may be processed by injection, compression, or blow molding. FEP may be extruded into sheets, films, rods or other shapes. Typical processing temperatures for injection molding and extrusion are in the range of 300 to 380°C.57 Extrusion should be done at low shear rates because of the polymer’s high melt viscosity and melt fracture at low shear rates. Applications for FEP include chemical process pipe linings, wire and cable, and solar collector glazing.58 A material similar to FEP, Hostaflon TFB (Hoechst), is a terpolymer of tetrafluoroethylene, hexafluoropropene, and vinylidene fluoride. Ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) is an alternating copolymer of chlorotrifluoroethylene and ethylene. It has better wear properties than PTFE along with good flame resistance. Applications include wire and cable jackets, tank linings, chemical process valve and pump components, and corrosion-resistant coatings.59 Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a copolymer of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene similar to ECTFE but with a higher use temperature. It does not have the flame resistance of ECTFE, however, and will decompose and melt when exposed to a flame.60 The polymer has good abrasion resistance for a fluorine containing polymer, along with good impact strength. The polymer is used for wire and cable insulation, where its high temperature properties are important. ETFE finds application in electrical systems for computers, aircraft and heating systems.61 2.2.4.2 Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE). Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE) is made by the polymerization of chlorotrifluoroethylene, which is prepared by the dechlorination of trichlorotrifluoroethane. The polymerization is initiated with redox initiators.62 The replacement of one fluorine atom with a chlorine atom, as shown in Fig. 2.5, breaks up the symmetry of the PTFE molecule, resulting in a lower melting point and allowing PCTFE to be processed more easily than PTFE. The crystalline melting point of PCTFE at 218°C is lower than PTFE. Clear sheets of PCTFE with no crystallinity may also be prepared.

FIGURE 2.5 Structure of PCTFE.

PCTFE is resistant to temperatures up to 200°C and has excellent solvent resistance, with the exception of halogenated solvents or oxygen containing materials, which may swell the polymer.63 The electrical properties of PCTFE are inferior to PTFE, but PCTFE is harder and has high tensile strength. The melt viscosity of PCTFE is low enough that it may be processing using most thermoplastic processing techniques.64 Typical processing temperatures are in the range of 230 to 290°C.65 PCTFE is higher in cost than PTFE, somewhat limiting its use. Applications include gaskets, tubing, and wire and cable insulation. Very low vapor transmission films and sheets may also be prepared.66 2.2.4.3 Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is polymerized from tetrafluoroethylene by free radical methods.67 The reaction is shown below in Fig. 2.6. Commercially, there are two major processes for the polymerization of PTFE,

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FIGURE 2.6 Preparation of PTFE.

one yielding a finer particle size dispersion polymer with lower molecular weight than the second method, which yields a “granular” polymer. The weight average molecular weights of commercial materials range from 400,000 to 9,000,000.68 PTFE is a linear crystalline polymer with a melting point of 327°C.69 Because of the larger fluorine atoms, PTFE takes up a twisted zigzag in the crystalline state, while polyethylene takes up the planar zigzag form.70 There are several crystal forms for PTFE, with some of the transitions from one crystal form to another occurring near room temperature. As a result of these transitions, volume changes of about 1.3 percent may occur. PTFE has excellent chemical resistance but may go into solution near its crystalline melting point. PTFE is resistant to most chemicals. Only alkali metals (molten) may attack the polymer.71 The polymer does not absorb significant quantities of water, and it has low permeability to gases and moisture vapor.72 PTFE is a tough polymer with good insulating properties. It is also known for its low coefficient of friction, with values in the range of 0.02 to 0.10.73 PTFE, like other fluoropolymers, has excellent heat resistance and can withstand temperatures up to 260°C. Because of the high thermal stability, the mechanical and electrical properties of PTFE remain stable for long times at temperatures up to 250°C. However, PTFE can be degraded by high-energy radiation. One disadvantage of PTFE is that it is extremely difficult to process by either molding or extrusion. PFTE is processed in powder form by either sintering or compression molding. It is also available as a dispersion for coating or impregnating porous materials.74 PTFE has very high viscosity, prohibiting the use of many conventional processing techniques. For this reason, techniques developed for the processing of ceramics are often used. These techniques involve preforming the powder, followed by sintering above the melting point of the polymer. For granular polymers, the preforming is carried out with the powder compressed into a mold. Pressures should be controlled, as too low a pressure may cause voids, while too high a pressure may result in cleavage planes. After sintering, thick parts should be cooled in an oven at a controlled cooling rate, often under pressure. Thin parts may be cooled at room temperature. Simple shapes may be made by this technique, but more detailed parts should be machined.75 Extrusion methods may be used on the granular polymer at very low rates. In this case the polymer is fed into a sintering die that is heated. A typical sintering die has a length about 90 times the internal diameter. Dispersion polymers are more difficult to process by the techniques previously mentioned. The addition of a lubricant (15 to 25 percent) allows the manufacture of preforms by extrusion. The lubricant is then removed and the part sintered. Thick parts are not made by this process, because the lubricant must be removed. PTFE tapes are made by this process; however, the polymer is not sintered, and a nonvolatile oil is used.76 Dispersions of PTFE are used to impregnate glass fabrics and to coat metal surfaces. Laminates of the impregnated glass cloth may be prepared by stacking the layers of fabric, followed by pressing at high temperatures. Processing of PTFE requires adequate ventilation for the toxic gases that may be produced. In addition, PTFE should be processed under high cleanliness standards, because

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the presence of any organic matter during the sintering process will result in poor properties as a result of the thermal decomposition of the organic matter. This includes both poor visual qualities and poor electrical properties.77 The final properties of PTFE are dependent on the processing methods and the type of polymer. Both particle size and molecular weight should be considered. The particle size will affect the amount of voids and processing ease, while crystallinity will be influenced by the molecular weight. Additives for PTFE must be able to undergo the high processing temperatures required. This limits the range of additives available. Glass fiber is added to improve some mechanical properties. Graphite or molybdenum disulphide may be added to retain the low coefficient of friction while improving the dimensional stability. Only a few pigments are available that can withstand the processing conditions. These are mainly inorganic pigments such as iron oxides and cadmium compounds.78 Because of the excellent electrical properties, PTFE is used in a variety of electrical applications, such as wire and cable insulation and insulation for motors, capacitors, coils, and transformers. PTFE is also used for chemical equipment such as valve parts and gaskets. The low friction characteristics make PTFE suitable for use in bearings, mold release devices, and antistick cookware. Low-molecular-weight polymers may be used in aerosols for dry lubrication.79 2.2.4.4 Polyvinylindene Fluoride (PVDF). Polyvinylindene fluoride (PVDF) is crystalline with a melting point near 170°C.80 The structure of PVDF is shown in Fig. 2.7. PVDF has good chemical and weather resistance, along with good resistance to distortion and creep at low and high temperatures. Although the chemical resistance is good, the polymer can be affected by very polar solvents, primary amines, and concentrated acids. PVDF has limited use as an insulator, because the dielectric properties are frequency dependent. The polymer is important because of its relatively low cost compared to other fluorinated polymers.81 PVDF is unique in that the material has piezoelectric properties, meaning that it will generate electric current when compressed.82 This unique feature has been utilized for the generation of ultrasonic waves.

FIGURE 2.7 Structure of PVDF.

PVDF can be melt processed by most conventional processing techniques. The polymer has a wide range between the decomposition temperature and the melting point. Melt temperatures are usually 240 to 260°C.83 Processing equipment should be extremely clean, as any contaminants may affect the thermal stability. As with other fluorinated polymers, the generation of HF is a concern. PVDF is used for applications in gaskets, coatings, wire and cable jackets, and chemical process piping and seals.84 2.2.4.5 Polyvinyl fluoride (PVF). Polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) is a crystalline polymer available in film form and used as a lamination on plywood and other panels.85 The film is impermeable to many gases. PVF is structurally similar to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) except for the replacement of a chlorine atom with a fluorine atom. PVF exhibits low moisture absorption, good weatherability, and good thermal stability. Similar to PVC, PVF

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may give off hydrogen halides at elevated temperatures. However, PVF has a greater tendency to crystallize and better heat resistance than PVC.86 2.2.5

Nylons

Nylons were one of the early polymers developed by Carothers.87 Today, nylons are an important thermoplastic, with consumption in the United States of about 1.2 billion lb in 1997.88 Nylons, also known as polyamides, are synthesized by condensation polymerization methods, often an aliphatic diamine and a diacid. Nylon is a crystalline polymer with high modulus, strength, and impact properties, and low coefficient of friction and resistance to abrasion.89 Although the materials possess a wide range of properties, they all contain the amide (-CONH-) linkage in their backbone. Their general structure is shown in Fig. 2.8.

FIGURE 2.8 General structure of nylons.

There are five main methods to polymerize nylon. They are • Reaction of a diamine with a dicarboxylic acid • Condensation of the appropriate amino acid • Ring opening of a lactam • Reaction of a diamine with a dicarboxylic acid • Reaction of a diisocyanate with a dicarboxylic acid90 The type of nylon (nylon 6, nylon 10, etc.) is indicative of the number of carbon atoms in the repeat unit. Many different types of nylons can be prepared, depending on the starting monomers used. The type of nylon is determined by the number of carbon atoms in the monomers used in the polymerization. The number of carbon atoms between the amide linkages also controls the properties of the polymer. When only one monomer is used (lactam or amino acid), the nylon is identified with only one number (nylon 6, nylon 12). When two monomers are used in the preparation, the nylon will be identified using two numbers (nylon 6,6, nylon 6,12).91 This is shown in Fig. 2.9. The first number refers to the number of carbon atoms in the diamine used (a) and the second number refers to the number of carbon atoms in the diacid monomer (b + 2), due to the two carbons in the carbonyl group.92 The amide groups are polar groups and significantly affect the polymer properties. The presence of these groups allows for hydrogen bonding between chains, improving the interchain attraction. This gives nylon polymers good mechanical properties. The polar nature of nylons also improves the bondability of the materials, while the flexible aliphatic carbon groups give nylons low melt viscosity for easy processing.93 This structure also gives polymers that are tough above their glass transition temperature.94 Nylons are relatively insensitive to nonpolar solvents; however, because of the presence of the polar groups, nylons can be affected by polar solvents, particularly water.95 The presence of moisture must be considered in any nylon application. Moisture can cause

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FIGURE 2.9 Synthesis of nylon.

changes in part dimensions and reduce the properties, particularly at elevated temperatures.96 As a result, the material should be dried before any processing operations. In the absence of moisture, nylons are fairly good insulators but, as the level of moisture or the temperature increases, the nylons are less insulating.97 The strength and stiffness will be increased as the number of carbon atoms between amide linkages is decreased, because there are more polar groups per unit length along the polymer backbone.98 The degree of moisture absorption is also strongly influenced by the number of polar groups along the backbone of the chain. Nylon grades with fewer carbon atoms between the amide linkages will absorb more moisture than grades with more carbon atoms between the amide linkages (nylon 6 will absorb more moisture than nylon 12). Furthermore, nylon types with an even number of carbon atoms between the amide groups have higher melting points than those with an odd number of carbon atoms. For example, the melting point of nylon 6,6 is greater than either nylon 5,6 or nylon 7,6.99 Ring opened nylons behave similarly. This is due to the ability of the nylons with the even number of carbon atoms to pack better in the crystalline state.100 Nylon properties are affected by the amount of crystallinity. This can be controlled to a great extent in nylon polymers by the processing conditions. A slowly cooled part will have significantly greater crystallinity (50 to 60 percent) than a rapidly cooled, thin part (perhaps as low as 10 percent).101 Not only can the degree of crystallinity be controlled, but also the size of the crystallites. In a slowly cooled material, the crystal size will be larger than for a rapidly cooled material. In injection molded parts where the surface is rapidly cooled, the crystal size may vary from the surface to internal sections.102 Nucleating agents can be utilized to create smaller spherulites in some applications. This creates materials with higher tensile yield strength and hardness, but lower elongation and impact.103 The degree of crystallinity will also affect the moisture absorption, with less crystalline polyamides being more prone to moisture pickup.104 The glass transition temperature of aliphatic polyamides is of secondary importance to the crystalline melting behavior. Dried polymers have Tg values near 50°C, while those with absorbed moisture may have Tgs in the range of 0°C.105 The glass transition temperature can influence the crystallization behavior of nylons. For example, nylon 6,6 may be above its Tg at room temperature, causing crystallization at room temperature to occur slowly leading to post mold shrinkage. This is less significant for nylon 6.106 Nylons are processed by extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, and rotational molding, among other methods. Nylon has a very sharp melting point and low melt viscosity, which is advantageous in injection molding but causes difficulty in extrusion and blow molding. In extrusion applications a wide MWD is preferred, along with a reduced temperature at the exit to increase melt viscosity.107

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2.13

When used in injection molding applications, nylons have a tendency to drool, due to their low melt viscosity. Special nozzles have been designed for use with nylons to reduce this problem.108 Nylons show high mold shrinkage as a result of their crystallinity. Average values are about 0.018 cm/cm for nylon 6,6. Water absorption should also be considered for parts with tight dimensional tolerances. Water will act to plasticize the nylon, relieving some of the molding stresses and causing dimensional changes. In extrusion, a screw with a short compression zone is used, with cooling initiated as soon as the extrudate exits the die.109 A variety of commercial nylons are available, including nylon 6, nylon 11, nylon 12, nylon 6,6, nylon 6,10, and nylon 6,12. The most widely used nylons are nylon 6,6 and nylon 6.110 Specialty grades with improved impact resistance, improved wear, or other properties are also available. Polyamides are used most often in the form of fibers, primarily nylon 6,6 and nylon 6, although engineering applications are also of importance.111 Nylon 6,6 is prepared from the polymerization of adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine. The need to control a 1:1 stoichiometric balance between the two monomers can be improved by the fact that adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine form a 1:1 salt that can be isolated. Nylon 6,6 is known for high strength, toughness, and abrasion resistance. It has a melting point of 265°C and can maintain properties up to 150°C.112 Nylon 6,6 is used extensively in nylon fibers that are used in carpets, hose and belt reinforcements, and tire cord. Nylon 6,6 is used as an engineering resin in a variety of molding applications such as gears, bearings, rollers, and door latches because of its good abrasion resistance and self-lubricating tendencies.113 Nylon 6 is prepared from caprolactam. It has properties similar to those of nylon 6,6, but a lower melting point (255°C). One of the major applications is in tire cord. Nylon 6,10 has a melting point of 215°C and lower moisture absorption than nylon 6,6.114 Nylon 11 and nylon 12 have lower moisture absorption and also lower melting points than nylon 6,6. Nylon 11 has found applications in packaging films. Nylon 4,6 has found applications in a variety of automotive applications due to its ability to withstand high mechanical and thermal stresses. It is used in gears, gearboxes, and clutch areas.115 Other applications for nylons include brush bristles, fishing line, and packaging films. Additives such as glass or carbon fibers can be incorporated to improve the strength and stiffness of the nylon. Mineral fillers are also used. A variety of stabilizers can be added to nylon to improve the heat and hydrolysis resistance. Light stabilizers are often added as well. Some common heat stabilizers include copper salts, phosphoric acid esters, and phenyl-β-naphthylamine. In bearing applications, self-lubricating grades are available that may incorporate graphite fillers. Although nylons are generally impact resistant, rubber is sometimes incorporated to improve the failure properties.116 Nylon fibers do have a tendency to pick up a static charge, so antistatic agents are often added for carpeting and other applications.117 2.2.5.1 Aromatic Polyamides (Polyarylamides). A related polyamide is prepared when aromatic groups are present along the backbone. This imparts a great deal of stiffness to the polymer chain. One difficulty encountered in this class of materials is their tendency to decompose before melting.118 However, certain aromatic polyamides have gained commercial importance. The aromatic polyamides can be classified into three groups: amorphous copolymers with a high Tg , crystalline polymers that can be used as a thermoplastic, and crystalline polymers used as fibers. The copolymers are noncrystalline and clear. The rigid aromatic chain structure gives the materials a high Tg. One of the oldest types is poly(trimethylhexamethylene terephthalatamide) (Trogamid T®). This material has an irregular chain structure, restricting the material from crystallizing, but a Tg near 150°C.119 Grilamid TR55® is another polyamide

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copolymer with a Tg about 160°C, and a lower water absorption and density than the Trogamid T.120 The aromatic polyamides are tough materials and compete with polycarbonate, poly(methyl methacrylate) and polysulfone. These materials are used in applications requiring transparency. They have been used for solvent containers, flow meter parts, and clear housings for electrical equipment.121 In the 1980s, a polyarylamide marketed as IXEF was introduced, and Solvay targets it for the injection molding market, particularly high-temperature automotive applications.122 An example of a crystallizable aromatic polyamide is poly-m-xylylene adipamide. It has a Tg near 85 to 100°C and a Tm of 235 to 240°C.123 To obtain high heat deflection temperature, the filled grades are normally sold. Applications include gears, electrical plugs, and mowing machine components.124 Crystalline aromatic polyamides are also used in fiber applications. An example of this type of material is Kevlar®, a high-strength fiber used in bulletproof vests and composite structures. A similar material, which can be processed more easily, is Nomex®. It can be used to give flame retardance to cloth when used as a coating.125 2.2.6

Polyacrylonitrile

Polyacrylonitrile is prepared by the polymerization of acrylonitrile monomer using either free radical or anionic initiators. Bulk, emulsion, suspension, solution, or slurry methods may be used for the polymerization. The reaction is shown in Fig. 2.10.

FIGURE 2.10 Preparation of polyacrylonitrile.

Polyacrylonitrile will decompose before reaching its melting point, making the materials difficult to form. The decomposition temperature is near 300°C.126 Suitable solvents, such as dimethylformamide and tetramethylenesulphone, have been found for polyacrylonitrile, allowing the polymer to be formed into fibers by dry and wet spinning techniques.127 Polyacrylonitrile is a polar material, giving the polymer good resistance to solvents, high rigidity, and low gas permeability.128 Although the polymer degrades before melting, special techniques allowed a melting point of 317°C to be measured. The pure polymer is difficult to dissolve, but the copolymers can be dissolved in solvents such as methyl ethyl ketone, dioxane, acetone, dimethyl formamide, and tetrahydrofuran. Polyacrylonitrile exhibits exceptional barrier properties to oxygen and carbon dioxide.129 Copolymers of acrylonitrile with other monomers are widely used. Copolymers of vinylidene chloride and acrylonitrile find application in low-gas-permeability films. Styreneacrylonitrile (SAN polymers) copolymers have also been used in packaging applications. Although the gas permeability of the copolymers is higher than for pure polyacrylonitrile, the acrylonitrile copolymers have lower gas permeability than many other packaging films. A number of acrylonitrile copolymers were developed for beverage containers, but the requirement for very low levels of residual acrylonitrile monomer in this application led to many products being removed from the market.130 One copolymer currently avail-

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2.15

able is Barex (BP Chemicals). The copolymer has better barrier properties than both polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate.131 Acrylonitrile is also used with butadiene and styrene to form ABS polymers. Unlike the hom*opolymer, copolymers can be processed by many methods, including extrusion, blow molding, and injection molding.132 Acrylonitrile is often copolymerized with other monomers to form fibers. Copolymerization with monomers such as vinyl acetate, vinyl pyrrolidone, and vinyl esters gives the fibers the ability to be dyed using normal textile dyes. The copolymer generally contains at least 85 percent acrylonitrile.133 Acrylic fibers have good abrasion resistance, flex life, and toughness, and high strength. They have good resistance to stains and moisture. Modacrylic fibers contain between 35 and 85 percent acrylonitrile.134 Most of the acrylonitrile consumed goes into the production of fibers. Copolymers also consume large amounts of acrylonitrile. In addition to their use as fibers, polyacrylonitrile polymers can be used as precursors to carbon fibers. 2.2.7

Polyamide-imide (PAI)

Polyamide-imide (PAI) is a high-temperature amorphous thermoplastic that has been available since the 1970s under the trade name of Torlon.135 PAI can be produced from the reaction of trimellitic trichloride with methylenedianiline as shown in Fig. 2.11.

FIGURE 2.11 Preparation of polyamide-imide.

Polyamide-imides can be used from cryogenic temperatures to nearly 260°C. They have the temperature resistance of the polyimides but better mechanical properties, including good stiffness and creep resistance. PAI polymers are inherently flame retardant, with little smoke produced when they are burned. The polymer has good chemical resistance, but at high temperatures it can be affected by strong acids, bases, and steam.136 PAI has a heat deflection temperature of 280°C, along with good wear and friction properties.137 Polyamide-imides also have good radiation resistance and are more stable than standard nylons under different humidity conditions. The polymer has one of the highest glass transition temperatures, in the range of 270 to 285°C.138

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Polyamide-imide can be processed by injection molding, but special screws are needed due to the reactivity of the polymer under molding conditions. Low-compression-ratio screws are recommended.139 The parts should be annealed after molding at gradually increased temperatures.140 For injection molding, the melt temperature should be near 355°C, with mold temperatures of 230°C. PAI can also be processed by compression molding or used in solution form. For compression molding, preheating at 280°C, followed by molding between 330 and 340°C with a pressure of 30 MPa, is generally used.141 Polyamide-imide polymers find application in hydraulic bushings and seals, mechanical parts for electronics, and engine components.142 The polymer in solution has application as a laminating resin for spacecraft, a decorative finish for kitchen equipment, and as wire enamel.143 Low coefficient of friction materials may be prepared by blending PAI with polytetrafluoroethylene and graphite.144 2.2.8

Polyarylate

Polyarylates are amorphous, aromatic polyesters. Polyarylates are polyesters prepared from dicarboxylic acids and bis-phenols.145 Bis-phenol A is commonly used along with aromatic dicarboxylic acids, such as mixtures of isophthalic acid and terephthalic acid. The use of two different acids results in an amorphous polymer. However, the presence of the aromatic rings gives the polymer a high Tg and good temperature resistance. The temperature resistance of polyarylates lies between polysulfone and polycarbonate. The polymer is flame retardant and shows good toughness and UV resistance.146 Polyarylates are transparent and have good electrical properties. The abrasion resistance of polyarylates is superior to that of polycarbonate. In addition, the polymers show very high recovery from deformation. Polarylates are processed by most of the conventional methods. Injection molding should be performed with a melt temperature of 260 to 382°C, with mold temperatures of 65 to 150°C. Extrusion and blow molding grades are also available. Polyarylates can react with water at processing temperatures, and they should be dried prior to use.147 Polyarylates are used in automotive applications such as door handles, brackets, and headlamp and mirror housings. Polyarylates are also used in electrical applications for connectors and fuses. The polymer can be used in circuit board applications, because its high temperature resistance allows the part to survive exposure to the temperatures generated during soldering.148 The excellent UV resistance of these polymers allows them to be used as a coating for other thermoplastics for improved UV resistance of the part. The good heat resistance of polyarylates allows them to be used in applications such as fire helmets and shields.149 2.2.9

Polybenzimidazole (PBI)

Polybenzimidazoles (PBIs) are high-temperature-resistant polymers. They are prepared from aromatic tetramines (for example, tetra amino-biphenol) and aromatic dicarboxylic acids (diphenylisophthalate).150 The reactants are heated to form a soluble prepolymer that is converted to the insoluble polymer by heating at temperatures above 300°C.151 The general structure of PBI is shown in Fig. 2.12. The resulting polymer has high temperature stability, good chemical resistance, and nonflammability. The polymer releases very little toxic gas and does not melt when exposed to pyrolysis conditions. The polymer can be formed into fibers by dry-spinning processes. Polybenzimidazole is usually amorphous, with a Tg near 430°C.152 Under certain

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FIGURE 2.12 General structure of polybenzimidazoles.

conditions, crystallinity may be obtained. The lack of many single bonds and the high glass transition temperature give this polymer its superior high-temperature resistance. In addition to the high-temperature resistance, the polymer exhibits good low-temperature toughness. PBI polymers show good wear and frictional properties along with excellent compressive strength and high surface hardness.153 The properties of PBI at elevated temperatures are among the highest of the thermoplastics. In hot, aqueous solutions, the polymer may absorb water, with a resulting loss in mechanical properties. Removal of moisture will restore the mechanical properties. The heat deflection temperature of PBI is higher than most thermoplastics, and this is coupled with a low coefficient of thermal expansion. PBI can withstand temperatures up to 760°C for short durations and exposure to 425°C for longer durations. The polymer is not available as a resin and is generally not processed by conventional thermoplastic processing techniques, but rather by a high-temperature and high-pressure sintering process.154 The polymer is available in fiber form, certain shaped forms, finished parts, and solutions for composite impregnation. PBI is often used in fiber form for a variety of applications such as protective clothing and aircraft furnishings.155 Parts made from PBI are used as thermal insulators, electrical connectors, and seals.156 2.2.10

Polybutylene (PB)

Polybutylene polymers are prepared by the polymerization of 1-butene using ZieglerNatta catalysts The molecular weights range from 770,000 to 3,000,000.157 Copolymers with ethylene are often prepared as well. The chain structure is mainly isotactic and is shown in Fig. 2.13.158

FIGURE 2.13 General structure for polybuty-

lene.

The glass transition temperature for this polymer ranges from –17 to –25°C. Polybutylene resins are linear polymers exhibiting good resistance to creep at elevated temperatures and good resistance to environmental stress cracking.159 They also show high impact strength, tear resistance, and puncture resistance. As with other polyolefins, polybutylene shows good resistance to chemicals, good moisture barrier properties, and good electrical

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insulation properties. Pipes prepared from polybutylene can be solvent welded, yet the polymer still exhibits good environmental stress cracking resistance.160 The chemical resistance is quite good below 90°C but, at elevated temperatures, the polymer may dissolve in solvents such as toluene, decalin, chloroform, and strong oxidizing acids.161 Polybutylene is a crystalline polymer with three crystalline forms. The first crystalline form is obtained when the polymer is cooled from the melt. This first form is unstable and will change to a second crystalline form upon standing over a period of 3 to 10 days. The third crystalline form is obtained when polybutylene is crystallized from solution. The melting point and density of the first crystalline form are 124°C and 0.89 g/cm3, respectively.162 On transformation to the second crystalline form, the melting point increases to 135°C, and the density is increased to 0.95 g/cm3. The transformation to the second crystalline form increases the polymer’s hardness, stiffness, and yield strength. Polybutylene can be processed on equipment similar to that used for low-density polyethylene. Polybutylene can be extruded and injection molded. Film samples can be blown or cast. The slow transformation from one crystalline form to another allows polybutylene to undergo post forming techniques, such as cold forming of molded parts or sheeting.163 A range of 160 to 240°C is typically used to process polybutylene.164 The die swell and shrinkage are generally greater for polybutylene than for polyethylene. Because of the crystalline transformation, initially molded samples should be handled with care. An important application for polybutylene is plumbing pipe for both commercial and residential use. The excellent creep resistance of polybutylene allows for the manufacture of thinner wall pipes compared to pipes made from polyethylene or polypropylene. Polybutylene pipe can also be used for the transport of abrasive fluids. Other applications for polybutylene include hot melt adhesives and additives for other plastics. The addition of polybutylene improves the environmental stress cracking resistance of polyethylene and the impact and weld line strength of polypropylene.165 Polybutylene is also used in packaging applications.166 2.2.11

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate (PC) is often viewed as the quintessential engineering thermoplastic due to its combination of toughness, high strength, high heat-deflection temperatures, and transparency. The world wide growth rate, predicted in 1999 to be between eight and ten percent, is hampered only by the resin cost and is paced by applications where PC can replace ferrous or glass products. The polymer was discovered in 1898, and by 1958, both Bayer in Germany and General Electric in the United States had commenced production. Two current synthesis processes are commercialized, with the economically most successful one said to be the “interface” process, which involves the dissolution of bisphenol A in aqueous caustic soda and the introduction of phosgene in the presence of an inert solvent such as pyridine. The bisphenol A monomer is dissolved in the aqueous caustic soda then stirred with the solvent for phosgene. The water and solvent remain in separate phases. Upon phosgene introduction, the reaction occurs at the interface, with the ionic ends of the growing molecule being soluble in the catalytic caustic soda solution and the remainder of the molecule soluble in the organic solvent.167 An alternative method involves transesterification of bisphenol A with diphenyl carbonate at elevated temperatures.168 Both reactions are shown in Fig. 2.14. Molecular weights of between 30,000 and 50,000 g/mol can be obtained by the second route, while the phosgenation route results in higher-molecularweight product. The structure of PC, with its carbonate and bisphenolic structures, has many characteristics that promote its distinguished properties. The para-substitution on the phenyl rings results in a symmetry and lack of stereospecificity. The phenyl and methyl groups on the

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FIGURE 2.14 Synthesis routes for PC: (a) interface process and (b) transesterification reaction.

quartenary carbon promote a stiff structure. The ester-ether carbonate groups -OCOO- are polar, but their degree of intermolecular polar bond formation is minimized due to the steric hindrance posed by the benzene rings. The high level of aromaticity on the backbone, and the large size of the repeat structure, yield a molecule of very limited mobility. The ether linkage on the backbone permits some rotation and flexibility, producing high impact strength. Its amorphous nature with long, entangled chains contributes to the unusually high toughness. Upon crystallization, however, PC is brittle. PC is so reluctant to crystallize that films must be held at 180°C for several days to impart enough flexibility and thermal mobility required to conform to a structured three-dimensional crystalline lattice.169 The rigidity of the molecule accounts for strong mechanical properties, elevated heat deflection temperatures, and high dimensional stability at elevated temperatures. The relatively high free volume results in a low-density polymer, with unfilled PC having a 1.22 g/cm3 density. A disadvantage includes the need for drying and elevated-temperature processing. PC has limited chemical resistance to numerous aromatic solvents, including benzene, toluene, and xylene and has a weakness to notches. Selected mechanical and thermal properties are given in Table 2.3.170 TABLE 2.3

PC Thermal and Mechanical Properties

Polycarbonate

30% glass-filled polycarbonate

Makroblend PR51, Bayer

Xenoy, CL101 GE

Heat deflection temperature, °C, method A

138

280

90

95

Heat deflection temperature, °C, method B

142

287

105

105

Ultimate tensile strength, N/mm2

>65

70

56

>100

Ultimate elongation, %

110

3.5

120

>100

Tensile modulus, N/mm2

2300

5500

2200

1900

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Applications where PC is blended with ABS increase the heat distortion temperature of the ABS and improve the low-temperature impact strength of PC. The favorable ease of processing and improved economics make PC/ABS blends well suited for thin-walled electronic housing applications such as laptop computers. Blends with PBT are useful for improving the chemical resistance of PC to petroleum products and its low-temperature impact strength. PC alone is widely used as vacuum cleaner housings, household appliance housings, and power tools. These are arenas where PC’s high impact strength, heat resistance, durability, and high-quality finish justify its expense. It is also used in safety helmets, riot shields, aircraft canopies, traffic light lens housings, and automotive battery cases. Design engineers take care not to design with tight radii where PC’s tendency to stress crack could be a hindrance. PC cannot withstand constant exposure to hot water and can absorb 0.2 percent of its weight of water at 33°C and 65 percent relative humidity. This does not impair its mechanical properties but, at levels greater than 0.01 percent, processing results in streaks and blistering. 2.2.12

Polyester Thermoplastics

The broad class of organic chemicals called polyesters are characterized by the fact that they contain an ester linkage,

and may have either aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbon units. As an introduction, Table 2.4 offers some selected thermal and mechanical properties as a means of comparing polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polycyclohexylenedimethylene terephthalate (PCT), and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET). 2.2.12.1 Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCPs). Liquid crystal polyesters, known as liquid crystal polymers, are aromatic copolyesters. The presence of phenyl rings in the backbone of the polymer gives the chain rigidity, forming a rod-like chain structure. Generally, the phenyl rings are arranged in para linkages to give good rod-like structures.171 This chain structure orients itself in an ordered fashion, both in the melt and in the solid state, as shown in Fig. 2.15. The materials are self-reinforcing with high mechanical properties, but

FIGURE 2.15 Melt configurations.

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1.30–1.38 50–85 115–190

HDT, °C 264 psi 66 psi

50–300

Ultimate elongation, %

Specific gravity

56–60

Ultimate tensile strength, MPa

1,930–3,000

220–267

PBT unfilled

196–225 216–260

1.48–1.54

2–4

96–134

8,960–10,000

220–267

30% glassfilled PBT

260 > 260

1.45

1.9–2.3

221 268

1.41

3.1

97

– 124–134

285

30% glassfilled PCTA

30% glassfilled PCT

21–65 75

1.29–1.40

30–300

48–72

2,760–4,140

212–265

PET unfilled

Comparison of Thermal and Mechanical Properties of PBT, PCT, PCTA, PET, PEG, and PCTG.

Tensile modulus, MPa

Tm, °C

TABLE 2.4

210–227 243–249

64 70

1.27

1.55–1.70

65 74

1.23

330

52

28 110

PCTG unfilled

PETG unfilled

2–7

138–165

8,960–9,930

245–265

30% glassfilled PET

THERMOPLASTICS

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as a result of the oriented liquid crystal behavior, the properties will be anisotropic. The designer must be aware of this to properly design the part and gate the molds.172 The phenyl ring also helps increase the heat distortion temperature.173 The basic building blocks for liquid crystal polyesters are p-hydroxybenzoic acid, terephthalic acid, and hydroquinone. Unfortunately, the use of these monomers alone gives materials that are difficult to process with very high melting points. The polymers often degraded before melting.174 Various techniques have been developed to give materials with lower melting points and better processing behavior. Some methods include the incorporation of flexible units in the chain (copolymerizing with ethylene glycol), the addition of nonlinear rigid structures, and the addition of aromatic groups to the side of the chain.175 Liquid crystal polymers based on these techniques include Victrex (ICI), Vectra (Hoescht), and Xydar (Amoco). Xydar is based on terephthalic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, and p,p´-dihydroxybiphenyl, while Vectra is based on p-hydroxybenzoic acid and hydroxynaphthoic acid.176 These materials are known for their high temperature resistance, and particularly heat distortion temperature. The heat distortion temperature can vary from 170 to 350°C. They also have excellent mechanical properties, especially in the flow direction. For example, the tensile strength varies from 165 to 230 Mpa, the flexural strength varies from 169 to 256 Mpa, and the flexural modulus varies from 9 to 12.5 Gpa.177 Filled materials exhibit even higher values. LCPs are also known for good solvent resistance and low water absorption compared to other heat-resistant polymers. They have good electrical insulation properties, low flammability with a limiting oxygen index in the range of 35 to 40, but a high specific gravity (about 1.40).178 LCPs show little dimensional change when exposed to high temperatures and a low coefficient of thermal expansion.179 These materials can be high priced and often exhibit poor abrasion resistance due to the oriented nature of the polymer chains.180 Surface fibrillation may occur quite easily.181 The materials are processable on a variety of conventional equipment. Process temperatures are normally below 350°C, although some materials may need to be processed at higher temperatures. They generally have low melt viscosity as a result of their ordered melt and should be dried before use to avoid degradation.182 LCPs can be injection molded on conventional equipment, and regrind may be used. Mold release is generally not required.183 Part design for LCPs requires careful consideration of the anisotropic nature of the polymer. Weld lines can be very weak if the melt meets in a “butt” type of weld line. Other types of weld lines show better strength.184 Liquid crystal polymers are used in automotive, electrical, chemical processing, and household applications. One application is for oven and microwave cookware.185 Because of their higher costs, the material is used only in applications where its superior performance justifies the additional expense. 2.2.12.2 Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). With the expiration of the original PET patents, manufacturers pursued the polymerization of other polyalkene terephthalates, particularly polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). The polymer is synthesized by reacting terephthalic acid with butane 1,4-diol to yield the structure shown in Fig. 2.16.

FIGURE 2.16 Repeat structure of PBT.

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The only structural difference between PBT and PET is the substitution in PBT of four methylene repeat units rather than two present in PET. This feature imparts additional flexibility to the backbone and reduces the polarity of the molecule resulting in similar mechanical properties to PET (high strength, stiffness, and hardness). PBT growth is at least ten percent annually, in large part due to automotive exterior and under-the-hood applications such as electronic stability control and housings that are made out of a PBT/ASA (acrylonitrile/styrene/acrylic ester) blend. PBT/ASA blends are sold by BASF and GE Plastics Europe. Another development involving the use of PBT is coextrusion of PBT and a copolyester thermoplastic elastomer. This can then be blow molded into under-the-hood applications to minimize noise vibration. Highly filled PBTs are also making inroads into the kitchen and bathroom tile industries.186 As with PET, PBT is also often glass fiber filled so as to increase its flexural modulus, creep resistance, and impact strength. PBT is suitable for applications requiring dimensional stability, particularly in water, and resistance to hydrocarbon oils without stress-cracking.187 Hence, PBT is used in pump housings, distributors, impellers, bearing bushings, and gear wheels. To improve PBT’s poor notched impact strength, copolymerization with 5 percent ethylene and vinyl acetate onto the polyester backbone improves its toughness. PBT is also blended with PMMA, PET, PC, and polybutadiene to provide enhanced properties tailored to specific applications. 2.2.12.3 Polycyclohexylenedimethylene Terephthalate (PCT). Another polyalkylene terephthalate polyester of significant commercial importance is PCT—a condensation product of the reaction between dimethyl terephthalate and 1,4-cyclohexylene glycol as shown below in Fig. 2.17. This material is biaxially oriented into films and, while it is mechanically weaker than PET, it offers superior water resistance and weather resistance.188 As seen in the introductory Table 2.4, PCT differentiates itself from PET and PBT with its high heat distortion temperature. As with PET and PBT, PCT has low moisture absorption, and its good chemical resistance to engine fluids and organic solvents lends it to underthe-hood applications such as alternator armatures and pressure sensors.189

FIGURE 2.17 Synthesis route of PCT.

Copolymers of PCT include PCTA, an acid-modified polyester, and PCTG, a glycolmodified polyester. PCTA is used primarily for extruded film and sheet for packaging applications. PCTA has high clarity, tear strength, and chemical resistance, and when PCTA is filled, it is used for dual ovenable cookware. PCTG is primarily injection molded, and PCTG parts have notched Izod impact strengths similar to polycarbonate, against which it often competes. It also competes with ABS, another clear polymer. It finds use in medical and optical applications.190 2.2.12.4 Poly(ethylene Terephthalate) (PET). There are tremendous commercial applications for PET: as an injection-molding-grade material, for blow-molded bottles, and for oriented films. In 1998, the U.S. consumption of PET was 4,330 million lb, while domestic consumption of PBT was 346 million lb.191 PET, also known as poly(oxyethylene oxyterephthaloyl), can be synthesized from dimethyl terephthalate and ethylene glycol by a two-step ester interchange process, as shown in Fig. 2.18.192 The first stage involves a so-

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FIGURE 2.18 Direct esterification of a diacid (dimethyl terephthalate) with a diol(ethylene glycol) in the first stages of PET polymerization.

lution polymerization of one mole of dimethyl terephthalate with 2.1 to 2.2 moles of ethylene glycol.193 The excess ethylene glycol increases the rate of formation of bis(2hydroxyethyl) terephthalate. Small amounts of trimer, tetramer, and other oligomers are formed. A metal alkanoate, such as manganese acetate, is often added as a catalyst; this is later deactiviated by the addition of a phosphorous compound such as phosphoric acid. The antioxidant phosphate improves the thermal and color stability of the polymer during the higher-temperature second-stage process.194 The first stage of the reaction is run at 150 to 200°C with continuous methanol distillation and removal.195 The second step of the polymerization, shown in Fig. 2.19, is a melt polymerization as the reaction temperature is raised to 260 to 290°C. This second stage is carried out under either partial vacuum (0.13 kPa)196 to facilitate the removal of ethylene glycol or with an inert gas being forced through the reaction mixture. Antimony trioxide is often used as a polymerization catalyst for this stage.197 It is critical that excess ethylene glycol be completely removed during this alcoholysis stage of the reaction so as to proceed to high-molecular-weight products; otherwise, equilibrium is established at an extent of reaction of less than 0.7. This second stage of the reaction proceeds until a number-average-molecular weight, Mn, of about 20,000 g/mol is obtained. The very high temperatures at the end of this reaction cause thermal decomposition of the end groups to yield acetaldehyde. Thermal ester scission also occurs, which competes with the polymer step-growth reactions. It is this competition, which limits the ultimate Mn, that can be achieved through this melt condensation reaction.198 Weight-average molecular weights of oriented films are around 35,000 g/mol. Other commercial manufacturing methods have evolved to a direct esterification of acid and glycol in place of the ester-exchange process. In direct esterification, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are reacted rather than esterifying terephthalic acid with methanol to produce the dimethyl terephthalate intermediate. The ester is easier to purify than the acid, which sublimes at 300°C and is insoluble. However, better catalysts and purer

FIGURE 2.19 Polymerization of bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate to PET.

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terephthalic acid offer the elimination of the intermediate use of methanol.199 Generally, PET resins made by direct esterification of terephthalic acid contain more diethylene glycol, which is generated by an intermolecular ether-forming reaction between β-hydroxyethyl ester end groups. Oriented films produced from these resins have reduced mechanical strength and melting points as well as decreased thermo-oxidative resistance and poorer UV stability.200 The degree of crystallization and direction of the crystallite axis govern all of the resin’s physical properties. The percentage of structure existing in crystalline domains is primarily determined through density measurements or by thermal means using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). The density of amorphous PET is 1.333 g/cm3, while the density of a PET crystal is 1.455 g/cm3.201 Once the density is known, the fraction of crystalline material can be determined. An alternate means of measuring crystallinity involves comparing the ratio of the heat of cold crystallization, ∆Hcc, of amorphous polymer to the heat of fusion, ∆Hf, of crystalline polymer. This ratio is 0.61 for an amorphous PET and a fully crystalline PET sample should yield a value close to zero.202 After the sample with its initial morphology has been run once in the DSC, the heat of fusion determined in the next run can be considered as ∆Hcc. The lower the ∆Hcc/∆Hf ratio, the more crystalline the original sample was. In the absence of nucleating agents and plasticizers, PET crystallizes slowly, which is a hindrance in injection molding applications, as either hot molds or costly extended cooling times are required. In the case of films, however, where crystallinity can be mechanically induced, PET resins combine rheological properties that lend themselves to melt extrusion with a well defined melting point, making them ideally suited for biaxially oriented film applications. The attachment of the ester linkage directly to the aromatic component of the backbone means that these linear, regular PET chains have enough flexibility to form stress-induced crystals and achieve enough molecular orientation to form strong, thermally stable films.203 Methods for producing oriented PET films have been well documented and will be only briefly discussed here. The process as described in the Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering usually involves a sequence of five steps which include204 • Melt extrusion and slot casting • Quenching • Drawing in the longitudinal machine direction (MD) • Drawing in the transverse direction (TD) • Annealing Dried, highly viscous polymer melt is extruded through a slot die with an adjustable gap width onto a highly polished quenching drum. If very high output rates are required, a cascade system of extruders can be set up to first melt and hom*ogenize the PET granules, then to use the next in-line extruder to meter the melt to the die. Molten resin is passed through filter packs with average pore sizes of 5 to 30 µm. Quenching to nearly 100 percent amorphous morphology is critical to avoid embrittlement; films that have been allowed to form spherulites are brittle and translucent, and are unable to be further processed. The sheet is then heated to about 95°C (above the glass transition point of approximately 70°C), where thermal mobility allows the material to be stretched to three or four times its original dimension in the MD. This uniaxially oriented film has stress-induced crystals whose main axes are aligned in the machine direction. The benzene rings, however, are aligned parallel to the surface of the film in the crystal plane. The film is then again heated, generally to above 100°C, and stretched to three to four times its initial

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dimension in the TD. This induces further crystallization, bringing the degree of crystallinity to 25 to 40 percent, and creates a film, which has isotropic tensile strength and elongation properties in the machine and transverse directions. The film at this point is thermally unstable above 100°C and must be annealed in the tenter frame to partially relieve the stress. The annealing involves heating to 180 to 220°C for several seconds to allow amorphous chain relaxation, partial melting, recrystallization, and crystal growth to occur.205 The resultant film is approximately 50 percent crystalline and possesses good mechanical strength, a smooth surface that readily accepts a wide variety of coatings, and good winding and handling characteristics. PET films are produced from 1.5 µm thick as capacitor films to 350 µm thick for use as electrical insulation in motors and generators.206 Due to the chemically inert nature of PET, films that are used in coatings applications are often treated with a variety of surface modifiers. Organic and inorganic fillers are often incorporated in relatively thick films to improve handling characteristics by roughening the surface slightly. For thin films, however, many applications require transparency, which would be marred by the incorporation of fillers. Therefore, an in-line coating step of either aqueous or solvent-based coatings is set up between the MD and TD drawing stations. The drawing of the film after the coating has been applied helps to achieve very thin coatings. 2.2.12.5 Polytrimethylene Terephthalate (PTT). PTT has been produced and marketed as three grades by Shell Chemicals under the trade name Corterra since the late 1990s, when Shell was able to develop a low-cost method of producing the starting raw material 1,3-propanediol. Corterra is used in the textile and carpet industries, which take advantage of its stain resistance, wearability as a result of high resilience and elastic recovery, color fastness, and soft hand. 2.2.12.6 Polyethylene Napthalate (PEN). Polyethylene napthalate (PEN) gained commercial importance in the late 1980s. Compared to PET, it has higher thermal resistance and tensile strength as well as better barrier properties and UV resistance. This is a result of the napthenic ring structures.207 Both the Tg (124°C) and Tm (270 to 273°C) of PEN are higher compared to PET, while the crystallization rate of PEN is slower than PET. Currently, PEN is more expensive than PET, leading to the development of copolymers. Applications for PEN include fibers, films, and blow-molded products. Due to cost considerations, the markets for PEN blow molded products are generally in the medical arena. 2.2.13

Polyetherimide (PEI)

Polyetherimides (PEI) are a newer class of amorphous thermoplastics with high-temperature resistance, impact strength, creep resistance, and rigidity. They are transparent with an amber color.208 The polymer is sold under the trade name of Ultem (General Electric) and has the structure shown in Fig. 2.20. It is prepared from the condensation polymerization of diamines and dianhydrides.209 The material can be melt processed because of the ether linkages present in the backbone of the polymer, but it still maintains properties similar to the polyimides.210 The high-temperature resistance of the polymer allows it to compete with the polyketones, polysulfones, and poly(phenylene sulfides). The glass transition temperature of PEI is 215°C. The polymer has very high tensile strength, a UL temperature index of 170°C, flame resistance, and low smoke emission.211 The polymer is resistant to alcohols, acids, and hydrocarbon solvents but will dissolve in partially halogenated solvents.212 Both glass- and carbon-fiber-reinforced grades are available.213

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FIGURE 2.20 General structure of polyetherimide.

The polymer should be dried before processing, and typical melt temperatures are 340 to 425°C.214 Polyetherimides can be processed by injection molding and extrusion. In addition, the high melt strength of the polymer allows it to be thermoformed and blow molded. Annealing of the parts is not required. Polyetherimide is used in a variety of applications. Electrical applications include printed circuit substrates and burn-in sockets. In the automotive industry, PEI is used for under-the-hood temperature sensors and lamp sockets. PEI sheet has also been used to form an aircraft cargo vent.215 The dimensional stability of this polymer allows its use for large flat parts such in hard disks for computers. 2.2.14

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene (PE) is the highest-volume polymer in the world. Its high toughness, ductility, excellent chemical resistance, low water vapor permeability, and very low water absorption, combined the ease with which it can be processed, make PE of all different density grades an attractive choice for a variety of goods. PE is limited by its relatively low modulus, yield stress, and melting point. PE is used to make containers, bottles, film, and pipes, among other things. It is an incredibly versatile polymer with almost limitless variety due to copolymerization potential, a wide density range, a MW that ranges from very low (waxes have a MW of a few hundred) to very high (6 × 106), and the ability to vary MWD. Its repeat structure is (-CH2CH2-)x, which is written as polyethylene rather than polymethylene (-CH2)x, in deference to the various ethylene polymerization mechanisms. PE has a deceptive simplicity. PE hom*opolymers are made up exclusively of carbon and hydrogen atoms and, just as the properties of diamond and graphite (which are also materials made up entirely of carbon and hydrogen atoms) vary tremendously, different grades of PE have markedly different thermal and mechanical properties. While PE is generally a whitish, translucent polymer, it is available in grades of density that range from 0.91 to 0.97 g/cm3. The density of a particular grade is governed by the morphology of the backbone: long, linear chains with very few side branches can assume a much more three-dimensionally compact, regular, crystalline structure. Commercially available grades are low-density PE (LDPE), linear low-density PE (LLDPE), high-density PE (HDPE), and ultra-high-molecular-weight PE (UHMWPE). Figure 2.21 demonstrates figurative differences in chain configuration that govern the degree of crystallinity, which, along with MW, determines final thermomechanical properties. Four established production methods are (1) a gas phase method known as the Unipol process practiced by Union Carbide, (2) a solution method used by Dow and DuPont, (3) a slurry emulsion method practiced by Phillips, and (4) a high-pressure method.216 Gener-

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FIGURE 2.21 Chain configurations of polyethylene.

ally, yield strength and melt temperature increase with density, while elongation decreases with increased density. 2.2.14.1 Very-Low-Density Polyethylene (VLDPE). This material was introduced in 1985 by Union Carbide, is very similar to LLDPE, and is principally used in film applications. VLDPE grades vary in density from 0.880 to 0.912 g/cm3.217 Its properties are marked by high elongation, good environmental stress cracking resistance, and excellent low-temperature properties, and it competes most frequently as an alternative to plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The inherent flexibility in the backbone of VLDPE circumvents plasticizer stability problems that can plague PVC, and it avoids odor and stability problems that are often associated with molding EVAs.218 2.2.14.2 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE). LDPE combines high impact strength, toughness, and ductility to make it the material of choice for packaging films, which is one of its largest applications. Films range from shrink film, thin film for automatic packaging, heavy sacking, and multilayer films (both laminated and coextruded), where LDPE acts as a seal layer or a water vapor barrier.219 It has found stiff competition from LLDPE in these film applications due to LLDPE’s higher melt strength. LDPE is still very widely used, however, and is formed via free radical polymerization, with alkyl branch groups (given by the structure -(CH2)xCH3) of two to eight carbon atom lengths. The most common branch length is four carbons long. High reaction pressures encourage crystalline regions. The reaction to form LDPE is shown in Fig. 2.22, where “n” approximately varies in commercial grades between 400 to 50,000.220

FIGURE 2.22 Polymerization of PE.

Medium-density PE is produced via the reaction above, carried out at lower polymerization temperatures.221 The reduced temperatures are postulated to reduce the randomizing Brownian motion of the molecules, and this reduced thermal energy allows crystalline formation more readily at these lowered temperatures. 2.2.14.3 Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE). This product revolutionized the plastics industry with its enhanced tensile strength for the same density compared to

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LDPE. Table 2.5 compares mechanical properties of LLDPE to LDPE. As is the case with LDPE, film accounts for approximately three-quarters of the consumption of LLDPE. As the name implies, it is a long linear chain without long side chains or branches. The short chains, which are present, disrupt the polymer chain uniformity enough to prevent crystalline formation and hence prevent the polymer from achieving high densities. Developments of the past decade have enabled production economies compared to LDPE due to lower polymerization pressures and temperatures. A typical LDPE process requires 35,000 psi, which is reduced to 300 psi in the case of LLDPE, and reaction temperatures as low as 100°C rather than 200 or 300°C are used. LLDPE is actually a copolymer containing side branches of 1-butene most commonly, with 1-hexene or 1-octene also present. Density ranges of 0.915 to 0.940 g/cm3 are polymerized with Ziegler catalysts, which orient the polymer chain and govern the tacticity of the pendant side groups.222 TABLE 2.5

Comparison of Blown Film Properties of LLDPE and LDPE* LLDPE

Density,

g/cm3

Melt index, g/10 min Dart impact, g

LDPE

0.918

0.918

2.0

2.0

110

110

Puncture energy, J/mm

60

25

Machine direction tensile strength, MPa

33

20

Cross direction tensile strength, MPa

25

18

Machine direction tensile elongation, %

690

300

Cross direction tensile elongation, %

740

500

Machine direction modulus, MPa

210

145

Cross direction modulus, MPa

250

175

*

Source: Encyclopedia of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., vol. 6, Mark, Bikales, Overberger, Menges,and Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 433.

2.2.14.4 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is one of the highest-volume commodity chemicals produced in the world. In 1998, the worldwide demand was 1.8 × 1010 kg.223 The most common method of processing HDPE is blow molding, where resin is turned into bottles (especially for milk and juice), housewares, toys, pails, drums, and automotive gas tanks. It is also commonly injection molded into housewares, toys, food containers, garbage pails, milk crates, and cases. HDPE films are commonly found as bags in supermarkets, department stores, and as garbage bags.224 Two commercial polymerization methods are most commonly practiced. One involves Phillips catalysts (chromium oxide), and the other involves Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems (supported heterogeneous catalysts such as titanium halides, titanium esters, and aluminum alkyls on a chemically inert support such as PE or PP). Molecular weight is governed primarily through temperature control, with elevated temperatures resulting in reduced molecular weights. The catalyst support and chemistry also play an important factor in controlling molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. 2.2.14.5 Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). UHMWPE is identical to HDPE but, rather than having a MW of 50,000 g/mol, it typically has a MW of be-

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tween 3 × 106 and 6 × 106. The high MW imparts outstanding abrasion resistance, high toughness (even at cryogenic temperatures), and excellent stress cracking resistance, but it does not generally allow the material to be processed conventionally. The polymer chains are so entangled, due to their considerable length, that the conventionally considered melt point doesn’t exist practically, as it is too close to the degradation temperature—although an injection-molding grade is marketed by Hoechst. Hence, UHMWPE is often processed as a fine powder that can be ram extruded or compression molded. Its properties are taken advantage of in uses that include liners for chemical processing equipment, lubrication coatings in railcar applications to protect metal surfaces, recreational equipment such as ski bases, and medical devices.225 A recent product has been developed by Allied Chemical that involves gel spinning UHMWPE into lightweight, very strong fibers that compete with Kevlar in applications for protective clothing.

2.2.15

Polyethylene Copolymers

Ethylene is copolymerized with many nonolefinic monomers, particularly acrylic acid variants and vinyl acetate, with EVA polymers being the most commercially significant. All of the copolymers discussed in this section necessarily involve disruption of the regular, crystallizable PE hom*opolymer and as such feature reduced yield stresses and moduli, with improved low-temperature flexibility. 2.2.15.1 Ethylene-Acrylic Acid (EAA) Copolymers. EAA copolymers, first identified in the 1950s, have enjoyed a renewed interest since 1974, when Dow introduced new grades characterized by outstanding adhesion to metallic and nonmetallic substrates.226 The presence of the carboxyl and hydroxyl functionalities promotes hydrogen bonding, and these strong intermolecular interactions are taken advantage of to bond aluminum foil to polyethylene in multilayer extrusion-laminated toothpaste tubes and as tough coatings for aluminum foil pouches. 2.2.15.2 Ethylene-Ethyl Acrylate (EEA) Copolymers. EEA copolymers typically contain 15 to 30 percent by weight of ethyl acrylate (EA) and are flexible polymers of relatively high molecular weight suitable for extrusion, injection molding, and blow molding. Products made of EEA have high environmental stress cracking resistance, excellent resistance to flexural fatigue, and low-temperature properties down to as low as –65°C. Applications include molded rubber-like parts, flexible film for disposable gloves and hospital sheeting, extruded hoses, gaskets and bumpers.227 Typical applications include polymer modifications where EEA is blended with olefin polymers (since it is compatible with VLDPE, LLDPE, LDPE, HDPE, and PP228) to yield a blend with a specific modulus, yet with the advantages inherent in EEA’s polarity. The EA presence promotes toughness, flexibility, and greater adhesive properties. EEA blending can cost effectively improve the impact resistance of polyamides and polyesters.229 The similarity of ethyl acrylate monomer to vinyl acetate predicates that these copolymers have very similar properties, although EEA is considered to have higher abrasion and heat resistance, while EVA tends to be tougher and of greater clarity.230 EEA copolymers are FDA approved up to 8 percent EA content in food contact applications.231 2.2.15.3 Ethylene-Methyl Acrylate (EMA) Copolymers. EMA copolymers are often blown into film with very rubbery mechanical properties and outstanding dart-drop impact strength. The latex-rubber-like properties of EMA film lend to its use in disposable gloves and medical devices without the associated hazards to people with allergies to latex rubber. Due to their adhesive properties, EMA copolymers, like their EAA and EEA counter-

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parts, are used in extrusion coating, coextrusions, and laminating applications as heat-seal layers. EMA is one of the most thermally stable of this group, and as such it is commonly used to form heat and RF seals as well in multiextrusion tie-layer applications. This copolymer is also widely used as a blending compound with olefin hom*opolymers (VLDPE, LLDPE, LDPE, and PP) as well as with polyamides, polyesters, and polycarbonate to improve impact strength and toughness and to increase either heat seal response or to promote adhesion.232 EMA is also used in soft blow-molded articles such as squeeze toys, tubing, disposable medical gloves, and foamed sheet. EMA copolymers and EEA copolymers containing up to 8 percent ethyl acrylate are approved by the FDA for food packaging.233 2.2.15.4 Ethylene-n-Butyl Acrylate (EBA) Copolymers. EBA copolymers are also widely blended with olefin hom*opolymers to improve impact strength, toughness, and heat sealability and to promote adhesion. The polymerization process and resultant repeat unit of EBA are shown in Fig. 2.23.

FIGURE 2.23 Polymerization and structure of EBA.

2.2.15.5 Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Copolymers. EVA copolymers are given by the structure shown in Fig. 2.24 and find commercial importance in the coating, laminating, and film industries. EVA copolymers typically contain between 10 and 15 mole percent vinyl acetate, which provides a bulky, polar pendant group to the ethylene and provides an opportunity to tailor the end properties by optimizing the vinyl acetate content. Very low vinyl-acetate content (approximately 3 mole percent) results in a copolymer that is essentially a modified low-density polyethylene,234 with an even further reduced regular structure. The resultant copolymer is used as a film due to its flexibility and surface gloss. Vinyl acetate is a low-cost comonomer, which is nontoxic and allows for this copolymer to be

FIGURE 2.24 Polymerization of EVA.

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used in many food packaging applications. These films are soft and tacky and therefore appropriate for cling-wrap applications (they are more thermally stable than the PVDC films often used as cling wrap) as well as interlayers in coextruded and laminated films. EVA copolymers with approximately 11 mole percent vinyl acetate are widely used in the hot-melt coatings and adhesives arena, where the additional intermolecular bonding promoted by the polarity of the vinyl acetate ether and carbonyl linkages enhances melt strength while still enabling low melt-processing temperatures. At 15 mole percent vinyl acetate, a copolymer with very similar mechanical properties to plasticized PVC is formed. There are many advantages to an inherently flexible polymer for which there is no risk of plasticizer migration, and PVC-alternatives is the area of largest growth opportunity. These copolymers have higher moduli than standard elastomers and are preferable in that they are more easily processed without concern for the need to vulcanize. 2.2.15.6 Ethylene-Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) Copolymers. Poly(vinyl alcohol) is prepared through alcoholysis of poly(vinyl acetate). PVOH is an atactic polymer but, since the crystal lattice structure is not disrupted by hydroxyl groups, the presence of residual acetate groups greatly diminishes the crystal formation and the degree of hydrogen bonding. Polymers that are highly hydrolyzed (have low residual acetate content) have a high tendency to crystallize and for hydrogen bonding to occur. As the degree of hydrolysis increases, the molecules will very readily crystallize, and hydrogen bonds will keep them associated if they are not fully dispersed prior to dissolution. At degrees of hydrolysis above 98 percent, manufacturers recommend a minimum temperature of 96°C to ensure that the highest molecular weight components have enough thermal energy to go into solution. Polymers with low degrees of residual acetate have high humidity resistance. 2.2.15.7 Ethylene-Carbon Monoxide Copolymers (ECOs). These polymers are random copolymers of ethylene and carbon monoxide, with properties similar to low-density polyethylene.235 They are sold by Shell under the trade name Carilon. These polymers exhibit low water absorption and good barrier properties, but they are susceptible to UV degradation. They find application in packaging, fuel tanks, fuel lines, and in blends. 2.2.16

Modified Polyethylenes

The properties of PE can be tailored to meet the needs of a particular application by a variety of different methods. Chemical modification, copolymerization, and compounding can all dramatically alter specific properties. The hom*opolymer itself has a range of properties that depend on the molecular weight, the number and length of side branches, the degree of crystallinity, and the presence of additives such as fillers or reinforcing agents. Further modification is possible by chemical substitution of hydrogen atoms; this occurs preferentially at the tertiary carbons of a branching point and primarily involves chlorination, sulphonation, phosphorylination, and intermediate combinations. 2.2.16.1 Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE). The first patent on the chlorination of PE was awarded to ICI in 1938.236 CPE is polymerized by substituting select hydrogen atoms on the backbone of either HDPE or LDPE with chlorine. Chlorination can occur in the gaseous phase, in solution, or as an emulsion. In the solution phase, chlorination is random, while the emulsion process can result in uneven chlorination due to the crystalline regions. The chlorination process generally occurs by a free-radical mechanism, shown in Fig. 2.25, where the chlorine free radical is catalyzed by ultraviolet light or initiators. Interestingly, the properties of CPE can be adjusted to almost any intermediary position between PE and PVC by varying the properties of the parent PE and the degree and tacticity of chlorine substitution. Since the introduction of chlorine reduces the regularity

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FIGURE 2.25 Chlorination process of CPE.

of the PE, crystallinity is disrupted and, at up to a 20 percent chlorine level, the modified material is rubbery (if the chlorine was randomly substituted). When the level of chlorine reaches 45 percent (approaching PVC), the material is stiff at room temperature. Typically, HDPE is chlorinated to a chlorine content of 23 to 48 percent.237 Once the chlorine substitution reaches 50 percent, the polymer is identical to PVC, although the polymerization route differs. The largest use of CPE is as a blending agent with PVC to promote flexibility and thermal stability for increased ease of processing. Blending CPE with PVC essentially plasticizes the PVC without adding double-bond unsaturation prevalent with rubber-modified PVCs and results in a more UV-stable, weather-resistant polymer. While rigid PVC is too brittle to be machined, the addition of as little as three to six parts per hundred CPE in PVC allows extruded profiles such as sheets, films, and tubes to be sawed, bored and nailed.238 Higher CPE content blends result in improved impact strength of PVC and are made into flexible films that don’t have plasticizer migration problems. These films find applications in roofing, water and sewage-treatment pond covers, and sealing films in building construction. CPE is used in highly filled applications, often using CaCO3 as the filler, and finds use as a hom*opolymer in industrial sheeting, wire and cable insulations, and solution applications. When PE is reacted with chlorine in the presence of sulfur dioxide, a chlorosulfonyl substitution takes place, yielding an elastomer. 2.2.16.2 Chlorosulfonated Polyethylenes (CSPEs). Chlorosulfonation introduces the polar, cross-linkable SO2 group onto the polymer chain, with the unavoidable introduction of chlorine atoms as well. The most common method involves exposing LDPE, which has been solubilized in a chlorinated hydrocarbon, to SO2 and Cl in the presence of UV or high-energy radiation.239 Both linear and branched PEs are used, and CSPEs contain 29 to 43 percent chlorine and 1 to 1.5 percent sulfur.240 As in the case of CPEs, the introduction of Cl and SO2 functionalities reduces the regularity of the PE structure, hence reducing the degree of crystallinity, and the resultant polymer is more elastomeric than the unmodified hom*opolymer. CSPE is manufactured by DuPont under the trade name Hypalon and is used in protective coating applications such as the lining for chemical processing equipment, as the liners and covers for waste-containment ponds, as cable jacketing and wire insulation, as spark plug boots, as power steering pressure hoses, and in the manufacture of elastomers. 2.2.16.3 Phosphorylated Polyethylenes. Phosphorylated PEs have higher ozone and heat resistance than ethylene propylene copolymers due to the fire retardant nature provided by phosphor.241 2.2.16.4 Ionomers. Acrylic acid can be copolymerized with polyethylene to form an ethylene acrylic acid copolymer (EAA) through addition or chain growth polymerization. It is structurally similar to ethylene vinyl acetate, but with acid groups off the backbone.

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The concentration of acrylic acid groups is generally in the range of 3 to 20 percent.242 The acid groups are then reacted with a metal containing base, such as sodium methoxide or magnesium acetate, to form the metal salt as depicted in Fig. 2.26.243 The ionic groups can associate with each other, forming a cross-link between chains. The resulting materials are called ionomers in reference to the ionic bonds formed between chains. They were originally developed by DuPont under the trade name of Surlyn.

FIGURE 2.26 Structure of an ionomer.

The association of the ionic groups forms a thermally reversible crosslink that can be broken when exposed to heat and shear. This allows ionomers to be processed on conventional thermoplastic processing equipment while still maintaining some of the behavior of a thermoset at room temperature.244 The association of ionic groups is generally believed to take two forms: multiplets and clusters.245 Multiplets are considered to be a small number of ionic groups dispersed in the matrix, whereas clusters are phase-separated regions containing many ion pairs and also hydrocarbon backbone. A wide range of properties can be obtained by varying the ethylene/methacrylic acid ratios, molecular weight, and the amount and type of metal cation used. Most commercial grades use either zinc or sodium for the cation. Materials using sodium as the cation generally have better optical properties and oil resistance, whereas those using zinc usually have better adhesive properties, lower water absorption, and better impact strength.246 The presence of the comonomer breaks up the crystallinity of the polyethylene so that ionomer films have lower crystallinity and better clarity compared to polyethylene.247 Ionomers are known for their toughness and abrasion resistance, and the polar nature of the polymer improves both its bondability and paintability. Ionomers have good low-temperature flexibility and resistance to oils and organic solvents. Ionomers show a yield point with considerable cold drawing. In contrast to PE, the stress increases with strain during cold drawing, giving a very high energy to break.248 Ionomers can be processed by most conventional extrusion and molding techniques using conditions similar to other olefin polymers. For injection molding, the melt temperatures are in the range 210 to 260°C.249 The melts are highly elastic due to the presence of the metal ions. Increasing temperatures rapidly decreases the melt viscosity, with the sodium and zinc based ionomers showing similar rheological behavior. Typical commercial ionomers have melt index values between 0.5 and 15.250 Both unmodified and glass-filled grades are available. Ionomers are used in applications such as golf ball covers and bowling pin coatings, where their good abrasion resistance is important.251 The puncture resistance of films allows these materials to be widely used in packaging applications. One of the early applications was the packaging of fishhooks.252 They are often used in composite products as an outer heat-seal layer. Their ability to bond to aluminum foil is also utilized in packaging applications.253 Ionomers also find application in footwear for shoe heels.254

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2.2.17

2.35

Polyimide (PI)

Thermoplastic polyimides are linear polymers noted for their high-temperature properties. Polyimides are prepared by condensation polymerization of pyromellitic anhydrides and primary diamines. A polyimide contains the structure -CO-NR-CO as a part of a ring structure along the backbone. The presence of ring structures along the backbone, as depicted in Fig. 2.27, gives the polymer good high-temperature properties.255 Polyimides are used in high-performance applications as replacements for metal and glass. The use of aromatic diamines gives the polymer exceptional thermal stability. An example of this is the use of di-(4-amino-phenyl) ether, which is used in the manufacture of Kapton (Du Pont).

FIGURE 2.27 Structure of polyimide.

Although called thermoplastics, some polyimides must be processed in precursor form, because they will degrade before their softening point.256 Fully imidized injectionmolding grades are available, along with powder forms for compression molding and cold forming. However, injection molding of polyimides requires experience on the part of the molder.257 Polyimides are also available as films and preformed stock shapes. The polymer may also be used as a soluble prepolymer, where heat and pressure are used to convert the polymer into the final, fully imidized form. Films can be formed by casting soluble polymers or precursors. It is generally difficult to form good films by melt extrusion. Laminates of polyimides can also be formed by impregnating fibers such as glass or graphite. Polyimides have excellent physical properties and are used in applications where parts are exposed to harsh environments. They have outstanding high-temperature properties and their oxidative stability allows them to withstand continuous service in air at temperatures of 260°C.258 Polyimides will burn, but they have self-extinguishing properties.259 They are resistant to weak acids and organic solvents but are attacked by bases. The polymer also has good electrical properties and resistance to ionizing radiation.260 A disadvantage of polyimides is their hydrolysis resistance. Exposure to water or steam above 100°C may cause parts to crack.261 The first application of polyimides was for wire enamel.262 Applications for polyimides include bearings for appliances and aircraft, seals, and gaskets. Film versions are used in flexible wiring and electric motor insulation. Printed circuit boards are also fabricated with polyimides.263

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2.2.18

CHAPTER 2

Polyarylether Ketones

The family of aromatic polyether ketones includes structures that vary in the location and number of ketonic and ether linkages on their repeat unit and therefore include polyether ketone (PEK), polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polyether ether ketone ketone (PEEKK), as well as other combinations. Their structures are as shown in Fig. 2.28. All have very high thermal properties due to the aromaticity of their backbones and are readily processed via injection molding and extrusion, although their melt temperatures are very high—370°C for unfilled PEEK and 390°C for filled PEEK, and both unfilled and filled PEK. Mold temperatures as high as 165°C are also used.264 Their toughness (surprisingly high for such high-heat-resistant materials), high dynamic cycles and fatigue resistance capabilities, low moisture absorption, and good hydrolytic stability lend these materials to applications such as parts found in nuclear plants, oil wells, high-pressure steam valves, chemical plants, and airplane and automobile engines.

FIGURE 2.28 Structures of PEK, PEEK, and PEEKK.

One of the two ether linkages in PEEK is not present in PEK, and the ensuing loss of some molecular flexibility results in PEK having an even higher Tm and heat distortion temperature than PEEK. A relatively higher ketonic concentration in the repeat unit results in high ultimate tensile properties as well. A comparison of different aromatic polyether ketones is given in Table 2.6.265,266 As these properties are from different sources, strict comparison between the data is not advisable due to likely differing testing techniques. Glass and carbon fiber reinforcements are the most important filler for all of the PEK family. While elastic extensibility is sacrificed, the additional heat resistance and moduli improvements allow glass- or carbon-fiber formulations entry into many applications. PEK is polymerized either through self-condensation of structure (a) in Fig. 2.29, or via the reaction of intermediates (b) as shown below. Since these polymers can crystallize and tend therefore to precipitate from the reactant mixture, they must be reacted in highboiling solvents close to the 320°C melt temperature.267 2.2.19

Poly(methylmethacrylate)

Poly(methyl methacrylate) is a transparent thermoplastic material of moderate mechanical strength and outstanding outdoor weather resistance. It is available as sheet, tubes, and rods, which can be machined, bonded, and formed into a variety of different parts. It is also available in bead form, which can be conventionally processed via extrusion or injection molding. The sheet form material is polymerized in situ by casting a monomer that

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103 1.3

Ultimate tensile strength, MPa

Specific gravity 162–170

50

Ultimate elongation, %

Heat deflection temperature, °C, 264 psi

3,585–4,000

323–381

PEK unfilled

326–350

1.47–1.53

2.2–3.4

9,722–12,090

329–381

30% glassfilled PEK

Comparison of Selected PEK, PEEK, and PEEKK Properties

Tensile modulus, MPa

Tm, °C

TABLE 2.6

160

1.30–1.32

91

30–150

334

PEEK unfilled

288–315

1.49–1.54

2–3

8,620–11,030

334

30% glassfilled PEEK

160

1.3

86

>320

1.55

168

13,500

4000 –

30% glassfilled PEEKK 365

PEEKK unfilled

THERMOPLASTICS

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CHAPTER 2

FIGURE 2.29 Routes for PEK synthesis.

has been partly prepolymerized by removing any inhibitor, heating, and adding an agent to initiate the free radical polymerization. This agent is typically a peroxide. This mixture of polymer and monomer is then poured into the sheet mold, and the plates are brought together and reinforced to prevent bowing to ensure that the final product will be of uniform thickness and flatness. This bulk polymerization process generates such high-molecularweight material that the sheet or rod will decompose prior to melting. As such, this technique is not suitable for producing injection molding-grade resin, but it does aid in producing material that has a large rubbery plateau and has high enough elevated temperature strength to allow for bandsawing, drilling, and other common machinery practices as long as the localized heating doesn’t reach the polymer’s decomposition temperature. Suspension polymerization provides a final polymer with low enough molecular weight to allow for typical melt processing. In this process, methyl methacrylate monomer is suspended in water, to which the peroxide is added along with emulsifying/suspension agents, protective colloids, lubricants, and chain transfer agents to aid in molecular weight control. The resultant bead can then be dried and is ready for injection molding, or it can be further compounded with any desired colorants, plasticizers, or rubber-modifier as required.268 Number-average molecular weights from the suspension process are approximately 60,000 g/mol, while the bulk polymerization process can result in number average molecular weights of approximately 1 million g/mol.269 Typically, applications for PMMA optimize use of its clarity, with an up to 92 percent light transmission, depending upon the thickness of the sample. Again, because it has such strong weathering behavior, it is well suited for applications such as automobile rear-light housings, lenses, aircraft co*ckpits, helicopter canopies, dentures, steering wheel bosses, and windshields. Cast PMMA is used extensively as bathtub materials, in showers, and in whirlpools. 270 Since the hom*opolymer is fairly brittle, PMMA can be toughened via copolymerization with another monomer (such as polybutadiene) or blended with an elastomer in the same way that high-impact polystyrene is, to enable better stress distribution via the elastomeric domain. 2.2.20

Polymethylpentene (PMP)

Polymethylpentene was introduced in the mid-1960s by ICI and is now marketed under the same trade name, TPX, by Mitsui Petrochemical Industries. The most significant commercial polymerization method involves the dimerization of propylene, as shown in Fig. 2.30. As a polyolefin, this material offers chemical resistance to mineral acids, alkaline solutions, alcohols, and boiling water. It is not resistant to ketones or aromatic and chlorinated

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FIGURE 2.30 Polymerization route for polymethylpentene.

hydrocarbons. Like polyethylene and polypropylene, it is susceptible to environmental stress cracking271 and requires formulation with antioxidants. Its use is primarily in injection molding and thermoforming applications, where the additional cost incurred compared to other polyolefins is justified by its high melt point (245°C), transparency, low density, and good dielectric properties. The high degree of transparency of polymethylpentene is attributed both to the similarities of the refractive indices of the amorphous and crystalline regions, as well as to the large coil size of the polymer due to the bulky branched four carbon side chain. The free-volume regions are large enough to allow light of visible-region wavelengths to pass unimpeded. This degree of free volume is also responsible for the 0.83 g/cm3 low density. As typically cooled, the polymer achieves about 40 percent crystallinity, although with annealing can reach 65 percent crystallinity.272 The structure of the polymer repeat unit is shown in Fig. 2.31.

FIGURE 2.31 Repeat structure of polymethyl-

pentene.

Voids are frequently formed at the crystalline/amorphous region interfaces during injection molding, rendering an often undesirable lack of transparency. To counter this, polymethylpentene is often copolymerized with hex-1-ene, oct-1-ene, dec-1-ene, and octadec-1-ene, which reduces the voids and concomitantly reduces the melting point and degree of crystallinity.273 Typical products made from polymethylpentene include transparent pipes and other chemical plant applications, sterilizable medical equipment, light fittings, and transparent housings. 2.2.21

Polyphenylene Oxide

The term polyphenylene oxide (PPO) is a misnomer for a polymer that is more accurately named poly-(2,6-dimethyl-p-phenylene ether), and which in Europe is more commonly known as a polymer covered by the more generic term polyphenyleneether (PPE). This engineering polymer has high-temperature properties due to the large degree of aromaticity on the backbone, with dimethyl-substituted benzene rings joined by an ether linkage, as shown in Fig. 2.32. The stiffness of this repeat unit results in a heat-resistant polymer with a Tg of 208°C and a Tm of 257°C. The fact that these two thermal transitions occur within such a short

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FIGURE 2.32 Repeat structure of PPO.

temperature span of each other means that PPO does not have time to crystallize while it cools before reaching a glassy state and as such is typically amorphous after processing.274 Commercially available as PPO from General Electric, the polymer is sold in molecular weight ranges of 25,000 to 60,000 g/mol.275 Properties that distinguish PPO from other engineering polymers are its high degree of hydrolytic and dimensional stabilities, which enable it to be molded with precision, although high processing temperatures are required. It finds application as television tuner strips, microwave insulation components, and transformer housings, which take advantage of its strong dielectric properties over wide temperature ranges. It is also used in applications that benefit from its hydrolytic stability including pumps, water meters, sprinkler systems, and hot water tanks.276 Its greater use is limited by the often-prohibitive cost, and General Electric responded by commercializing a PPO/PS blend marketed under the trade name Noryl. GE sells many grades of Noryl based on different blend ratios and specialty formulations. The styrenic nature of PPO leads one to surmise very close compatibility (similar solubility parameters) with PS, although strict thermodynamic compatibility is questioned due to the presence of two distinct Tg peaks when measured by mechanical rather than calorimetric means.277 The blends present the same high degree of dimensional stability, low water absorption, excellent resistance to hydrolysis, and good dielectric properties offered by PS, yet with the elevated heat distort temperatures that result from PPO’s contribution. These polymers are more cost competitive than PPO and are used in moldings for dishwashers, washing machines, hair dryers, cameras, and instrument housings, and as television accessories.278

2.2.22

Polyphenylene Sulphide (PPS)

The structure of PPS, shown in Fig. 2.33, clearly indicates high temperature, high strength, and high chemical resistance due to the presence of the aromatic benzene ring on the backbone linked with the electronegative sulfur atom. In fact, the melt point of PPS is 288°C, and the tensile strength is 70 MPa at room temperature. The brittleness of PPS, due to the highly crystalline nature of the polymer, is often overcome by compounding with glass fiber reinforcements. Typical properties of PPS and a commercially available 40 percent glass-filled polymer blend are shown in Table 2.7.279 The mechanical properties of PPS are similar to other engineering thermoplastics such as polycarbonate and polysulphones except that, as mentioned, the PPS suffers from the brittleness arising from

FIGURE 2.33 Repeat structure of polyphe-

nylene sulphide.

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THERMOPLASTICS

TABLE 2.7

Selected Properties of PPS and GF PPS Property, units

PPS

40% glass-filled PPS

Tg, °C

85

Heat distortion temperature, method A, °C

135

265

64–77 33

150 33

Elongation at break, %

3

2

Flexural modulus, MPa

3,900

10,500

44

47

Tensile strength 21 °C MPa 204 °C, MPa

Limiting oxygen index, %

its crystallinity. But it does, however, offer improved resistance to environmental stress cracking.280 PPS is of most significant commercial interest as a thermoplastic, although it can be crosslinked into a thermoset system. Its strong inherent flame retardance puts this polymer in a fairly select class of polymers, including polyethersulphones, liquid crystal polyesters, polyketones, and polyetherimides.281 As such, PPS finds application in electrical components, printed circuits, and contact and connector encapsulation. Other uses take advantage of the low mold shrinkage values and strong mechanical properties even at elevated temperatures. These include pump housings, impellers, bushings, and ball valves.282

2.2.23

Polyphthalamide (PPA)

Polyphthalamides were originally developed for use as fibers and later found application in other areas as high-temperature thermoplastics. They are semiaromatic polyamides based on the polymerization of terephthalic acid or isophthalic acid and an amine.283 Both amorphous and crystalline grades are available. Solvay sells a semicrystalline grade polyphthalamide under the trade name Amodel®, available in both reinforced and nonreinforced grades, as a lower-cost, high-temperature plastic alternative to PPS and PEI. Amodel finds applications as automotive halogen lamp sockets and fog lamp assemblies, fuel system flanges, and fuel line connectors as well as vacuum cleaner impellers and lawn mower components. Polyphthalamides are polar materials with a melting point near 310°C and a glass transition temperature of 127°C.284 The material has good strength and stiffness along with good chemical resistance. Polyphthalamides can be attacked by strong acids or oxidizing agents and are soluble in cresol and phenol.285 Polyphthalamides are stronger, less moisture sensitive, and possess better thermal properties when compared to the aliphatic polyamides such as nylon 6,6. However, polyphthalamide is less ductile than nylon 6,6, although impact grades are available.286 Polyphthalamides will absorb moisture, decreasing the glass transition temperature and causing dimensional changes. The material can be reinforced with glass and has extremely good high-temperature performance. Reinforced grades of polyphthalamides are able to withstand continuous use at 180°C.287 The crystalline grades are generally used in injection molding, while the amorphous grades are often used as barrier materials.288 The recommended mold temperatures are 135 to 165°C, with recommended melt temperatures of 320 to 340°C.289 The material

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CHAPTER 2

should have a moisture content of 0.15 percent or less for processing.290 Because mold temperature is important to surface finish, higher mold temperatures may be required for some applications. Both crystalline and amorphous grades are available under the trade name Amodel (Amoco); amorphous grades are available under the names Zytel (Dupont) and Trogamid (Dynamit Nobel). Crystalline grades are available under the trade name Arlen (Mitsui).291 Polyphthalamides are used in automotive applications where their chemical resistance and temperature stability are important.292 Examples include sensor housings, fuel line components, headlamp reflectors, electrical components, and structural components. Electrical components attached by infrared and vapor phase soldering are applications utilizing PPA’s high-temperature stability. Switching devices, connectors, and motor brackets are often made from PPA. Mineral-filled grades are used in applications that require plating, such as decorative hardware and plumbing. Impact modified grades of unreinforced PPA are used in sporting goods, oil field parts, and military applications.

2.2.24

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a versatile polymer used in applications from films to fibers, with a worldwide demand of over 21 million lb.293 It is similar to polyethylene in structure except for the substitution of one hydrogen group with a methyl group on every other carbon. On the surface, this change would appear trivial, but this one replacement changes the symmetry of the polymer chain. This allows for the preparation of different stereoisomers, namely, syndiotactic, isotactic, and atactic chains. These configurations are shown in the introduction. Polypropylene (PP) is synthesized by the polymerization of propylene, a monomer derived from petroleum products through the reaction shown in Fig. 2.34. It was not until Ziegler-Natta catalysts became available that polypropylene could be polymerized into a commercially viable product. These catalysts allowed the control of stereochemistry during polymerization to form polypropylene in the isotactic and syndiotactic forms, both capable of crystallizing into a more rigid, useful polymeric material.294 The first commercial method for the production of polypropylene was a suspension process. Current methods of production include a gas phase process and a liquid slurry process.295 New grades of polypropylene are now being polymerized using metallocene catalysts.296 The range of molecular weights for PP is Mn = 38,000 to 60,000 and Mw = 220,000 to 700,000. The molecular weight distribution (Mn/Mw) can range from 2 to about 11.297

FIGURE 2.34 The reaction to prepare polypropylene.

Different behavior can be found for each of the three stereoisomers. Isotactic and syndiotactic polypropylene can pack into a regular crystalline array, giving a polymer with more rigidity. Both materials are crystalline. However, syndiotactic polypropylene has a lower Tm than the isotactic polymer.298 The isotactic polymer is the most commercially used form, with a melting point of 165°C. Atactic polypropylene has a very small amount of crystallinity (5 to 10 percent), because its irregular structure prevents crystallization;

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thus, it behaves as a soft flexible material.299 It is used in applications such as sealing strips, paper laminating, and adhesives. Unlike polyethylene, which crystallizes in the planar zigzag form, isotactic polypropylene crystallizes in a helical form because of the presence of the methyl groups on the chain.300 Commercial polymers are about 90 to 95 percent isotactic. The amount of isotacticity present in the chain will influence the properties. As the amount of isotactic material (often quantified by an isotactic index) increases, the amount of crystallinity will also increase, resulting in increased modulus, softening point, and hardness. Although in many respects polypropylene is similar to polyethylene, both being saturated hydrocarbon polymers, they differ in some significant properties. Isotactic polypropylene is harder and has a higher softening point than polyethylene, so it is used where higher stiffness materials are required. Polypropylene is less resistant to degradation, particularly high-temperature oxidation, than polyethylene, but it has better environmental stress cracking resistance.301 The decreased degradation resistance of PP is due to the presence of a tertiary carbon in PP, allowing for easier hydrogen abstraction compared to PE.302 As a result, antioxidants are added to polypropylene to improve the oxidation resistance. The degradation mechanisms of the two polymers are also different. PE cross-links on oxidation, while PP undergoes chain scission. This is also true of the polymers when exposed to high-energy radiation, a method commonly used to cross-link PE. Polypropylene is one of the lightest plastics, with a density of 0.905.303 The nonpolar nature of the polymer gives PP low water absorption. Polypropylene has good chemical resistance, but liquids such as chlorinated solvents, gasoline, and xylene can affect the material. Polypropylene has a low dielectric constant and is a good insulator. Difficulty in bonding to polypropylene can be overcome by the use of surface treatments to improve the adhesion characteristics. With the exception of UHMWPE, polypropylene has a higher Tg and melting point than polyethylene. Service temperature is increased, but PP needs to be processed at higher temperatures. Because of the higher softening, PP can withstand boiling water and can be used in applications requiring steam sterilization.304 Polypropylene is also more resistant to cracking in bending than PE and is preferred in applications that require tolerance to bending. This includes applications such as ropes, tapes, carpet fibers, and parts requiring a living hinge. Living hinges are integral parts of a molded piece that are thinner and allow for bending.305 One weakness of polypropylene is its low-temperature brittleness behavior, with the polymer becoming brittle near 0°C.306 This can be improved through copolymerization with other polymers such as ethylene. Comparing the processing behavior of PP to PE, it is found that polypropylene is more non-Newtonian than PE and that the specific heat of PP is lower than polyethylene.307 The melt viscosity of PE is less temperature sensitive than PP.308 Mold shrinkage is generally less than for PE but is dependent on the actual processing conditions. Unlike many other polymers, an increase in molecular weight of polypropylene does not always translate into improved properties. The melt viscosity and impact strength will increase with molecular weight but often with a decrease in hardness and softening point. A decrease in the ability of the polymer to crystallize as molecular weight increases is often offered as an explanation for this behavior.309 The molecular weight distribution (MWD) has important implications for processing. A PP grade with a broad MWD is more shear sensitive than a grade with a narrow MWD. Broad MWD materials will generally process better in injection molding applications. In contrast, a narrow MWD may be preferred for fiber formation.310 Various grades of polypropylene are available tailored to particular application. These grades can be classified by flow rate, which depends on both average molecular weight and MWD. Lowerflow-rate materials are used in extrusion applications. In injection molding applications,

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low-flow-rate materials are used for thick parts, and high-flow-rate materials are used for thin-wall molding. Polypropylene can be processed by methods similar to those used for PE. The melt temperatures are generally in the range of 210 to 250°C.311 Heating times should be minimized to reduce the possibility of oxidation. Blow molding of PP requires the use of higher melt temperatures and shear, but these conditions tend to accelerate the degradation of PP. Because of this, blow molding of PP is more difficult than for PE. The screw metering zone should not be too shallow so as to avoid excessive shear. For a 60-mm screw, the flights depths are typically about 2.25 mm, and they are 3.0 mm for a 90-mm screw.312 In film applications, film clarity requires careful control of the crystallization process to ensure that small crystallites are formed. This is accomplished in blown film by extruding downwards into two converging boards. In the Shell TQ process, the boards are covered with a film of flowing, cooling water. Oriented films of PP are manufactured by passing the PP film into a heated area and stretching the film both transversely and longitudinally. To reduce shrinkage, the film may be annealed at 100°C while under tension.313 Highly oriented films may show low transverse strength and a tendency to fibrillate. Other manufacturing methods for polypropylene include extruded sheet for thermoforming applications and extruded profiles. If higher stiffness is required, short glass reinforcement can be added. The use of a coupling agent can dramatically improve the properties of glass filled PP.314 Other fillers for polypropylene include calcium carbonate and talc, which can also improve the stiffness of PP. Other additives such as pigments, antioxidants, and nucleating agents can be blended into polypropylene to give the desired properties. Carbon black is often added to polypropylene to impart UV resistance in outdoor applications. Antiblocking and slip agents may be added for film applications to decrease friction and prevent sticking. In packaging applications, antistatic agents may be incorporated. The addition of rubber to polypropylene can lead to improvements in impact resistance. One of the most commonly added elastomers is ethylene-propylene rubber. The elastomer is blended with polypropylene, forming a separate elastomer phase. Rubber can be added in excess of 50 percent to give elastomeric compositions. Compounds with less than 50 percent added rubber are of considerable interest as modified thermoplastics. Impact grades of PP can be formed into films with good puncture resistance. Copolymers of polypropylene with other monomers are also available, the most common monomer being ethylene. Copolymers usually contain between 1 and 7 weight percent of ethylene randomly placed in the polypropylene backbone. This disrupts the ability of the polymer chain to crystallize, giving more flexible products. This improves the impact resistance of the polymer, decreases the melting point, and increases flexibility. The degree of flexibility increases with ethylene content, eventually turning the polymer into an elastomer (ethylene propylene rubber). The copolymers also exhibit increased clarity and are used in blow molding, injection molding, and extrusion. Polypropylene has many applications. Injection molding applications cover a broad range from automotive uses such as dome lights, kick panels, and car battery cases to luggage and washing machine parts. Filled PP can be used in automotive applications such as mounts and engine covers. Elastomer-modified PP is used in the automotive area for bumpers, fascia panels, and radiator grills. Ski boots are another application for these materials.315 Structural foams, prepared with glass-filled PP, are used in the outer tank of washing machines. New grades of high-flow PPs are allowing manufacturers to mold high-performance housewares.316 Polypropylene films are used in a variety of packaging applications. Both oriented and nonoriented films are used. Film tapes are used for carpet backing and sacks. Foamed sheet is used in a variety of applications including thermo-

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formed packaging. Fibers are another important application for polypropylene, particularly in carpeting, because of its low cost and wear resistance. Fibers prepared from polypropylene are used in both woven and nonwoven fabrics. 2.2.25

Polyurethane (PUR)

Polyurethanes are very versatile polymers. They are used as flexible and rigid foams, elastomers, and coatings. Polyurethanes are available as both thermosets and thermoplastics. In addition, their hardnesses span the range from rigid material to elastomer. Thermoplastic polyurethanes will be the focus of this section. The term polyurethane is used to cover materials formed from the reaction of isocyanates and polyols.317 The general reaction for a polyurethane produced through the reaction of a diisocyanate with a diol is shown in Fig. 2.35.

FIGURE 2.35 Polyurethane reaction.

Polyurethanes are phase separated block copolymers as depicted in Fig. 2.36, where the A and B portions represent different polymer segments. One FIGURE 2.36 Block structure of polyurethanes. segment, called the hard segment, is rigid, while the other, the soft segment, is elastomeric. In polyurethanes, the soft segment is prepared from an elastomeric long-chain polyol, generally a polyester or polyether, but other rubbery polymers end-capped with a hydroxyl group could be used. The hard segment is composed of the diisocyanate and a short-chain diol called a chain extender. The hard segments have high interchain attraction due to hydrogen bonding between the urethane groups. In addition, they may be capable of crystallizing.318 The soft elastomeric segments are held together by the hard phases, which are rigid at room temperature and act as physical cross-links. The hard segments hold the material together at room temperature but, at processing temperatures, the hard segments can flow and be processed. The properties of polyurethanes can be varied by changing the type or amount of the three basic building blocks of the polyurethane: diisocyanate, short-chain diol, or longchain diol. Given the same starting materials, the polymer can be varied simply by changing the ratio of the hard and soft segments. This allows the manufacturer a great deal of flexibility in compound development for specific applications. The materials are typically manufactured by reacting a linear polyol with an excess of diisocyanate. The polyol is end-capped with isocyanate groups. The end-capped polyol and free isocyanate are then reacted with a chain extender, usually a short--chain diol to form the polyurethane.319

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There are a variety of starting materials available for use in the preparation of polyurethanes, some of which are listed below. Diisocyanates • 4,4´-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) • Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) • Hydrogenated 4,4´-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (HMDI) Chain Extenders • 1,4 butanediol • Ethylene glycol • 1,6 hexanediol Polyols • Polyesters • Polyethers Polyurethanes are generally classified by the type of polyol used—for example, polyester polyurethane or polyether polyurethane. The type of polyol can affect certain properties. For example, polyether polyurethanes are more resistant to hydrolysis than polyesterbased urethanes, while the polyester polyurethanes have better fuel and oil resistance.320 Low-temperature flexibility can be controlled by proper selection of the long-chain polyol. Polyether polyurethanes generally have lower glass transition temperatures than polyester polyurethanes. The heat resistance of the polyurethane is governed by the hard segments. Polyurethanes are noted for their abrasion resistance, toughness, low-temperature impact strength, cut resistance, weather resistance, and fungus resistance.321 Specialty polyurethanes include glass-reinforced products, fire-retardant grades, and UV-stabilized grades. Polyurethanes find application in many areas. They can be used as impact modifiers for other plastics. Other applications include rollers or wheels, exterior body parts, drive belts, and hydraulic seals.322 Polyurethanes can be used in film applications such as textile laminates for clothing and protective coatings for hospital beds. They are also used in tubing and hose in both unreinforced and reinforced forms because of their low-temperature properties and toughness. Their abrasion resistance allows them to be used in applications such as athletic shoe soles and ski boots. Polyurethanes are also used as coatings for wire and cable.323 Polyurethanes can be processed by a variety of methods, including extrusion, blow molding, and injection molding. They tend to pick up moisture and must be thoroughly dried prior to use. The processing conditions vary with the type of polyurethane; higher hardness grades usually require higher processing temperatures. Polyurethanes tend to exhibit shear sensitivity at lower melt temperatures. Post-mold heating in an oven, shortly after processing, can often improve the properties of the finished product. A cure cycle of 16 to 24 hr at 100°C is typical.324

2.2.26

Styrenics

The styrene family is well suited for applications where rigid, dimensionally stable molded parts are required. PS is a transparent, brittle, high-modulus material with a multitude of applications, primarily in packaging, disposable cups, and medical ware. When the mechanical properties of the PS hom*opolymer are modified to produce a tougher, more

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ductile blend, as in the case of rubber-modified high-impact grades of PS (HIPS), a far wider range of applications becomes available. HIPS is preferred for durable, molded items including radio, television, and stereo cabinets as well as compact disc jewel cases. Copolymerization is also used to produce engineering-grade plastics of higher performance as well as higher price, with acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styreneacrylonitrile (SAN) plastics being of greatest industrial importance. 2.2.26.1 Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Terpolymer. As with any copolymers, there is tremendous flexibility in tailoring the properties of ABS by varying the ratios of the three monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. The acrylonitrile component contributes heat resistance, strength, and chemical resistance. The elastomeric contribution of butadiene imparts higher impact strength, toughness, low-temperature property retention, and flexibility, while the styrene contributes rigidity, glossy finish, and ease of processability. As such, worldwide usage of ABS is surpassed only by that of the “big four” commodity thermoplastics (polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyvinyl chloride). Primary drawbacks to ABS include opacity, poor weather resistance, and poor flame resistance. Flame retardance can be improved by the addition of fire-retardant additives or by blending ABS with PVC, with some reduction in ease of processability.325 As its use is widely prevalent as equipment housings (such as telephones, televisions, and computers), these disadvantages are tolerated. Figure 2.37 shows the repeat structure of ABS.

FIGURE 2.37 Repeat structure of ABS.

Most common methods of manufacturing ABS include graft polymerization of styrene and acrylonitrile onto a polybutadiene latex, blending with a styrene-acrylonitrile latex, and then coagulating and drying the resultant blend. Alternatively, the graft polymer of styrene, acrylonitrile, and polybutadiene can be manufactured separately from the styrene acrylonitrile latex and the two grafts blended and granulated after drying.326 Its ease of processing by a variety of common methods (including injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, compression molding, and blow molding), combined with a good economic value for the mechanical properties achieved, results in widespread use of ABS. It is commonly found in under-the-hood automotive applications, refrigerator linings, radios, computer housings, telephones, business machine housings, and television housings. 2.2.26.2 Acrylonitrile-Chlorinated Polyethylene-Styrene (ACS) Terpolymer. While ABS itself can be readily tailored by modifying the ratios of the three monomers and by modifying the lengths of each grafted segment, several companies are pursuing the addition of a fourth monomer, such as alpha-methylstyrene for enhanced heat resistance and methyl-

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methacrylate to produce a transparent ABS. One such modification involves using chlorinated polyethylene in place of the butadiene segments. This terpolymer, ACS, has very similar properties to the engineering terpolymer ABS, but the addition of chlorinated polyethylene imparts improved flame retardance, weatherability, and resistance to electrostatic deposition of dust without the addition of antistatic agents. The addition of the chlorinated olefin requires more care when injection molding to ensure that the chlorine does not dehydrohalogenate. Mold temperatures are recommended to be kept at between 190 and 210°C and not to exceed 220°C. As with other chlorinated polymers, such as polyvinyl chloride, residence times should be kept relatively short in the molding machine.327 Applications for ACS include housings and parts for office machines such as desktop calculators, copying machines, and electronic cash registers, as well as housings for television sets and video cassette recorders.328 2.2.26.3 Acrylic Styrene Acrylonitrile (ASA) Terpolymer. Like ACS, ASA is a specialty product with similar mechanical properties to ABS, but which offers improved outdoor weathering properties. This is due to the grafting of an acrylic ester elastomer onto the styrene-acrylonitrile backbone. Sunlight usually combines with atmospheric oxygen to result in embrittlement and yellowing of thermoplastics, and this process takes a much longer time in the case of ASA. Therefore, ASA finds applications in gutters, drain pipe fittings, signs, mail boxes, shutters, window trims, and outdoor furniture.329 2.2.26.4 General-Purpose Polystyrene (PS). PS is one of the four plastics whose combined usage accounts for 75 percent of the worldwide usage of plastics.330 These four commodity thermoplastics are PE, PP, PVC, and PS. Although it can be polymerized via free-radical, anionic, cationic, and Ziegler mechanisms, commercially available PS is produced via free-radical addition polymerization. PS’s popularity is due to its transparency, low density, relatively high modulus, excellent electrical properties, low cost, and ease of processing. The steric hindrance caused by the presence of the bulky benzene side groups results in brittle mechanical properties, with ultimate elongations only around 2 to 3 percent, depending on molecular weight and additive levels. Most commercially available PS grades are atatic, and in combination with the large benzene groups, result in an amorphous polymer. The amorphous morphology provides not only transparency but, in addition, the lack of crystalline regions means that there is no clearly defined temperature at which the plastic melts. PS is a glassy solid until its Tg of ~100°C is reached, whereupon further heating softens the plastic gradually from a glass to a liquid. Advantage is taken of this gradual transition by molders who can eject parts that have cooled to beneath the relatively high Vicat temperature. Also, the lack of a heat of crystallization means that high heating and cooling rates can be achieved, which reduces cycle time and also promotes an economical process. Lastly, upon cooling, PS does not crystallize the way PE and PP do. This gives PS low shrinkage values (0.004 to 0.005 mm/mm) and high dimensional stability during molding and forming operations. Commercial PS is segmented into easy-flow, medium-flow, and high-heat-resistance grades. Comparison of these three grades is made in Table 2.8. The easy-flow grades are the lowest molecular weight, to which 3 to 4 percent mineral oil has been added. The mineral oil reduces melt viscosity, which is well suited for increased injection speeds while molding inexpensive thin-walled parts such as disposable dinnerware, toys, and packaging. The reduction in processing time comes at the cost of a reduced softening temperature and a more brittle polymer. The medium-flow grades are of slightly higher molecular weight and contain only 1 to 2 percent mineral oil. Applications include injection molded tumblers, medical ware, toys, injection-blow-molded bottles, and extruded food packaging. The high-heat-resistance plastics are of the highest molecular weight and have the

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TABLE 2.8

Properties of Commercial Grades of General-Purpose PS*

Property

Easy-flow PS

Medium-flow PS

High-heatresistance PS

Mw

218,000

225,000

300,000

Mn

74,000

92,000

130,000

Melt flow index, g/10 min

16

Vicat softening temperature, °C

88

102

108

3,100

2,450

3,340

Tensile modulus, MPa Ultimate tensile strength, MPa

1.6

7.5

2.0

1.6

2.4

* Source: Encyclopedia of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., vol. 6, Mark, Bikales, Overberger, Menges,and Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 65.

least level of additives such as extrusion aids. These products are used in sheet extrusion and thermoforming, and extruded film applications for oriented food packaging.331 2.2.26.5 Styrene-Acrylonitrile Copolymers (SAN). Styrene-acrylonitrile polymers are copolymers prepared from styrene and acrylonitrile monomers. The polymerization can be done under emulsion, bulk, or suspension conditions.332 The polymers generally contain between 20 to 30 percent acrylonitrile.333 The acrylonitrile content of the polymer influences the final properties with tensile strength, elongation, and heat distortion temperature increasing as the amount of acrylonitrile in the copolymer increases. SAN copolymers are linear, amorphous materials with improved heat resistance over pure polystyrene.334 The polymer is transparent but may have a yellow color as the acrylonitrile content increases. The addition of a polar monomer, acrylonitrile, to the backbone gives these polymers better resistance to oils, greases, and hydrocarbons when compared to polystyrene.335 Glass-reinforced grades of SAN are available for applications requiring higher modulus combined with lower mold shrinkage and lower coefficient of thermal expansion.336 As the polymer is polar, it should be dried before processing. It can be processed by injection molding into a variety of parts. SAN can also be processed by blow molding, extrusion, casting, and thermoforming.337 SAN competes with polystyrene, cellulose acetate, and polymethyl methacrylate. Applications for SAN include injection-molded parts for medical devices, PVC tubing connectors, dishwasher-safe products, and refrigerator shelving.338 Other applications include packaging for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics markets, automotive equipment, and industrial uses. 2.2.26.6 Olefin-Modified SAN. SAN can be modified with olefins, resulting in a polymer that can be extruded and injection molded. The polymer has good weatherability and is often used as a capstock to provide weatherability to less expensive parts such as swimming pools, spas, and boats.339 2.2.26.7 Styrene-Butadiene Copolymers. Styrene-butadiene polymers are block copolymers prepared from styrene and butadiene monomers. The polymerization is performed using sequential anionic polymerization.340 The copolymers are better known as thermoplastic elastomers, but copolymers with high styrene contents can be treated as thermo-

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plastics. The polymers can be prepared as either a star block form or as a linear, multiblock polymer. The butadiene exists as a separate dispersed phase in a continuous matrix of polystyrene.341 The size of the butadiene phase is controlled to be less than the wavelength of light, resulting in clear materials. The resulting amorphous polymer is tough with good flex life and low mold shrinkage. The copolymer can be ultrasonically welded, solvent welded, or vibration welded. The copolymers are available in injectionmolding grades and thermoforming grades. The injection-molding grades generally contain a higher styrene content in the block copolymer. Thermoforming grades are usually mixed with pure polystyrene. Styrene-butadiene copolymers can be processed by injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, and blow molding. The polymer does not need to be dried prior to use.342 Styrene-butadiene copolymers are used in toys, housewares, and medical applications.343 Thermoformed products include disposable food packaging such as cups, bowls, “clam shells,” deli containers, and lids. Blister packs and other display packaging also use styrene-butadiene copolymers. Other packaging applications include shrink wrap and vegetable wrap.344 2.2.27

Sulfone-Based Resins

Sulfone resins refer to polymers containing SO2 groups along the backbone as depicted in Fig. 2.38. The R groups are generally aromatic. The polymers are usually yellowish, transparent, amorphous materials and are known for their high stiffness, strength, and thermal stability.345 The polymers have low creep over a large temperature range. Sulfones can compete against some thermoset materials in performance, while their FIGURE 2.38 General ability to be injection molded offers an advantage. structure of a polysulfone. The first commercial polysulfone was Udel (Union Carbide, now Amoco), followed by Astrel 360 (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing), which is termed a polyarylsulfone, and finally Victrex (ICI), a polyethersulfone.346 The different polysulfones vary by the spacing between the aromatic groups, which in turn affects their Tgs and their heat distortion temperatures. Commercial polysulfones are linear with high Tg values in the range of 180 to 250°C, allowing for continuous use from 150 to 200°C.347 As a result, the processing temperatures of polysulfones are above 300°C.348 Although the polymer is polar, it still has good electrical insulating properties. Polysulfones are resistant to high thermal and ionizing radiation. They are also resistant to most aqueous acids and alkalis but may be attacked by concentrated sulfuric acid. The polymers have good hydrolytic stability and can withstand hot water and steam.349 Polysulfones are tough materials, but they do exhibit notch sensitivity. The presence of the aromatic rings causes the polymer chain to be rigid. Polysulfones generally do not require the addition of flame retardants and usually emit low levels of smoke. The properties of the main polysulfones are generally similar, although polyethersulfones have better creep resistance at high temperatures and higher heat distortion temperature, but more water absorption and higher density than the Udel-type materials.350 Glassfiber-filled grades of polysulfone are available, as are blends of polysulfone with ABS. Polysulfones may absorb water, leading to potential processing problems such as streaks or bubbling.351 The processing temperatures are quite high, and the melt is very viscous. Polysulfones show little change in melt viscosity with shear. Injection molding melt temperatures are in the range of 335 to 400°C, and mold temperatures are in the range of 100 to 160°C. The high viscosity necessitates the use of large cross-sectional runners and gates. Purging should be done periodically, as a layer of black, degraded polymer

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may build up on the cylinder wall, yielding parts with black marks. Residual stresses may be reduced by higher mold temperatures or by annealing. Extrusion and blow-molding grades of polysulfones are higher molecular weight, with blow molding melt temperatures in the range of 300 to 360°C and mold temperatures between 70 and 95°C. The good heat resistance and electrical properties of polysulfones allows them to be used in applications such as circuit boards and TV components.352 Chemical and heat resistance are important properties for automotive applications. Hair dryer components can also be made from polysulfones. Polysulfones find application in ignition components and structural foams.353 Another important market for polysulfones is microwave cookware.354 2.2.27.1 Polyaryl Sulfone (PAS). This polymer differs from the other polysulfones in the lack of any aliphatic groups in the chain. The lack of aliphatic groups gives this polymer excellent oxidative stability, as the aliphatic groups are more susceptible to oxidative degradation.355 Polyaryl sulfones are stiff, strong, and tough polymers with very good chemical resistance. Most fuels, lubricants, cleaning agents, and hydraulic fluids will not affect the polymer.356 However, methylene chloride, dimethyl acetamide, and dimethyl formamide will dissolve the polymer.357 The glass transition temperature of these polymers is about 210°C, with a heat deflection temperature of 205°C at 1.82 MPa.358 PAS also has good hydrolytic stability. Polyarylsulfone is available in filled and reinforced grades as well as both opaque and transparent versions.359 This polymer finds application in electrical applications for motor parts, connectors, and lamp housings.360 The polymer can be injection molded, provided the cylinder and nozzle are capable of reaching 425°C.361 It may also be extruded. The polymer should be dried prior to processing. Injection molding barrel temperatures should be 270 to 360°C at the rear, 295 to 390°C in the middle, and 300 to 395°C at the front.362 2.2.27.2 Polyether Sulfone (PES). Polyether sulfone is a transparent polymer with high temperature resistance and self-extinguishing properties.363 It gives off little smoke when burned. Polyether sulfone has the basic structure as shown in Fig. 2.39.

FIGURE 2.39 Structure of polyether sulfone.

Polyether sulfone has a Tg near 225°C and is dimensionally stable over a wide range of temperatures.364 It can withstand long term use up to 200°C and can carry loads for long times up to 180°C.365 Glass-fiber-reinforced grades are available for increased properties. It is resistant to most chemicals with the exception of polar, aromatic hydrocarbons.366 Polyether sulfone can be processed by injection molding, extrusion, blow molding or thermoforming.367 It exhibits low mold shrinkage. For injection molding, barrel temperatures of 340 to 380°C with melt temperatures of 360°C are recommended.368 Mold temperatures should be in the range of 140 to 180°C. For thin-walled molding, higher temperatures may be required. Unfilled PES can be extruded into sheets, rods, films, and profiles.

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PES finds application in aircraft interior parts due to its low smoke emission.369 Electrical applications include switches, integrated circuit carriers, and battery parts.370 The high-temperature oil and gas resistance allow polyether sulfone to be used in the automotive markets for water pumps, fuse housings, and car heater fans. The ability of PES to endure repeated sterilization allows PES to be used in a variety of medical applications, such as parts for centrifuges and root canal drills. Other applications include membranes for kidney dialysis, chemical separation, and desalination. Consumer uses include cooking equipment and lighting fittings. PES can also be vacuum metallized for a high-gloss mirror finish. 2.2.27.3 Polysulfone (PSU). Polysulfone is a transparent thermoplastic prepared from bisphenol A and 4,4´-dichlorodiphenylsulfone.371 The structure is shown below in Fig. 2.40. It is self-extinguishing and has a high heat distortion temperature. The polymer has a glass transition temperature of 185°C.372 Polysulfones have impact resistance and ductility below 0°C. Polysulfone also has good electrical properties. The electrical and mechanical properties are maintained to temperatures near 175°C. Polysulfone shows good chemical resistance to alkali, salt, and acid solutions.373 It has resistance to oils, detergents, and alcohols, but polar organic solvents and chlorinated aliphatic solvents may attack the polymer. Glass- and mineral-filled grades are available.374

FIGURE 2.40 Structure of polysulfone.

Properties such as physical aging and solvent crazing can be improved by annealing the parts.375 This also reduces molded-in stresses. Molded-in stresses can also be reduced by using hot molds during injection molding. As mentioned above, runners and gates should be as large as possible due to the high melt viscosity. The polymer should hit a wall or pin shortly after entering the cavity of the mold, as polysulfone has a tendency toward jetting. For thin-walled or long parts, multiple gates are recommended. For injection molding, barrel temperatures should be in the range of 310 to 400°C, with mold temperatures of 100 to 170°C.376 In blow molding, the screw type should have a low compression ratio, 2.0:1 to 2.5:1. Higher compression ratios will generate excessive frictional heat. Mold temperatures of 70 to 95°C with blow air pressures of 0.3 to 0.5 MPa are generally used. Polysulfone can be extruded into films, pipe, or wire coatings. Extrusion melt temperatures should be from 315 to 375°C. High-compression-ratio screws should not be used for extrusion. Polysulfone shows high melt strength, allowing for good drawdown and the manufacture of thin films. Sheets of polysulfone can be thermoformed, with surface temperatures of 230 to 260°C recommended. Sheets may be bonded by heat sealing, adhesive bonding, solvent fusion, or ultrasonic welding. Polysulfone is used in applications requiring good high-temperature resistance such as coffee carafes, piping, sterilizing equipment, and microwave oven cookware.377 The good hydrolytic stability of polysulfone is important in these applications. Polysulfone is also used in electrical applications for connectors, switches, and circuit boards and in reverse osmosis applications as a membrane support.378

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2.53

Vinyl-based Resins

2.2.28.1 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Polyvinyl chloride polymers (PVC), generally referred to as vinyl resins, are prepared by the polymerization of vinyl chloride in a free radical addition polymerization reaction. Vinyl chloride monomer is prepared by reacting ethylene with chlorine to form 1,2-dichloroethane.379 The 1,2 dichloroethane is then cracked to give vinyl chloride. The polymerization reaction is depicted in Fig. 2.41.

FIGURE 2.41 Synthesis of polyvinyl chloride.

The polymer can be made by suspension, emulsion, solution, or bulk polymerization methods. Most of the PVC used in calendering, extrusion, and molding is prepared by suspension polymerization. Emulsion polymerized vinyl resins are used in plastisols and organisols.380 Only a small amount of commercial PVC is prepared by solution polymerization. The microstructure of PVC is mostly atactic, but a sufficient quantity of syndiotactic portions of the chain allow for a low fraction of crystallinity (about 5 percent). The polymers are essentially linear, but a low number of short-chain branches may exist.381 The monomers are predominantly arranged head to tail along the backbone of the chain. Due to the presence of the chlorine group, PVC polymers are more polar than polyethylene. The molecular weights of commercial polymers are Mw = 100,000 to 200,000; Mn = 45,000 to 64,000.382 Mw/Mn = 2 for these polymers. The polymeric PVC is insoluble in the monomer; therefore, bulk polymerization of PVC is a heterogeneous process.383 Suspension PVC is synthesized by suspension polymerization. These are suspended droplets approximately 10 to 100 nm in diameter of vinyl chloride monomer in water. Suspension polymerizations allow control of particle size, shape, and size distribution by varying the dispersing agents and stirring rate. Emulsion polymerization results in much smaller particle sizes than suspension polymerized PVC, but soaps used in the emulsion polymerization process can affect the electrical and optical properties. The glass transition temperature of PVC varies with the polymerization method but falls within the range of 60 to 80°C.384 PVC is a self-extinguishing polymer and therefore has application in the field of wire and cable. PVC’s good flame resistance results from removal of HCl from the chain, releasing HCl gas.385 Air is restricted from reaching the flame, because HCl gas is more dense than air. Because PVC is thermally sensitive, the thermal history of the polymer must be carefully controlled to avoid decomposition. At temperatures above 70°C, degradation of PVC by loss of HCl can occur, resulting in the generation of unsaturation in the backbone of the chain. This is indicated by a change in the color of the polymer. As degradation proceeds, the polymer changes color from yellow to brown to black, visually indicating that degradation has occurred. The loss of HCl accelerates the further degradation and is called autocatalytic decomposition. The degradation can be significant at processing temperatures if the material has not been heat stabilized, so thermal stabilizers are often added at additional cost to PVC to reduce this tendency. UV stabilizers are also added to protect the material from ultraviolet light, which may also cause the loss of HCl. There are two basic forms of PVC: rigid and plasticized. Rigid PVC, as its name suggests, is an unmodified polymer and exhibits high rigidity.386 Unmodified PVC is stronger and stiffer than PE and PP. Plasticized PVC is modified by the addition of a low-molecular-weight species (plasticizer) to flexibilize the polymer.387 Plasticized PVC can be formulated to give products with rubbery behavior.

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PVC is often compounded with additives to improve the properties. A wide variety of applications for PVC exist, because one can tailor the properties by proper selection of additives. As mentioned above, among the principal additives are stabilizers. Lead compounds are often added for this purpose, reacting with the HCl released during degradation.388 Among the lead compounds commonly used are basic lead carbonate or white lead and tribasic lead sulphate. Other stabilizers include metal stearates, ricinoleates, palmitates, and octoates. Of particular importance are the cadmium-barium systems with synergistic behavior. Organo-tin compounds are also used as stabilizers to give clear compounds. In addition to stabilizers, other additives such as fillers, lubricants, pigments, and plasticizers are used. Fillers are often added to reduce cost and include talc, calcium carbonate, and clay.389 These fillers may also impart additional stiffness to the compound. The addition of plasticizers lowers the Tg of rigid PVC, making it more flexible. A wide range of products can be manufactured by using different amounts of plasticizer. As the plasticizer content increases, there is usually an increase in toughness and a decrease in the modulus and tensile strength.390 Many different compounds can be used to plasticize PVC, but the solvent must be miscible with the polymer. A compatible plasticizer is considered a nonvolatile solvent for the polymer. The absorption of solvent may occur automatically at room temperature or may require the addition of slight heat and mixing. PVC plasticizers are divided into three groups, depending on their compatibility with the polymer: primary plasticizers, secondary plasticizers, and extenders. Primary plasticizers are compatible (have similar solubility parameters) with the polymer and should not exude. If the plasticizer and polymer have differences in their solubility parameters, they tend to be incompatible or have limited compatibility and are called secondary plasticizers. Secondary plasticizers are added along with the primary plasticizer to meet a secondary performance requirement (cost, low-temperature properties, permanence). The plasticizer can still be used in mixtures with a primary plasticizer, provided the mixture has a solubility parameter within the desired range. Extenders are used to lower the cost and are generally not compatible when used alone. Common plasticizers for PVC include dioctyl phthalate, di-iso-octyl phthalate, and dibutyl phthalate, among others.391 The plasticizer is normally added to the PVC before processing. Since the plasticizers are considered solvents for PVC, they will normally be absorbed the polymer with only a slight rise in temperature.392 This reduces the time the PVC is exposed to high temperatures and potential degradation. In addition, the plasticizer reduces the Tg and Tm , therefore lowering the processing temperatures and thermal exposure. Plasticized PVC can be processed by methods such as extrusion and calendering into a variety of products. Rigid PVC can be processed using most conventional processing equipment. Because HCl can be given off in small amounts during processing, corrosion of metal parts is a concern. Metal molds, tooling, and screws should be inspected regularly. Corrosion-resistant metals and coatings are available but add to the cost of manufacturing. Rigid PVC products include house siding, extruded pipe, thermoformed, and injectionmolded parts. Rigid PVC is calendered into credit cards. Plasticized PVC is used in applications such as flexible tubing, floor mats, garden hose, shrink wrap, and bottles. PVC joints can be solvent welded rather than heated so as to fuse the two part together. This can be an advantage when heating the part is not feasible. 2.2.28.2 Chlorinated PVC. Post-chlorination of PVC was practiced during World War II.393 Chlorinated PVC (CPVC) can be prepared by passing chlorine through a solution of PVC. The chlorine adds to the carbon that does not already have a chlorine atom present. Commercial materials have chlorine contents around 66 to 67 percent. The materials have a higher softening point and higher viscosity than PVC. They are known for good chemical resistance. Compared to PVC, chlorinated PVC has higher modulus and tensile strength. Compounding processes are similar to those for PVC but are more difficult.

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Chlorinated PVC can be extruded, calendered, or injection molded.394 Extrusion screws should be chrome plated or stainless steel. Dies should be streamlined. Injection molds should be chrome or nickel plated or stainless steel. CPVC is used for water distribution piping, industrial chemical liquid piping, outdoor skylight frames, automotive interior parts, and a variety of other applications. 2.2.28.3 Copolymers. Vinyl chloride can be copolymerized, with vinyl acetate giving a polymer with a lower softening point and better stability than pure PVC.395 The compositions can vary from 5 to 40 percent vinyl acetate content. This material has application in areas where PVC is too rigid and the use of plasticized PVC is unacceptable. Flooring is one application for these copolymers. Copolymers with about 10 percent vinylidene chloride and copolymers with 10 to 20 percent diethyl fumarate or diethyl maleate are also available. 2.2.28.4 Dispersion PVC. If a sufficient quantity of solvent is added to PVC, it can become suspended in the solvent, giving a fluid that can be used in coating applications.396 This form of PVC is called a plastisol or oganisol. PVC in the fluid form can be processed by methods such as spread coating, rotational casting, dipping, and spraying. The parts are then dried with heat to remove any solvent and fuse the polymer. Parts such as handles for tools and vinyl gloves are produced by this method. The plastisol or organisols are prepared from PVC produced through emulsion polymerization.397 The latex is then spray dried to form particles from 0.1 to 1 µm. These particles are then mixed with plasticizers to make plastisols or with plasticizers and other volatile organic liquids to make organisols. Less plasticizer is required with the organisols so that harder coatings can be produced. The polymer particles are not dissolved in the liquid but remain dispersed until the material is heated and fused. Other additives such as stabilizers and fillers may be compounded into the dispersion. As plasticizer is added, the mixture goes through different stages as the voids between the polymer particles are filled.398 Once all the voids between particles have been filled, the material is considered a paste. In these materials, the size of the particle is an important variable. If the particles are too large, they may settle out, so small particles are preferred. Very small particles have the disadvantage that the particles will absorb the plasticizer with time, giving a continuous increase in viscosity of the mixture. Paste polymers have particle sizes in the range of 0.2 to 1.5 µm. Particle size distribution will also affect the paste. It is usually better to have a wide particle size distribution so that particles can pack efficiently. This reduces the void space that must be filled by the plasticizer, and any additional plasticizer will act as lubricant. For a fixed particle-to-plasticizer ratio, a wide distribution will generally have lower viscosity than for a constant particle size. In some cases, very large particles are added to the paste, as they will take up volume, again reducing the amount of plasticizer required. These particles are made by suspension polymerization. With the mixture of particle sizes, these larger particles will not settle out as they would if used alone. Plastisols and organisols require the addition of heat to fuse. Temperatures in the range of 300 to 410°F are used to form the polymer. 2.2.28.5 Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC). Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) is similar to PVC except that two chlorine atoms are present on one of the carbon groups.399 Like PVC, PVDC is also polymerized by addition polymerization methods. Both emulsion and suspension polymerization methods are used. The reaction is shown below in Fig. 2.42. The emulsion polymers are either used directly as a latex or dried for use in coatings or melt processing. This material has excellent barrier properties and is frequently used in food packaging applications. Films made from PVDC have good cling properties, which is an advantage

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FIGURE 2.42 Preparation of vinylidene chlo-

ride polymers.

for food wraps. Commercial polymers are all copolymers of vinylidene chloride with vinyl chloride, acrylates, or nitriles. Copolymerization of vinylidene chloride with other monomers reduces the melting point to allow easier processing. Corrosion-resistant materials should be considered for use when processing PVDC.

2.3 ADDITIVES There is a broad range of additives for thermoplastics. Some of the more important additives include plasticizers, lubricants, anti-aging additives, colorants, flame retardants, blowing agents, cross-linking agents, and UV protectants. Fillers are also considered additives but are covered in Chap. 1. Plasticizers are considered nonvolatile solvents.400 They act to soften a material by separating the polymer chains, allowing them to be more flexible. As a result, the plasticized polymer is softer, with greater extensibility. Plasticizers reduce the melt viscosity and glass transition temperature of the polymer. For the plasticizer to be a “solvent” for the polymer, it is necessary for the solubility parameter of the plasticizer to be similar to the polymer. As a result, the plasticizer must be selected carefully so it is compatible with the polymer. One of the primary applications of plasticizers is for the modification of PVC. In this case, the plasticizers are divided into three classes, namely, primary and secondary plasticizers and extenders.401 Primary plasticizers are compatible, can be used alone, and will not exude from the polymer. They should have a solubility parameter similar to that of the polymer. Secondary plasticizers have limited compatibility and are generally used with a primary plasticizer. Extenders have limited compatibility and will exude from the polymer if used alone. They are usually used along with the primary plasticizer. Plasticizers are usually in the form of high-viscosity liquids. The plasticizer should be capable of withstanding the high processing temperatures without degradation and discoloration, which would adversely affect the end product. The plasticizer should be capable of withstanding any environmental conditions that the final product will see. This might include UV exposure, fungal attack, or water. In addition, it is important that the plasticizer show low volatility and migration so that the properties of the plasticized polymer will remain relatively stable over time. There is a wide range of plasticizer types. Some typical classes include phthalic esters, phosphoric esters, fatty acid esters, fatty acid esters, polyesters, hydrocarbons, aromatic oils, and alcohols. Lubricants are added to thermoplastics to aid in processing. High-molecular-weight thermoplastics have high viscosity. The addition of lubricants acts to reduce the melt viscosity to minimize machine wear and energy consumption.402 Lubricants may also be added to prevent friction between molded products. Examples of these types of lubricants include graphite and molybdenum disulphide.403 Lubricants that function by exuding from the polymer to the interface between the polymer and machine surface are termed external lubricants. Their presence at the interface between the polymer and metal walls acts to ease the processing. They have low compatibility with the polymer and may contain polar groups so that they have an attraction to metal. Lubricants must be selected based on the thermoplastic used. Lubricants may cause problems with clarity, ability to heat seal, and printing on the material. Examples of these lubricants include stearic acid or other car-

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boxylic acids, paraffin oils, and certain alcohols and ketones for PVC. Low-molecularweight materials that do not affect the solid properties, but act to enhance flow in the melt state, are termed internal lubricants. Internal lubricants for PVC include amine waxes, montan wax ester derivatives, and long-chain esters. Polymeric flow promoters are also examples of internal lubricants. They have solubility parameters similar to the thermoplastic, but lower viscosity at processing temperatures. They have little effect on the mechanical properties of the solid polymer. An example is the use of ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers with PVC. Anti-aging additives are incorporated to improve the resistance of the formulation. Examples of aging include attack by oxygen, ozone, dehydrochlorination, and UV degradation. Aging often results in changes in the structure of the polymer chain such as crosslinking, chain scission, addition of polar groups, or the addition of groups that cause discoloration. Additives are used to help prevent these reactions. Antioxidants are added to the polymer to stop the free-radical reactions that occur during oxidation. Antioxidants include compound such as phenols and amines. Phenols are often used because they have less of a tendency to stain.404 Peroxide decomposers are also added to improve the aging properties of thermoplastics. These include mecaptans, sulfonic acids, and zinc dialkylthiophosphate. The presence of metal ions can act to increase the oxidation rate, even in the presence of antioxidants. Metal deactivators are often added to prevent this from taking place. Chelating agents are added to complex with the metal ion. The absorption of ultraviolet light by a polymer may lead to the production of free radicals. These radicals react with oxygen resulting in what is termed photodegradation. This leads to the production of chemical groups that tend to absorb ultraviolet light, increasing the amount photodegradation. To reduce this effect, UV stabilizers are added. One way to accomplish UV stabilization is by the addition of UV absorbers such as benzophenones, salicylates, and carbon black.405 They act to dissipate the energy in a harmless fashion. Quenching agents react with the activated polymer molecule. Nickel chelates and hindered amines can be used as quenching agents. Peroxide decomposers may be used to aid in UV stability. In certain applications, flame resistance can be important. In this case, flame retarders may be added.406 They act by one of four possible mechanisms. They may act to chemically interfere with the propagation of flame, react or decompose to absorb heat, form a fire resistant coating on the polymer, or produce gases that reduce the supply of air. Phosphates are an important class of flame retarders. Tritolyl phosphate and trixylyl phosphate are often used in PVC. Halogenated compounds such as chlorinated paraffins may also be used. Antimony oxide is often used in conjunction to obtain better results. Other flame retarders include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, zinc borate, and red phosphorus. As with other additives, the proper selection of a flame retarder will depend on the particular thermoplastic. Colorants are added to produce color in the polymeric part. They are separated into pigments and dyes. Pigments are insoluble in the polymer, while dyes are soluble in the polymer. The particular color desired and the type of polymer will affect the selection of the colorants. Blowing agents are added to the polymer to produce a foam or cellular structure.407 They may be chemical blowing agents that decompose at certain temperatures and release a gas, or they may be low boiling liquids that become volatile at the processing temperatures. Gases may be introduced into the polymer under pressure and expand when the polymer is depressurized. Mechanical whipping and the incorporation of hollow glass spheres can also be used to produce cellular materials. Peroxides are often added to produce cross-linking in a system. Peroxides can be selected to decompose at a particular temperature for the application. Peroxides can be used to cross-link saturated polymers.

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2.4 POLYMER BLENDS There is considerable interest in polymer blends. This is driven by consideration of the difficulty in developing new polymeric materials from monomers. In many cases, it can be more cost effective to tailor the properties of a material through the blending of existing materials. One of the most basic questions in blends is whether the two polymers are miscible or exist as a single phase. In many cases, the polymers will exist as two separate phases. In this case, the morphology of the phases is of great importance. In the case of a miscible single phase blend, there is a single Tg, which is dependent on the composition of the blend.408 Where two phases exist, the blend will exhibit two separate Tgs—one for each of the phases present. In the case where the polymers can crystallize, the crystalline portions will exhibit a melting point (Tm), even in the case where the two polymers are a miscible blend. Although miscible blends of polymers exist, most blends of high-molecular-weight polymers exist as two-phase materials. Control of the morphology of these two-phase systems is critical to achieve the desired properties. A variety of morphologies exist, such as dispersed spheres of one polymer in another, lamellar structures, and co-continuous phases. As a result, the properties depend in a complex manner on the types of polymers in the blend, the morphology of the blend, and the effects of processing, which may orient the phases by shear. Miscible blends of commercial importance include PPO-PS, PVC-nitrile rubber, and PBT-PET. Miscible blends show a single Tg that is dependent on the ratios of the two components in the blend and their respective Tgs. In immiscible blends, the major component has a large effect on the final properties of the blend. Immiscible blends include toughened polymers in which an elastomer is added, existing as a second phase. The addition of the elastomer phase dramatically improves the toughness of the resulting blend as a result of the crazing and shear yielding caused by the rubber phase. Examples of toughed polymers include high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), modified polypropylene, ABS, PVC, nylon, and others. In addition to toughened polymers, a variety of other two-phase blends are commercially available. Examples include PC-PBT, PVC-ABS, PC-PE, PP-EPDM, and PCABS.

2.5 REFERENCES 1. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 238. 2. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 516. 3. Kroschwitz, J.I., Concise Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1990, p. 4. 4. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 517. 5. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 518. 6. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 439. 7. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 519. 8. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 61. 9. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 521. 10. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 523. 11. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 524. 12. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 62.

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13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

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Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 193. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 525. Modern Plastics, Jan. 1998, p. 76. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 527. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 524. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 524. McCarthy, S.P., “Biodegradable Polymers for Packaging,” in Biotechnological Polymers, C.G. Gebelein, Ed., Technomic Publishing, Lancaster, PA, 1993. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 525. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 858. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 858. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 859. McCarthy, S.P., “Biodegradable Polymers for Packaging,” in Biotechnological Polymers, C.G. Gebelein, Ed. McCarthy, S.P., “Biodegradable Polymers for Packaging,” in Biotechnological Polymers, C.G. Gebelein, Ed. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 608. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials,” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 341. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials,” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 341. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials,” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 343. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 859. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 718. McCarthy, S.P., “Biodegradable Polymers for Packaging,” in Biotechnological Polymers, C.G. Gebelein, Ed. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 860. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 338. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 860. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 862. McCarthy, S.P., “Biodegradable Polymers for Packaging,” in Biotechnological Polymers, C.G. Gebelein, Ed. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 351. Byrom, D., “Miscellaneous biomaterials” in Biomaterials, D. Byrom, Ed., Stockton Press, New York, 1991, p. 353. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 60. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 68 Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 92. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 182. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 182. Plastics Materials, 5th ed., J.A. Brydson, Butterworths, 1989, p. 583. Plastics Materials, 5th ed., J.A. Brydson, Butterworths, 1989, p. 187. Williams, R.W., “Cellulosics,” in Modern Plastics Encyclopedia Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1994, p. 8. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 349. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 349.

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50. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 62. 51. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 423. 52. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63. 53. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 319. 54. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 359. 55. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 426. 56. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 359. 57. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 359. 58. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63. 59. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63. 60. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63. 61. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 360. 62. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 427. 63. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 62. 64. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 428. 65. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 361. 66. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 62. 67. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 423. 68. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 352. 69. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 424. 70. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 351. 71. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 425. 72. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 355. 73. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 353. 74. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 62. 75. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 356. 76. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 357. 77. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 357. 78. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 357. 79. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 426. 80. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 428. 81. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 362. 82. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 319. 83. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 363. 84. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63. 85. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 63.

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86. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 362. 87. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 434. 88. Modern Plastics, Jan. 1998, p. 76. 89. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 64. 90. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 462. 91. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 64. 92. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 433. 93. Deanin, R.D., Polymer Structure, Properties and Applications, Cahners, York, PA, 1972 p. 455. 94. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 470. 95. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 190. 96. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 64. 97. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 477. 98. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 191. 99. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 471. 100. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 233. 101. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 472. 102. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 472. 103. Galanty, P.G. and Bujtas, G.A., “Nylon,” in Modern Plastics Encyclopedia Handbook, McGrawHill, New York, 1994, p. 12. 104. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 473. 105. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 472. 106. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 473. 107. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 190. 108. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 484. 109. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 484. 110. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 64. 111. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 461. 112. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 435. 113. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 436. 114. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 437. 115. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 486. 116. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 480. 117. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 191. 118. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 492. 119. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 492. 120. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 494-495. 121. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 493. 122. Professor Driscoll, U. Mass. Lowell Plastics Engineering faculty, course notes, Chap. 12, “High Temperature Polyamides,” p. 30, October 2005. 123. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 496. 124. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 497. 125. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 192. 126. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 400. 127. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 414. 128. Kroschwitz, J.I., Concise Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1990, p. 28.

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353. Carraher, C.E., Polymer Chemistry, An Introduction, 4th ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996, p. 240. 354. Kroschwitz, J.I., Concise Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1990, p. 888. 355. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 356. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 357. Sauers, M.E., “Polyaryl Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 146. 358. Sauers, M.E., “Polyaryl Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 145. 359. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 360. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 361. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 362. Sauers, M.E., “Polyaryl Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 146. 363. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 364. Watterson, E.C., “Polyether Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 161. 365. Watterson, E.C., “Polyether Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 160. 366. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 367. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 368. Watterson, E.C., “Polyether Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 161. 369. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 72. 370. Watterson, E.C., “Polyether Sulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 159. 371. Dunkle, S.R., “Polysulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 200. 372. Dunkle, S.R., “Polysulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 200. 373. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 374. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 375. Dunkle, S.R., “Polysulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 200. 376. Dunkle, S.R., “Polysulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 201. 377. Berins, M.L., Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1991, p. 71. 378. Dunkle, S.R., “Polysulfones,” in Engineering Plastics, vol. 2, Engineered Materials Handbook, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 1988, p. 200. 379. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 301. 380. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 420. 381. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 304. 382. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 307.

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383. 384. 385. 386. 387. 388. 389. 390. 391. 392. 393. 394. 395. 396. 397. 398. 399. 400. 401. 402. 403. 404. 405. 406. 407. 408. 409. 410.

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Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 302-304. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 171. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 170. Billmeyer, F.W., Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 420. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 172. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 314-316. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 171. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 172. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 317-319. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 173. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 346. Martello, G.A., “Chlorinated PVC,” in Modern Plastics Encyclopedia Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1994, p. 71. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 341. Strong, A.B., Plastics: Materials and Processing, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1996, p. 173. Hurter, D., “Dispersion PVC,” in Modern Plastics Encyclopedia Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1994, p. 72. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 309. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 450. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 127. I.W. Sommer, “Plasticizers,” in Plastics Additives, 2nd ed., R. Gachter and H. Muller, Eds., Hanser Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 253-255. W. Brotz, “Lubricants and Related Auxiliaries for Thermoplastic Materials,” in Plastics Additives, 2nd ed., R. Gachter and H. Muller, Eds., Hanser Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 297. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 129. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 136. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 130-141. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 141-145. Brydson, J.A., Plastics Materials, 6th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1995, p. 146-149. Kroschwitz, J.I., Concise Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1990, p. 830-835. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 6, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 433. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering, 2nd ed., vol. 16, Mark, Bilkales, Overberger, Menges, Kroschwitz, Eds., Wiley Interscience, 1986, p. 65.

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Source: Handbook of Plastics Technologies

CHAPTER 3

THERMOSETS Rudolph D. Deanin University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts

Plastics are organic polymers that can be poured or squeezed into the shape we want and then solidified into a finished product. Thermoplastics are linear polymer molecules that soften or melt when heated and solidify again when cooled. This is a reversible physical process that can be repeated many times. Thus, it is a simple low-cost process that accounts for 85 percent of the plastics industry. Thermosetting plastics are low-molecular-weight monomers and oligomers with multiple reactive functional groups, which can be poured, melted, or squeezed into the shape we want and then solidified again by chemical reactions forming multiple primary covalent bonds that cross-link them into three-dimensional molecules of almost infinite molecular weight. These are irreversible chemical processes that cannot be repeated. They account for 15 percent of the plastics industry, they include a great variety of chemical reactions and conversion processes, and they go into a very broad range of final products. Thus, there is a great difference between thermoplastics and thermosets, both in terms of materials chemistry and applications, and in terms of the mechanical processes used to produce finished products.

3.1 MATERIALS AND APPLICATIONS The major thermosetting plastics, in order of decreasing market volume, are polyurethanes, phenol-formaldehyde, urea-formaldehyde, and polyesters. More specialized thermosets include melamine-formaldehyde, furans, “vinyl esters,” allyls, epoxy resins, silicones, and polyimides. While they may sometimes compete with each other and with thermoplastics, for the most part, each of them has unique properties and fills unique markets and applications. 3.1.1

Polyurethanes

With a U.S. market of 6 billion pounds per year, polyurethanes are the leading family of thermosetting plastics. Of the 100 or so families of commercial plastics, they are the most

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CHAPTER 3

versatile, finding use in rigid plastics, flexible plastics, elastomers, rigid foams, flexible foams, fibers, coatings, and adhesives. They offer unique qualities in processability, strength, abrasion resistance, energy absorption, adhesion, recyclability, and resistance to oxygen, ozone, gasoline, and motor oil. Thus, they find major use in appliances, autos, building, furniture, industrial equipment, packaging, textiles, and many other fields. Their versatility comes from the range of liquid monomers and oligomers that can be mixed, poured, polymerized, and cured in a minute or so at room temperature. Thus, we start with a look at their basic chemistry. 3.1.1.1 Polyurethane Chemistry (Figure 3.1)

FIGURE 3.1 Polyurethane chemistry.

Isocyanates and alcohols react readily to form urethanes. When the alcohols and isocyanates are multifunctional, Polyols R(OH)n Polyisocyanates R(NCO)n they form polyurethane polymers. If they are difunctional, they form linear thermoplastic polyurethanes, which are useful in spandex fibers and thermoplastic elastomers. More often, they have higher functionality and form cross-linked thermoset polyurethanes. Most often, the polyols are trifunctional or higher, typically 3-6 OH groups. Less often, the polyisocyanates may be trifunctional or higher, typically 3-7 NCO groups. The liquid monomers are easy to mix, and the polymerization/cure reactions take a few minutes or less at room temperature. The combination of polarity, hydrogen bonding, and cross-linking in thermoset polyurethanes gives them high strength, adhesion, and chemical resistance. Isocyanates react even more readily with amines to form ureas. So when the amines and isocyanates are multifunctional, Polyamines R(NH2)n Polyisocyanates R(NCO)n they form polyurea polymers. The urea groups give even stronger hydrogen bonding than the urethane groups, so they make the polymers even stronger. Many polyurethane processors use polyamines to speed the polymerization/cure reactions and to build greater strength into the finished polymer. Thus, many “polyurethanes” are actually urethane/urea copolymers, even though the manufacturers rarely mention the fact.

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THERMOSETS

3.3

Isocyanates also react with water. The intermediate carbamic acid is so unstable that it decomposes immediately to form amine plus carbon dioxide. This reaction is important for two reasons: (1) carbon dioxide bubbles foam the polyurethane as it forms; this is the leading process for making foam, and (2) the amine by-product reacts to form more urea groups, which therefore strengthen the final polymer. Isocyanates have several more reactions that are important in some more specialized applications (Fig. 3.2). Cyclotrimerization produces the isocyanurate ring, which is extremely stable, and can be used to build more heat resistance into polyurethanes. Excess isocyanate can react with the N-H group in polyurethanes to produce allophanate crosslinks, which add to the cure of the polyurethane. And excess isocyanate can similarly react with the N-H groups in polyureas to produce biuret cross-links, which add to the cure of the polyurea.

FIGURE 3.2 Specialized isocyanate reactions.

3.1.1.2 Raw Materials. The versatility of polyurethanes is due to the variety of raw materials that can be used to build different structures into the polymers. 3.1.1.2.1 Isocyanates (Figure 3.3). Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is a mixture of mostly 2,4- plus some 2,6-isomer. Two commercial ratios are 80/20 and 65/35. The 4- position is more reactive; the 2- and 6- positions are sterically hindered. This gives the processor the ability to make prepolymers (oligomers) and run two-stage reactions. Methylene diisocyanate (MDI) in the pure form gives a symmetrical structure that permits the processor to build some crystallinity, and thus greater strength, into the polymer.

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CHAPTER 3

FIGURE 3.3 Isocyanates.

Polymeric MDI is a cruder mixture with 2-7 isocyanate groups, which offers lower cost and higher cross-linking for rigid products. Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) is completely aliphatic, which offers better UV stability against outdoor weathering. Because of its toxicity, it must be handled carefully in polymeric form. Hydrogenated MDI (HMDI) is also completely aliphatic and therefore useful for UV stability against outdoor weathering. A variety of other isocyanates are mentioned occasionally in the literature. The extent of their use is unclear. 3.1.1.2.2 Polyols (Figure 3.4). Polyoxypropylene gives flexibility and water resistance. Since the secondary OH end group is slow to react with isocyanate, it is usually end-capped with ethylene oxide to give primary OH groups of higher reactivity. Polyoxybutylene is more expensive but gives stronger rubbery products. Polyesters such as poly(ethylene adipate) are more expensive and less stable toward hydrolysis but give stronger products. These polyols build flexibility into the polymer molecule. For flexible foam and rubber, typically n = 50 to 60. For rigid products, n is a much lower value such as 8. For cross-linking, there must be at least three OH groups in the polyol molecule. For flexible products, light cross-linking is introduced by a few glycerol or trimethylol propane units in the molecule. For rigid products, high cross-linking is introduced by higher polyols such as pentaerythritol or sorbitol. Natural polyols such as castor oil are also used to some extent. 3.1.1.2.3 Catalysts (Figure 3.5). Isocyanate + polyol reactions go quite rapidly at room temperature. Isocyanate + amine reactions go rapidly at room temperature. However, most processors add catalysts to make the polymerization/cure reactions even faster and to control the foaming process. They generally use a combination of two synergistic catalysts: tertiary amine and organotin. Tertiary amines such as triethylene diamine promote the isocyanate-water reaction,

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THERMOSETS

THERMOSETS

3.5

FIGURE 3.4 Polyols.

FIGURE 3.5 Polyurethane catalysts.

whereas organotin compounds such as stannous octoate or dibutyl tin dilaurate promote the isocyanate-polyol reaction. They balance these against each other to optimize the process. For cyclotrimerization to isocyanurate, various tertiary amines, quaternary ammonium compounds, and other basic salts are mentioned in the literature. 3.1.1.2.4 Stoichiometry. Theoretically, the processor should use exactly equivalent amounts of isocyanate groups and active hydrogen groups (polyol ± amine) to favor high molecular weight. Practically, the processor varies the isocyanate/active hydrogen ratio (isocyanate index) to find the ratio that gives him the best properties. In most cases, the optimum isocyanate index is 1.05 to 1.10. There are two reasons for this: (1) ambient moisture wastes some isocyanate (see Fig. 3.1 above), and (2) excess isocyanate may give beneficial side-reactions (see Fig. 3.2 above). 3.1.1.2.5 One-Shot vs. Prepolymerization Reactions. If isocyanate and active hydrogen compounds can be mixed all at once, this “one-shot” process is simpler and more

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CHAPTER 3

economical. In large-scale commodity production, this is usually the ultimate development. The alternative is a two-stage process. In the first stage, polyol is mixed with excess isocyanate to form a low-molecular-weight polyurethane with isocyanate end-groups. In the second stage, the isocyanate end-groups are reacted with the stoichiometric amount of polyol to finish the polymerization reaction, or with water to link them into polyurea groups. A more extreme two-stage process is called “quasi-prepolymer.” Here, all the isocyanate is mixed with a small amount of polyol in the first stage. Then, the remaining polyol is added for the second-stage polymerization to high molecular weight. These two-stage processes give the processor more control over the reaction and the product. 3.1.1.3 Polyurethane Products (Table 3.1) TABLE 3.1

Polyurethane Markets Material

%

Flexible foam Furniture Transportation Rug underlay Bedding Other

18 13 11 5 4

Rigid foam Building insulation Home and commercial refrigeration Industrial insulation Packaging Transportation Other

14 5 2 2 1 2

Reaction injection molding Transportation Other

4 2

Cast elastomers

% 51

26

6

2

Other (sealants, adhesives, coatings, etc.)

15

Total

100

3.1.1.3.1 Flexible Foam. Compared to foam rubber, polyurethane is stronger and much more resistant to oxidative aging and embrittlement. Compressive stress-strain behavior can be matched to that of natural rubber, which established the preferred “feel” long ago. The largest amount of flexible foam is used for cushions in furniture, auto seating and crash-padding, rug underlay, and mattresses. Smaller amounts are used in shoe soles, winter clothing, and packaging. Most flexible foam is manufactured by mixing 80/20 TDI with a high-molecularweight polyether polyol, a small amount of triol for cross-linking, amine and organotin

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THERMOSETS

3.7

THERMOSETS

catalysts, polyol/silicone surfactant, and a measured amount of water in a one-step process, and it is then poured onto a moving belt. Foam rise takes about 1 min. Optimum soft properties depend on open (interconnecting) cells; these are produced by choice of surfactant, gas expansion while the molecular weight (melt strength) is still low, and mechanical crushing and re-expansion. This produces continuous slab stock, which is then cut into the desired individual products. About 70 percent of flexible foam is made in this way. The other 30 percent is poured into molds to make the finished products directly. This is used especially for auto and furniture seating. (See Table 3.2.) TABLE 3.2 Flexible Polyurethane Foams: Typical Properties Density

2 pcf

Modulus

1–10 psi

Tensile strength

28 psi

Elongation

300%

CLD/25%

0.7 psi

3.1.1.3.2 Rigid Foam. Rigid foam is used primarily for thermal insulation. Whereas polystyrene foam must be molded and/or cut to shape before it can be used in finished products, liquid polyurethane ingredients are mixed, poured or sprayed in place, and polymerize/cure directly to the finished insulation. In addition, polyurethane foam has high adhesion to most surfaces in which it is used so, when it is poured into a sandwich structure and cured, it contributes to mechanical strength as well. Its largest use is in building, and the second largest in refrigeration. Other applications include pipes, tanks, trucks, railcars, packaging, and filling empty space in shipbuilding for flotation purposes. Rigid foam is produced by mixing polymeric MDI with low-molecular-weight polyether polyol, high-functionality polyol for cross-linking, catalysts, and surfactants as above. Chlorofluorocarbons are technically the best foaming agents, but, because of their negative effect on the environment, they have been replaced by hydrocarbons or carbon dioxide. Optimum insulation is achieved by low-density, small, closed cells. This foam structure is produced by choice of surfactants and by control of the temperature and the balance between rate of polymerization/cure (viscosity = melt strength) versus the rate of gas evolution. (See Table 3.3.) TABLE 3.3 Rigid Polyurethane Foams: Typical Properties Density

2 pcf

Flexural modulus

70 psi

Tensile strength

50 psi

Flexural strength

60 psi

Compressive strength

50 psi

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Medium-density and semi-rigid foam is produced by polyols of medium molecular weight and medium functionality, and less foaming agent. These foams are used for crash padding and packaging. 3.1.1.3.3 Reaction Injection Molding (RIM). This high-speed low-cost process mixes liquid polyisocyanate and liquid polyol, injects them into a light-weight mold, and polymerizes/cures rapidly to form large, tough, durable products. It is used to make auto bumpers, front ends, and other auto parts; furniture and other imitation wood products; appliance cabinets; and shoe soles. The process pumps liquid polyisocyanate, liquid polyol, and auxiliary ingredients including catalysts, foaming agents, and polyamine for faster cure, through an impingement mixer at 2000 to 3000 psi, at viscosity up to 3000 Cp, and injects them rapidly into a mold at 50 to 100 psi, where they polymerize/cure rapidly to structural foam or tough elastic products. (See Table 3.4.) For rubber tires on industrial equipment, the addition of glass fibers gives reinforced RIM (RRIM) with greater durability under rough conditions. TABLE 3.4

RIM: Typical Properties

Density

60 pcf

Shore D hardness

60

Flexural modulus

25 kpsi

Tensile strength

6 kpsi

Elongation

250%

Elastomers. Polyurethane elastomers are outstanding for their strength and for resistance to abrasion, oxygen, ozone, and gasoline. This combination of properties has proved particularly useful in shoe soles and heels, oil seals, industrial tires and wheels, chute linings, drive belts, shock absorption and vibration damping, medical products, and miscellaneous industrial applications. They are made from long, flexible polyols with a light degree of cross-linking. They may be cast as liquids and polymerized/cured directly to solid rubber products, or they can be polymerized to linear, melt-processable rubber and then cross-linked by polyurethane chemistry or conventional rubber vulcanization chemistry. (More recently, they have also been produced as thermoplastic elastomers, in which hydrogen-bonding and/or crystallinity provide thermoplastic “cross-links,” but that is another story.) This range of processability is attractive to both the thermoset plastics and rubber industries. Cast polyurethanes give the best properties (see Table 3.5).

3.1.1.3.4 Coatings. Coatings based on polyurethanes can be applied from solution, from emulsion, or as self-curing liquid systems. The use of low-solvent or nonsolvent systems is a big help to the coatings industry in meeting the demand for better protection of the environment. In addition to simple polyurethane hom*opolymers, their cure reactions permit coatings technologists to copolymerize them with alkyds, epoxies, and other established coatings polymers to produce improved balance of properties. Their adhesion, mechanical strength, flexibility, abrasion resistance, and chemical and aging resistance make them particularly useful in steel and industrial products for corrosion resistance, on wood for decoration and preservation of furniture and flooring, on ships for salt-water resistance, and on leather and textiles to upgrade their appearance and dura-

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THERMOSETS

TABLE 3.5

Polyurethane Elastomers: Typical Properties

Property

Polyurethane

Shore A hardness

Natural rubber

81

71

300% modulus, psi

2000

2200

Tensile strength, psi

6300

3800

600

440

Elongation,%

bility. In aerospace, they offer resistance to rain erosion. And in cloth coating, the are superior to PVC for adhesion and freedom from plasticizers. Adhesives and Sealants. Polyurethanes can be conveniently applied in liquid or paste form and then polymerized/cured in place without evolution of volatile by-products, a very convenient feature in making enclosed adhesive bonds. Their mechanical strength, flexibility, adhesion, and chemical resistance make them attractive in many applications. Typical applications of polyurethane sealants are in expansion joints, aerospace, architectural, electronic, and marine products.

3.1.2

Formaldehyde Copolymers

Formaldehyde reacts readily with several types of active-hydrogen monomers (phenol, urea, and melamine) to form highly cross-linked thermoset plastics. They form a family in their fundamental chemistry, and they form complementary families in terms of materials properties, markets, and practical applications. 3.1.2.1 Phenol-Formaldehyde. Phenol-formaldehyde resins were the first commercial synthetic plastics. Since their invention in 1908, they have grown and matured into the second most important family of thermoset plastics, with a U.S. market volume of 4 billion lb/yr (see Table 3.6). TABLE 3.6

Phenolic Resin Markets

Market

%

Plywood

49

Adhesives and bonding

30

Laminates

6

Molding compounds

5

Protective coatings

1

Other

9

3.1.2.1.1 Chemistry (Figure 3.6). The phenolic hydroxyl group activates the orthoand para-hydrogens. Formaldehyde adds readily to these positions, forming methylol

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FIGURE 3.6 Phenol-formaldehyde chemistry.

groups. These are very reactive. They can condense with each other, with the ortho- or parahydrogens on other phenol molecules, or with active hydrogens in cellulose or other materials. Since the condensation evolves volatiles and heat, it must be controlled to give useful products. The reaction is controlled by monomer ratio, pH, and temperature. It is generally run in several separate successive stages. First, it goes to low-molecular-weight “A-stage” resin, which is soluble and fusible. Then, it is compounded with fillers and additives and reacted further to moderate-molecular-weight, somewhat cross-linked “B-stage” resin, which is hard and less soluble but still fusible. Finally, the resin is formed into the shape of the desired product and thermally cured into fully cross-linked thermoset “C-stage” resin, which is rigid, insoluble, and infusible.

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THERMOSETS

3.11

3.1.2.1.2 Resoles and Novolacs . There are two types of phenolic A-stage resins: resoles and novolacs (Fig. 3.7). Resoles have many methylol groups that make them water soluble and highly reactive; novolacs are stable oligomers, which can be cross-linked by adding more formaldehyde. Therefore, they are sometimes referred to as “one-step” and “two-step” resins, respectively.

FIGURE 3.7 Resoles and novolacs.

Resoles are typically prepared from 1.1 to 1.5 mols of aqueous formaldehyde + 1 mol of phenol, with an alkaline catalyst, by heating 1 hr at 100°C and then cooling to stop the reaction as an aqueous solution of A-stage resin. This is highly reactive, so shelf life is usually less than 60 days. It is useful in laminating, bonding, and adhesive applications. On heating, it is self-curing, giving off water and excess formaldehyde. Novolacs are typically prepared from 0.8 mol of formaldehyde + 1 mol of phenol, with (sulfuric or oxalic) acid catalyst, by refluxing 2 to 4 hr, up to 160°C to remove water of condensation. The molten resin is poured into steel tubs or onto a concrete floor, cooled to solidify, crushed to a powder, and blended with hexamethylene tetramine curing agent (Fig. 3.8) for use in molding powder. This has almost infinite shelf life. 3.1.2.1.3 Adhesive and Bonding Applications. Adhesives and bonding applications make up 89 percent of the phenolic resin market.

FIGURE 3.8 Novolac: cure by hexamethylene tetramine.

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Plywood. Wood is skived into thin layers of veneer. Paper is impregnated with aqueous resole resin. Alternating layers of wood and paper-phenolic are stacked to the desired thickness and pressed at 100 to 150°C and 700 to 6000 psi to make weatherproof exterior plywood for building, autos, boats, ships, trucks, and trains (Table 3.7). This uses 49 percent of the total phenolic resin market. TABLE 3.7

Plywood: Typical Properties

Flexural modulus

1,450,0000 psi

Tensile strength

2,750 psi

Flexural strength

5,000 psi

Compressive strength

4,000 psi

Thermal expansion

6 × 10–6/°C

Particle board. A mixture of 90 percent wood chips + 10 percent resole resin is prepressed at room temperature then hot pressed at 160 to 220°C and 290 to 590 psi. Cure is finished by hot-stacking in storage. Wafer board is made from larger chips. These boards are used for furniture core, floor underlay, prefab housing, freight cars, and ships. Fiber board is made from wood filaments. Pressing at low pressure gives low-density boards for heat and sound insulation. Pressing at high pressure gives decorative and structural board. These particle boards use 16 percent of the phenolic resin market. Insulation materials. Fiberglass wool insulation is bonded by spraying with 10 percent of aqueous resole and curing at 200°C. This is used for thermal insulation in housing and appliances. It is good up to 260°C. For higher-temperature industrial insulation— pipes, boilers, and reactors—mineral-based rock wool is used instead of glass wool; it is good up to 385°C. Textile fiber mats are bonded by phenolic resin and used for sound insulation in autos, offices, auditoriums, and industrial plants. These applications use 12 percent of the phenolic resin market. “Laminates.” Kraft paper is impregnated with low-molecular-weight (300) phenolic resin, bonded with medium-molecular-weight phenolic resin, then cut and stacked to the desired thickness and pressed at 170 to 190°C and 200 psi, or wound onto a mandrel and cured to form a tube (Table 3.8). This uses 6 percent of the phenolic resin market. Such “high-pressure laminates” are used for furniture and counter tops (3 and 2 percent of the market, respectively), and electrical and mechanical applications (1 percent) such as printed circuit boards, switches, transformers, pulleys, bobbins, guide rolls for paper and textile machinery, gears, bearings, bushings, and gaskets. Filters are made by impregnating paper with 20 to 30 percent of phenolic resin and curing in a 180°C oven. Battery separator plates are made the same way. Synthetic fabric laminates are made by impregnating with phenolic resin and are used for helmets, aircraft interiors, and ablative nose cones for rockets. Recent research on such ablative nose cones showed that 28 percent loading with carbon nanofibers gave the lowest erosion rate at 2200°C. Foundry moldings. In the auto, construction, machine parts, and steel industries, molten metal is poured into sand molds to produce the shapes of the products. The sand is bonded by phenolic resin, cured at 270°C. In the cold box process, the binder is phenolic

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TABLE 3.8

Laminated Phenolics: Typical Properties Property

Specific gravity

Kraft paper

Cotton fabric

1.34

1.34

Tensile strength, psi

11,400

10,800

Compressive strength, psi

17,500

18,800

2.1

4.1

Impact strength, fpi

resin copolymerized with polyurethane, which cures simply at room temperature. This uses 3 percent of the phenolic resin market. Friction materials. Brake linings and clutch facings use 2 percent of the phenolic resin market. The resin is compounded with rubber for toughness; mica, talc, and glass for friction; and powdered metal for thermal conductivity to prevent over-heating. Abrasives. Grinding wheels (bonded abrasives) and sandpaper (coated abrasives) are made from abrasive grit bonded by phenolic resin. The abrasive grit may be alumina for cutting and polishing steel, or silicon carbide for handling glass, ceramics, and stone. This uses 1 percent of the phenolic resin market. 3.1.2.1.4 Molding Applications. Novolac resins are compounded with hexamethylene tetramine curing agent and about an equal volume of filler to produce thermosetting molding powders (Table 3.9). Wood flour is the most common filler; the short cellulose fibers are low cost, permit easy melt processing, and prevent cracking and brittleness. For higher strength, and especially impact strength, cotton flock, paper, fabric, cord, and especially glass fiber offer higher performance (Table 3.10), and fiber length is a major factor (Table 3.11). For maximum thermal, electrical, and chemical resistance, silica, clay, talc, mica, and glass are commonly used. In general, phenolic molding powders offer easy molding, low mold shrinkage, high modulus (1 to 3 million psi), superior creep resistance (Table 3.12), and good resistance to heat and chemical attack. Their main limitation is dark color, limited to dark brown to black; this may be overcome by copolymerization with melamine or soybean protein. Compression molding is most common, because it minimizes fiber damage and warpage and gives high strength and dimensional stability. The molding powder is preheated by infrared or radio frequency, and moldings are pressed at 2 to 20 kpsi and 140 to 200°C. Transfer molding is better for thin walls and delicate inserts. Injection molding is faster, at 10 to 20 kpsi, with the melt at 104 to 116°C and the mold at 160 to 194°C. A newer method is runnerless injection compression, in which the melt is injected into a partially open mold (1/4 to 1/2 in), and then the mold is closed for compression; this is fast, easy venting, and gives less scrap and good dimensional stability. Typical applications are appliances, closures, housewares, bottle caps, knobs, utensil handles, refrigerator switch boxes, sealed switches, steam irons, and sterilizable hospital equipment. High-impact grades are used for autos, industrial pulleys, electrical switch gear and switch blocks, fuse holdings, and motor housings. Electrical grades (high dielectric strength) are used for auto ignition, wiring devices, circuit breakers, commutators, brush holders, and electrical connectors. Heat-resistant grades are used for stove tops, toasters, thermostats, switch cases, terminal blocks, and many auto under-the-hood applications. This uses 5 percent of the phenolic resin market.

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TABLE 3.9

Phenolic Moldings: Typical Properties Property

Wood flour

Glass fiber

Specific gravity

1.33

1.85

Tensile strength, kpsi

7

13

Flexural strength, kpsi

11

38

Compressive strength, kpsi

28

48

Impact strength, fpi

0.4

9

Elongation, %

0.6

0.2

Heat deflection temp., oC Thermal expansion, 10–6/oC

168

246

38

15

Linear mold shrinkage, %

0.7

0.3

Dissipation factor

0.17

0.055

Water absorption, %

0.9

0.6

TABLE 3.10

Fillers for High-Impact-Strength Phenolics

Filler

Notched Izod impact strength, fpi

None

0.25

Wood flour

0.3

Fabric

2.4

Cord

7.0

TABLE 3.11

Effect of Fiber Length on Phenolic Impact Strength

Fiber

Notched Izod impact strength, fpi

Ramie fiber, 1 in

1.0

Ramie fiber, 4 in

2.4

Sisal fiber, 1/8 to 1/4 in

3.9

Sisal fiber, 1–2 in

10.0

Tire cord, 1/2 in

10.1

Tire cord, 1 in

17.0

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TABLE 3.12 Phenolics: Creep Resistance, 200 psi, 23°C, 400 Hours Phenolic

0.4%

Polyphenylene ether

>0.6%

Acetal

>1.4%

3.1.2.1.5 Coatings. Phenolic coatings are used on metals for heat and corrosion resistance and electrical insulation. They are good for continuous use at 145°C and shortterm heat to 350°C. Often, they are blended with other coating polymers for combined properties. Typical applications are autos, heat exchangers, pipelines, boilers, reaction vessels, storage tanks, brine tanks, solvent containers, food containers, railroad cars, beer and wine tanks, beer cans, pail and drum linings, water cans, rotors, blower fans and ducts in HVAC, boats, ships, wood, and paper. These use 1 percent of the phenolic resin market. 3.1.2.1.6 Rubber Compounding. Specialty phenolic resins are used as processing aids, tackifiers, adhesives to fabric, and for reinforcement. 3.1.2.2 Urea-Formaldehyde. Urea-formaldehyde resins are one of the oldest families of commercial plastics; with a U.S. market volume of 3 billion lb/yr, they are the third largest thermosetting resin. Urea and melamine have similar polymer chemistry, so they are often discussed together as “amino resins;” but their markets and applications are quite different and are best studied separately. 3.1.2.2.1 Polymerization Chemistry. The amine groups of urea react very readily with formaldehyde, forming methylol ureas (Fig. 3.9). The A-stage reaction is controlled by the urea/formaldehyde ratio (1/1.3 to 1/2.2), an alkaline buffer at pH 7.5-8.0, and refluxing up to 8 hr, to produce a mixture of mono-, di-, and trimethylol ureas. These condense to form oligomers and finally, with acid catalysis and heat, highly cross-linked thermoset polymers. For different applications, there are different U/F ratios and B-stage oligomers. They can be stabilized by hexamethylene tetramine to keep them alkaline, or they can be reversibly etherified with methanol or butanol to make them stable and soluble in organic solvents (Fig. 3.10). They may be compounded and processed in water or organic solution or as solid powders for different applications. For final cure, they are compounded with latent acid catalysts such as ammonium sulfamate, ammonium phenoxyacetate, ethylene sulfite, and trimethyl phosphate and generally heated to accelerate the cross-linking reaction. 3.1.2.2.2 Adhesion and Bonding. The dominating application of urea-formaldehyde resins (85 percent) is the bonding of fibrous and granulated wood for doors, furniture, and flooring. Typical process conditions are 24 hr at 200 psi and room temperature (“cold press”). Hot pressing may not need any catalyst. The resin penetrates the pores of the wood and bonds the particles together to form strong isotropic boards. Another 4 percent is used to make plywood. Since urea-formaldehyde is moisture sensitive, it is used only for indoor applications. (Phenolic resin, which is more expensive, must be used for outdoor applications.)

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FIGURE 3.9 Urea-formaldehyde chemistry.

FIGURE 3.10 Etherification of methylol ureas.

3.1.2.2.3 Coatings. Urea-formaldehyde resins (5 percent) are used to treat paper to give it wet strength. They are also used (2 percent) to treat cotton and wool cloth to produce permanent press and increase strength, shrink resistance, and wrinkle resistance. 3.1.2.2.4 Molding Powders. Urea-formaldehyde resins are compounded with alphacellulose cotton fiber reinforcement to produce molding powders (4 percent) for compression, transfer, and injection molding. Typical molding conditions are 127 to 182°C and 2000 to 8000 psi. They are superior to phenolics in white color, electrical resistance, and low cost, but are limited by moisture sensitivity (Table 3.13). They are used primarily in electrical wiring devices such as wall outlets, receptacles, electric blanket controls, circuit breakers, and knob handles. Smaller amounts are used in bottle caps, housewares, buttons, and sanitary ware.

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TABLE 3.13 Properties

Urea-Formaldehyde Moldings: Typical

Specific gravity

1.5

Tensile modulus

1,300,000 psi

Flexural modulus

1,450,000 psi

Tensile strength

8,250 psi

Flexural strength

13,000 psi

Impact strength

0.31 fpi

Thermal expansion Heat deflection temperature Dielectric constant Volume resistivity Water absorption

29 × 10–6/oC 133oC 6.8 1014

Ω-cm

0.6%

3.1.2.3 Melamine-Formaldehyde. Melamine-formaldehyde and urea-formaldehyde have similar polymerization chemistry, so they are often referred to as “amino resins.” However, they differ in properties, applications, economics, and market volume, so they are best studied independently. Melamine offers superior resistance to heat, weather, and moisture, but it is more expensive than urea, so it is used only when its superior performance is required. The U.S. market volume is about 350 million lb/yr. 3.1.2.3.1 Polymerization Chemistry. Melamine has six amine hydrogens, all of which can react readily with formaldehyde to produce methylol melamines (Fig. 3.11). For different applications, the degree of methylolation is controlled by the melamine/ formaldehyde ratio, pH, temperature, and time. Polymerization reactions are buffered at pH 8 to 10 by use of sodium carbonate or borax, and polymerization temperature 80 to 100°C. Lower pH and higher temperature produce faster reaction. Trimethylol melamine is most common, but hexamethoxymethyl melamine (HMMM) is popular for coatings, because it is more stable and soluble in organic solvents (Fig. 3.12). 3.1.2.3.2 Coatings. The largest use of melamine-formaldehyde resins (79 percent) is for cross-linking acrylic automotive coatings, polyester appliance coatings, and occasionally epoxy coatings as well. These polymers are designed with hydroxyl groups, and the

FIGURE 3.11 Melamine-formaldehyde chemistry.

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FIGURE 3.12 Hexamethoxymethyl melamine.

methylol melamine reacts with them (Fig. 3.13) to produce cross-linked thermoset coatings of excellent appearance and durability. 3.1.2.3.3 Laminates. While phenol-formaldehyde-kraft-paper laminates are used for counters, cabinets, walls, and panels in public transportation, the dark brown-black color requires a decorative overlay to make it attractive. Colored and printed paper is impregnated with melamine-formaldehyde resin and applied as the surface layer to these laminates, providing decoration along with resistance to scratches, heat, ultraviolet, water, solvents, and stains. The laminating resin is made with melamine/formaldehyde ratios of 1/2 to 3 and press-cured at 125 to 150°C. This uses 14 percent of the melamine-formaldehyde market. 3.1.2.3.4 Moldings. Melamine-formaldehyde resin (M/F = 1/2) is reinforced with alpha-cellulose cotton fiber, catalyzed with phthalic anhydride, and molded at 145 to 165°C and 4000 to 8000 psi (Table 3.14). Moldings have the highest hardness and scratch resis-

FIGURE 3.13 Melamine-formaldehyde cure of coatings.

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TABLE 3.14 Properties

Melamine-Formaldehyde Moldings: Typical

Specific gravity Rockwell hardness

1.5 M120

Tensile modulus

1,300,000 psi

Flexural modulus

1,100,000 psi

Tensile strength

10,000 psi

Flexural strength

15,000 psi

Compressive strength

39,000 psi

Notched Izod impact strength

0.3 fpi

Mold shrinkage

0.9%

Coefficient of thermal expansion Heat deflection temperature

43 × 10–6/oC 185oC

Volume resistivity

1011 Ω-cm

Dielectric constant

7

Water absorption

0.5

tance of any plastic, along with resistance to heat and staining. Their major use is in household dinnerware (plates, bowls, cups, and glasses), where they are much lighter and more impact resistant than china. Market volume of 7 percent also includes a number of minor items such as buttons, handles, knobs, small appliances, sinks, and toilets. 3.1.2.4 Furan Resins. Furfuryl alcohol is an agricultural by-product, which is polymerized and cured by acid catalysts, producing a very hard plastic that is very resistant to heat, flame (low smoke), water, and chemical attack (Table 3.15). Limitations are black color and brittleness. Initial polymerization is catalyzed by acid, and very exothermic, so it must be cooled and neutralized to produce liquid dimers and trimers (Fig. 3.14). These are then cured by strong acid such as 4 percent of p-toluene sulfonic acid. They may also be copolymerized with phenol-formaldehyde. Reported uses include sand molds for metal foundries and linings for chemical plant equipment such as reaction vessels, tanks, pipes, fume ducts, and sewers. 3.1.3

Vinyl Polymers

Several families of thermosetting plastics are based on cross-linking through the C=C vinyl group. The earliest, of course, were the vegetable oils used in paint for thousands of years, but their cure by atmospheric oxygen was limited to thin coatings and too slow to be useful in plastics. The leading family is the unsaturated polyesters, which form the basis of most reinforced plastics. More specialized families are the so-called “vinyl esters” and the

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CHAPTER 3

FIGURE 3.14 Furan polymerization.

TABLE 3.15

Reinforced Furan Properties

Specific gravity

1.75

Rockwell hardness

R110

Tensile modulus

1,580,000 psi

Tensile strength

3,800 psi

Flexural strength

4,800 psi

Compressive strength

11,500 psi

Water absorption

0.1%

allyl resins. They are all cross-linked (= cured) by organic peroxides, which initiate polymerization of the vinyl group. 3.1.3.1 Unsaturated Polyesters. Unsaturated polyesters are the fourth largest family of thermosetting plastics, with a U.S. market volume of 2 billion lb/yr. They are often called thermosetting polyesters or alkyds. In commercial use for 60 yr and now fairly mature, they are the largest class of reinforced plastics (Table 3.16), popularly used in building panels, chemical equipment, boats, cars, buses, trains, and planes. 3.1.3.1.1 Chemistry. Their chemistry is a fairly complex two-stage process. Typically, in the first stage, propylene glycol is mixed with maleic anhydride and phthalic anhydride (Table 3.17), and cooked 8 to 28 hr at 204 to 232°C to produce a molten prepolymer of Mn = 800 to 3000 (Fig. 3.15). This is mixed with styrene monomer to pro-

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TABLE 3.16

Unsaturated Polyester Markets Market

%

Building and construction

26

Corrosion-resistant equipment

20

Shipbuilding and marine

17

Automotive and railroad

13

Consumer products in general

8

Appliances and business machines

6

Electrical

4

Aircraft and aerospace

2

Other

4

Total

100

TABLE 3.17

Polyester Typical Recipe

Material

Mols

Pounds/pound of resin

Propylene glycol

2.7

0.2564

Maleic anhydride

1.0

0.1225

Phthalic anhydride

1.5

0.2774

Styrene

0.4000

Hydroquinone

0.0001

duce a viscous liquid (50 to 6000 cP), stabilized by hydroquinone. In the second stage, it is “catalyzed” by organic peroxide ± activators, combined with glass fiber reinforcement, shaped by a variety of mechanical processes, and cross-linked to produce the finished product. In greater detail, during the first-stage reaction, cis-maleic ester isomerizes into transfumaric ester, which luckily is 40× more reactive in the second-stage cross-linking. Propylene glycol may be replaced by neopentyl glycol, trimethylpentane diol, propoxylated or hydrogenated bisphenol A to increase water and chemical resistance. Maleic/phthalic ratio may be increased to increase cure rate, hardness, and heat deflection temperature. Phthalic anhydride may be replaced by isophthalic acid to improve toughness, heat deflection temperature, and water and chemical resistance; or by tetrabromo- or tetrachloro-phthalic anhydride or chlorendic acid to increase flame retardance. And styrene may be replaced by vinyl toluene or diallyl phthalate to reduce volatility; or by triallyl cyanurate or isocyanurate to increase heat deflection temperature.

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FIGURE 3.15 Unsaturated polyester chemistry.

The second-stage cross-linking (cure) reaction is initiated by organic peroxides: MEK peroxide for room-temperature cure, and benzoyl peroxide or t-butyl perbenzoate or other stabler peroxides for higher-temperature cure processes. Peroxide action may be speeded by heat and/or activators such as cobalt soaps and tertiary amines. (Nonchemists are apt to use the terms “catalyst” and “activator” rather loosely, which can be confusing or even dangerous in practice.) 3.1.3.1.2 Additives. The most important additive is, of course, the glass fiber reinforcement, which increases modulus, strength, and impact strength (Table 3.18). In general, processes that use longer glass fiber give superior properties (Table 3.19). TABLE 3.18

Polyester Reinforcement by Glass Fiber

1/4 in. glass fiber

Flexural modulus, kpsi

Flexural strength, psi

Notched Izod impact strength, fpi

550

10

1530

9,800

3.7

20

1640

16,000

6.1

30

1660

19,600

7.4

40

1720

22,300

10.7

0.3

The other, almost universal, additive is inorganic powdered fillers, used to increase viscosity, hardness, modulus, thermal conductivity, heat deflection temperature, opacity, and UV resistance, and to decrease exotherm, cure shrinkage, coefficient of thermal expansion, and cost. Calcium carbonate is the least expensive and most widely used. Clay gives higher electrical and chemical resistance. Talc gives high viscosity for gel coats and auto body repair. Alumina trihydrate gives flame retardance.

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TABLE 3.19

Polyester Properties Increase with Glass Fiber Length

Process

BMC

SMC

Layup

Filament winding

Fiber length

1/4 in

1 in

Woven fabric

Continuous filament

Flexural modulus

1750

1600

2000

6000 kpsi

Flexural strength

16

26

60

175 kpsi

Impact strength

7

15

18

50 fpi

Viscosity must be controlled for most processes. For fluid processes like spraying and impregnation, it can be decreased by using lower molecular weight or higher styrene content. For many processes, it is increased by adding 0.1 to 2.0 percent of thixotropes such as silica, clay, and polyols. For leather-like tack-free BMC and SMC compounds, the polyesters are made with acid end-groups and then reacted with CaO or MgO to link them into higher-MW organometallic oligomers. Profile is a problem when cure and shrinkage of the polymer matrix leave glass fibers at the surface, giving a rough profile. This is reduced by dissolving thermoplastic polymers such as polyvinyl acetate in the liquid system; since it does not react, it reduces the overall shrinkage of the system and thus retains a smoother profile. Ultraviolet stability for outdoor use can be improved by opaque pigments that reflect the UV light before it can penetrate the polymer; titanium dioxide and aluminum flake are frequently used for this purpose. Ultraviolet absorbers (UVAs) such as hydroxybenzotriazoles and hydroxybenzophenones are sometimes used, and hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS) are becoming more popular. 3.1.3.1.3 Processes. Unsaturated polyesters are usually reinforced by glass fibers. This complicates conventional plastic processing, and has led to a great variety of specialized processes. Viscosity. Different processes require different viscosity. This is most easily lowered by adding styrene monomer to the polyester oligomer (Table 3.20). It is raised by increasing polyester molecular weight and by adding thixotropic fillers. In addition, it is raised to the point of gelation by adding group II metal oxides to react with the acid end groups of the polyester, thus dramatically increasing molecular weight. TABLE 3.20 Polyester Viscosity Is Controlled by Styrene Content Styrene monomer

Viscosity, cP

25

5500

30

2000

35

550

40

200

43

100

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Casting. Unreinforced polyester is poured into an open mold, typically silicone rubber, and cured to produce bathroom sinks, counters, tubs, showers, and toilets; giftware, art objects, and “cultured marble and onyx” (Table 3.21). Appearance is controlled by choice of fillers. TABLE 3.21

Polyester Casting Formulas

Ingredients

Cultured marble

Cultured onyx

Polyester

100

100

30-mesh CaCO3

200

80-mesh CaCO3

100

Alumina trihydrate MEK peroxide Colorants

200 0.6

1.5

“To suit”

“To suit”

Cast monolithic flooring is seamless, resistant to wear and chemicals, and easy to clean. “Polymer concrete” is polyester filled with aggregate. Hand layup. The oldest method is a purely manual operation. (1) The open female mold is first treated with mold release. (2) Optionally, a pigmented gel coat is applied 15 to 20 mils thick and partly cured. (3) Glass fiber mat, or woven or knitted cloth, is handlaid into the mold or onto the gel coat. (4) Thixotropic polyester/styrene liquid, containing MEK peroxide and activator, is impregnated into the cloth. (5) The assembly stands and cures at room temperature. This gives a product with one good surface and somewhat irregular thickness. Spray layup. The layup process is partly mechanized by spraying. (1) Mold release is applied first. (2) Gel coat is sprayed onto the mold surface and partly cured. (3) Glass roving and catalyzed liquid resin are fed through a gun, which chops the roving, mixes it with resin, and sprays the mixture into the mold. Improvements on hand and spray layup. A better gel coat is an acrylic sheet, which is vacuum formed to fit into the mold. This is used to make tubs, showers, spas, and toilets. Styrene monomer emissions sometimes cause occupational and environmental health concerns. Evaporation of styrene can be reduced by adding wax to the formulation; it is immiscible and comes to the surface, forming a barrier layer. Another method of reducing volatilization is to use a less volatile monomer such as methyl styrene. Vacuum and pressure bag molding. A plastic film can be used to cover the layup. If a vacuum is used to pull it down onto the molding, this prevents styrene evaporation and air inhibition of the cure reaction, and it helps to compress the impregnated fiber and eliminate empty spots. If air pressure is further applied above the film, this increases the performance still more. Resin transfer molding (RTM). This uses a closed mold. (1) Gel coat is first applied to one or both mold halves. (2) The mold is filled with reinforcing fibers and clamped shut. (3) Low-viscosity catalyzed liquid resin is pumped through a tube into the mold, impregnating the fibers, until the excess resin comes out of a vent in the top of the mold. Resin “transfer” can be assisted by attaching a vacuum line to the vent. (4) Cure is usually at room temperature. A low-exotherm resin is usually preferred.

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Matched die molding. This uses matched male and female dies in a hydraulic press. The material may be introduced in several ways. (1) Glass fiber mat is impregnated with catalyzed resin and then pressed; this only permits small simple shaping such as cafeteria trays. (2) Glass fiber perform is made by spraying chopped fibers onto a screen prototype of the desired product then placing the impregnated perform in the mold and pressing it; this can make anything from small products up to boat hulls and auto bodies. (3) Premix is doughy molding compound of polyester, catalyst, short fibers, and fillers; this permits more versatile shaping. Mat and perform use long glass fibers, which give better properties; premix uses shorter fibers that give easier processing. Concentrations are typically 35 to 40 glass fiber + 30 to 65 CaCO3 filler. High-temperature initiators are typically benzoyl peroxide, t-butyl peroctoate, or t-butyl perbenzoate. Molding pressures are 100 to 300 psi. Molding temperatures are 107 to 121°C for mat and perform, and 135 to 149°C for premix. Cure times are 2 min or longer. Bulk molding compound (BMC). Polyester and low-profile resin, organic peroxide initiator, 0.25-in glass fiber, calcium carbonate filler, mold release agent, and alkaline thickener are blended into a doughy mass (Table 3.22). This is compression molded and cured. High flow permits complicated features such as ribs, bosses, and inserts. Major applications are electrical parts, dinnerware, small tools and appliances. Bulk molding compound can also be injection molded, but this requires more skill and care than simple thermoplastic injection molding. TABLE 3.22 Formulation

Bulk Molding Compound

Polyester Dicumyl peroxide

32.9% 0.8%

Glass fiber

14.5%

CaCO3

49.3%

Zn stearate

0.8%

MgO

1.7%

Sheet molding compound (SMC). (1) Polyester resin, low-profile resin, organic peroxide initiator, filler, mold release agent, and alkaline thickener form a paste (Table 3.23), which is spread onto a moving continuous carrier film. (2) Glass fiber roving is chopped (e.g. 1 in long) and spread over the paste. (3) Another layer of paste, with a top carrier film, is laid on top of the glass fiber. (4) The entire sandwich, encased between the two carrier films, is passed between pairs of rolls that knead and squeeze it to complete impregnation of the paste into the chopped fiber. (5) The sandwich is rolled up and stored until it is used. Shelf life is limited, so it is best made in house where it can be used more promptly. Compression molding temperature is typically 135 to 149°C. Major uses are automotive body parts, business machine housings, and seating. Pultrusion. Continuous reinforcement (fiber or fabric) is pulled continuously through liquid catalyzed resin to impregnate it and then through heated dies to shape and cure it. Properties are excellent in the machine direction but limited in the transverse direction. Filament winding. The highest modulus and strength of any plastic material are achieved by filament winding. Continuous roving is pulled continuously through liquid

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TABLE 3.23 Formulation

Sheet Molding Compound

Polyester

26.2%

Low-profile resin

4.6%

t-butyl perbenzoate

0.3%

CaCO3

6.2%

Zn stearate

0.9%

MgO

1.8%

Glass fiber

60.0%

resin and then wound onto a mandrel to form the shape of the desired product. The angle of winding can be calculated to maximize properties. It is then oven cured, and the mandrel is removed. This is obviously limited to hollow products of fairly simple shape, but mechanical properties can rival metals. Typical uses are tanks, pipes, boat hulls, and modular housing. Market importance of different processes. The major processes for unsaturated polyesters may be ranked in descending order as follows: • Sprayup • Sheet molding compound • Continuous laminating • Filament winding • Hand layup • Bulk molding compound • Pultrusion • Injection molding 3.1.3.1.4 Properties. Properties of cured reinforced polyesters result from the combined effects of (1) the process technique and (2) the type of formulation used in each process (Table 3.24). Cast polyester lacks the benefits of fibrous reinforcement. Sprayup is easy but uses short fiber and achieves limited compaction. Bulk molding premix uses short fiber and high filler loading. Sheet molding compound uses longer fiber and less filler. Preform uses fairly long fiber and does not suffer shear degradation during molding. Hand layup can benefit from use of woven fabric, which contributes to higher reinforcement. Pultrusion achieves very high reinforcement in the machine direction. And filament winding packs the maximum concentration of reinforcing fiber, and orients it to maximize its reinforcing effect. 3.1.3.2 Vinyl Esters. The so-called “vinyl ester resins” are analogous to polyesters. They are more expensive but more resistant to hydrolysis, so they are popular for chemical-resistant equipment (e.g., tanks, pipes, ducts, scrubbers, and towers) because they are less expensive and more durable than stainless steel. Some other advantages are faster cure, higher elongation and impact strength, adhesion to glass fiber reinforcement, and resistance to heat aging.

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TABLE 3.24

Reinforced Polyester Properties Flexural modulus, kpsi

Flexural strength, kpsi

550

16

Sprayup

1000

20

10

>177

Premix/BMC

1650

16

8

>205

SMC

1600

26

15

225

Preform

1900

29

14

>205

Layup

2250

54

18

>205

Pultrusion

4500

138

Filament wound

6000

175

Process Cast

Notched Izod impact strength fpi 0.3

Heat deflection temperature, °C 132

>177 50

>177

3.1.3.2.1 Chemistry. They are made by reaction of methacrylic acid with epoxy resins (Fig. 3.16). The reaction is catalyzed by benzyl trimethyl ammonium chloride, or oxonium or phosphonium salts (Table 3.25). Like polyesters, they are dissolved in liquid styrene monomer and stabilized by hydroquinone. And, like polyesters, they are cured by organic peroxides ± activators, at room temperature to 150°C.

FIGURE 3.16 Vinyl ester chemistry.

3.1.3.2.2 Properties . Vinyl esters cure more easily than polyesters, because the acrylic C=C group in vinyl esters is much more reactive than the fumaric C=C group in polyesters. Vinyl esters have lower modulus, strength, and heat deflection temperature, and higher elongation and impact strength, because the bisphenol/propylene ether blocks in vinyl esters put a longer chain between cross-links, giving more molecular flexibility (Table 3.26). Vinyl esters have more adhesion to glass fiber reinforcement, because their –OH groups hydrogen-bond to the silanol surface of glass fibers. And most important, vinyl esters are more resistant to hydrolysis because (1) their ester groups are sterically hindered by the alpha-methyl groups, and (2) their polymer backbone has more C-C bonds and less ester bonds. 3.1.3.2.3 Variations. The basic vinyl ester can be modified in various ways to improve specific properties. Increasing the length of the bisphenol epoxy chain increases mo-

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TABLE 3.25

Vinyl Ester Formulations

Ingredients Epoxy resin Methacrylic acid

Standard

Acid-modified

1032

1032

609

195

171

76

Maleic acid

32

CTBN Styrene

228 970

Hydroquinone

TABLE 3.26

Rubber-modified

970

0.45

0.45

0.17

Vinyl Ester Properties Cast

Reinforced

Tensile modulus, kpsi

460

1590

Tensile strength, kpsi

11

24

Ultimate elongation, %

6

1

Impact strength, fpi

0.4

Heat deflection temperatures, °C

102

28 260

lecular flexibility, increasing elongation and impact strength, at the expense of modulus, strength, and heat deflection temperature. Conversely, novolac epoxy gives much higher cross-linking, increasing modulus, strength, and heat deflection temperature (148°C) at the expense of elongation and impact strength. Acrylic acid is used instead of methacrylic acid to produce vinyl esters for UV-cured coatings. Tetrabromobisphenol A builds flame-retardance into the polymer. Use of some maleic acid in place of methacrylic acid builds some acid groups onto the ends of the vinyl ester molecule; this permits MgO gelation for sheet molding compound. Use of some carboxy-terminated butadiene-nitrile oligomer (CTBN) in place of methacrylic acid builds nitrile rubber structure into the polymer, increasing impact strength. And the –OH groups of the epoxy resin can be cross-linked by diisocyanate to build some polyurethane structure and properties into the cured polymer. A number of these variations are available commercially. 3.1.3.2.4 Processing. Reinforcement, shaping, and cure of vinyl esters is quite similar to processes described earlier for polyesters (Sec. 3.1.3.1.3). 3.1.3.3 Allyls. The allyl group CH2=CH-CH2- is less reactive than conventional vinyl monomers CH2=CH-X, which offers both advantages and disadvantages. Several allyl monomers have found unique applications in plastics: diallyl phthalate, triallyl cyanurate, and diethylene glycol bis(allyl carbonate). 3.1.3.3.1 Diallyl phthalate. Glass-fiber-reinforced diallyl phthalate (DAP) is superior to unsaturated polyesters in shelf life and especially resistance to heat and moisture

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aging, leading to electrical and electronic insulation applications such as connectors for communications equipment, computers, aerospace, potentiometers, circuit boards, potting vessels, trim pots, coil forms, switches, and TV. The liquid monomer (Fig. 3.17) is stable at room temperature, even when “catalyzed” by peroxides. Conversely, it requires high-temperature peroxides, such as t-butyl perbenzoate and dicumyl peroxide, higher temperatures (135 to 177°C), and longer times (0.5 to 4.0 min) to polymerize and cure. It is prepolymerized to solid oligomers and compounded with FIGURE 3.17 Diallyl phthalate. fillers and reinforcements to make molding powders. Cured moldings are best with glass fiber reinforcement (Table 3.27), and long glass fibers give superior strength and impact strength. They are superior to unsaturated polyester primarily in shelf life and resistance to hydrolysis and heat aging. Their limitations are cost of monomer and slow cure reactions. TABLE 3.27

Diallyl Phthalate Molded Properties

Glass fiber reinforcement Mold shrinkage, %

Short

Long

0.3

0.2

Flexural modulus, kpsi

1200

1300

Flexural strength, kpsi

12

16

Tensile strength, kpsi

7

10

25

25

Compressive strength, kpsi Notched Izod impact strength, fpi Heat deflection temperature, oC Continuous heat resistance,

oC

0.6

6.0

204

200

191

191

Dielectric constant

4.4

4.2

Dissipation factor

0.007

0.006

Water absorption, %

0.2

0.25

In addition to the conventional diallyl ortho-phthalate, diallyl iso-phthalate (DIAP) is also available commercially. It is more expensive but offers higher heat deflection temperature and heat aging resistance (Table 3.28). Another use of diallyl phthalate monomer is the replacement of styrene monomer in unsaturated polyesters. DAP is superior to styrene in lower volatility and longer shelf life but is limited by higher cost and slower cure. 3.1.3.3.2 Triallyl cyanurate. The triazine ring (Fig. 3.18) is stabilized by heterocyclic resonance, giving it high heat resistance. This monomer can be used in place of styrene in unsaturated polyesters. It is less volatile than styrene. Being less reactive, it gives

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TABLE 3.28

Advantages of Diallyl Iso-Phthalate DAP

DIAP

Heat deflection temperature, °C

204

260+

Continuous heat resistance, °C

191

232

FIGURE 3.18 Triallyl cyanurate.

better shelf life but requires higher temperatures and times for the cure reaction. In the cured polyester, it gives higher heat resistance. Its use is limited by its higher price. 3.1.3.3.3 Diethylene glycol bis(allyl carbonate). This liquid monomer can be polymerized by peroxide and heat (Fig. 3.19). When carefully cast, polymerized, and cured, it gives transparent, colorless castings of high refractive index, high hardness, and therefore scratch resistance. It is used for spectacle lenses.

FIGURE 3.19 Diethylene glycol bis(allyl carbonate).

3.1.4

Epoxy Resins

Epoxy resins enjoy a combination of fast, easy cure, high adhesion to many surfaces, and heat and chemical resistance, which leads to a U.S. market of 600 million lb/yr with a wide range of uses in plastics, coatings, and adhesives. The name “epoxy resins” is applied loosely both to epoxy monomers and prepolymers, and also to the cured thermoset final products. To be more precise, the epoxy (or oxirane) group (Fig. 3.20) in the monomer or prepolymer is reacted with a comonomer (curing agent or hardener) to form the cross-linked thermoset final product. The bond angles in the triangular epoxy ring FIGURE 3.20 Epoxy or oxirane are much smaller than the normal C-C and C-O bond group. angles, so the epoxy ring is strained and therefore very reactive, which accounts for the fast, easy cross-linking cure reactions. Furthermore, since there is no change in the number of bonds during the cure reaction, there is very little shrinkage, which permits better dimensional control than

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in other polymerization and cure reactions. Choice of a range of epoxy monomers and curing agents, as well as additives, leads to a wide range of final properties for different applications. 3.1.4.1 Monomers and Prepolymers. The leading type of epoxy resin is made by reaction of bisphenol A with epichlorohydrin (Fig. 3.21). This can produce either the basic diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBPA), or higher oligomers (n = 1 through 10) by increasing the BPA/ECH ratio and alkalinity (Table 3.29), producing a range from fluid liquids to soluble fusible solids (Table 3.30).

FIGURE 3.21 Reaction of bisphenol A with epichlorohydrin.

TABLE 3.29

n

Diglycidyl Ethers of Bisphenol A: Theory

Molecular weight

Epoxy equivalent weight

340

170

1

624

312

2

908

454

3

1192

596

4

1476

738

5

1760

880

6

2044

1022

7

2328

1164

8

2612

1306

9

2896

1448

10

3180

1590

A second type of epoxy resin is made by reaction of phenol-formaldehyde novolacs with epichlorohydrin (Fig. 3.22). Using novolacs of DP 2-6 gives solid resins and permits much higher cross-linking, giving cured products of higher heat and chemical resistance. A third type of epoxy resin is cycloaliphatic (Fig. 3.23). These are harder to cure but offer better electrical resistance and resistance to sunlight. A great variety of other epoxy monomers have been suggested for specialized uses (Fig. 3.24).

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TABLE 3.30

Diglycidyl Ethers of Bisphenol A: Commercial

Molecular weight

Epoxy equivalent weight

Viscosity, cP

Softening point, °C

356

178

5,750

378

189

13,000

388

194

19,750

980

490

70

1060

530

80

3984

1992

124

FIGURE 3.22 Reaction of novolac with epichlorohydrin.

FIGURE 3.23 Cycloaliphatic epoxy resin.

3.1.4.2 Curing Agents. The epoxy ring is so strained that it opens and reacts to polymerize and cross-link very readily. It can react with a variety of basic and acidic reagents. Some of them catalyze the polymerization reaction (Fig. 3.25). Most of them are actually comonomers which then form the cross-links between the epoxy units. The epoxy resin/ curing agent ratio can be precalculated stoichiometrically but must still be adjusted experimentally to give the best balance of properties. 3.1.4.2.1 Amines. Tertiary amines R3N are catalysts that open the epoxy ring and thus catalyze the polymerization reaction. They may be used with hydroxyl-containing molecules to catalyze hom*opolymerization (Fig. 3.26), but more often they are used to catalyze copolymerization of epoxy resins with amine or acid curing agents. Several more specialized amines are also mentioned as catalysts (Fig. 3.27). Primary and secondary amines react very readily with epoxy resins (Fig. 3.28). Polyethylene polyamines H2N(CH2CH2NH)nH with n = 2 to 4 are particularly useful, because every N-H group reacts with a different epoxy group to produce a highly cross-linked cured thermoset product. They are particularly useful for fast room-temperature cure reactions of coatings and adhesives. They may cause problems of volatility, toxicity, shelf life, and exothermic reaction. These can be avoided in several ways. (1) Polyamine can be prereacted with part of the epoxy resin to form an adduct (Fig. 3.29), which reduces volatility and reactivity. (2) Polyamine can be blocked temporarily by prereacting with a ketone to form a ketimine, which acts as a latent curing agent; when this is exposed to atmospheric moisture, it hy-

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3.33

FIGURE 3.24 Miscellaneous epoxy monomers.

FIGURE 3.25 hom*opolymerization of epoxy

resins.

FIGURE 3.26 Tertiary amine catalysis of epoxy polymerization.

drolyzes gradually, unblocking the amine, which can then react gradually with the epoxy resin. (3) Polyamine can be reacted with fatty dibasic acid such as dimer acid, to form an amine-terminated polyamide oligomer (Fig. 3.30), which is nonvolatile, nontoxic, and less reactive. Epoxy/polyamide ratio is much less critical than the stoichiometric epoxy/

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FIGURE 3.27 Amine catalysts for cure of ep-

oxy resins.

FIGURE 3.28 Polyamine cure of epoxy resins.

FIGURE 3.29 Amine adducts for cure of epoxy resins.

FIGURE 3.30 Amine-terminated fatty polyamides for cure of epoxy resins.

polyamine reaction. The long-chain fatty acid builds molecular flexibility into the cured epoxy resin, thus reducing its inherent brittleness. And the nonpolar hydrocarbon chains also increase moisture resistance. Aromatic amines (Fig. 3.31) are less reactive, so they increase pot life and require heat cure. They give cured epoxies of higher heat deflection temperature and chemical resistance (Table 3.31). Cycloaliphatic amines (Fig. 3.32) are intermediate between aliphatic and aromatic amines, in both reactivity and cured properties.

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FIGURE 3.31 Aromatic amines for cure of ep-

oxy resins.

TABLE 3.31 HDT of Amine-Cured Epoxy Resins Polyethylene polyamines

111°C

Methylene dianiline

144°C

Metaphenylene diamine

150°C

Diamino diphenyl sulfone

190°C

FIGURE 3.32 Cycloaliphatic amines for cure of epoxy resins.

3.1.4.2.2 Acids. Acids can open the epoxy ring and thus produce polymerization and cure (Fig. 3.33). Some acids function primarily as catalysts, while others function as comonomers that build the cross-links into the cured epoxy resins. Lewis acids such as ZnCl2, AlCl3, FeCl3, and BF3 adducts act as latent catalysts for one-part systems with good shelf life, which become active in heat cure. Phenols and organic acids also act as catalysts for cure reactions.

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FIGURE 3.33 Acid polymerization/cure of epoxy resins.

Cyclic anhydrides are the second most important class of comonomers for cure of epoxy resins (Fig. 3.34). Whereas amine cure usually leaves linear segments and hydrophilic –OH groups, anhydride cure can also react with the –OH groups to produce many more cross-links, thus increasing molecular rigidity and water resistance. These cure reactions generally require heat and catalysis. Conversely, the brittleness of cured epoxy resins can be ameliorated by copolymerizing with flexible curing agents. The two most popular types are carboxyl-terminated nitrile rubber and mercaptan-terminated polysulfide rubber oligomers (Fig. 3.35). 3.1.4.2.3 Relative Pot Life and Reactivity of Curing Agents. Curing agents for different formulations and processes can be chosen according to their relative shelf-life/pot-life at room temperature and corresponding need for higher catalysis and heat to cure them (Table 3.32).

FIGURE 3.34 Cyclic anhydrides for cure of epoxy resins.

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FIGURE 3.35 Flexible curing agents for epoxy resins.

TABLE 3.32 Pot Life of Epoxy/Curing Agent Systems Aliphatic amines

1 hr

Amine-terminated polyamides

3 hr

Aromatic amines

18 hr

Acid anhydrides

84 hr

Lewis acids

6 mo

3.1.4.3 Other Formulating Ingredients. A number of classes of additives are often used by individual formulators to modify or introduce new properties into the epoxy system. 3.1.4.3.1 Diluents. When epoxy resins are too viscous or too exothermic for a particular process, they can be modified by addition of low-molecular-weight aliphatic epoxides. Diepoxides can copolymerize directly into the curing process without reducing cross-linking. Monoepoxides can also copolymerize but do reduce the degree of crosslinking and thus soften properties. The literature also mentions nonreactive diluents such as plasticizers, but these would raise serious questions about degradation of properties. 3.1.4.3.2 Polymer Blends. A number of polymers are mentioned as modifiers for epoxy resins. Coal tar, phenol-formaldehyde, and polyurethane combine readily to produce intermediate properties. Silicones can add more unique properties. Polyesters and melamine-formaldehyde are also mentioned in the literature. 3.1.4.3.3 Flame Retardants. Flame retardance can be built into the epoxy resin by use of tetrabromobisphenol A or anhydride curing agents containing phosphorus or halogen. It can also be helped by nonreactive additives such as alumina trihydrate or organohalogens + antimony oxide. 3.1.4.3.4 Functional Fillers. A variety of fillers can be used to add specific properties. Metals, and beryllium and aluminum oxides, can be added to increase thermal conductivity (Table 3.33). Metals can be added to increase electrical conductivity (Table 3.34). Graphite increases lubricity and electrical conductivity. Mica increases elec-

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TABLE 3.33

Thermal Conductivity of Filled

Epoxy Resins, Btu/[(ft2-hr-ºF)/ft] Silver

240

Copper

220

Beryllium oxide

130

Aluminum

110

Steel

40

Solder

25

Aluminum oxide

20

Silver-filled epoxy

4

Aluminum-filled epoxy

2

Aluminum oxide-filled epoxy

1

Unfilled epoxy

0.1

Air

0.015

TABLE 3.34 Electrical Conductivity of Filled Epoxy Resins, Ω-m Silver

1.6 × 10–6

Copper

1.8

Gold

2.3

Aluminum

2.9

Nickel

10.0

Platinum

21.5

Solder

25.0

Silver-filled epoxy

1.0 × 10–3

Unfilled epoxy

1.0 × 1015

Polystyrene

1.0 × 1016

Mica

1.0 × 1016

trical resistance. Alumina trihydrate increases arc resistance. Microballoons produce structural foam of high compressive strength. 3.1.4.3.5 Reinforcing Fibers. Reinforcing fibers greatly increase epoxy modulus, strength, impact strength, heat deflection temperature, and dimensional stability (Table 3.35).

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TABLE 3.35

Properties of Reinforced Epoxy Resins

Epoxy resin

BPA

Reinforcing fiber

None

Flex. modulus, kpsi

Glass

350

Tensile str., kpsi

Graphite

Graphite

5000

5500

27.5

45

20

2500

8.5

Novolac

Flexural str., kpsi

17

60

85

40

Compressive str., kpsi

20

25

35

28

35

18

10

Impact str., fpi Thermal exp.,

0.6

10–6/°C

HDT, °C

55

12

3

1

167

288

288

260

H2O abs., %

0.1

1.4

1.6

0.8

3.1.4.4 Markets and Applications. The largest use of epoxy resins is in coatings, comprising 53 percent of the total U.S. market (Table 3.36). They do not require solvents, so they protect the environment. They have high adhesion and chemical resistance, so they give durable protection. They are particularly useful in marine maintenance. TABLE 3.36

Epoxy Resins, Market Analysis

Coatings Can and drum lining Plant maintenance Auto primers Pipe coating Appliances Trade sales and other

15% 11 7 4 2 14

Printed circuit boards

12

Adhesives

8

Flooring and paving

8

Reinforced plastics

7

Tooling, casting, molding

4

Other

8

Total

100

Reinforced epoxy resins are the basis of printed circuit boards, tanks, pipes, and aerospace materials. Cast epoxies are very useful in electrical potting and encapsulation of transistors, switches, coils, integrated circuits, transformers, and switchgears. Performance in adhesives is outstanding. Polarity, reactivity, low shrinkage, high modulus and strength, heat and chemical resistance all contribute to wide use in auto, aero-

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space, appliance, and mechanical construction. The total U.S. market is 600 million lb/yr, and growth rate has still not reached maturity. 3.1.5

Silicones

Silicone chemistry is a marriage of organic polymers and inorganic ceramics, which has produced synergistic benefits in abhesion, low-temperature flexibility, high-temperature stability, flame-retardance, electrical resistance, water resistance, and physiological inertness, leading to a family of elastomers and thermoset plastics with a wide variety of specialized applications. 3.1.5.1 Chemistry. Silica sand is electrothermally reduced to silicon metal. SiO2 + C → Si + CO2 This is mixed with copper catalyst and reacted with methyl chloride at 250 to 280°C to produce a mixture of methyl chlorosilanes. 9% CH3SiCl3

b.p. 66°C

designated T for trifunctional

74% (CH3)2SiCl2

b.p. 70°C

designated D for difunctional

6% (CH3)3SiCl

b.p. 57°C

designated M for monofunctional

These are separated by fractional distillation. The chlorosilane Si-Cl bond hydrolyzes rapidly in water to form silanol Si-OH, which condenses instantly to form siloxane Si-O-Si (Fig. 3.36). Thus, (CH3)2SiCl2 (D) produces linear silicone rubber. Introducing CH3SiCl3 (T) produces branching and cross-linking; at high concentrations, it produces a thermoset plastic. Conversely, introducing (CH3)3SiCl (M) caps the ends of the growing chains and lowers the molecular weight of the rubber.

FIGURE 3.36 Silicone synthesis.

The most common alkyl group is methyl. Introducing some phenyl groups prevents crystallization at low temperatures and thus keeps silicone rubber flexible down to lower temperatures; phenyl groups also increase heat stability at high temperatures, thus creating a wider useful temperature range for silicone rubber. CF3CH2CH2- and NCCH2CH2groups are used to increase resistance to fuels, oils, and organic solvents. CH2=CHgroups provide reactivity for vulcanization/cure of the rubber. CH3O- and CH3CO2groups hydrolyze more slowly than Cl- and are used to provide controlled reactivity for cross-linking, coating, and adhesive bonding. 3.1.5.2 Properties. Unlike most elastomers, silicone rubber does not contain C=C groups, so it is much more resistant to oxygen and ozone.

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The Si-O and Si-C bonds in silicones are very stable, giving them high resistance to heat, electrical, and chemical attack. The large size of the Si atom, and the oblique (150o) angle of the Si-O-Si bonds, give very little steric hindrance and very free rotation. This makes the silicone molecule very flexible and rubbery, even down to very low temperatures. On the down side, it also produces low mechanical strength and low solvent resistance. The sheath of primary hydrogen atoms, on the methyl groups surrounding the polymer main-chain, gives low intermolecular attraction, which also contributes to rubbery behavior and low mechanical strength, and especially to low surface energy and low surface tension, which produce abhesion (nonstick) and water-repellent performance. 3.1.5.3 Rubber. Silicone rubber can be heat-cured by fairly conventional techniques. It can also be cast and cured at room temperature, producing what is called room-temperature vulcanized (RTV) rubber. 3.1.5.3.1 Heat-Cured Rubber. High-molecular-weight (500,000) linear silicone rubber is very soft and has no strength or creep resistance. It can be cross-linked by heating with peroxides (Table 3.37). The reaction of peroxide with the methyl group (Fig. 3.37) is not very efficient and levels off at 0.4 to 0.7 cross-links per 1000 Si atoms—too low to give good strength and resistance to compression set. Therefore, the rubber is usually made with a fraction of a percent of vinyl side-groups; these react readily with peroxide, giving a 90 percent yield of predicted cross-links and much better strength and compression-set resistance. If vinyl side-groups are increased up to 4 to 5 percent, silicone rubber can even be cured by conventional sulfur vulcanization. TABLE 3.37

Peroxides for Cross-Linking Silicone Rubber

Bis(2,4-dichlorobenzoyl) peroxide

104–132oC

Benzoyl peroxide

116–138°C

Dicumyl peroxide

154–177°C

2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy) hexane

166–182°C

Most rubber is reinforced by carbon black; silicone rubber is not. Instead, it is reinforced by fine-particle-size fumed silica. This definitely improves tensile strength, though it still cannot equal most other types of elastomers (Table 3.38). Other fillers do not increase strength but may be used to improve processability, increase hardness and reduce tack and compression set. Carbon black is used to increase electrical conductivity. Small production runs are processed by compression or transfer molding at 800 to 3,000 psi and 104 to 188°C; mold shrinkage is 2 to 4 percent. Long production runs are more economical by injection molding at 5,000 to 20,000 psi, 188 to 252°C, and a 25 to 90 sec cycle. Extrusion requires post-cure in a 316 to 427°C hot-air oven, typically 60 ft/min; steam post-cure can run 1200 ft/min. Calendering typically runs 5 to 10 ft/ min. Specific formulations can aim at various product needs (Table 3.39). Particularly outstanding is their wide useful temperature range (Table 3.40). 3.1.5.3.2 Room-Temperature Vulcanized (RTV) Silicones. Low-molecular-weight liquid silicone oligomers, with reactive functional groups, can be poured or spread with

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CHAPTER 3

FIGURE 3.37 Peroxide cross-linking of silicone rubber.

TABLE 3.38

Fillers for Silicone Rubber

Filler

Particle size, µm

Tensile strength, psi

Fumed silica

7–10

600–1800

Precipitated silica

18–20

600–1100

Diatomaceous silica

1–5

400–800

Calcined kaolin

1–5

400–800

Calcium carbonate

1–4

400–600

Titanium dioxide

3

200–500

Iron oxide

1

200–500

little or no equipment and cross-linked (cured) at room temperature without damage to delicate electronics or other systems. They are very useful in caulking, sealants, adhesives, and arts and crafts. They are available as one- or two-part systems. One-part systems are packaged in dry sealed cans and are perfectly stable in this state. When they are poured or spread to form products, they are activated by atmospheric moisture, and the cross-linking reaction occurs. The stable packaged oligomer has acetoxy or methoxy end-groups. When these are exposed to atmospheric moisture, they hydrolyze to hydroxyl end-groups, which condense with each other very rapidly to polymerize to high molecular weight and cross-link to thermoset rubbery products (Fig. 3.38). Acetoxy is more reactive, becoming tack-free in 1/4 to 1/2 hr and fully-cured in 12 to 24 hr; but it releases acetic acid, which can corrode copper and steel. Methoxy is slower, becoming tackfree in 2 to 4 hr and fully-cured in 24 to 72 hr; it does not cause corrosion, and it gives higher-strength products (Table 3.41). Since one-part systems depend on diffusion of atmospheric moisture, they are limited to 1/4-in thickness; thicker products require two-part systems. Two-part systems are stable until they are mixed. The pairs are very specific chemically and must be mixed in the proper stoichiometric ratio, so the supplier specifies the procedure, and the processor simply needs to follow it. The two parts may react by con-

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THERMOSETS

TABLE 3.39

Properties of Heat-Cured Silicone Rubbers

Grade

High.-temp.

High-strength Low-temp.

Solventresistant

Wire and cable

Shore A hardness

46

63

50

67

Tensile strength, psi

1000

1500

1000

1100

Elongation, %

430

700

220

340

14

42

50

–65

–101

–68

6

10

1

Compression set, % Brittle temperature,

oC

Oil absorption, % Volume resistivity, Ω-cm

3 × 1015

Dielectric constant

3.3

Power Factor

0.003

TABLE 3.40

Maximum Use Temperatures of Silicone Rubbers

Temperature, °C

Time to 50% retention of elongation

121

10–20 yr

149

5–10 yr

204

2–5 yr

260

3–24 mo

316

1 wk

371

6 hr

461

10 min

518

2 min

densation or addition (Fig. 3.38). In condensation cure, the hydroxyl-terminated silicone oligomer is cross-linked by tetraethyl silicate, catalyzed by dibutyl tin dilaurate or faster by stannous octoate, and liberates alcohol, so it can be used only in an open system. In addition cure, a silicone oligomer containing vinyl CH2=CH- groups reacts with a silicone oligomer containing silane Si-H groups, catalyzed by platinum; since no volatiles are liberated, this can be done in a closed system, and it gives higher strength products (Table 3.42). More recently, this has led to the development of liquid injection molding (LIM), in which the reactive silicone oligomer system is injection molded at 200 to 250°C and cures in a few seconds, a great advance over conventional vulcanization systems.

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CHAPTER 3

FIGURE 3.38 RTV silicone chemistry.

TABLE 3.41 Properties of Cured Methoxy RTV Silicone Working time

30 min

Tack-free time

2–3 hr

Cure time (1/8 in thick)

24 hr

Shore A hardness

28

Tensile strength

150 psi

Elongation

550%

Adhesion: lap shear

100 psi

Adhesion: peel

20 lb/in

Volume resistivity

4.7 × 1014 Ω-cm

Dielectric constant

3.6

Dissipation factor

0.002

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THERMOSETS

FIGURE 3.39 Polyimides in general.

TABLE 3.42

Properties of Cured Two-Part RTV Silicones

Cure

Condensation cure

Addition

Shore A hardness

45

45

Tensile strength, psi

400

900

Elongation, %

120

150

Useful temperature range, °C

–115 to +204

–115 to +204

Dielectric constant

4.2

3.0

Dissipation factor

0.006

0.001

3.1.5.3.3 Silicone Resins. Hydrolysis of (CH3)2SiCl2 produces linear flexible molecules for rubber. Hydrolysis of CH3SiCl3 produces highly cross-linked molecules for thermoset plastics. These are too cross-linked and brittle for most purposes. Useful thermoset plastics are prepared by copolymerizing difunctional and trifunctional monomers. In commercial practice, the ratio of difunctional to trifunctional is generally 80/20 to 40/60. For some products, methyl silicon may be partly replaced by phenyl silicon. The mixed monomers are dissolved in organic solvent and stirred with water to produce hydrolysis and condensation to low-molecular-weight oligomers. Methyl silicon is too reactive and exothermic and must be cooled to control the A-stage reaction. Phenyl silicon is less reactive and may be heated to 70 to 75°C to promote the reaction. The oligomer solution is then catalyzed by triethanol amine, metal octoates, or dibutyl tin diacetate and heated to increase the viscosity. At this point, it is cooled and can be stored until used. These silicone oligomers are used to make glass fabric laminates and reinforced molding powders. Phenyl silicon is compatible with epoxy, alkyd, urea, melamine, and phenolic resins and may be blended with them to increase their resistance to heat, flame, water, and weather. Glass fabric laminates are made by dipping the glass fabric into the oligomer solution, impregnating it with 25 to 45 percent silicone resin, and evaporating the solvent. Layers of impregnated fabric are then plied to the desired thickness and press-cured. Flat sheets are cured 30 to 60 minutes at 1000 psi and 170°C. Complex shapes can be made by lower-

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CHAPTER 3

pressure techniques such as vacuum-bag molding. These laminates are 20 to 40 percent weaker mechanically than epoxy, melamine, and phenolic but superior in electrical insulation properties, especially at high temperatures and in moist conditions (Table 3.43). They are used in electric motors, terminal boards, printed circuit boards, and transformers. They are also used for fire-resistance in aircraft firewalls and ducts. TABLE 3.43

Electrical Properties of Silicone-Glass Cloth Laminates

Matrix resin Power factor Dielectric strength, V/mil Insulation resistance, Ω, dry wet

Phenolic

Melamine

Silicone

0.06

0.08

0.0002

150–200

150–200

250–300

10,000 10

20,000 10

50,000 10,000

Molding powders are B-stage silicone resin plus glass fiber and catalyst. They are compression molded 5 to 20 min at 1000 to 4000 psi and 160°C and then post-cured several hours to achieve optimum properties. Electrical insulation and resistance to heat and moisture are outstanding (Table 3.44). Molded parts are used in electric motors and switches. TABLE 3.44

Silicone Resin Moldings

Specific gravity

1.65

Flexural modulus, 23°C 200°C

1,800,000 psi 900,000 psi

Flexural strength, 23°C 200°C

14,000 psi 5,000 psi

Tensile strength, 23°C 200°C

4,400 psi 1,300 psi

Dielectric constant Power factor

3.6 0.005

3.1.5.3.4 Coatings. Silicone resin solutions are baked to produce release coatings that are resistant to heat, water, and weather. These are used in cooking and baking and for water-repellent masonry. They are also copolymerized with other thermosetting coatings to increase their heat and weather resistance. 3.1.6

Polyimides

New high-tech industries such as aerospace and electronics have created growing needs for lightweight, strong materials with increased resistance to heat, oxygen, and corrosion. Organic polymer chemists have spent the past half century developing new polymers with higher and higher performance. The guiding general principle has been the use of heterocyclic resonance to provide molecular rigidity and thermal-oxidative stability. There have

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3.47

been two persistent problems: (1) the syntheses are expensive, and (2) the molecular rigidity that gives heat resistance also makes processing very difficult. The most successful candidates so far have been the polyimides (Fig. 3.39). Research has developed three synthetic routes to processability. (1) Thermoplastic polyimides contain enough single bonds in the polymer backbone to provide a certain amount of molecular flexibility and therefore processability. (2) Two-stage condensation polymerization leaves single bonds in the first stage to permit processability and then closes them to heterocyclic imide rings in the final stage of processing. (3) Second-stage addition polymerization begins with synthesis of imide-containing vinyl or acetylenic monomers in the first stage and then reacts the vinyl or acetylenic groups in the second stage to produce cross-linking cure without liberating volatile by-products. 3.1.6.1 Thermoplastic Polyimides. Several types of linear high-molecular-weight polyimides have been developed, which contain enough single bonds in the polymer backbone to make them somewhat flexible and therefore usable in conventional thermoplastic melt processing (Fig. 3.40). This does, of course, sacrifice some of the inherent thermal stability of polyimides (Table 3.45). The best-known are General Electric Ultem poly(ether imides); these offer heat deflection temperatures of 207 to 221°C and continuous service temperatures of 170 to 180°C. Also popular are Amoco Torlon polyamide-imides, with heat deflection temperatures of 278 to 282°C. More specialized are Ciba-Geigy trimethyl phenyl indane polyimides, with heat deflection temperatures of 232 to 257°C, embrittlement times of >2000 hr at 200°C

FIGURE 3.40 Thermoplastic polyimides.

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CHAPTER 3

TABLE 3.45

Thermoplastic Polyimide Temperature Limits PEI

PAI

TMPI

Tg, °C

fpi 340

HDT, °C

207–221

Continuous service, °C

170–180

278–282

Embrittlement, hr/200°C 250°C Td , °C

232–257 371 >2000 250 450–510

and 250 hr at 250°C, and decomposition temperatures of 450 to 510°C. And fluorinated polyimides containing the hexafluoroisopropylidene group have been reported with temperatures like Tg = 340°C and continuous service temperature 371°C. 3.1.6.2 Two-Stage Condensation Polyimides. Imides are produced by condensation reaction of amines with dibasic acids (Fig. 3.41). Diamines plus tetrabasic acids produce polyimides. When the reaction is run to completion, the highly cyclic structure is such a rigid molecule that melt processing is impossible. In fact, intramolecular cyclization competes with intermolecular cross-linking, so the cured polymer may actually be thermoset. However, the reaction can be run in stages by controlling temperature and time. In the first stage, it produces a polyamic acid, which still has enough single bonds in the polymer backbone to be a flexible molecule that is soluble and melt processable. When the firststage polymer has been impregnated into reinforcing fabric and/or melt processed into the shape of the finished product, then increasing the temperature and reaction time drives the condensation cyclization reaction to the final imide structure. Since the condensation reaction liberates water or alcohol, special techniques are required to remove the volatiles and avoid bubbles and cracks in the solidifying polymer. DuPont uses oxydianiline and pyromellitic dianhydride (Fig. 3.42) to produce a series of Kapton films (Table 3.46), Vespel sintered moldings (Table 3.47), and Pyralin lacquers

FIGURE 3.41 Two-stage condensation of polyimides.

FIGURE 3.42 DuPont polyimide.

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THERMOSETS

TABLE 3.46

Kapton Polyimide Films

Density

1.42

Tensile modulus, kpsi, 23°C 200°C

430 260

Tensile strength, kpsi, 23°C 200°C

25 17

Elongation, %, 23°C 200°C

70 90

Impact strength, J/mm

23

Folding endurance, cycles Initial tear strength, g Tear propagation, g Volume resistivity, Ω-cm

10,000 510 8 1015

Dielectric constant

3.6

Dissipation factor

0.0025

Dielectric strength, V/mil

5,400

(Table 3.48). Monsanto (Skybond) and American Cyanamid (FM-34) used m-phenylene diamine and benzophenone tetracarboxylic dianhydride (Fig. 3.43) to produce glass cloth laminates (Table 3.49). General Electric silicone polyimides (SiPI) are block copolymers of benzophenone tetracarboxylic dianhydride with methylene dianiline and bis(aminopropyl) tetramethyl disiloxane (Fig. 3.44), designed primarily for high-temperature electrical insulation (Table 3.50). 3.1.6.3 Second-Stage Addition Polymerization Cure of Polyimides. To cure thermosetting polyimides without the problem of volatile by-products, the cross-linking reaction is based on addition polymerization instead of condensation polymerization. This again is a two-stage process. In the first stage, a low-molecular-weight oligomer is prepared containing finished imide groups; since it is low-molecular-weight, it is still easily processable, even though it contains aromatic and heterocyclic rings. Then, in the second stage, reactive groups in the oligomer are polymerized by addition reactions, building to high molecular weight and a high degree of cross-linking as well. Several types of reactive groups have been developed.

FIGURE 3.43 Monsanto and American Cyana-

mid polyimides.

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CHAPTER 3

TABLE 3.47

Vespel Polyimide Moldings

Specific gravity Flexural modulus, 260oC

1.55 23oC,

kpsi

550 305

Flexural strength, 23oC, kpsi 260oC

15 8.3

Tensile strength, 23oC, kpsi 260oC

8.8 4.6

Elongation, %, 23oC 260oC

6 4

Compressive modulus, kpsi

386

Notched impact strength, fpi Heat deflection temperature,

1.1 oC

Oxygen index, % Volume Resistivity, Ω-cm

360 51 1014

Dielectric constant

3.6

Dissipation factor

0.003

Water absorption, %

0.2

TABLE 3.48

Pyralin Lacquer Properties

Density

1.4

Tensile strength, kpsi

18

Elongation, %

18

Decomposition temperature, °C

560

Volume resistivity, Ω-cm

1016

Dielectric constant

3.5

Dissipation factor

0.002

Dielectric strength, V/mil

4000

3.1.6.3.1 Bis-Maleimides. Reaction of maleic anhydride with diamines leads to two reactions. First, the amine reacts with the dianhydride groups and produces bis-maleimides (Fig. 3.45). Then, the amine adds across the double bonds (“Michael reaction”), thus lengthening the oligomer chain. These oligomers are easily impregnated into glass cloth, “catalyzed” by high-temperature peroxide such as dicumyl peroxide, stacked to the desired thickness, and press-cured or vacuum-bag cured, for example at 75 to 210 psi and

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TABLE 3.49

Skybond Polyimide Laminates

Flexural modulus, kpsi 335 hr/299°C

3,120 3,120

Flexural strength, kpsi 30 min/407°C

80 53

Tensile strength, kpsi 335 hr/299°C

57 42

Volume resistivity, Ω-cm

2.47 × 1015

Dielectric constant

4.15

Dissipation factor

0.00445

Dilectric strength, V/mil

179

Water absorption, %

0.7

TABLE 3.50 Silicone Polyimide Electrical Properties Bulk resistivity

1017 Ω-cm

Dielectric constant

3.0

Dielectric strength

5.5 MV/cm

FIGURE 3.44 General Electric silicone polyimides.

200 to 250°C, followed by oven post-cure 12 to 24 hr to complete the cross-linking reaction. This produces excellent mechanical properties and heat resistance (Table 3.51). 3.1.6.3.2 Acetylene-Terminated Imide Oligomers. Oligomers containing finished imide groups can be synthesized with terminal acetylenic (ethynyl) groups (Fig. 3.46). When these are impregnated into reinforcing fabrics and heat-cured, for example 500 hr/288 to

FIGURE 3.45 Bis-maleimides.

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TABLE 3.51

Bis-Maleimide Cured Properties

Flexural modulus, 25°C 250°C Aged 3000 hr/250°C

4000 kpsi 3200 kpsi 2600 kpsi

Flexural strength, 25°C 250°C Aged 3000 hr/250°C

70 kpsi 50 kpsi 26 kpsi

Tensile strength

50 kpsi

Compressive strength

50 kpsi

Notched impact strength

13 kpsi

Tg

296°C

Volume resistivity

6 × 1014 Ω-cm

Dielectric constant

4.5

Dissipation factor

0.012

Dielectric strength

25 kV/mm

FIGURE 3.46 Acetylene-terminated imide oligomers.

316°C, they give laminates with extreme heat resistance (Table 3.52). The mechanism of the cure reaction is complex, probably producing a variety of aromatic and fused-ring structures (Fig. 3.47). 3.1.6.3.3 Nadimide-Terminated Oligomers. Research at NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and industrial laboratories has developed a series of thermoset polyimdes that are made by impregnating the monomers into laminating fabric and then polymerizing and cross-linking them in situ. The body of the polyimide oligomer is made from benzophenone tetracarboxylic acid ester or bisphenyl hexfluoropropene tetracarboxylic acid ester reacting with an aromatic diamine such as phenylene diamine or methylene dianiline (Fig. 3.48). The end-groups of the oligomer are made by end-capping with norbornene dicarboxylic acid ester. And thermosetting cross-linking cure occurs by addition polymerization of the C=C bonds in the norbornene ring. Laminate properties are very good (Table 3.53), and heat aging resistance is promising (Table 3.54). More recently, dinadimide end-capping (Fig. 3.49) has reached use temperatures of 260 to 290°C. 3.1.6.4 Polyimide Applications. Polyimides are used where their lubricity, low coefficient of thermal expansion, heat resistance, and radiation resistance are required. Typical uses include bearings and piston rings in jet engines, appliances, office equipment, com-

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TABLE 3.52 Properties

Acetylene-Terminated Polyimide Cured

Tg

386°C

Laminate flexural modulus, 23°C 316°C

4,600,000 psi 3,000,000 psi

Laminate flexural strength, 23°C 316°C

69,000 psi 45,000 psi

Shear strength, room temperature Aged 500 hr/200°C Aged 500 hr/288°C Aged 500 hr/316°C

12,000 psi 8,700 psi 7,400 psi 6,000 psi

Weight loss, 1000 hr/351°C

4%

Dielectric constant, 10 MHz 12 GHz

5.38 3.12

Loss tangent, 10 MHz 12 GHz

0.0006 0.0048

FIGURE 3.47 Cross-linking acetylene-terminated polyimides.

pressors, and automotive transmissions; seals and insulators in nuclear applications; electric motors, wire and cable, and magnet wire; printed circuit boards; and high-temperature adhesives. 3.1.7

Miscellaneous Cross-Linking Reactions

Beyond the major thermoset plastics described above, research, development, and specialized production have explored a number of other cross-linking reactions for producing

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FIGURE 3.48 Nadimide-terminated polyimides.

TABLE 3.53 Properties

Nadimide-Terminated Polyimide Laminate

Tensile modulus

21,700,000 psi

Tensile strength

180,000 psi

Flexural modulus

17,600,000 psi

Flexural strength

206,000 psi

Impact energy

15.2 in-lb

Coefficient of thermal expansion

TABLE 3.54

Nadimide-Terminated Polyimide Aging

Shear strength at 316°C before aging After 400 hr After 800 hr After 1200 hr

7300 psi 7700 psi 7700 psi 7300 psi

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3.55

FIGURE 3.49 Dinadimide end-capped polyimides.

thermoset plastics, particularly addition reactions that do not produce volatile by-products. These may be grouped as (1) reactions of hydrocarbons, (2) triazine and other heterocyclic ring formation, and (3) polyphenylene sulfide. 3.1.7.1 Reactions of Hydrocarbons. Several types of reactive hydrocarbon functional groups can be used to polymerize and cross-link monomers and oligomers into thermoset plastics. These include addition polymerization of acetylene-terminated molecules and ring-opening polymerization of strained carbon rings. They also include Friedel-Crafts condensation to form hydrocarbon polymers. 3.1.7.1.1 Acetylene-Terminated Monomers and Oligomers Addition polymerization of acetylene (ethynyl) groups can occur at high temperatures, for example 500 hr at 288 to 316°C followed by cure 4 to 15 hr/407 to 434°C. With monofunctional monomers, a major product is trimerization to form new aromatic rings (Fig. 3.50)— FIGURE 3.50 Addition polymerization of but with difunctional monomers, a great variacetylenic monomers. ety of cross-linked structures have been identified and/or theorized. Practically, many of these give thermoset plastics of high heat and moisture resistance, superior to epoxy resins. Since there are no volatile by-products, this offers processing advantages over many condensation-cured thermosets. Polyimides have been cured by synthesizing acetylene-terminated oligomers containing finished imide groups, and these have shown excellent heat resistance, as discussed above (Sec. 3.1.6.3.2). Polysulfones have been made from acetylene-terminated sulfone monomers (Fig. 3.51), and cured graphite-fiber laminates have shown Tg = 300°C and good mechanical properties at 170°C before and after heat and humid aging. Semi-interpenetrating polymer networks with linear thermoplastic polysulfones showed promise of combining the heat deflection temperature and solvent-resistance of the thermoset polymer with the impact resistance of the thermoplastic. Polyphenylquinoxalines were cross-linked by acetylenic end-groups (Fig. 3.52), giving Tg = 321°C and good resistance to hot humid aging, but the addition of aliphatic hydrocarbon structure apparently sacrificed heat-aging resistance. Propargyl ether of bisphenol A (Fig. 3.53) was cured to a thermoset plastic with Tg = 360°C.

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FIGURE 3.51 Acetylene-terminated sulfone.

FIGURE 3.52 Acetylene-terminated polyphenylqui-

noxaline.

FIGURE 3.53 Propargyl ether of bisphenol A.

Phenylethynyl end-capping of polyimide oligomers (Fig. 3.54) has shown promise for high-temperature plastics and adhesives, with Tg > 300°C and high adhesive strength, hot strength, and oil resistance (Table 3.55). 3.1.7.1.2 Ring-Opening Polymerization of Strained Carbon Rings. The carbon atom is tetrahedral, which means that normal C-C-C bond angles are about 109o. In small ring structures, the bond angles are much smaller than this, so they are under considerable strain, unstable, and reactive. When they break open into dienes or diradicals, they can polymerize. Several such ring-opening reactions have been suggested for cross-linking cure of thermoset plastics. Benzocyclobutene. Polyimide oligomers with benzocyclobutene end-groups (Fig. 3.55) have been cured by electrocyclic ring-opening at 250°C. The opening of the cyclobutene ring can lead to hom*opolymerization, or it can copolymerize with C=C bonds in maleimides or with acetylene-terminated oligomers (Fig. 3.56), all of which lead to cross-linking and thermosetting cure. Cured samples had Tgs from 240 to 400°C or more; after 200 hr/350°C aging, they still retained 85 to 93 percent of their original weight. Similarly, a benzocyclobutene-terminated diketone (Fig. 3.57) cured to a thermoset plastic

FIGURE 3.54 Phenylethynyl end-capped polyimide oligomer.

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TABLE 3.55 Phenylethynyl Cross-Linked Polyimide Composite Properties Shear strength, psi, room temperature 177°C 48 hr in hydraulic fluid

5,700 4,400 5,410

Flexural modulus, psi, room temperature 177°C Flexural strength, room temperature 177°C

23,000,000 22,000,000 268,000 190,000

FIGURE 3.55 Benzocyclobutene-terminated polyimide oligomers.

FIGURE 3.56 Benzocyclobutene cross-linking cure reactions.

FIGURE

3.57 Benzocyclobutene-terminated

diketone.

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with Tg = 340°C, excellent hot/wet properties at 274°C, and useful service temperature of 260°C or above. Paracyclophane. The strained rings of paracyclophane (Fig. 3.58) open and polymerize on heating. When paracyclophane end-groups are attached to polyimide oligomers and thermally cross-linked, cured composites have excellent heat-resistance (Table 3.56).

FIGURE 3.58 Paracyclophane polyimide oligomer.

TABLE 3.56 Paracyclophane-Polyimide Cured Laminates Flexural strength, 25°C 371°C Shear strength, 25°C 371°C Weight loss, 500 hr/371°C

174,000 psi 25,000 psi 10,000 psi 3,700 psi 12%

Biphenylene. The strained ring of biphenylene (Fig. 3.59) opens at 380 to 400°C, producing a variety of cyclic and polymeric products. Organometallic catalysts work at lower temperatures, and copolymerization with acetylenic bonds looks promising. FIGURE 3.59 Biphenylene. Acenaphthylene. Acenaphthylene ring-opening (Fig. 3.60) and polymerization reactivity is comparable to bismaleimides. Researchers have considered attaching acenaphthylene end-groups to various high-temperature oligomers (Fig. 3.61) to permit cross-linking cure reactions. 3.1.7.2 Triazine and Other Heterocyclic Ring Formation. Several types of reactions can be used to form heterocyclic rings in which multiple C-N bonds contribute high thermal stability. When these are used to cross-link heat-stable oligomers, the resulting thermoset polymers may have high thermal stability and other useful properties. These include cyanate/cyanurate, isocyanate/isocyanurate, hexaazatriphenylene trianhydride, and phthalonitrile/phthalocyanine. 3.1.7.2.1 Cyanate/Cyanurate. When aryl cyanate esters are heated to 150 to 250°C, they cyclotrimerize to cyanuric acid esters (Fig. 3.62). They can be catalyzed by organometallic and active hydrogen compounds. When the monomer is a dicyanate such as bisphenol A dicyanate (Fig. 3.63), the result is a highly cross-linked heterocyclic polymer (Table 3.57). Using a novolac polycyanate has produced Tg and useful life over 300°C.

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FIGURE 3.60 Acenaphthylene ring-opening re-

actions.

3.61 Acenaphthylene-terminated high-temperature oligomers. FIGURE

FIGURE 3.62 Aryl cyanate ester cyclotrimerization to cyanuric acid es-

ter.

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CHAPTER 3

FIGURE 3.63 Bisphenol A dicyanate.

TABLE 3.57

Polycyanate Cured Properties

Density

1.19

Tg

265°C

Heat deflection temperature

230°C

Coefficient of thermal expansion Dielectric constant

44 × 10–6/°C 2.7

Loss tangent

0.003

Moisture absorption at 100°C

1.3%

There is very little shrinkage (C+-O-O-) and the carbonyl (>C=O) chain-end groups are removed from one another due to strain in the rubber composition. The reformation of the ozonide, in the absence of strain, is essential a repair of the chain breakage or scission. This is shown below.

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ELASTOMERS

TABLE 4.10 Examples of Chemicals that Have Been Used as Antioxidants and Chemical Antiozonants Chemical name

Abbrev.

p-Phenylinediamine derivatives (strongly discoloring)

Chemical name

Abbrev.

Bisphenol derivatives (nondiscoloring)

N-Isopropyl-N´-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine

IPPD

2.2´-Methylene-bis-(4-methyl-6tert.butylphenol)

BPH

N-(l,3-dimethylbutyl)-N´-phenylp-phenylenediamine

6PPD

2.2´-Methylene-bis-(4-methyl-6cyclohexylphenol)

CPH

N-N´-Bis-(l,4-dimethylpentyl)-pphenylenediamine

77PD

2.2´-Isobutylidene-bis-(4-methyl6-tert.butylphenol)

IBPH

N,N´-Bis-(1-ethyl-3-methylpentyl)-p-phenylenediamine

DOPD

N,N´-Diphenyl-p-phenylenediamine

DPPD

Monophenol derivatives (nondiscoloring)

N,N´-Ditolyl-p-phenylenediamine DTPD

2,6-Di-tert.butyl-p-cresol

BHT

N,N´-Di-β-naphthyl-p-phenylene- DNPD diamine

Alkylated phenol

APH

Styrenated and alkylated phenol

SAPH

Styrenated phenol

SPH

Dihydroqumoline derivatives (strongly discoloring) 6-Ethoxy-2,2,4-trimethyl-1,2dihydroquinoline

ETMQ

2,2,4-Trimethyl-1,2-dihydroquinoline, polymerized

TMQ

Naphthylamine derivatives (strongly discoloring)

Other antidegradants (nondiscoloring) Tris-nonylphenylphosphite

TNPP

dilauryl-β,β-thiodipropionate

DLTDP

Phenyl-α-naphthylamine

PAN

β-naphthyl disulfide

Phenyl-β-naphthylamine

PBN

thio-β-naphthol

Diphenylamine derivatives (strongly discoloring)

2-mercaptobenzothiazole

MBT

benzothiazyl disulfide

MBTS

Octylated diphenylamine

ODPA

Styrinated diphenylamine

SDPA

tris(p-nonylphenyl)phosphite

TNPP

ADPA

zinc dimethyldithiocarbamate

ZDMC

Acetone/disphenylamine condensation product Benzimidazole derivatives (nondiscoloring) 2-Mercaptobenzimidazole

MBI

Zinc-2-mercaptobenzimidazole

ZMBI

Methyl-2-mercaptobenzimidazole MMBI Zinc-methylmercaptobenzimidazole

ZMMBI

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TABLE 4.11

CHAPTER 4

Peroxide Decomposers

dilauryl-β,β-thiodipropionate

β-naphthyl disulfide

thio-β-naphthol

2-mercaptobenzothiazole

benzothiazyl disulfide

phenothiazine

tris(p-nonylphenyl)phosphite

zinc dimethyldithiocarbamate

For molecular layers of the rubber polymer, this is shown schematically in Scheme 18. If there is sufficient strain in the vulcanized rubber, even if the ozonide reforms, it does so in a manor to permit a crack to form and grow. Effective chemical antiozonants share certain common functions as follows: 1. They react directly with ozone. 2. They migrate to the surface of the rubber product to react with ozone. 3. They decrease the rate of cut crack growth.

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SCHEME 18

4. Antiozonants such as N,N´-dialkyl-p-phenylenediamines and N-alkyl-N´-aryl-p-phenylenediamine raise a polymer’s apparent critical stress; i.e., polymers containing these materials require greater elongation for ozone cracks to occur. 4.5.2.4 Protection against the Effects of Ozone Waxes. Paraffinic waxes function by blooming to the rubber surface to form a thin inert protective film. Since the wax is unreactive toward ozone, this film is a physical but not a chemical barrier to ozone. The number of carbon atoms per molecule of wax varies from 18 to 50. Microcrystalline waxes are heavier and less crystalline. They have between 37 and 70 carbon atoms per molecule. The migration rate of waxes is dependent on several factors. These include the type of rubber or blend, the amount and type of reinforcing filler, the concentration and structure of the wax, and the temperature range that the product will experience in use. Unfortunately, waxes do not protect against ozone under dynamic conditions, e.g., for a rolling tire. Under such conditions, rupture of a barrier wax film can occur and cause

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fault points on the rubber surface. Instead of total surface involvement, the ozone attack occurs at these relatively few fault areas, causing rather large cracks to develop. Thus, other types of additives are needed for protection against the effects of ozone under dynamic conditions. Chemical Antiozonants. The first effective chemical antiozonant was a dihydroquinoline type, 1,2-dihydro-6-ethoxy-2,2,4-trimethylquinoline (DETQ). However, polymerised quinoline derivatives provide only slight ozone protection, although they are good antioxidants. DETQ provides protection against the action of ozone, but it is highly staining and discoloring and is lost from rubber compounds because of its volatility. p-Phenylenediamine antiozonants such as N,N´-di-sec-alkyl-p-phenylenediamines were then introduced. They surpassed the dihydroquinolines in their ability to protect rubber from ozone attack. The success of the dialkyl-p-phenylenediamines led to the development of related antiozonants, i.e., alkyl/aryl-analogs, N-isopropyl-N´-pheny-p-phenylenediamine (IPPD) and N-cyclohexyl-N´-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine, and mixed N,N´-diaryl-p-phenylenediamine mixtures. The longer-chain alkyl substituents served to reduce the volatility. However, the fugitive nature of the protection offered by the di-octyl-p-phenylenediamine was attributed to the fact that it reacts directly with oxygen (O2) as well as ozone. Alkyl/aryl- or diaryl-pphenylenediamines are less subject to depletion by reaction with oxygen and are longerlasting in rubber compounds. The antiozonants, N-(1,3-di-methylbutyl)-N´-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (6PPD) and the C7 and C5 alkyl-analogs were later introduced. In addition to their use as antiozonants, p-phenylenediamines, primarily the more persistent mixed diaryl-derivatives, have replaced N-phenyl-β-naphthylamine as antioxidants flex crack inhibitors and synthetic polymer antioxidant stabilizers. All of these antiozonants are staining and discoloring. This has limited their use primarily to carbon black-loaded compounds. We also note that the antiozonants and aminebased antioxidants cause a reduction in scorch resistance. Multiple Functions. The N,N´-disubstituted-p-phenylenediamines (PPDs) are unique stabilizers. Many of them simultaneously are potent antioxidants as well as antiozonants (especially the sec-alkyl-p-phenylenediamines). They are also good flex-crack inhibitors. In general, the best antioxidant protection is afforded at levels slightly less than 1 phr. Higher levels of use actually become detrimental, as the system can become pro-oxidative. Nevertheless, to provide antiozonant protection, antiozonant levels in excess of 2 phr or more may be necessary. The use of di-aryl-p-phenylenediamines with di-alkyl or alkyl/ aryl derivatives is beneficial, since it reduces the pro-oxidative effect. Their low volatility and low extractability provide for long-term protection. Differences between Polymers. The degree of required ozone protection varies with the type of rubber. Saturated elastomers need no antiozonant protection, because they have no sites for reaction with ozone. Rubbers such as EPDM, which have a low olefin concentration, need essentially no protection against the effects of ozone. Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) requires antiozonant, while NR and synthetic polyisoprene (IR) may require somewhat increased dosages of antiozonant. Nitrile rubber (NBR) is very difficult to protect against ozone attack. Antiozonant activity changes with time. For short periods of aging time, the dialkyl-pphenylenediamines are the most effective antiozonants, very closely followed by the alkyl/ aryl analogs, with the diaryl being less effective. However, with increased aging time, the order of effectiveness is completely reversed, as oxidation and reaction with ozone occur—another reason for using mixtures of antiozonants, i.e, to provide protection for an extended period of aging.

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Mechanisms for Protection against the Effects of Ozone Attack. The mechanism of antiozonant protection is still not fully understood. However, there are several theories, which detail the mechanism of protection by chemical antiozonants: inert barrier, competitive reaction, reduced critical stress, and polymer back-bone chain repair. The inert barrier theory says that a material that is nonreactive migrates to the surface and forms a physical barrier that prevents the ozone from reaching the reactive double bonds in the polymer. Waxes are thought to behave in this manner. According to the competitive-reaction or “scavenger” model, the antiozonant migrates to the surface of the rubber and then selectively reacts with ozone so that the rubber is not harmed until the antiozonant is consumed. A protective-film theory suggests, that after the antiozonant has done the above and behaved as a “scavenger,” the reaction products become an inert film. Any chemical antiozonant might function in both of these ways. There is much evidence to support the “scavenger” mechanism as the dominant one. There is also good support for the formation of a protective film. Surface films on rubber have been seen visually and microscopically. With partial removal of the film and reexposure to ozone, only the cleaned surface is degraded. According to the reduced critical stress theory, certain materials migrate to or near the rubber surface and modify the internal stress of the polymer such that cracks do not appear. Although this phenomenon is poorly understood, it is easy to observe. The use of increasingly higher levels of antiozonant raises the critical stress level required for cracks to form. The chain repair theories suggest that severed polymer chains (terminated by carboxy or aldehyde groups) can be relinked by reaction with the antiozonant or that the antiozonant reacts with the ozonide or zwitterion (carbonyl oxide) to give a low-molecularweight, inert, self-healing film. Either way, the antiozonant would be chemically linked to the rubber. However, the chain repair or self-healing film theories do not appear to be as strongly supported as the other theories. Ideal Antiozonants. An ideal antiozonant should be competitively reactive with ozone in the presence of carbon-carbon double bonds in the rubber-molecule backbone. However, it should not too reactive with ozone (or even oxygen) lest it not persist to give long-term protection. It should not react with sulfur accelerators or other ingredients in the cure package. It should be nonvolatile and persist at the surface of the rubber. In addition, the ideal antiozonant should not discolor the rubber. Unfortunately, an ideally active nonstaining chemical antiozonant has not yet been found.

4.5.3

Types of Vulcanizable Elastomers and their Applications

4.5.3.1 Natural Rubber (NR). Natural rubber, as stated above, was the first elastomer to be used in commercial applications. Although the polymer (cis-1,4-polyisoprene) occurs in over 200 plants, the rubber tree, hevea brasiliensis, is the source of essentially all that is used. The chemical structure of the polymer is given here:

There are two possible structures for poly-1,4,polyisoprene. Natural rubber structure is of the cis form. The trans forms (the structure of guta perch or balata gum) have higher melting point and higher glass transition temperatures (see below).

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The rubber is harvested from the tree in the form of a latex, the aqueous emulsion obtained from the tree by tapping into the inner bark and collected in cups attached to the trees. The latex itself can be used for the fabrication of rubber articles, but most of the NR is used as a dry raw rubber taken from the coagulated latex. There are many types and grades of the dry rubber. However, the Malaysian rubber industry produces standard NR grades that correspond to technical specifications. Their system is being followed by other producer countries, thus the designations SMR (Standard Malaysian Rubber), SIR (Standard Indonesian Rubber), SSR (Specified Singapore Rubber), SLR (Standard Lank Rubber), TTR (Thai Tested Rubber), and NSR (Nigerian Standard Rubber). Within a national standard type, there are grades that differ with respect to color, viscosity, molecular weight, and other qualities. NR contains small amounts of highly important nonrubber constituents, e.g., proteins, sugars, and fatty acids. Some of these nonrubber components are vulcanization activators, antidegradants, and, unfortunately, allergens. NR can be vulcanized by using any of a number of vulcanizing systems, e.g, accelerated sulfur, peroxide, phenolic (resole), quinonedioxime, and others. However, by far, accelerated sulfur systems are the most used. Properties. NR vulcanizates have a range of interesting properties. Individual properties of NR can be surpassed by those of synthetic rubbers, but the combination of high tensile strength, high resilience, good low-temperature flexibility, and low hysteresis and heat buildup is unique. In addition, the building tack and green strength of NR are unsurpassed by synthetic rubbers. Building tack is the ability for unvulcanized pieces of rubber to stick together during the building process, for example, for a tire, where plies and other components must adhere and “become one” before vulcanization. Green strength is the mechanical strength of the uncured polymer. It is high in the case of natural rubber because, even before vulcanization, natural crystallizes during straining. This property is likely also related to building tack, wherein there would be crystallization at the autoadhesive interface due to high local strains as one attempts to pull apart one component from the other. NR vulcanizates can be produced in a wide hardness range (Shore A 30 to that of hard rubber or ebonite). Due to its crystallization during strain, NR has high tensile strength even without reinforcing fillers (e.g., carbon black). Also, because of strain-induced crystallization, the tear resistance of NR vulcanizates is quite high. The ultimate elongation of a NR vulcanizate is generally between about 500 and 1100 percent. Also, NR vulcanizates have very good fatigue resistance (resistance to repeated strains, each one alone less than ultimate). With respect to elastic rebound, NR vulcanizates are surpassed only by those of BR. The heat resistance of NR is not good enough for many uses, and it is exceeded by many synthetic rubbers. It is affected by the choice of vulcanization system, vulcanization conditions, choice of protective agents, and even choice of filler. To obtain good aging resistance of NR vulcanizates, one must use protective agents in the compound and use relatively short curing cycles at relatively low temperatures. Because of its main-chain double bonds, unstabilized NR exhibits extremely poor resistance to atmospheric ozone. Its light-colored vulcanizates have poor resistance to

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weathering out of doors. All of this can be improved if antidegradants, carbon black, and waxes are used. Nevertheless, NR cannot compete with essentially saturated rubbers (containing few, if any, main-chain double bonds) such as EPDM, ACM, IIR, CSM, and so on. On the other hand, NR vulcanizates have very good low temperature flexibility. Here also, it is only surpassed by BR, which has a somewhat lower glass transition temperature, Tg. NR vulcanizates exhibit relatively low (favorable) values of compression set at ambient and somewhat higher temperatures. At lower temperatures, compression set is less favorable, possibly due to a tendency for the rubber to crystallize. At more elevated temperatures, poor heat resistance and cross-link rearrangement can have a detrimental effect on compression set. NR vulcanizates have very poor resistance to swelling in gasoline, mineral oils, and other nonpolar liquids, swelling as much as 1000 percent or more by volume. The resistance of NR vulcanizates to swelling by polar liquids such as water, alcohol, and others is very good. Uses. NR is used mostly in the form of solid rubber and to a lesser extent as latex. Minor amounts of NR are used in adhesives, rubber solutions (cements), art gum, and other products. A relatively small amount of NR is used in the production of hard rubber (a high-temperature reaction product of NR with about 30 weight percent of sulfur). Before the introduction of other rubbers or elastomers, all rubber products were produced from NR. Because of improved specific properties of many synthetic rubbers, NR has been replaced in many applications. This is especially true where resistance to heat and weathering, and oil and solvent resistance are required. There are also economic reasons for using other rubbers. The price of natural rubber can be high when demand is greater than what can be produced by the existing rubber trees. With the exceptions of tires and possibly a few other applications, NR is no longer the preferred elastomer. NR is well suited for tires because of its relatively low heat buildup, tearing resistance, low-temperature flexibility, fatigue resistance, and building tack. In addition to the above, NR is important in the production of thin-walled products such as surgical gloves, balloons, condoms, and so forth. Here, latex dipping is the method of shaping or forming. Because of its allergen content, the human-contact products are now threatened. Its low damping and high elasticity allow NR to be used for producing vehicle suspension elements and bumpers. An interesting suspension element is a building support to “tune” the structure to resist earthquakes. NR has also been used in supports for bridges. Early work in the 1950s on laminated rubber bearings for bridges, now used to accommodate bridge deck movements, gave rise to the development of bearings for the base isolation of whole buildings against ground-borne vibrations (e.g., underground railway systems). These, in turn, were further developed in the mid 1980s and 1990s for bearings to protect buildings against earthquakes. 4.5.3.2 Synthetic Polyisoprene (IR). Synthetic polyisoprene is similar to natural rubber in chemical structure and properties. Although it has lower green strength, lower hot tear, and inferior aging characteristics than NR, synthetic polyisoprene exceeds the natural types in consistency of product, processing, and purity. In addition, it has better mixing, extrusion, molding, and calendering characteristics. (Processing methods for vulcanizable rubbers are discussed in a later section.) The successful synthesis of stereoregular polyisoprene (IR) fulfilled a goal sought by polymer chemists for nearly a century. The polymer chains in the early synthetics contained mixtures of all possible molecular configurations joined together in a random fashion. Specifically, they lacked the very high cis-1,4 structure content of the natural rubber backbone that gives it the ability to undergo strain-induced crystallization.

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New types of catalyst systems that could selectively join together monomer units in a well ordered fashion were discovered in the 1950s. Shortly after the discovery of the breakthrough Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems for the polymerization of ethylene, stereospecific catalysts were developed for the polymerization of isoprene. This enabled the production of a nearly pure cis-1,4-polymer, the so-called “synthetic natural rubber.” In 1962, Goodyear introduced Natsyn®, a strain-crystallizable isoprene polymer with a cis-1,4content of 98.5 percent. Properties. Typical raw polymer and vulcanized properties of synthetic IR are similar to those of NR. Both exhibit good inherent tack, high compounded gum tensile strength (green strength), and good vulcanizate hysteresis (low values) and tensile properties. In synthetic IR, there is minimal variance in physical properties lot to lot, and there is a low concentration of nonrubber constituents compared to natural rubber. Because of the lower raw polymer viscosity of synthetic polyisoprene, part or the entire breakdown step normally used for natural rubber (premastication) might be eliminated. Synthetic polyisoprene is especially well suited for injection molded compounds. Because of its uniform cure rate. Time/temperature press cycles can be established with assurance that parts will be uniformly cured. Uses. Synthetic polyisoprene is used in a variety of applications requiring low water swell, high gum tensile strength, good resilience, high hot tensile strength, and good tack. Gum compounds based on synthetic polyisoprene are used in rubber bands, cut thread, baby bottle nipples, and extruded hose. Black-loaded compounds find use in tires, motor mounts, pipe gaskets, shock absorber bushings, and many other molded and mechanical goods. Mineral-filled systems find applications in footwear, sponge, and sporting goods. In addition, recent concerns about allergic reactions to proteins present in natural rubber have prompted increased usage of the more pure synthetic polyisoprene in some applications. Synthetic IR, converted to a latex, is used in the production of nonallergic gloves for medical and related uses. 4.5.3.3 Butadiene Rubber (BR). Polybutadiene rubber was originally produced by emulsion polymerization of 1,3-butadiene, generally with rather poor results. Now it is generally prepared by solution polymerization. Its general chemical structure is as follows:

The polymer is generally prepared in the presence of a stereo-specific catalyst system that can produce a polymer that contains in excess of 92 percent cis-1,4 structure. The cis and trans are shown here:

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A 1,2-polybutadiene structure also occurs as shown below.

The so-called “high cis” BRs generally contain a 93 to 97 percent cis-1,4 structure, 2 to 3 percent trans-1,4 structure, and 1 to 4 percent 1,2 structure. However, a wide variety of cis, trans, and 1,2-polymer content is possible. Because of its poor behavior on mills and certain poor (for tire) performance properties, BR is mostly used in blends with NR or SBR or with both of them. BR can be vulcanized by using the same types of curing systems as those used for NR. Properties. The ultimate tensile properties of BR vulcanizates with high cis-1,4 content are significantly lower than those of comparable NR or SBR vulcanizates. However, its blends with NR or SBR can give excellent properties. In addition, vulcanizate properties of NR or SBR are, in some respects, improved by blending with BR. Such blends have high abrasion resistance, high resilience, and good low-temperature flexibility (due to the very low glass transition temperature of the BR, i.e., around –90°C). Heat buildup and resistance to groove cracking in tire treads are also improved for NR and SBR in their blends with BR. Reversion resistance due to overcure and aging resistance of NR vulcanizates are improved when it is blended with BR. The rolling resistance of tires made from NR or SBR is reduced by the presence of increasing amounts of BR. This reduces the fuel consumption of vehicles on the road. However, the presence of BR gives rise to poor wet traction, but the presence of about 40 percent (of the polymer) BR gives improvements in ice traction. In addition, BR has a great tolerance for high levels of extender oil and carbon black. Uses. BR was first used largely in the blend of elastomers in tire treads to give improved abrasion resistance. Because of the emergence of radial tires, BR is largely used in tire carcasses, sidewalls and bead compounds. BR is important in winter tire treads because it gives improved ice traction that it confers. Over 90 percent of the BR production is used in tires. BR is also used in shoe soles and conveyor belts when there is a need for high abrasion resistance. BR is also used in compounds processed by injection molding because o its good flow properties. 4.5.3.4 Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR). SBR is produced by both emulsion and solution polymerization of mixtures of 1,3-butadiene and styrene. The general chemical structure of SBR polymers is as follows:

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Emulsion polymerization is done hot (about 50°C) or cold (about 5°C), depending on the selection of polymerization initiator. SBR prepared by emulsion polymerization (emulsion SBR or E-SBR) generally contains about 23 percent styrene-derived units, randomly distributed in the molecular polymer chains. SBR made by solution polymerization (solution SBR or S-SBR) has about the same styrene-derived unit content. Both random and block polymers can be made by solution polymerization. Both emulsion SBR and solution SBR are available in oil-extended versions (OE-SBR). These have as much as 50 parts of extender oil per 100 parts by weight of polymer (phr). E-SBR is available in Mooney viscosities (ML 1+4 100°C) ranging from about 30 to 120, corresponding to average molecular weights of about 250,000 to 800,000. It is supplied as dry gum, oil-extended or carbon-black-filled polymer. In some respects, the lower-viscosity grades are more easily processed, while the higher-viscosity grades have better green strength, accept higher filler and oil loadings, and tend to give less porous vulcanizates. Cold E-SBRs (those produced at the lower temperatures) contain less long-chain branching than do the so-called hot rubbers. An effect of this is that the cold-process rubbers generally can be more easily processed than the hot-process rubbers. SBRs can be vulcanized by the same types of systems as used for NR. As with NR, accelerated sulfur curing systems are, by far, the most used. Properties. The mechanical properties of E-SBR vulcanizates depend on the type and level of filler in the compound. Unfilled gum vulcanizates have very poor tensile strength and ultimate elongation, because the rubber lacks self reinforcing of the type found NR rubber vulcanizates, i.e., strain-induced crystallization. This inadequacy is offset by the addition of reinforcing fillers, i.e., carbon black or chemically coupled silica. At optimum loadings with reinforcing carbon black, mechanical properties similar to those of NR can be achieved. However, NR compounds exceed SBR compounds in tear strength because of NR’s strain-induced crystallization. Emulsion SBR vulcanizates have better aging, fatigue, and heat resistance than do those of NR. Antidegradants, however, are required for this. E-SBR vulcanizates, unlike those of NR, are reversion resistant. By using reinforcing fillers, one can achieve better abrasion resistance with E-SBR than with NR. In part, for these reasons, emulsion SBRs have replaced very much of NR. However, E-SBR vulcanizates are more hysteretic than those of NR and, thus, heat buildup during heavy duty flexing is a greater problem with ESBR than with NR. E-SBR vulcanizates are resistant to many polar solvents, dilute acids and bases, and so on. However SBR vulcanizates swell considerably in contact with oils, fats, gasoline, kerosene, and others. Random-distribution solution SBR vulcanizates are less hysteretic than are comparable vulcanizates of E-SBR. Also, solution polymers contain less nonrubber material. This is because there is absence of emulsifier (e.g., soap) during polymerization. During coagulation of the polymerized emulsion to obtain the rubber, fatty acids are formed. The presence of such fatty acid, in part, reduces the rate of vulcanization with respect to that of solution SBR compounds. The absence of such nonrubber components also reduces the electrical conductivity of S-SBR compounds compared to those of E-SBR. Vulcanizates of solution SBRs, having blocky monomer distributions, have very low brittleness temperatures due to the presence of relatively long polybutadiene chain segments. They have good elastic properties, low water adsorption, low electrical conductivity, and excellent abrasion resistance. Oil-extended SBR (OE-SBR) grades contain polymer of very high molecular weight. This enables the presence of high concentrations of oil with the maintenance of viscosities similar to those of nonoil-extended SBRs for easy processing.

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Uses. Emulsion SBRs are generally used in combination with BR in the production of car and light truck tires. Other applications include belting, shoe soles, hose, molded rubber goods, cable insulation, roll coverings, and so forth. Uses of various grades of E SBRs are shown in Table 4.12. Random solution SBR is used in blends with emulsion SBR to improve processability. Blocky S-SBR is used in hard shoe soles, roll coverings, and special mechanical goods. SBRs compete with NR, IR, and BR in many applications and as components in blends. 4.5.3.5 Butyl, Chlorobutyl, and Bromobutyl Rubbers (IIR, CIIR, and BIIR) Butyl Rubber (IIR). This polymer is produced by cationic copolymerization of isobutylene mixed with minor amounts of isoprene. Its molecules are 97 to 99.5 mole percent derived from isobutylene, the rest being derived from isoprene. Its structure can be represented as follows:

It is prepared by cationic copolymerization of isobutylene with minor amount of isoprene generally in the solvent methylene chloride with aluminum chloride as a catalyst or in hexane with a dialkyl aluminum chloride as catalyst at very low temperatures (–100 to –50°C). Average molecular weights of IIR are generally between 300,000 and 500,000. Properties of Butyl Rubber. Because it is a largely saturated polymer, it has good resistance against oxidation and ozonolysis. It also has a very low gas permeability. However, because of its low amount of unsaturation, butyl rubber is rather slow to vulcanize. It can be cured by sulfur, generally in the presence of fast accelerators (e.g., dithiocarbamates). It can be cured by quinone dioxime in the presence of the oxidant PbO2. Butyl rubber is also vulcanized by using the resin curing system (phenol/formaldehyde resoles, e.g., the product SP1045) in the presence of a Lewis acid activator (e.g, SnCl4), added or formed in situ, e.g. by the action of ZnO with a source of HCl, e.g., a halogenated polymer of a resole containing halomethylene groups (e.g., the product SP 1056). The heat resistance and resistance to weathering of IIR vulcanizates are excellent. Uses of Butyl Rubber. Butyl rubber is used in the manufacture of inner liners of tubeless tires, inner tubes, cable insulation, pharmaceutical stoppers, curing bags, and bladders for tire manufacture. When tires are in the molds for vulcanization, the inside of the tire is filled with a butyl rubber bag or bladder of steam under enough pressure to obtain the vulcanization temperature. This is possible only because of the good resistance of butyl rubber to heat and water. Chlorobutyl Rubber and Bromobutyl Rubbers (CIIR and BIIR). The addition of chlorine or bromine to IIR in an inert solvent (e.g., hexane) gives the facile attachment of one halogen atom per isoprene unit in the allylic position. Compared with IIR, the halogenated butyl rubbers have certain advantages. The cure reactivity is increased to give faster vulcanization rates, greater extents of vulcanization, and reduced reversion. Also, the halogenation improves the compatibility of the isoprene polymer with other types of rubber (e.g., NR) to make useful rubber-blend compositions possible.

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R F F F F R R F F R F F

1500

1502

1507

1509

1516

1573

1707

1712

1778

1609

1808

1843

86

48–58

61–68

49–55

49–55

49–55

115

40

30–35

30–35

50–52

50–52

NS

S

S

NS

S

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

S

Color

NAPH

HAR

HAR

NAPH

HAR

NAPH

Grade

Oil

15,0

47,5

5,0

37,5

37,5

37,5

PHR

N770

N330

N110

Grade

100

76

40

PHR

Carbon black

Uses

V-belts and other dynamic applications

Passenger tire treads, retreads, electrical products

Tire retreads

Same as 1707 and cable insulation

Passenger tire treads, belting, dark-colored rubber products

Light-colored and transparent hose, profiles, shoe soles, floor tiles

Injection and compression molded goods with high surface finish, brake and transmission pads, belting, adhesives

Cable and electricals

Light-colored technical rubber goods, for blends requiring good flow properties in injection molding or calendering

Passenger tire treads and mechanical rubber goods

R = resin acid, F = fatty acid blend, S = staining, NS = nonstaining, NAPH = naphthenic, HAR = highly aromatic oil

Emulsifier type

Mooney viscosity (ML 1+4 @ 100°C)

Uses of Emulsion SBRs

Emulsion SBR Grade

TABLE 4.12

ELASTOMERS

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Properties of Halobutyl Rubbers. Properties of vulcanizates are enhanced over those of IIR. BIIR vulcanizates have lower gas permeability, offer better ozone and weather resistance, and are faster curing than those of CIIR or IIR. The properties of CIIR are between those of BIIR and IIR. Uses of Chlorobutyl and Bromobutyl Rubbers. CIIR and BIIR are used in inner liners of tubeless tires with improved (over IIR) covulcanization (in blends) and adhesion to other components of the tires, in inner tubes for heavy-duty applications such as in truck and bus tires, and in belts, hoses, seals, injection molded parts, and pharmaceutical stoppers. 4.5.3.6 Ethylene-Propylene Rubbers (EPR and EPDM). Polyethylene, though it is a semicrystalline solid, has a very low glass transition temperature (about – 80°C). Polypropylene is also a semicrystalline solid with at glass transition temperature of about –10°C. Copolymers of similar amounts of ethylene and propylene are noncrystalline (or only slightly crystalline) and have glass transition temperatures of roughly the weight average between that of polyethylene and polypropylene (i.e., between –40 and –60°C). They are rubbery materials. The chemical structure of ethylene-propylene rubber can be expressed as follows:

Most EPR rubbers contain 40 to 80 percent by weight of monomer repeat units derived from ethylene. The grades containing the higher concentrations of ethylene-derived monomer units generally contain some crystallinity. Since EPR rubber molecules do not contain unsaturation, they can be vulcanized only by organic peroxide curing systems. If a third monomer is added during the polymerization, i.e., a diene monomer (wherein only one of the two double bonds takes part in the polymerization), unsaturation can be introduced into the molecule, and it can then be vulcanized by accelerated sulfur curing systems. A chemical structure for ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer (EPDM) rubbers can be expressed as follows:

The diene monomers are nonconjugated, and the double bonds are thus located in side groups of the polymer chains. Common third monomers are dycyclopentadiene (DCP), ethylidene norbornene (ENB), and trans-1,4-hexadiene (HX). EPDM rubbers are generally vulcanized by accelerated-sulfur systems. The amount of ter-monomer can range between about 2 and 10 percent. Higher concentrations of unsaturation give faster vulcanization and can give higher cross-link densities. The grades derived from HX vulcanize less rapidly than do the others. There are many types of commercially available EPDM rubbers. They differ with respect to ethylene/propylene monomer ratio, amount and selection of ter-monomer (unconjugated diene), molecular weight, molecular-weight distribution, viscosity, amount and type of extender oil (if present), processability, and other qualities.

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The high-viscosity (high-molecular-weight) EPDMs are generally sold with added extender oil. The amount of oil can be 100, 200, or more parts per 100 parts of rubber (phr). Properties of Ethylene-Propylene Rubbers. Elastic properties of EPR or EPDM are better than those of many synthetic rubbers, but hysteresis is not as good (low) as in the case of NR and BR. Resistance to compression set for EPR and EPDM vulcanizates is excellent. For EPDM, this is especially true in grades containing larger amounts of termonomer units derived from ENB. Fatigue resistance for EPDM vulcanizates is very good, comparable to that of SBR vulcanizates. The resistance to heat and aging of EP rubber vulcanizates is better that for NR SBR and NBR vulcanizates. Peroxide vulcanizates are notably resistant to oxidative heat aging. Also, these largely saturated polymers are very resistant to attack by ozone. Low-temperature flexibility and oil swelling properties of these elastomers are similar to those of NR. Electrical properties (insulating, dielectric breakdown, corona resistance, and so on) of ethylene-propylene rubbers are excellent. This is especially true for peroxide-cured EPR. Uses of Ethylene-Propylene Rubbers. EPDM and EPR vulcanizates are used in extruded profiles, cable insulation and jacketing, and roofing membranes. There are many automotive uses: radiator hose, door and trunk seals, insulation, jacketing, and others. These elastomers are also used in applications such as window and architectural profiles, dock fenders, and washing-machine hoses. In short, their applications are extensive and diverse. Ethylene-propylene rubbers may be the most versatile of general-purpose rubbers. In addition, EP rubbers are added to polyolefin plastics as impact modifiers and as components of certain thermoplastic elastomer compositions (e.g., thermoplastic vulcanizates, which are discussed later in this chapter). 4.5.3.7 Chloroprene or Neoprene Rubber (CR). Chloroprene rubber (poly-2-chlorobutadiene) is produced by the emulsion polymerization of 2-chlorobutadiene, in the presence of a free-radical initiator. Its general chemical structure can be represented as follows:

There are a number of commercially available grades of CR. They differ, for example, with respect to processability, mercaptan modification, polymerization temperature (effects tendency to crystallize), viscosity (processability), stabilizer, copolymerization with other monomers (crystallizability), gel content (effects processing), reactive groups (important for lattices), and so on. With increasing polymerization temperatures, there is less uniformity in chain structure due to incorporation of 1,2- and 3,4-structural units and different isomers in the monomer sequences. This reduces the rate of crystallization of the resulting polymers. If the structure is too regular, too much crystallization occurs for the production of rubber products, because they tend to harden very rapidly with loss of elasticity. Nevertheless, the extensively crystallizable CRs are useful in adhesive compositions. For general-purpose rubber applications, there are three grades: G, W, and T, with selected features to offer a range of processing, curing, and performance properties. CR compounds are vulcanized by metal oxides, i.e., ZnO. MgO is also present in the compound to somewhat retard the action of ZnO. Thioureas are used as accelerators. For low-water-absorption vulcanizates, PbO or Pb2O4 can be used as the vulcanizing agent.

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Accelerated sulfur vulcanization systems can be employed, but generally as components of mixed vulcanization systems containing both metal oxide and accelerated sulfur. Properties of Chloroprene Rubber Vulcanizates. Unfilled (nonreinforced) gum vulcanizates are much stronger for CR than for other synthetic rubbers (except for synthetic polyisoprene) because of the tendency for strain-induced crystallization (similar to the case of isoprene rubbers). Similarly, resistance to tearing is very good for CR vulcanizates. Because of the chlorine content, CRs are more flame resistant than other elastomers. However, when chlorinated polymers burn, they liberate great amount s of corrosive, toxic vapors. They are not used in areas where there is a strong need for safety. The stiffening of CR vulcanizates with cooling can be due to crystallization. Fillers have little effect on this, but ester-type plasticizers can greatly reduce the crystallization temperature. Because of the increased polarity of CR over other (i.e., hydrocarbon) rubbers, CR vulcanizates are sufficiently oil resistant for many uses. Also, CR vulcanizates are fairly resistant to chemicals such as concentrated alkalis, dilute acids, and aqueous salt solutions. CR is superior to NR or SBR as a barrier against gas permeation, but it does not exhibit as low permeability as do butyl rubbers, epichlorohydrin rubbers, or nitrile rubbers. Uses of CR. CR vulcanizates are used in many rubber products that are flame resistant, resistant to fats and oils, and resistant to weathering and ozone (when compounded with proper antidegradants). Products include moldings, extrusions, seals, hoses, rolls, belts, shoe soles, bearings, rubberized fabrics, linings, and cable jackets. However, in some areas, the use of CRs has been reduced by competition form nitrile rubbers (for better oil resistance) and EPDM compositions because of price. In contrast to the low crystallinity required for rubber products, crystallization is a great benefit for adhesives. In solution, crystallization doesn’t occur but, after drying, the adhesive film hardens rapidly due to crystallization. 4.5.3.8 Nitrile Rubber (NBR). Nitrile rubbers are copolymers of butadiene and acrylonitrile produced by emulsion polymerization. There are “hot” and “cold” polymerized types. The hot-polymerized types generally have the higher green strengths but are somewhat more difficult to process. The acrylonitrile monomer repeat units impart resistance to oil swelling. There are grades containing 18 to 50 percent acrylonitrile-derived backbone units. Glass transition temperatures and oil resistance increase with the nitrile content, the glass transition temperatures ranging from –38 to –2°C. An example of a structure for nitrile rubber can be given as follows:

Relatively small amounts of acrylic acid can be used in the monomer polymerization mix to give carboxylated nitrile rubber (X-NBR), whose polymer chains have carboxylicacid side groups. NBR can be partially or even completely hydrogenated (to eliminate carbon-carbon double bonds) in nonaqueous solution by using suitable catalysts (e.g., cobalt, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, or palladium complexes) to give hydrogenated nitrile rubbers (HNBRs). Completely saturated H-NBR grades are cross-linked with peroxides.

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Properties of Nitrile Rubbers. Used with reinforcing fillers, NBR vulcanizates of excellent mechanical properties are obtained. With proper compounding, a wide range of hardness grades are possible, with good resistance to compression set. Elastic properties of unplasticized NBRs are somewhat less favorable than those of NR or SBR. The use of ester-type plasticizers and non- or semireinforcing fillers can nevertheless give rise to compositions of good elasticity. The presence of reinforcing fillers can give abrasion resistance that is considerably better than that of comparable NR or SBR vulcanizates, and XNBR vulcanizates have extremely good abrasion resistance. The heat resistance of NBR vulcanizates is generally better than for vulcanizates of NR of SBR. With reduced amounts of oxygen, as in an oil environment, the heat aging resistance is even more impressive. The weather and ozone resistance of NBR vulcanizates is similar to that of NR vulcanizates, but antiozonants are somewhat less effective with NBR. Low-temperature flexibility improves with decreasing amounts of nitrile content but improves with increasing concentrations of ester-type plasticizers, e.g., adipate esters. Because nitrile rubbers are polar elastomers, their vulcanizates are very resistant to swelling in hot oil, gasoline, grease, and other nonpolar substances. The resistance to swelling in nonpolar oils, solvents, and so on, is improved greatly with increasing nitrile content. Here we see the need for compromises: increasing nitrile content improves oil resistance but reduces elasticity and set resistance and most severely reduces low-temperature flexibility. Plasticizers are very necessary to surmount this problem. NBR vulcanizates are less permeable to gasses than are NR and SBR, with permeability decreasing with increasing nitrile content. Permeability by gasoline vapors and the like, however, is very high. Nitrile rubber vulcanizates have a considerably higher electrical conductivity than do those of nonpolar elastomers and are, thus, not generally used in parts that require low electrical conductivities. Completely saturated HNBR vulcanizates have the excellent resistance to hot air and hot oils, and they have high resistance to oxidative and ozone attack. They have good resistance to sulfur-containing oils, sulfur and nitrogen-containing oil additives, and industrial chemicals in general. The fully saturated H-NBRs have very high tensile strength, good low-temperature flexibility, and good abrasion resistance. Unfortunately, H-NBRs are costly. Uses of Nitrile Rubbers. NBR vulcanizates are used where, in addition to good mechanical properties, good resistance to swelling in oils and resistance to abrasion are required. Typical uses are in seals, O-rings, packings for crank shafts and valves, membranes, bellows for coupling, hose, high-pressure hose, and others. NBRs are also used in oil-rig applications, roll coverings, conveyor belts, linings, containers, work boots, shoe soling, and so on. NBRs are also used in products for the food industry. Liquid grades of NBR, whose molecules contain reactive groups, are used to make liquid-cast elastomeric parts and used as impact modifiers for epoxy resins. NBR gloves are prepared by the latex dipping process. 4.5.3.9 Chlorinated Polyethylene (CM). Commercial grades of CM are produced by random chlorination of high-density polyethylene in aqueous suspension. Uniform chlorination of the polymer requires elevated temperatures for the reaction. The general chemical structure of CM can be represented as follows:

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The crystallinity of the polymer is greatly reduced by chlorination. The amount of crystallinity remaining depends on the extent of chlorination. Grades of CM with 25 percent chlorine are somewhat crystalline, because their backbones contain long polyethylene sequences and are harder than the noncrystalline grades. Grades containing 34 percent chlorine or more are not crystalline at all. Grades containing 35 percent chlorine have the lowest brittleness temperatures, in the range of about –40°C. Chlorination increases the polarity of the polymer and gives elastomers that are resistant to swelling in nonpolar fats, oils, solvents, and so forth. Because these elastomers contain no molecular double bonds, they are vulcanized by peroxides. As with other chlorine-containing elastomers, CM should be protected against dehydrohalogenation. This is done by the addition of MgO, lead compounds, epoxidized oils or epoxy compounds, or combinations of them. Properties of Chlorinated Polyethylene Vulcanizates. CM vulcanizates have good mechanical properties; low compression set; low brittleness temperatures; very good dynamic fatigue; excellent aging, weathering, and ozone resistance; fairly good hot oil resistance; good chemical resistance; flame resistance; and good color stability. Uses of Chlorinated Polyethylene Vulcanizates. CM is used in applications where aging resistance in hot air, oils, or chemicals is required and where good ozone, weathering, and flame resistance are required. Many such applications are in the wire and cable industry. 4.5.3.10 Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSM). CSM is produced by ultraviolet radiation of low-density polyethylene in an inert chlorinated solvent at 70 to 75°C in the presence of chlorine and sulfur dioxide. Its chemical structure can be represented as follows:

Commercial grades contain 25 to 43 percent chlorine and 0.8 to 1.5 percent sulfur randomly distributed along the polymer chains. Cure rates increase with increases in chlorosulfonation. Grades with low chlorine content (25 percent) are best for heat resistance and optimum electrical resistivity. Flame resistance increases with chlorine content. CSM was commercialized by Du Pont as Hypalon® rubber. CSM is more easily vulcanized than is CM. Polyvalent metal oxides, such as those of lead and magnesium, react in the presence of small amounts of acids (such as stearic) or sulfur vulcanization accelerators, e.g., TMTD or MBT. Properties of Chlorosulfonated Rubber Vulcanizates. Properties of CSM vulcanizates are very similar to those of CM vulcanizates. It has a combination of toughness, resistance against dry heat and weathering, ozone resistance, flame resistance, resistance to hot oils, corrosive chemicals, and so forth. Uses of Chlorosulfonated Rubber. CSM is used in applications similar to those of CM. It is used in automotive hoses, tubes, gaskets, electrical wire insulation (even in highvoltage power stations), industrial hoses, tank linings, coated fabrics, conveyor belting, and other applications. 4.5.3.11 Polysulfide Rubbers (TM). Polysulfide rubbers are produced in aqueous solution at 60°C by the polycondensation of aliphatic dihalides (e.g., ethylene dichloride, di-2chloroethyl formal, or di-2-chloroethyl ether) and alkali polysulfides, e.g., sodium tetra-

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sulfide. The polymer precipitates in the form of small particles that are washed, coagulated, and dried. By varying the organic dihalide and the alkali polysulfide, a wide variety of products can be obtained. A general chemical structure for these rubbers can be given as follows:

where R is a divalent organic radical. There has been some question as to whether the sulfur atoms are connected one to another, in a row, as:

or in some other conformation such as:

where the sulfide rank (i.e., the subscript x) is about 4. The polysulfide rubbers have been commercial products for a longer time than any other synthetic rubber (since 1929). The products are sold as Thiokol® rubbers in the following grades: • Thiokol A, where the dihalide is ethylene dichloride • Thiokol ST, where the dihalide is di-2-chloroethyl formal • Thiokol FA, where the dihalide is a mixture of di-2-chloroethyl formal and ethylene dichloride Type A was the first commercial grade but has been largely superseded by type FA. Type ST is prepared with a small percentage of 1,2,3 trichloropropane to provide a branch point for improving the cure state, thus reducing compression set. It has a lower molecular weight than Thiokol A or FA, and its molecules contain mercaptan, -SH, groups. There is another type, Thiokol LP, grades of which are liquid polymers used in sealant and mastic applications. They are formed by breaking down a high-molecular-weight polymer in a controlled way. These grades also have mercaptan end groups. Both Thiokol A and FA require peptization (e.g., in the presence of MBT or DPG) to enable easy processing. Types A and FA can be cured by the addition of ZnO alone at about 10 phr. Additions of small amounts (up to 1 phr) of sulfur accelerate the curing. Properties of Polysulfide Rubbers. Vulcanizates of polysulfide elastomers are better than all other elastomers with respect to resistance to aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, and to ketones. They have good weather and ozone resistance, and they are relatively inexpensive. However, they have somewhat lower level of mechanical properties and particularly poor compression set. Uses of Polysulfide Rubbers. Polysulfide elastomers are used in roller covering applications, hose liners, and solvent- and oil-resistant molded goods. The sealants are used in construction and in aerospace industries.

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4.5.3.12 Epichlorohydrin Elastomers (CO, ECO, and ETER). Amorphous polymers, which have the structure of polyethylene ether with chloromethyl side groups, are obtained by a ring-opening polymerization of epichlorohydrin. These elastomers, having relatively high glass transition temperatures, are designated CO and have the general chemical structure given here:

By copolymerization with ethylene oxide, copolymers, designated ECO and having lower glass transition temperatures, of the following general structure are obtained:

Also, terpolymers, designated ETER and having sulfur-curable functionality, have been prepared. The ring-opening polymerization, catalyzed by Al(alkyl)3/water, can be carried out in aliphatic, aromatic, or chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents or in ethers at somewhat elevated temperatures. CO and ECO are vulcanized without sulfur. Rather, they are generally cured by the action of thioureas or triazines in the presence of acid acceptors such as MgO or dibasic lead phosphite. The terpolymers can be cured by accelerated sulfur or peroxide curing systems as well as by the action of thioureas, and so on. Properties of Epichlorohydrin Rubbers. The hom*opolymer CO has the highest polarity, the highest vulcanization rate, and best resistance to heat and oil swelling, but the poorest low-temperature flexibility. Gas permeability is low, and flame resistance is very good. ECO, or terpolymers, having fewer chloromethyl groups, compromise the good properties of CO in exchange for improvements in low-temperature flexibility. Unvulcanized epichlorohydrin rubbers tend to stick to mill rolls and are difficult to process unless processing aids are added to their compounds. Because the backbones of the molecules of these rubbers are saturated, ozone and oxidation resistance are very good. The average molecular weight of a CO is about 500,000 or more, corresponding to Mooney viscosities (ML1+4, 100°C) in the range of 45 to 70. ECO and ETER vulcanizates exhibit damping characteristics similar to those of NR vulcanizates but better high-temperature resistance than NR. Uses of Epichlorohydrin Rubbers. Because of their properties and moderate price, epichlorohydrin rubbers are used in automotive applications such as seals, gaskets, hoses, and tubing. They are also used in coated fabrics and roll covers. 4.5.3.13 Acrylic Rubbers (ACMs). Polar elastomers are obtained by the copolymerization of acrylate esters with monomers, which contain reactive sites for cross-linking reactions to take place during vulcanizations. The general chemical structure for ACM rubbers is as follows:

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where R is ethyl or butyl (or mixtures thereof), and Q is a reactive moiety for cross-linking. The subscript x is much larger than the subscript y (e.g., 30 times larger). ACM is generally produced by emulsion polymerization in the presence of a free-radical initiator. The polymerization is initiated by organic peroxides or azo compounds. Potassium persulfate or redox systems are also used. The incorporation a comonomer gives the reactive site Q. Examples of reactive groups for vulcanization are as follows:

corresponding to the comonomers 2-chloroethyl vinyl ether, vinyl chloroacetate, chloromethyl acrylate, allyl glycidyl ether, and N-methylolacrylamide, respectively. The later monomer is used in acrylic rubbers for latex applications. The choice of acrylate ester determines the glass transition temperature. It also determines the oil swelling and heat resistance of the vulcanizates. Poly(ethyl acrylate) is more polar than is poly(butyl acrylate), and it is more oil resistant than is the poly(butyl acrylate), but it has a glass transition temperature, Tg, of –21°C versus –49°C for poly(butyl acrylate). Mixed ethyl and butyl ester polymerizates are elastomers of intermediate properties. The type and level of cure-site bearing comonomer, because it is used at low levels, has little influence on the oil swelling, heat resistance, and low-temperature flexibility. Instead, it determines the cure behavior and cross-link density. Thus, it has effects on mechanical properties, elasticity, and permanent set. Older grades of ACM are being replaced because of their poor vulcanization characteristics. New grades, prepared with undisclosed commoners, are much more rapidly vulcanized and give excellent properties without postcure (e.g., in an oven, as required for earlier grades). The selection of the reactive group determines the choice of vulcanization system. Chlorine groups require amines, sulfur, and accelerators or combinations of metal soaps and sulfur. Glycidyl groups are cured with ammonium benzoate or dicarboxylic acids. ACMs with methylolacrylamide groups are mixed with those containing unmethylolated

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acrlylamide groups. With heat, the mixtures spontaneously cross-link by splitting off water to form methylene-bisamide bridges between polymer chains. This system is used in latex applications. ACM compounds are difficult to process and processing aids must be used, e.g., stearic acid, zinc soaps, fatty alcohol residues, octadecylamine, or pentaerythritol tetrastearate. This later processing aid does not affect vulcanization characteristics, whereas the others retard or accelerate vulcanization. Properties of Acrylic Rubbers. The ultimate tensile properties of ACM vulcanizates are not as good as those of NR or NBR, but the tensile properties are sufficient for their applications. ACM grades can be used under certain conditions for 1000 hr at 160 to 170°C. ACM vulcanizates can withstand exposures of 1000 hr in oil at 150°C. In addition, ACM vulcanizates are very resistant to degradation by the action of ozone. ACM vulcanizates are very resistant to swelling in animal, vegetable, and mineral oils, but not motor fuels. ACM grades based on ethyl acrylate, without plasticizers, have a brittleness temperature of –18°C. The addition of plasticizers or the use of the butyl acrylate-based elastomers (or both) can give a brittleness temperature of –40°C. Uses of Acrylic Rubbers. The main uses of ACM are in automotive and engineered products. Applications include seals and O-rings (for crankshafts, automatic and differential transmissions, valves, and so on) and oil hose. ACM vulcanizates are also used for roll coverings, tank linings, and fabric covering. 4.5.3.14 Urethane Elastomers (AU and EU). One can prepare polymers with a variety of chemical structures and physical properties by reacting a great variety of low-molecular-weight compounds or oligomers with diisocyanates. The introduction of polyurethanes made it possible to produce a range of materials from hard plastics to soft rubbers and polymers with properties between these extremes. Before the introduction of polyurethanes, tough, useful polymers with properties between those of rubbers and plastics were not known. Polyurethane chemistry enables the tailor-making of materials of specific properties by changing the chemical starting materials, their concentrations, and the processing conditions. Liquid and viscous reactants permit processing techniques such as reaction injection molding, which have led to many new applications that will not be discussed. Here, we are concerned with polyurethane-technology polymers, which can be processed and cured by using conventional mixing, shaping, and vulcanization processes of the general rubber industry. These have been called millable polyurethane elastomers. Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers, which will be considered in a later section, have been designated TPUs. To produce the millable polyurethane elastomers, one can bring diisocyanate molecules into reaction with oligomeric hydroxyl-terminated polyesters or polyethers and lower-molecular-weight diols (e.g., 1,4-butanediol). The ester-derived elastomers are designated AU, while the ether-derived materials are designated EU. An illustrative chemical structure is given here, where toluene diisocyanate was used:

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The molecules are segmented block copolymers. The hardness, toughness, and abrasion resistance increase with increases in the length or concentration of hard polyurethane segment. Cross-link sites are urethane active hydrogen atoms, active methylene groups (e.g., from the use of a diisocyanate such as methylenebis(4-phenylisocyanate), or allylic hydrogen atoms from double bonds incorporated into for vulcanization by sulfur. Isocyanates and peroxides are the usual vulcanizing agents for AU elastomers. Sulfur vulcanization, which can be done with some grades, is far less prevalent. Antidegradants are not generally required for AUs. Polyurethane elastomers can be degraded by the action of water. EU grades are generally more resistant to hydrolysis than are the AU grades. Thus, hydrolysis inhibitors are important, especially for the AU grades. Polycarbodiimides are use for this purpose. AU grades are frequently compounded with filler. A small amount of a reinforcing black or fumed silica can considerably improve tear strength and increase hardness. Properties of Polyurethane Vulcanizates. Polyurethane vulcanizates can exhibit ultimate tensile strengths as high as 40 MPa. Hardnesses are generally high, ranging from 70 to 99 Shore A. Vulcanizates have high degrees of elasticity, even at the higher levels of hardness. Abrasion resistance is better than that of other rubber vulcanizates. However, compression set is relative high when measured at elevated temperatures. The vulcanizates have relatively good resistance to heat at temperatures up to about 100°C or a bit higher. However, they are attacked by water, steam, acids, and bases, as well as by some lubricants. Except for in tropical climates, weathering resistance is good. Ozone resistance of the vulcanizates is excellent. The brittleness temperatures of polyurethane rubber vulcanizates generally range between –22 and –35°C. The vulcanizates swell very little in aliphatic solvents and motor fuels. Their swelling resistance to polar liquids (e.g., chlorinated hydrocarbon, esters, and ketones), however, is not as good. The harder grades generally exhibit the better resistance to swelling. The gas permeability of polyurethane elastomer vulcanizates is very low, on the order of that of butyl rubbers. Uses of Polyurethane Vulcanizates. Polyurethane elastomers are used in the automotive and engineered products industries for seals, shock absorbers, power-transmission flexible joints, and suspension and support members. Polyurethane vulcanizates are also used in solid tires, elastic thread, footwear, and others. Problems with hydrolytic stability and resistance to heat must be considered when one uses these vulcanizates. 4.5.3.15 Polysiloxane or Silicone Rubber (Q). The polymer backbones of silicone rubbers contain no carbon atoms, but they contain alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. The predominate structural unit is generally dimethylsiloxane, as follows:

Polydimethylsiloxane is designated MQ. Another repeat unit is the phenylmethylsiloxane diradical (PMQ):

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which can be used along with the dimethylsiloxane repeat units. A third type of repeat unit, which contains a vinyl group (VMQ), can be used to improve curing characteristics:

The starting material for the production of polydimethylsiloxane (MQ) is dimethyldichlorosilane, which, in the presence of acid, is hydrolyzed and subsequently condenses with the elimination of water to give a mixture of straight-chain and cyclic oligo-dimethylsiloxanes. A second step is needed to convert the reaction mixture to high-molecularweight polymer. High-temperature-vulcanizable grades of MQ have average molecular weights in the range of about 300,000 to 700,000. (The room-temperature-vulcanizable grades used for calking and adhesives have much lower molecular weights, in the range of about 10,000 to 100,000. These polymers are not discussed here.) The high-temperature-vulcanizable grades have broad molecular weight distributions and high viscosity-average molecular weights. Yet, they have very low viscosities in the unvulcanized state. Properties of Silicone Rubbers. Gum vulcanizates have essentially no tensile strength. Fillers are therefore essential. Reinforcing silicas are frequently used. Even then, the tensile properties and abrasion resistance of silicone rubber vulcanizates are poor in comparison with of other types of elastomer. However, the properties change very little with increasing temperatures. These polymers excel in high-temperature applications. Silicone rubber vulcanizates withstand long-term exposure to hot air at temperatures as high as 180 to 250°C. They remain elastic for 1000 hr at such temperatures. However, high-temperature (120 to 140°C) steam attacks silicone rubbers. The vulcanizates are very resistant to weathering and ozone attack and be used in hoses to convey ozone gas. These materials are also resistant to high-energy radiation. MQ and VMQ elastomers stiffen only below –50°C, but some PVMQ vulcanizates are flexible even at temperatures below –100°C, and this is without plasticizers. The oil swelling resistance of silicone elastomer vulcanizates is similar to that of chloroprene rubber vulcanizates. Silicone elastomers are resistant to certain heat transfer fluids but not to motor fuels, chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, ketones, and ethers. Silicone elastomers are very permeable to gases—generally about 100 times more so than are butyl or nitrile rubbers. Silicone rubbers are good electrical insulators and remain so at temperatures up to 180°C.

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These polymers resist burning and ignite in air only at temperatures of about 400°C or more. When they do burn, relatively sturdy silica structures form, which are good insulators and are functional in wire insulation, even for a short time, in fire. Uses of Silicone Rubbers. Because of their high cost, silicone elastomers are used only in applications where other elastomers fail. They are mainly used in applications requiring high heat resistance and extreme low-temperature flexibility. These elastomers are used in the electrical, electronic, aerospace, automotive, mechanical equipment, lighting, cable, and textile industries. They are also used in pharmaceutical and medical applications for components in contact with food. They are now used in high-temperature cooking utensils (e.g., scrapers and spatulas). Silicone elastomers are used in the automotive industry in such applications as ignition cables, coolant and heater hoses, O-rings, and seals. In aircraft applications, they are used in seals, connectors, cushions, and hoses. In home applications, they are used in O-rings, seals, and gaskets. There are also uses in naval and other applications. 4.5.3.16 Fluoroelastomers (FKMs). Fluoroelastomers can be prepared by co- or terpolymerization of the following monomers:

Hexafluoropropylene

Tetrafluoroethylene

1-Hydropentafluoropropylene

Perfluoro(methyl vinyl ether) An example of such a copolymer is given by the chemical structure shown here:

Other comonomers such as vinylidenefluoride and chlorotrifluoroethylene are used, generally in smaller amounts. In addition, some fluoroelastomers incorporate brominecontaining curing-site monomers and can be vulcanized with peroxides. Fluoroelastomers are prepared by emulsion polymerization at elevated temperatures in the presence of peroxides as initiators. Different grades (prepared from different monomer mixtures) require different types of vulcanization chemistry, with different curing systems. Examples of curing agents are (1)

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hexamethylenediamine with MgO, CaO red lead, or ZnO/dibasic lead phosphite as acid acceptors, (2) bisphenol A/organophosphonium salt with MgO/calcium hydroxide as acid acceptor, and (3) organic peroxides for certain grades, again with acid acceptors. FKM elastomers are available in a range of different viscosities. Properties of Fluoroelastomers. FKM elastomers can have reasonably low glass transition temperatures, in the range of –18 to –40°C. The tensile properties of fluoroelastomers vulcanizates are fairly good but can decrease considerably with increasing temperatures. FKM vulcanizates have excellent heat resistance, giving continuous service for 1000 hr at 220°C. Useful service is even possible at 250°C. These elastomers are also highly resistant to weathering and ozone attack. FKM vulcanizates are resistant to swelling in hot oils and aliphatic compounds. They also are resistant to aromatics, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and motor fuels. In addition, they are very resistant to most mineral acids. The gas-permeability resistance of FKM vulcanizates even exceeds that of butyl rubber vulcanizates. Uses of Fluoroelastomers. FKM elastomers are expensive, but their demand is high because of their unusual stability in very severe environments. They are used in specialty products, e.g., shaft seals of internal combustion engines, and components in aircraft and rockets. Products include seals, gaskets, liners, hoses, protective fabric coatings, diaphragms, roll covers, and cable jacketing. 4.5.4

Fillers, Plasticizers, and Other Compounding Ingredients

In addition to polymers, vulcanization-system ingredients, and antidegradants, other compounding ingredients include fillers, pigments, plasticizers, reinforcing resins, processing aids, flame retarders, and others. 4.5.4.1 Fillers. Fillers for elastomers are not generally used just to fill space and cheapen the compositions. They are very important to modify the properties of rubber compositions in very positive ways. This is especially true for the so-called reinforcing fillers. Their presence in the compound can improve the strength- and durability-related properties of vulcanizates and can strongly enhance processing characteristics. The choice and amount of filler can have a profound effect on vulcanizate properties. These effects depend on several factors: level of use (concentration), primary particle size, surface area (inverse function of primary particle size), and structure (shape factor, e.g., spherical, chain or rod-like, plate-like, and so forth). One can produce soft natural rubber vulcanizates or chloroprene rubber vulcanizates with good strength-related properties because of their tendency to crystallize during deformation. This is not true for most of the synthetic elastomers (e.g., SBR, BR, IIR, EPDM, and others), which do not significantly crystallize due to strain. It is only with the use of reinforcing fillers that serviceable vulcanizates can be made from such elastomers. Reinforcing fillers even improve many properties of the crystallizing rubbers. In addition to increasing the stiffness, hardness, and modulus of a vulcanizate, the presence of a reinforcing filler increases properties such as tensile strength, abrasion resistance, and tear resistance. (Other properties, such as rebound or resilience, can be reduced.) The major types of fillers (in the approximate descending order of their amounts used in the market) are carbon black, silica, kaolin clay, and calcium carbonate. These probably account for 95 percent of the filler used in rubber vulcanizates. Reinforcement. There is little agreement on the mechanism for reinforcement of elastomers by fillers in elastomer vulcanizates. Some investigators believe that chemical

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bonding between rubber molecules and filler particles is necessary. Others believe that no chemical bonding is necessary. Others feel that the truth is somewhere in between these two views. It is possible that weaker-than-primary-chemical bonding occurs. If the elastomer molecules are bonded in such a fashion that bonds are easily broken during deformation but rapidly reform during the same process, significant energy dissipation will occur (and heat will evolve) with an increase of the energy to rupture the rubber. The restraint of the polymer chains due to even the weak bonding would cause increases in stiffness and modulus, over and above that due to the presence of a significant volume of nondeformable material. The bonding of rubber to filler explains the fact that reinforcing fillers give steeper stress-strain curves at elongations greater than about 100 to 200 percent. In the absence of any bonding, elastomer would be peeled away from the filler particle surfaces in a dewetting process. One measure of reinforcement is the ratio of stress at 300 percent tensile strain to that at 100 percent tensile strain, the ratio being higher for well reinforced elastomers. The measurements are made during the standard stress-strain test. The changes that occur during strain give rise to what is known as the Mullins effect or Mullins softening. When a filler-reinforced vulcanizate is prestretched and then relaxed, the force to stretch it again is less than for the unprestretched sample, but only up the strain used in the prestretch. At higher strains, the stress-strain curve resumes that of the unprestretched specimen. This implies breakage or movement of rubber-filler bonds during stretching. After aging, the prestretched sample reverts to the nonprestretched state. Particle Size, Surface Area, and Structure. Fillers with primary particle sizes greater than 10 µm act as flaws, which can initiate rupture during flexing, bending, or stretching. Fillers with primary particle sizes between 1 and 10 µm are diluents, usually having only small effects on vulcanizate properties. Semireinforcing fillers, with primary particle sizes ranging between 0.1 and 1 µm (between 100 and 1000 nm), can improve the strength of vulcanizates and increase modulus and hardness. Fillers of primary particle sizes ranging between 10 and 100 nm greatly improve strength, tearing resistance, wearing resistance, and other qualities. The reason for using the phrase, “primary particle size,” is that, in many cases (e.g., silica or carbon black fillers), during manufacture, first essentially spherical primary particles are formed, which coalesce into aggregates. The aggregates are in the form of compact structures, chains, or branched chains of high shape factor, i.e., high structure. Various types of fillers are classified according to type and primary particle size in Fig. 4.26. Types of structures formed from aggregated primary particles are illustrated by Fig. 4.27. Fillers that have very small primary particle sizes have high surface area per unit weight of filler. Fillers that have high surface area have larger amounts of contact area available for interaction and bonding with the elastomeric matrix polymer. The average particle diameter of a filler sample can be directly determined by electron microscopy where, for example, 1000 to 1500 single particles are measured under magnifications from 50 to 75,000. Particle-size distributions are then determined. From the average primary particle diameter, a theoretical total surface area can be calculated, assuming spherical particle shapes. This does not account for the aggregate structure or porosity. Another method to determine surface area (per 100 g of filler) is by measuring the absorption of a gas of small atoms, e.g., nitrogen. The gas penetrates the finest crevices. According to the nitrogen adsorption method developed by Brunauer, Emmett and Teller, one obtains the so-called BET-value of surface area, expressed as m2/g. Structure can be thought of as degree of difference from a spherical shape. It is similar to shape factor. High structure aggregates are in the form of chains, branched chains, and so on. We note that some of this aggregate structure can break down during processing due to the development of high stress on the structures.

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FIGURE 4.26 Types of fillers.

FIGURE 4.27 Particle size and structure.

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High-structure fillers give rise to reduced elasticity in the uncured state. Unfilled elastomers, when extruded in the uncured state (e.g., during processing) expand or swell when they leave the extruder die (have memory or nerve). Along with this die swell is a shortening of the extruded profile. It is called extrusion shrinkage. Extrusion shrinkage is greatly reduced by fillers, especially those of high structure. Also, as the structure of the filler increases, the viscosity of the uncured composition or the stiffness of the vulcanizate increases. This is because the higher-structure fillers immobilize more of the elastomer during its straining in either the cured or uncured state. The amount of structure is measured by using the dibutyl phthalate (DBP) absorption method. Small amounts of DBP (a nonvolatile liquid) are added to dry filler until a noncrumbling paste is obtained. The DBP absorption is expressed in ml of DBP per 100 g filler. Filler Surface Activity. A filler can have high surface area and high structure and still give poor reinforcement if its surface does not interact at all with the elastomeric matrix. For example, carbon black, which is a highly effective reinforcing filler, loses much of its reinforcing effect if it is graphitized. During the graphitization processing (high-temperature heating in the absence of reactive gases such as air), most of the reactive chemical functional groups are removed from the particulate surfaces. A way to infer the activity of a filler toward an elastomer is to measure so called “bound rubber.” When an uncured elastomer-filler mixture is extracted with a solvent (e.g., toluene), then the gel-like elastomer, which is bound to filler, cannot be dissolved, whereas the rest of the elastomer is soluble and is extracted away from the gel-like mixture. The more the bound rubber, the more active the filler is assumed to be. In the case of carbon black, chemical functional groups on the filler that may have some relation to reinforcement include carboxyl, lactone, quinone, hydroxyl, and so forth. These are located at the edges of graphitic planes. 4.5.4.2 Carbon Black. Carbon black has been used in rubber compounds for well over a 100 years. First, there was lamp black, produced by the deposition from oil flames onto china plates. It was used as a black pigment. Then, channel blacks (formed by exposing an iron plate to a natural gas flame and collecting the deposited soot) were used as reinforcing fillers in 1910. More recently, furnace black (produced industrially from petroleum oil in a furnace by incomplete combustion in an adjustable and controllable process) was introduced. Thermal carbon blacks are generally produced from natural gas in preheated chambers without air. They are essentially nonreinforcing fillers that improve tensile strength only slightly. However, they give only moderate hardness, even at high loadings, and their compounds are easily processed. Furnace blacks are the main types used today. ASTM designations, the older nomenclature, particle size, surface area, and structure of some blacks are given in Table 4.13. The first letter of the ASTM classification indicates the expected type of cure rate for the compound as below: • N for normal cure rate (indicates that the compounds will cure at a normal rate) • S for slow cure rate The letters N and S correspond, respectively, to the furnace blacks and channel types. The first digit indicates particle size ranges as follows: • 1 for 10 to 19 nm • 2 for 20 to 25 nm • 3 for 26 to 30 nm

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TABLE 4.13

Furnace blacks

Colloidal Properties of Rubber-Grade Carbon Blacks

Abbrev.

N110

SAF

Super abrasion furnace

21

113

N220

ISAF

Intermediate abrasion furnace

23

115

28

72

N326

Thermal blacks Channel blacks

• • • • • •

Common name

DBP Particle absorption, size, nm mil/100 g

ASTM classification

HAF-LS High abrasion furnace, low structure

N330

HAF

High abrasion furnace

29

101

N550

FEF

Fine extrusion furnace

50

120

N660

GPF

General-purpose furnace

62

91

N770

SRF

Semireinforcing furnace

66

75

N880

FT

Fine thermal

150

52

N990

MT

Medium thermal

400

40

S301

MPC

Medium processing channel

27

72

S300

EPC

Easy processing channel

32

75

4 for 31 to 39 nm 5 for 40 to 48 nm 6 for 49 to 60 nm 7 for 61 to 100 nm 8 for 101 to 200 nm 9 for 201 to 500 nm

The second and third digits are arbitrary. Carbon blacks of the smaller, and mid-sized primary particles are extremely good reinforcing fillers. They are the most used. At optimum loading, the finer the particle size (the higher the surface area per gram of carbon black), the higher the tensile strength, the higher the tear strength, and the higher abrasion resistance—however, the greater the difficulty of dispersion and the higher the cost of the carbon black. Carbon blacks are typically used at levels of about 50 parts by weight per 100 parts of the rubber and extender and plasticizers combined. That is, for a recipe containing 100 parts of elastomer and 30 parts of extender oil, 65 parts of carbon black could typically be used. Adjustment changes in hardness (i.e., to meet specific specifications) are easily made by, for example, increasing the carbon black level or reducing the extender oil level to increase hardness. A rough idea of how vulcanizate properties change with carbon black loading is given by Fig. 4.28. 4.5.4.3 Silica. Silicas are highly active, light-colored fillers. The most important silicas for the rubber industry are prepared by precipitation, wherein alkali silicate solutions are acidified under controlled conditions. The precipitated silica is washed and dried. Colloidal silicas of very high surface area (small primary particles) are produced by this method.

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FIGURE 4.28 Vulcanizate properties as a function of carbon black loading.

Silicates (e.g., calcium or aluminum silicates) are not as active as fillers as are the silicas. Colloidal silicas can also be prepared by the so called pyrogenic process, wherein silicon tetrachloride is hydrolyzed at high temperatures as follows: SiCl4 + 2 H2O → SiO2 + 4 HCl This process produces very finely divided silicas, important as fillers for silicone rubbers. All precipitated silicas and silicate fillers contain some water. Since the water content can influence processing and vulcanizate properties, it is necessary to control the amount of water present during processing and packaging. As with carbon blacks, silica fillers are characterized on the basis of primary particle size and specific area. The smallest observable single filler particles (primary) have diameters of about 15 nm. The surface forces of the primary filler particles are so high that thousands of them agglomerate to form extremely robust secondary particles that cannot be broken apart. These secondary particles further agglomerate to form chain-like tertiary structures, many of which can be more or less degraded by shear forces. Determination of surface areas is done using the BET nitrogen absorption method. As with carbon blacks, precipitated silicas are classified with respect to structure by the degree of oil absorption. Typical values of oil absorption for various silicas are as follows: • For very high structure silica, >200 ml/100g • For high structure silica, 175 to 200 ml/g • For medium structure silica, 125 to 175 ml/g

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• For low structure silica, 75 to 125 ml/g • For very low structure silica, and < symbols.62 A number of manufacturers are using the ISO codes on a variety of other types of products as well. For example, Hewlett Packard requires use of the ISO codes on all parts weighing 25 g or more if adequate space is available and the functionality of the part is not impaired. Inclusion of the codes on smaller parts is strongly encouraged. The preferred method is to mold the marking into the part, on an interior surface.63 ASTM International also has a standard for plastics identification, D1972, “Standard Practice for Generic Marking of Plastic Products.” It provides for a triangle with the resin identification below. For the most part, standard resin abbreviations are used; these are tabulated in the standard. Copolymers and blends are identified with the two base polymers separated by a slash.64 8.3.6

Automated Macrosorting Systems

Much macrosorting, such as separating PET bottles from HDPE bottles, nylon carpet from polyester carpet, and so on, is still done by hand, often by workers picking materials off conveyor belts and placing them in the appropriate receptacle. However, mechanized means of sorting to make the process more economical and reliable continue to become more prevalent. The various devices commercially available to separate plastics by resin type typically rely on differences in the absorption or transmission of certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, on machine vision systems that recognize materials by shape or color, or on some combination thereof. Many of these systems can separate plastics by color as well as by resin type. These sorting systems can be divided into singulated-feed and mass-feed systems. In a singulated-feed system, objects are fed individually to the sensor, which then identifies each object (such as a plastic bottle) by type and directs it to the appropriate stream. In a mass-feed system, the recycling stream is spread out in a single layer across a wide belt. Singulated-feed systems can operate with a single sensor, although multiple lines (and therefore multiple sensors) are often required to increase capacity. The sort purity rate is typically 98 to 99 percent. In a mass-feed system, a separate sensor is required for each type of plastic to be sorted. A second sensor in a series can be used to increase the sorting purity. If a second sensor is not used, manual quality control is required as the final step. Such systems typically generate a purity of 90 to 95 percent, somewhat lower than singulated-feed systems.65 The Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) of Mississauga, ON, and Corporations Supporting Recycling commissioned a study of plastic sorting technologies in 2002. An update to the original study was released in 2005. It reported that the main manufacturers of mass-feed plastic bottle sorting equipment for the North American market

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were Magnetic Separation Systems (MSS), National Recovery Technologies Inc. (NRT), Pellenc Selective Technologies Inc., S&S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, and TiTech.66 Magnetic Separation Systems (MSS) of Nashville, TN, developed a system that sorts two to three plastic bottles per second, separating by resin type and color, using four sensors and seven computers. X-ray transmission is used to detect PVC, an infrared light high-density array separates clear from translucent or opaque plastics, a machine vision color sensor identifies bottle color (even ignoring the label), and a near-infrared spectrum detector identifies resin type.67 A later MSS high-capacity plastic bottle separator uses a single sensor for both color and resin identification.68 According to the EPIC report, the MSS Sapphire model can sort specific plastic resins, aseptic cartons, paper, and mixed plastics from a commingled stream of mixed plastics and paperboard, with the material positioned in a single layer on a conveyor. The system uses a combination of near-infrared detectors, high-speed microprocessors, and air jets. It cannot distinguish between colors or shapes. At each stage, the incoming stream is split into two output streams. It can handle 1500 to 3000 kg/hr. Reportedly, 18 such systems were installed in Germany, but none in North America. Typical product purity is more than 90 percent. The Aladdin system, designed for high-capacity MRFs, has all the capability of the Sapphire plus an integrated color sensor to allow separation between natural and colored containers. It can divide an input stream into three output streams and can count bottles separated by type and size. Seven such systems, two in Switzerland and five in North America, were reported to be in operation at four different facilities. Capacity is reported to be up to 4000 kg/hr.66 National Recovery Technologies, Inc. sells the MultiSort IR system, which uses nearinfrared (NIR, also called shortwave infrared, SWIR) sensors to sort a designated polymer type from a commingled stream of mixed plastics and paperboard, with a throughput rate up to 4545 kg/hr. Like the MSS Sapphire system, it performs only one sort at a time and cannot sort by color. The company’s MultiSort ES system can sort colors into groups at rates up to 3630 kg/hr. It also performs only one sort at a time. NRT’s VinylCycle system was one of the original systems for separating PVC from PET, dating back to 1991. It is available in six bottle per second or ten bottle per second capacity and is widely used.65,66 More recently, the NRT system was shown to be capable of sorting polylactide (PLA) bottles from PET bottles.69 Pellenc Selective Technologies (PST), based in France, has 100 machines installed around the world for various types of waste separation. It has two plastics sorting systems. The Mistral uses NIR to identify all materials in a single pass. The Sirocco uses a vision system to identify objects by location, shape, transparency, and color. Purity levels of 90 to 98 percent can be obtained; output varies from 2 to 10 tonnes/hr. The systems can handle plastic, paper, metal, and multilayer aseptic packaging. Ottawa recently installed a Mistral system in their MRF.66 Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, based in Schönberg, Germany, has formed a joint venture with Tectron Engineering of Laguna Hills, CA. It has 500 machines around the world for sorting of plastics, glass, and metals. The Varisort system is designed for whole bottle sorting and accommodates a variety of sensors such as near-infrared, coloranalysis, metal-detection, and X-ray. Different sensors can be placed on a single separation unit. Purity achieved is 99.5 percent. The company also sells SPEKTRUM color sorters.66 TiTech manufactures the TiTech Autosort beverage-carton sorter, originally developed to separate plastic-laminated paperboard. It uses near-infrared spectroscopy, particle detection, and selective impulses of compressed air. The position, size, and shape of the object are determined, in addition to determining the resin type. As with the systems described above, at each stage, only one sort is performed. Throughputs can be as much as 6000 kg/hr. Reportedly, two North American facilities are now using these systems.65,66

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The only singulated sorting system identified in the EPIC report was the RapidSort system from Rofin Australia Pty. Ltd. It is reported to be capable of sorting both commingled and contaminated single polymer streams, achieving contamination levels of less than 50 ppm for PVC in PET, using high-resolution near-infrared and visible spectroscopy in a one-stage sensor. Each bottle is scanned several times to detect dirt, tops, labels, and other contaminants as well as to identify the bottle resin. Objects that are identified as nonplastics or that are not identified are separated from the streams of positively identified containers. The capacity of the system is 5 bottles per second, for a total of 800 to 900 kg/hr. Multiple lines can be used to increase overall throughput. Two facilities are using this system in Australia.66 A variety of other companies have developed similar equipment, some targeted at bottles and some at other plastics sorting tasks such as for carpet, automotive plastics, electronics, and so on. Peter Walker Systems markets the Polyana and Tribopen systems in continental Europe. The Polyana system uses FT-IR spectroscopy to identify plastics. A special optical cell is used that identifies the plastic in a period of 4 to 6 s. It will identify plastics of all colors and can also identify blends by comparing the spectroscopic fingerprint with the spectra in its integrated database. The database can be modified, with compounds added or removed to suit the demands of a particular application. Two models are available, the portable 420 and the stationary 460 system, which provides more rapid identification. The Tribopen system, patented by Ford, identifies plastics by measuring the triboelectric (static) charge generated when its head is rubbed against the plastic to be identified. A single pen can be used only to separate two plastic groups from each other, but using two or three different pens can allow more complex separations to be made. Identification is negative only—that a tested polymer is not a specified plastic.70 Hamos GmbH of Penzberg, Germany, also has an IR-based plastics identification system for recycling applications. The company also manufactures equipment for color sorting that can be used in recycling processes.71 Sorting of black plastics has posed a difficult problem, as standard spectrometers cannot be used. Their high carbon content causes black plastics to absorb light to such a degree that, when intense light sources such as lasers are used to analyze them, they heat up and can emit light or even ignite. While Raman spectroscopy can be used to identify dark and intensely pigmented plastics, it requires low laser power, resulting in long measurement times on the order of 10 ss. In early 2001, SpectraCode, Inc., a manufacturer of spectrographic plastic identification devices, announced it had developed a new device that provides for instantaneous identification of postconsumer black plastics. It contains a modified probe that uses a sampling technique to test black samples at full laser power with no burning, allowing identification in half a second or less.72 SpectraCode has targeted automotive and electronics plastics recycling for its technology.73 One way to simplify the identification task is to put taggants into the plastic, making it easy for automated systems to recognize them. Microtrace LLC, of Minneapolis, MN, manufactures Microtaggant identification particles. Currently, they are targeted mostly at preventing counterfeiting but also may be of use in plastics recycling.74 8.3.7

Microsorting Systems

Microsorting of plastics is commonly practiced for separation of lighter-than-water from heavier-than-water plastics. While such separation can be done in a simple float-sink tank, hydrocyclones are often used because of their advantages in size and throughput. Application of density-based separation for mixtures of plastics that are all heavier or all lighter than water is relatively rare.

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Hamos GmbH of Penzberg, Germany, has developed triboelectric separation systems for plastic/plastic separations, and electrostatic separators for plastic/metal separation.71 Plas-Sep Ltd., of Canada, also sells electrostatic separators for mixed plastics. In 2003, it formed a joint venture with Sani Eco Inc., a recycling firm in Granby, Quebec, and now has four units in operation there, producing LDPE, HDPE, and PP. The system is based on putting a static charge on chopped pieces of plastic, 1 to 10 mm in size, by feeding them into a slightly tilted, slowly rotating drum. The particles are then dropped through an electric field in the separation tower, where separation occurs as pieces are attracted toward the electrode of the opposite polarity. If more than two plastics are included, multiple passes through the process are required. A second pass may also be used to increase purity. A laser-based monitoring system reads where the material is falling, allowing control over the material and correct placement of internal dividers to optimize separation. Energy costs for running the system are reported to be only about 8 cents per hour. The company reports that, from an initial 50/50 mix of plastics, purities of above 99.9 percent with yields of 80 percent can be achieved in a single pass. Materials to be separated must be clean and dry. Suggested applications include recycling of PET bottles, automotive parts recycling, recycling of post consumer plastics, and sorting of plastics from wire chopping operations.75 Argonne National Laboratory has developed a plastics separation system based on froth flotation. A series of six tanks is used, each with a specific function, depending on the plastic being recovered. The chemical solutions in each tank are chosen for the particular application. It has been used for recovering selected plastics from automobile shredder residue, disassembled car parts, industrial scrap plastics, and consumer electronics. Argonne claims it is the only technology that can successfully recycle ABS with a purity greater than 99 percent.76 Recovery Plastics is also reported to have a froth flotation process for plastics separation, targeting automotive plastics. Chemicals used for separation include surfactants, sodium hydroxide, and plasticizers.77 MBA Polymers of Richmond, CA, has developed plastics separation systems designed for auto shredder residue and electronics wastes. A series of proprietary processes are used to separate mixed resin flakes into pure streams as well as to separate plastics from other components in the waste stream.77–79 WIPAG Polymertechnik, of Germany, has developed proprietary separation processes for plastics, some of which are based on physical hardness. The technology is being used for recovering plastic from automobile bumpers and for sorting automobile instrument panels into hard flake, soft flake, and foam fractions. The company is involved in joint ventures with American Commodities in Flint, MI, and with PPR in Kent, England.77,80 Satake has developed machine vision systems to sort out colored from uncolored plastics flakes.81 The Salyp N.V. company, in Eiper, Belgium, developed an infrared sorting technology for separating various types of thermoplastics recovered from a system for recycling automotive shredder residue. The system uses infrared energy to heat and dry cleaned shredded plastics and to soften, but not melt, the targeted plastic. The mixed plastic stream is then fed through a set of rollers, and the softened plastic sticks to the roller and is removed. The remaining material is again heated, softening the next desired plastic, and the process is repeated until all the plastics have been separated. Since infrared radiators emit at different wavelengths, IR energy can provide selective heating of different thermoplastics by choosing appropriate emission wavelengths. Therefore, the system does not rely simply on differences in melting point for separating the plastics.82 In addition to developing its own technology, Salyp has combined systems from other companies to produce mechanical sorting lines adopted for specific recycling requirements. Currently, the com-

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pany offers two systems. The Salyp System A is designed for automotive shredder residue, and the WEEE System A is designed for mixed electronic scrap. In the electronic scrap system, separation of printed circuit boards, copper-rich, and pure plastics streams is the focus, with sorting of plastics by family as an option.83

8.3.8

Molecular Sorting

For multilayer materials such as coextrusions, plastic chips may themselves contain multiple materials. In such cases, a more complex approach may be needed if the materials are to be separated. In a few cases, chipping and grinding can be used to separate the materials. These fall into the microsorting category and have already been discussed. One example is the PET/EVOH ketchup bottles, which were designed without an adhesive layer between the PET and EVOH. When the bottle is chipped and the chips are washed, the PET and EVOH separate, and most of the EVOH is removed in the rinse step. Another option is dissolving the plastics and later reprecipitating them. Either selective dissolution or selective reprecipitation in an organic solvent or a combination of solvents can be the basis of the separation. However, such systems are complex and seldom economical. Solvent retention is often a problem as well. While these systems have been the subject of research, no commercial systems currently use this approach. A more promising option is to direct these materials to markets that are able to use them in commingled form. Sometimes, design changes can facilitate such use by selecting materials that are more compatible (or materials that will separate during processing). Compatibilizers can also be added to improve properties of such blends.

8.3.9

Safety Concerns

Even when plastics are sorted by type, the performance of recycled plastics may differ from virgin plastic because of the effects of the use cycle. These changes may be due to chemical changes within the polymer, sorption of materials into the polymer, or other factors. If materials are sorbed, there is potential for later release of these substances. For some critical applications, such possible or actual changes in behavior of recycled plastics pose unacceptable risks. For example, it is probably safe to conclude that recycled plastics will not be used for implantable medical devices. It is highly unlikely that recycled plastics will be used for the packaging of sensitive drugs. Other examples, of course, could also be cited where the small but real risk of unacceptable performance, or of release of some damaging substance coupled with the critical nature of the application, is likely to rule out the use of recycled plastics. For less critical applications, such as the use of recycled packaging for food products, the conventional wisdom used to be that recycled plastics should not be used. This changed dramatically in the 1990s. In the United States, one of the earliest applications of recycled plastic for packaging of food products was recycled PET in egg cartons. The physical barrier of the egg shell provided a degree of added protection to the food that the FDA agreed was sufficient to allow ordinary recycled PET to be used. Next came use of recycled plastic in buried inner layers of packaging, such as a recycled PS clamshell used for hamburgers, in which the contact between the food and the recycled plastic was mediated by a layer of virgin plastic that acted as at least a partial barrier. Still later, repolymerized PET was used in direct contact with food (blended with virgin material). The repolymerization process, with its crystallization steps, provided assurance that any impurities present would be removed. Finally came FDA approval of specific systems for intensive cleaning of physically reprocessed PET, coupled with the limitation of incoming

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material to relatively pure streams of soft drink bottles returned for deposits. Then, production of 100 percent recycled content PET bottles using a process for physically reprocessing bottles collected from curbside was approved. Systems for processing recycled HDPE have been approved for limited direct food contact applications as well. The concern over use of recycled plastics in food contact falls in two general areas. First is concern about biological contaminants. In most cases, the processing steps for production of plastic packaging materials provide a sufficient heat history to destroy diseaseproducing organisms. Therefore, this is not a major concern. A more significant concern is the possible presence of hazardous substances in the recycled feedstock. FDA regulations require food packagers to ensure that the materials they use are safe for food contact—that they do not contain substances that might migrate into the food and cause deleterious effects on human health. Recycled resins, by their very nature, often have a somewhat unknown history. What if, for example, someone put some insecticide, some gasoline, weed killer, or any of a myriad of toxic substances into a soft drink bottle and later turned that bottle in for recycling? How can we prevent that container from contaminating new plastic packages? What we have seen in this, as in other areas, is movement at the FDA away from absolute prohibitions and toward a more reasonable evaluation of risk. In particular, the FDA has laid out guidelines for challenging recycling processes with known model contaminants and evaluating the ability of the process to remove those contaminants, thus providing some assurance that unacceptable levels of migration will not occur. In October 2003, the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety released guidance on Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging,84 a supplement to its document Points to Consider for the Use of Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging: Chemistry Considerations.85 Manufacturers wishing the FDA to consider the use of recycled plastic for a food-contact application were instructed to submit a complete description of the recycling process, including the source of the plastic and any source controls or other steps taken to ensure that the plastic is not contaminated; results of any tests showing the recycling process removes possible contaminants; and a description of proposed conditions of use for the plastic, including temperature, type of food, duration of contact, and whether it is single-use or repeated. PET and PEN recycled by a tertiary (feedstock) recycling process were determined to produce plastic of suitable purity for food-contact use, so no such submission was necessary for them. The FDA publishes a list of processes that, as of August, 2003, have received letters of nonobjection.84 8.3.10

Quality Issues

As discussed, the use history of a recycled plastic can affect its properties and performance. It is well known that plastics undergo chemical changes during processing and use that ultimately lead to deterioration in properties. In fact, much of the history of plastics is related to the development of appropriate stabilizing agents to prevent this degradation. We routinely stabilize plastics against thermo-oxidative degradation that would otherwise occur during processing. We know that some resins are much more sensitive than others. Depending on the amount of stabilizer initially present, the history of the resin, and the type of resin, a recycled plastic resin may or may not require additional stabilizer to be successfully utilized.86 Similarly, plastics that are designed to be used outdoors generally must be stabilized against photodegradation. Recycled materials are likely to need additional stabilizer to retain adequate performance. When regrind began to be a common ingredient in plastics processing in the late 1970s, much effort was devoted to studying the effects of multiple processing cycles on polymer

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performance. For many polymers, three major types of chemical reaction occur. First is oxidation. Reaction of the polymer structure with oxygen results in the incorporation of oxygen-containing groups in the polymer, with concomitant changes in properties and increased potential for further reactions. Either with or without oxidation, chain cleavage can also occur. This results in a decrease in molecular weight, with a consequent decrease in many performance properties. Chain cleavage can be followed by cross-linking, the forming of new molecular bonds that increases molecular weight and also changes properties. In some polymers, one or the other of these reactions predominates. In others, such as polyethylene, the effects of one tend to be balanced by the effects of the other. Some molecular structures are much more reactive than others. Polypropylene, for example, is significantly more susceptible to photo-oxidation than is polyethylene. Furthermore, for some materials, it is feasible to upgrade the material during reprocessing (such as in solid-stating of recycled PET), while for others it is not. In summary, the general rule is that recycled polymers will have somewhat different properties than virgin polymers. These changes are usually detrimental and range in nature from virtually unnoticeable to major. Just as not all polymers are equally sensitive, not all properties are equally sensitive. It is not unusual, for example, for a recycled HDPE to have virtually the same tensile strength as virgin HDPE but at the same time have significantly decreased Izod impact strength.

8.4 POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) RECYCLING The largest source of PET in the MSW stream in the United States is packaging, as shown in Fig. 8.16. For many years, PET was the most recycled plastic in terms of both total amount and recycling rate, largely due to recycling of soft-drink bottles. However, as the use of PET in other types of bottles grew, the recycling rate fell. Also, recycling rates for HDPE increased significantly with the addition of HDPE bottles to many curbside and drop-off recycling programs. Consequently, HDPE recycling began to exceed PET recycling. For 2003, American Plastics Council statistics show the total amount of PET bottles recycled again exceeding PET bottles.43 EPA values, which report on containers rather

FIGURE 8.16 PET in U.S. municipal solid waste, 2003.1

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than bottles only, still show HDPE with a larger amount of recycling in 2003.1 In the United States, in 2003, 14 companies produced 517 million pounds of recycled PET flake from postconsumer bottles. The four largest companies accounted for nearly three quarters of the recycled PET. Capacity utilization was low, approximately 59 percent, illustrating the supply difficulties that continue to plague this industry. Nearly 40 percent of the total amount of bottles recovered for recycling, 321 million pounds of the 837.9 million pounds total, were exported, mostly to Asia.43 NAPCOR, the National Association for PET Container Resources, reports very similar values: a total of 841 million pounds of postconsumer bottles recycled, 321 million of this sold to exporters, and 62 million pounds of postconsumer bottles imported. Of the exports, NAPCOR reports that 22.5 million pounds went to Canada and the remainder to China.87 Soft drink bottles remain the largest single use of PET in packaging, but nonbeverage bottle use continues to grow at a faster rate, so the aggregate use of PET in “custom” (nonsoft-drink) bottles exceeds use in soft drink bottles, accounting for 57 percent of available PET bottles.43 Use of small size soft drink bottles has grown, while use of liter and larger size bottles has declined. Fruit juice and water represent a sizeable segment of custom bottle use. Use of PET in beer bottles has grown less than had been anticipated. NAPCOR estimated that a total of 4.3 billion pounds of PET bottles and jars were available for recycling in the United States in 2003.87 APC reports similar numbers, with a total of 4.0 million pounds of PET bottles.43 The EPA reports somewhat different numbers for the soft drink/custom bottle split, estimating that 53 percent of the 4.0 billion pounds of PET bottles and containers in the MSW stream in 2003 were soft drink bottles.1 The reason for this discrepancy in reported bottle types is not clear. EPA reported an overall recycling rate for PET containers and packaging of 18.8 percent in 2003, a total of 820 million pounds; a PET container recycling rate of 18.4 percent, for 740 million pounds; and a PET soft drink bottle recycling rate of 25.2 percent, for 540 million pounds.1 APC reports a PET soft drink bottle recycling rate of 30.2 percent in 2003, 531.8 million pounds, and a custom bottle recycling rate of 12.1 percent, 306.1 million pounds, for a total PET bottle recycling rate of 19.5 percent, 837.9 million pounds.43 NAPCOR reports a PET bottle recycling rate of 19.6 percent in 2003, for a total of 841 million pounds.87 Recycling rates for PET have been falling in the United States since 1994 (Fig. 8.17). EPA reports a recycling rate for plastics in durables of 3.9 percent in 2003, a total of 330 thousand tons, but has not broken this figure down by resin type since 2000. That year, a PET recycling rate of 7.7 percent was reported for durable goods.2 No significant recycling of plastics in nondurables is reported. In the noncontainer segment, EPA reported a recycling rate for PET packaging of 23.5 percent in 2003. The overall PET packaging recycling rate was 18.8 percent, and the overall recycling rate for PET in municipal solid waste was 14.3 percent.1 In contrast to the declining rates for PET bottle recycling in the United States, PET recycling continues to increase in much of the world. For example, Ontario reported a PET bottle recycling rate of 50 percent in 2003.88 The Japanese Council for PET Bottle Recycling reports that the aggregate recycling rate for designated PET bottles (soft drinks, soy sauce, and liquors) reached 61.0 percent in 2003 after starting at only 0.4 percent in 1993. (Fig. 8.18). Designated bottles accounted for more than 93 percent of all PET bottles produced in Japan in 2003. The recycling rate calculated on the basis of all PET bottles, rather than designated bottles, was 56.7 percent in 2003. PET bottles are collected separately from other wastes in 2891 communities, 91.6 percent of all municipalities in the country.89,90 In Europe, Petcore reports that 665,000 tonnes of postconsumer PET were recycled in 2004, up 8.5 percent from 2003 and continuing a well established pattern of growth (Fig. 8.19). The recycling rate was reportedly 30.0 percent. Germany, France, and Italy ac-

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FIGURE 8.17 PET recycling rates in the United States.1,64

FIGURE 8.18 PET bottle recycling in Japan.89

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FIGURE 8.19 PET bottle recycling in Europe.91

counted for 60 percent of the total collected, but Ireland, Poland, and Spain had significant growth. By 2010, Petcore expects more than 1 million tons of European PET to be collected and recycled.91 Recycling rates vary significantly between EU countries. In 2005, the UK reported a recycling rate of only 7.5 percent for PET bottles.92 Switzerland for many years claimed the highest recovery rate for PET beverage bottles in the world. From 1999 through 2001, the recovery rate was 82 percent (Fig. 8.20). Bottles are collected through a network of about 40,000 collection bins supplemented with return through the original distribution channels. About 90 percent of the collection occurs through the bins. The system is operated by the Swiss PET recycling organization, PET-Recycling Schweiz (PRS), which levies a prepaid recycling charge on participating members (about 85 percent of the total

FIGURE 8.20 PET bottle recycling in Switzerland.93

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retailers). However, the reported recycling rate for 2002 was only 72 percent and for 2003 was 71 percent. This falls short of the mandated 75 percent specified by Swiss law and allows the government to institute a deposit system. However, a decision was been made to give the industry some time to improve collection before imposing a mandatory deposit.93 In Brazil, the tonnage of PET recycled has continued to grow, reaching 120,000 tonnes and a recycling rate of 40 percent in 2003 (Fig. 8.21). PET packaging is collected using a combination of street collectors, factories, and municipal collection of separated recyclables.94

FIGURE 8.21 PET packaging recycling in Brazil.94

The overall PET recycling rate in Australia was reported to be 31.5 percent in 2003, up from 30.7 percent in 2002.11

8.4.1

Soft Drink Bottle Recycling

As mentioned above, soft drink bottle recycling got its start with the introduction of deposit legislation, which resulted in collection of significant volumes of material and recognition of the economic value embedded in them. In the United States, recycling rates for PET bottles grew until 1994 and then began to decline, as did recycling rates for PET soft drink bottles (Fig. 8.17). The decline in recycling rate for PET soft drink bottles is attributed in large part to a substantial increase in the tonnage of PET used in single-serving bottles, which are more likely to be consumed away from home and thus less likely to reach curbside recycling collection. Overall, between 1994 and 2003, the total tonnage and number of soft drink bottles recycled increased, even though the recycling rate fell. However, the tonnage of PET bottles (all types) collected for recycling declined from the previous year in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2002, and the number of PET soft drink bottles recycled decreased in both 2002 and 2003 (Fig. 8.22). (The number can increase even if the

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FIGURE 8.22 PET soft drink bottle recycling amounts in the United States.95,96

tonnage goes down due to the lighter average weight of the bottles collected.) The overall recycling rate for PET soft drink bottles in 2003 was 30.2 percent, for a total of 8 billion bottles, according to NDA, and 25.2 percent, for a total of 270 thousand tons, according to EPA.1,95,96 The Container Recycling Institute reports that the recycling rate for beer and soft drink containers (all types) in deposit states (including California) averages over 70 percent, 2 to 4 times that in nondeposit states.97 Michigan, where the deposit is 10 cents rather than the 5 cents charged in most states, reports a 97 percent average redemption rate for covered containers for 1990 through 2003, and a 97 percent rate in 2003. This rate is slightly overestimated because of fraudulent returns; however, using the best estimate for this correction for 2003, the most recent year reported, decreases the redemption rate only to 95 percent.98 Maine estimates a 90 to 95 percent recycling rate for its expanded bottle bill, which covers all beverage containers except dairy products and cider. The state does not have specific figures by container type.99 California reported a 39 percent recycling rate for PET bottles in 2004 under its expanded bottle bill, compared to 75 percent for aluminum cans.100 The decline in recycling rates for soft drink containers resulted in pressure on major soft drink manufacturers, first Coca-Cola and then PepsiCo, to increase PET soft drink bottle recycling and, in particular, to use recycled content in bottle manufacture. The GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) and other organizations even took out full-page ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal blasting Coca-Cola for abandoning promises it made in 1990 to use recycled content in soft drink bottles. At least partially in response to consumer pressure, Coca-Cola began using recycled content in a portion of its U.S. soft drink bottles in 1998, although the company did not make any public announcement that it was doing so until 2000.101 The company had been using recycled content in Australia and a few other countries for a number of years. Coca Cola, and later Pepsi as well, committed to work toward incorporation of 10 percent recycled content in their soft drink bottles by 2005. Coca Cola also participated in Businesses and Environmentalists

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Allied for Recycling (BEAR) in its efforts to increase PET bottle recycling to 80 percent. However, the company later broke its ties to BEAR, in evident disagreement about BEAR’s push for deposit systems as the most viable way to increase recycling. In 2002, co*ke was reported to have achieved the 10 percent recycled content in 80 percent of its PET bottles, amounting to about 80 million pounds of recycled resin. Pepsi was far behind, using only about 1 million pounds of recycled PET that year. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. reported that it was not using recycled content because of high cost and shortage of material.102 The increased use of plastic bottles (mostly PET) at public events, coupled with the declining recycling rates for PET, have resulted in greater efforts to collect these bottles in such locations. For example, several major league baseball teams are making significant efforts to increase recycling. For PET bottles, such efforts usually involve placing recycling bins at various strategic locations around the ballpark and parking lots. Success has been mixed. The Seattle Mariners have 105 recycling bins for plastic bottles that are clearly marked and strategically placed, but they are reported to usually be contaminated with other kinds of trash, so the collected bottles are not usable. The Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies have had better success with bins around the concourse. The Rockies received special recognition from the Colorado state recycling alliance, Colorado Recycles, for using several reverse vending machines to collect plastic bottles, providing coupons redeemable for food and Rockies merchandise in exchange. The most successful recycling efforts, however, involve the cleanup crews. Evidently, so many people leave their trash in the seats that sorting at this time can result in high recovery rates.103 8.4.2

Recycling of Custom PET Bottles

Recycling rates for custom PET bottles are considerably lower than rates for soft drink bottles. Some custom bottles for beverages such as fruit juice and drinking water are covered by the expanded deposit legislation in Maine and in California. PET beer bottles are covered by deposits in all deposit states. However, nonbeverage containers such as peanut butter jars and shampoo bottles are not covered by deposits anywhere in the United States. The very rapid growth of bottled water, 23 percent in 2003, is pointed to as one reason for falling PET recycling rates.6 The introduction of PET bottles in colors other than green and clear has introduced new complications into PET recycling. For example, the blue color of some bottled water has sparked criticism. It appears that as long as the blue color remains a small fraction of collected materials, it can be incorporated into the green PET stream without problem. However, larger amounts would create problems. Many of the other colors of PET are handled by diverting the containers into disposal rather than recycling. The introduction of PET bottles for beer sparked a new round of concern. The amber color of some of these containers means they must be separated from the clear and green PET. Furthermore, these bottles contain additional materials to provide the required level of protection against oxygen permeation. When ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) is used as the barrier, the resulting structure is very similar to bottles for ketchup and some other foods. When the PET/EVOH ketchup bottle structure was introduced, it was shown that the bottle, which is designed to delaminate, is compatible with normal PET recycling systems, at least at current use and recovery levels. Most of the EVOH is removed during the washing and rinsing stages, and the small fraction that remains does not cause performance problems. For PET beer bottles containing a nylon barrier layer, estimates are that 30 to 40 percent of the barrier layer will be removed during processing, leaving the recycled PET containing about 3 percent nylon by weight. Manufacturers of some other bottle variants, such as those using an activated carbon coating, also claim either that the barrier

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material will be removed during the recycling operation, or that the tiny amount of material used in a bottle will not be enough to interfere with end uses of the recovered material.104 In 2005, Petcore gave a limited two-year endorsem*nt of the recyclability of ActiTUF resins, which incorporate an active oxygen scavenger, a gas barrier, or both, in colored PET bottles. Plasmax, a silicon oxide barrier coating from SIG Corpoplast, was endorsed for all applications.105 However, concerns about PET recycling were stated as the reason for Asahi’s decision in mid-2004 to drop plans to launch Japan’s first PET beer container.106 8.4.3

Mechanical Recycling of PET Bottles

Most PET recycling processes use mechanical processing to convert the collected bottles into a usable form. While precise designs are proprietary, most operate similarly to the pilot recycling facility developed at Rutgers University under the sponsorship of the Plastics Recycling Foundation. This process began with color separation, followed by shredding the whole bottles, usually in two steps with initial shredding followed by a finer granulation step. Next, the shredded material was sent through an air classifier to blow off the light particles, which consist primarily of fines and label fragments. The material was then washed in hot detergent to remove product residues and soften and remove adhesive. Washing was followed by screening and rinsing. Next, a density-based separation using hydrocyclones separated the heavier-than-water PET from the lighter-than-water polyolefins, which consist predominantly of polypropylene from caps and, to a lesser extent, from labels. The PET was dried and then sent through a metal removal process, often using an electrostatic separator. The Rutgers process was originally developed to handle beverage bottles at a time when nearly all bottles had paper labels, HDPE base cups, and aluminum closures. The disappearance of the base cups and change from aluminum to PP closures has greatly facilitated the recycling process. Aluminum, in particular, was difficult to remove and caused serious performance problems in the recycled material. All or nearly all PET containers now use plastic caps. A remaining source of aluminum in recycled PET is fragments of inner seal materials containing a foil layer that are sealed to the container during the packaging process and may not be removed completely when the consumer opens the container. Voluntary design guidelines discourage the use of aluminum inner seals that are not readily removed when the container is opened, but not all manufacturers adhere to these guidelines.107 Changing the labels from paper to plastic has also facilitated recycling. In current processes, the PP label fragments that are not removed during previous process steps will be removed with the PP caps in the hydrocyclone. Contamination of recycled PET with aluminum flakes remains an issue, with commonly used recycling processes producing average aluminum contamination of about 2000 parts per million (ppm). Electrostatic separation can reduce this level to 50 to 100 ppm, with PET recovery levels of 92 to 94 percent. However, electrostatic separation (ES) is vulnerable to fluctuations in atmospheric humidity and in temperature. Furthermore, even at these levels, aluminum tends to clog the screens of extruders, increasing maintenance requirements. Magnetic separation is effective at removing ferrous metals but not against aluminum. However, rare earth (RE) roll magnets, which generate a magnetic force many times that of conventional magnets, have been successful in producing less aluminum contamination and greater recovery of PET than electrostatic separation in some cases. While their advantages were not sufficient to replace ES, combining the two techniques, first proposed in 1990, was found to permit an increase in recovery to 96 to 98 percent, along with nearly doubling feed rates. Another alternative technology tried for aluminum separation was eddy current separation (ECS). Earlier versions of this technol-

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ogy did not provide acceptable performance, but now ECS systems based on rare earth magnetic rotors, resulting in rotating magnetic fields, have become available. In these systems, PET flakes are fed onto a conveyor belt, which moves them across a magnetic rotor. When a piece of aluminum or other nonferrous metal moves across the rotating separator, eddy currents are created in the metal, generating a magnetic field around the particle and causing it to be repelled from the magnet. PET particles are not affected and continue on their path. All ferrous metals must be removed before the separation, as they will generate very strong magnetic forces. High-grade PET can be produced at very high recovery rates using rare earth ECS systems. Even better results can be achieved by combining RE roll systems with ECS. A commercial operation using one RE roll followed by two ECS systems achieved a purity of less than 5.9 ppm aluminum and PET losses of only 0.5 to 0.9 percent.108

8.4.4

Recycling of Nonbottle PET

While most PET recycling processes in the United States handle only bottles, facilities in Germany handle mixed PET packaging, including bottles, tubs, dishes, and film, from yellow bag or bin collection of plastics through the Duales System Deutschland (DSD). Some PET recycling in Germany is through feedstock recycling but, increasingly, higher-value collected plastics such as PET bottles are diverted for mechanical recycling. PET x-ray film represents another source of recycled material. Since these materials generally are coated with silver, there has long been a potent economic incentive for their recovery, and silver from x-ray film has been recovered since the early 1900s.109 In such processes, recovered PET can be obtained as a by-product of silver recovery. Its recycling is complicated by the fact that it is generally coated with PVDC. Gemark is reported to have a proprietary process to remove the PVDC.110,111 United Resource Recovery Corp. (URRC) of Spartanburg, SC, is another U.S. recycler of x-ray and other silver-coated PET film.112 DuPont operated a feedstock recycling facility, using its “Petretec” process, to recover PET materials such as x-ray film from 1995 to 1998 but discontinued the operation due to poor market conditions.113

8.4.5

Feedstock Recycling of PET

Recovered PET can be chemically broken down into small molecular species, purified, and then repolymerized. The two major processes for tertiary recycling of PET are glycolysis and methanolysis. Both result in PET that is essentially chemically identical to virgin resin and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and similar regulatory organizations in some other countries, for food contact applications. However, PET produced by these processes is more costly than virgin resin, which significantly limits its use. In 1991, Goodyear obtained a letter of nonobjection from the U.S. FDA for the use of its “Repete” tertiary recycled PET in food contact applications. The process, later sold to Shell Chemical Co., used glycolysis to partially break down PET, followed by purification and repolymerization. In tests using model contaminants, the contaminants were removed down to a 50 to 100 ppm level. That same year, both Eastman Chemical Co. and HoechstCelanese Corp. received letters of nonobjection from FDA for their methanolysis-based PET depolymerization processes.114 Eastman’s “Superclean” process reportedly can handle PET bottles of any color, including multilayer bottles such as those containing oxygen barriers, producing new PET equivalent to virgin.115 Methanolysis processes provide full

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depolymerization and can remove colorants and certain impurities that cannot be removed by glycolysis. Petrecycle Pty. Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, announced in February 2001 that it would install a glycolysis system capable of processing more than 22 million pounds of postconsumer PET a year in the M&G Finanziaria Industriale SpA virgin PET production facility in Point Pleasant, WV. Petrecycle’s “Renew” technology was designed to enable M&G to produce a blend of virgin and recycled PET, reportedly for lower costs than those associated with other recycling technologies.116 However, this evidently never occurred. In 2004, Petrecycle opened a pilot scale facility in Painesville, OH, with a capacity of 34 kg per batch. In mid 2005, the company announced it would move the pilot facility back to Melbourne, Australia.117 Other tertiary recycling processes that have been developed include a Freeman Chemical Corp. process to convert PET bottles and film to aromatic polyols used for manufacture of urethane and isocyanurates.114 Glycolized PET, preferably from film, since it is often lower in cost than bottles, can be reacted with unsaturated dibasic acids or anhydrides to form unsaturated polyesters. These can then be used in applications such as glass-fiber-reinforced bath tubs, shower stalls, and boat hulls. United States companies that have been involved include Ashland Chemical, Alpha Corp., Ruco Polymer Corp., and Plexmar.110 Unsaturated polyesters have also been used in polymer concrete, where the very fast cure times facilitate repair of concrete structures. Basing polymer concrete materials, for repair or precast applications, on recycled PET reportedly leads to 5 to 10 percent cost savings and comparable properties to polymer concrete based on virgin materials. However, they are still approximately 10 times the cost of portland cement concrete.118 There appears to be little commercial application of these processes at present. 8.4.6

Food Grade Mechanically Recycled PET

A variety of processes have received official nonobjection from the U.S. FDA for use of mechanically recycled PET in food packaging. The earliest processes relied on insensitive uses or on imposition of a physical barrier between the food and the recycled plastic. For example, the first approval was in 1989 for use of recycled PET in egg cartons.110 Continental PET Technologies received approval in 1993 for a coinjected multilayer PET bottle with a one mil (0.001 in) layer of virgin PET between the core layer of recycled PET and the container contents. The approach was used initially for soft drink bottles in Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland.119–121 In 1994 and 1995, Wellman, Inc., obtained approval for use of mechanically recycled PET in multilayer packaging for a variety of food products.122 Plastipak Packaging’s Clean Tech affiliate also produces food-grade recycled PET.123 The first U.S. approval for use of mechanically recycled PET in direct contact with food came in 1994, for Johnson Controls’ (later Amcor’s) SuperCycle recycled PET. Amcor currently operates a PET recycling facility in Beaune, France, with a capacity of 15,000 tons per year. About 75 percent of production is food-grade SuperCycle resin, and the rest is nonfood-grade NuCycle.124 Other companies subsequently also obtained FDA approval. For example, in 1996, Wellman received an FDA letter of nonobjection for their EcoClear resin made from 10 percent recycled PET from postconsumer bottles.125 In 2003, 6 of the 14 operating PET recycling plants used technologies that have received letters of nonobjection from FDA for use of the recycled material (RPET) in direct contact with foods and beverages. These processes rely on intensive cleaning, often in combination with control over the source material, and have been validated by challenge with known amounts of model contaminants. Use of RPET in food and beverage bottles was 106 thousand pounds in 2003, an increase of 23 percent over 2002. This is attributed

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directly to increased use by co*ke and Pepsi.87 In 2004, Plastipak Packaging announced that it would build a $13 million PET recycling plant in eastern Slovakia, in part to serve the demand for Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola for use of 10 percent recycled content in their bottles beginning in 2005.126 In 1999, Phoenix Technologies LP, a subsidiary of Plastic Technologies Inc., became the first company to receive FDA approval for use of 100 percent curbside recycled PET in food containers. In 2001, the company gained approval for use of this material in hot-filled bottles. Commercial production of food-grade curbside recycled PET began in December 2000. The process was already being used in Australia to make 25 percent recycled content bottles for Coca-Cola.127 The company’s facility in Ohio manufactures food-grade and nonfood-grade resins from 100 percent recycled content.128 In 2004, the company received approval in Belgium for use of its recycled PET in food and beverage packaging, adding to its previous approvals in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, in addition to the United States.129 United Resource Recovery Corp. (URRC) of Spartanburg, SC, became the second U.S. company to get approval for food-grade recycled PET from curbside collection in 2000, for its “Hybrid-UnPET” technology. The process is reported to use mechanical recycling without hot water, followed by a thermal treatment using sodium hydroxide, and a final stage for removal of residual contaminants.130 The treatment with caustic soda results in a solid-phase reaction in which the outer surface of the PET chips is stripped off, and the resulting ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid are recovered as by-products. Any contamination adhering to the outer surface is removed during this stage. Residual contaminants are removed using a combination of air blowing and controlled temperature. The resultant mixture of salt and clean PET granules is separated by mechanical filtration followed by washing, and then removal of any small metal particles by a metal separator.131 This process, therefore, could be regarded as a mix of mechanical and feedstock recycling, and URRC refers to it as partial depolymerization. The company reports that 90 to 95 percent of the polymer is preserved. This technology allows the company to use 100 percent curbside PET rather than the more expensive PET collected through deposit programs. Two large plants in Europe, one in Switzerland and one in Germany, are using this technology, along with the pilot-scale facility in Spartanburg.112 In July 2005, the first bottle-to-bottle PET recycling facility in Latin America began operation in Toluca, Mexico. It has a capacity of 25,000 tons per year, matching the total amount of PET currently being recycled in Mexico. The plan is a joint effort of Coca-Cola de Mexico, Coca-Cola FEMSA and ALPLA, a major PET bottle supplier.132 Another process producing food-grade recycled PET is the “Stehning BtoB Process,” developed by OHL Apparatebau & Verfahrenstechnik GmbH, of Limburg, Germany, which received U.S. FDA approval in 1999. The first production unit began operation in October 1999 at PET Kunststoffrecycling GmbH (PKR) in Beselich, Germany. In this process, the clean PET bottle flakes, without preliminary drying, are fed into a modified twin screw extruder, where the PET is dried and degassed, and then melt-filtered and pelletized. The amorphous PET chips are fed into a discontinuous solid-stating process for crystallization and condensation/decontamination under vacuum. Reportedly, the sensory characteristics of the recycled material are superior to those of virgin PET. In particular, acetaldehyde and ethylene glycol levels are lower. The German facility has a production capacity of 7500 tonnes per year.133 In 2002, Alba AG acquired a 50 percent share of PKR and took over its management. Alba and PKR together were reported to have a capacity of 7000 tonnes of PET per year.134 Erema North America received approval in 2002 for mechanical processing of PET from curbside collection systems into food-grade resin using the Vacurema technology that Erema, its parent company, first launched in 1997. In early 2003, it obtained addi-

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tional approval for use of the resin in containers for hot-fill applications.135 In 2005, the Czech company Silon was using the Vacurema system to produce fiber, and in a joint project, Kruschitz and Ovotherm were using a system to produce transparent egg packaging in Austria. The Swiss company ITW-Poly-Recycling uses a Vacurema system for bottle-to-bottle recycling. Snellcore, in the Netherlands, and the German company Texplast each have two systems.136 8.4.7 Properties of Recycled PET Mechanically recycled PET usually retains very favorable properties. Some reduction in intrinsic viscosity is common, but it can be reversed by solid-stating. Residual adhesives from attachment of labels are a contaminant concern. Some of the adhesive residue can become trapped in the PET granules and is not removed by washing. Since these adhesives often contain rosin acids and ethylene vinyl acetate, the rosin acids plus acetic acid from ethylene vinyl acetate hydrolysis can catalyze hydrolysis of the PET during processing. A similar problem can be caused by residues of caustic soda or alkaline detergents from the wash step. Considerable loss of molecular weight can result, and darkening of the adhesive residues can cause discoloration. PET is very susceptible to damage from PVC contamination, and vice versa. Contamination in the range of 4 to 10 ppm can cause serious adverse effects.137 Because the densities of PET and PVC overlap, density-based separation methods are ineffective. Technologies have been developed for very effective sorting of whole-bottle PVC and PET. PVC contamination from materials such as coatings, closure liners, labels, and so on is more difficult to handle. Appropriate package design to avoid use of PVC or PVDC with PET containers is the most effective strategy. The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers issued a report detailing the effect of PVC contamination of PET, in which they estimated that the cost to the domestic PET recycling industry of addressing PVC contamination in 1998 totaled $6.5 million. Sorting accounted for 37 percent of the cost, with depreciated equipment, laboratory labor, and maintenance also representing major costs. The average cost was 1.67 cents per pound of PET produced. Because costs were lower in larger reclaimers, as well as in those specializing in deposit containers, the weighted average was 0.86 cents per pound.138 Repolymerized PET is essentially identical in performance to virgin PET. 8.4.8 Markets for Recycled PET One of the earliest large-volume uses for recycled PET was as polyester fiberfill for applications such as ski jackets and sleeping bags. The range of applications has grown enormously and now includes items as diverse as carpet, automobile distributor caps, produce trays, and soft drink bottles. Fiber applications remain the largest market, although they have declined significantly in the last few years (Fig. 8.23).87 The first 100 percent recycled PET container in the United States was introduced in 1988 by Proctor & Gamble for household cleanser. Bottles, including those for food and beverages, are now a significant market for recycled PET, and pressure for bottle-to-bottle recycling continues. However, use of recycled PET in nonfood bottles has declined by nearly two-thirds since 1996 although, during this same period, use in food bottles has increased by more than 300 percent.87 In 2005, Marks & Spencer’s became the first retailer in the UK to use recycled PET food packaging on a large scale. The company is encouraging closed-loop recycling, so it is marking the packaging with recycled content and notation that it is recyclable. Collection bins are being provided at the front of the stores. Items included are salad bowls, beverage bottles, recipe pots, and trays, with 30 to 50 percent recycled content.139

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FIGURE 8.23 Uses of recycled PET in the U.S.87

Other markets for recycled PET include strapping, sheet, and film. A number of highperformance engineering alloys and compounds utilizing recycled PET have been developed, although this use has also decreased sharply since 1996.87 Recently, a research project by Pera Innovation and Newcastle University showed that recycled PET could be treated and reused to manufacture high-value reinforced thermoplastic pipes for high-pressure engineering applications.140 Another innovative use is uncleaned recycled PET being used as an adhesive to support steel rods holding up mine shafts.141 As is generally the case for recycled materials, the market situation is strongly affected by the supply and demand situation for virgin resin. The export market, as already discussed, is also a major factor. When virgin PET supply is low and prices are up, demand for recycled resin is strong. During the last half of the 1990s, there was a significant downturn in recycled PET demand caused by a large increase in production capacity for virgin resin that drove down prices. The situation was exacerbated by a temporarily plentiful supply of off-spec virgin resin from new facilities entering production. Some PET recyclers did not survive these lean years. Prices in 1995 for baled PET bottles were 27 to 35 cents per pound,142 while prices in 2000 ranged from 7 to 20 cents per pound.143 In the first half of 2005, prices were 20 to 26 cents per pound, largely due to strong demand from China and Vietnam.144

8.5 HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE) RECYCLING The sources of HDPE in the U.S. MSW stream are shown in Fig. 8.24. For many years, HDPE was the second most recycled plastic, but it overtook PET several years ago. In the United States, the EPA reports that the recycling rate for HDPE milk and water bottles was 31.9 percent in 2003, a total of 460 million pounds. Other HDPE containers were recycled

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FIGURE 8.24 HDPE in the U.S. MSW stream, 2003.1

at a rate of 14.8 percent, for an overall bottle and container recycling rate of 21.0 percent. The recycling rate for HDPE packaging as a whole was 12.4 percent. The recycling rate for HDPE in durable and nondurable goods was negligible, for an overall HDPE recycling rate of 9.1 percent.1 The American Plastics Council (APC) reported a 2003 recycling rate for HDPE bottles of 24.8 percent, for a total of 823 million pounds—higher than the 19.5 percent reported for PET bottles.72 APC reported rates of 24.2 percent in 2002 and 23.2 percent in 2001 for HDPE bottles.43,145 As can be seen in Fig. 8.25, using values reported by the APC (using values for collected bottles), the recycling rate for HDPE bottles has been fairly steady since 1996, while the rate for PET bottles, and in particular for PET soft drink bottles, has been falling. The recycling rate for natural (unpigmented) HDPE bottles has fallen somewhat since 1998, from 31 percent that year to 27.3 percent in 2003, but the rate for pigmented bottles has increased from 19 percent in 2000 to 22.6 percent in 2003. The overall effect was a 2003 recycling rate for HDPE bottles of 24.8 percent.43 As would be expected, this rate is higher than the EPA-reported rate for HDPE bottles and containers of 21.0 percent.1 Most programs collect only bottles, not other containers such as margarine tubs. APC reports that 30 companies engaged in HDPE bottle recycling in 2003, 1 more company than in 2002. Over 80 percent of the total recycled HDPE was handled by the eight largest companies. Capacity utilization was healthier for HDPE than for PET: 68 percent compared to 59 percent. In part, this was due to a lower percentage of exports for HDPE—12.1 percent of the total bottles collected in 2003, compared to 38.3 percent for PET.43 Ontario reported a recycling rate of 50 percent for HDPE bottles in 2003.88 In Australia, the overall HDPE recycling rate was reported to be 23.1 percent in 2003, compared to 17.9 percent in 2002 and 19.0 percent in 2001.11

8.5.1

Recycling of Unpigmented HDPE Bottles

Unpigmented HDPE milk and water bottles are the most valuable type of HDPE for recycling. They are made from a high-quality fractional melt index hom*opolymer HDPE, usu-

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FIGURE 8.25 Recycling rates for PET and HDPE bottles in the U.S. reported by APC.43

ally unpigmented, that is suitable, when recycled, for a wide variety of uses. Considering that these bottles are generally not covered by deposits, their 27.3 percent recycling rate in the United States in 2003 is impressively close to the 30.2 percent rate for PET soft drink bottles.43 Extrusion blow-molded HDPE bottles, both pigmented and unpigmented, are accepted for recycling in most community recycling programs. Injection blow-molded bottles, which are made from a high-melt-flow HDPE, are generally considered to be undesirable contaminants. Other containers that are unacceptable in many programs include motor oil bottles and those that contained caustic cleansers, insecticides, or other product residues that could pose a risk. Ontario, Canada, has had a deposit system for HDPE milk bottles for a number of years, charging 25 cents per bottle, which is one of the reasons why milk sold in flexible pouches has been popular. The deposit system is mandated by Regulation 344, Disposable Containers for Milk, of the Environmental Protection Act.146 When the government considered discontinuing the system in 1999, Ontario milk producers, retailers, and packaging suppliers objected.147 The Alberta (Canada) Dairy Council launched a voluntary recycling program in 1999 in an effort to increase the 35 percent recycling rate for HDPE milk containers to 70 percent. Municipalities and recycling programs receive a payment for collected and densified HDPE, subsidized by the Dairy Council, in the form of a guaranteed price of $400 (Canadian) per tonne. The three Alberta milk processors voluntarily pay two cents for each 4-l milk bottle and one cent for each 2-l bottle, into a Container Recovery Fund to support the program. In its first year of operation, July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000, the program collected 1197 tonnes of material, a 32 percent increase over the previous year, bringing the province-wide recovery rate to 40 percent. Sixteen communities and recycling authorities achieved recovery rates of 70 percent or more.148 By the 2002 to 2003 year, the most recent information available, the program had achieved a recovery rate of 48.3 percent for milk bottles. The recovery rate for polyethylene coated milk cartons, which were added to

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collection in January 2002, was 10.5 percent; the fee for these containers is also 1 cent per container. By 2003, 91 percent of Alberta residents had access to milk bottle recycling, and 76 percent to carton recycling, in their local communities. In 2002 and 2003, 1211 tonnes of HDPE milk bottles were collected, 2 percent higher than the previous year, along with 166 tonnes of milk cartons. Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan now operate similar collection programs, and British Columbia and New Brunswick are implementing programs.149 8.5.2

Recycling of HDPE Motor Oil and Pesticide Bottles

Motor oil bottle recycling is a significant issue, not only because of the volume of bottles involved but because of the potential adverse environmental consequences and the value of the oil remaining in the bottles. Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies of Kansas City, MO, developed a system for recycling motor oil bottles and recovering both plastic and oil. The system is licensed to ITec International Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Beechport Capital Inc., which is marketing the systems worldwide. ITec estimates that about 2 billion plastic motor oil containers are discarded each year in the United States, each containing, on average, an ounce of oil, for a total of 250 million pounds of plastic and more than 15 million gallons of motor oil. In 2005, the company announced that it intends to build two facilities in California to produce clean PET and HDPE flake using its ECO2 system. Plastics, either oil-contaminated or others, are granulated, washed with an environmentally friendly solvent (which is reused), and rinsed to remove labels, glue, and most contaminants, including oil. Oil is separated and sent to a recycler. The flakes are then cleaned using pressurized carbon dioxide, which removes additional contaminants. The CO2 is then distilled to remove contaminants and is reused. Residual paper is next removed from the cleaned plastic flakes using a mechanical vacuum system. In addition to oil containers, the technology has been tested successfully in ITec’s Oakdale, CA, pilot plant for HDPE pesticide containers, mixed postconsumer HDPE containers, soft drink containers, and 5-gal HDPE paint buckets.150 In Canada, a National Used Oil Material Advisory Council was launched in 1997. This industry-led product stewardship program now includes the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The Alberta Used Oil Management Association (AUOMA) originated the program for used oil recycling, which also includes recycling of oil filters and motor oil containers under 30 l in size. Participating companies pay an Environmental Handling Charge (EHC) of 5 cents (Canadian) per liter of container size, at the wholesale level. The collectors of the used materials receive payment through the program for the returned materials. British Columbia reported 42.6 percent recovery of oil containers in 2004. Manitoba reported a 22 percent recovery plus 20 percent reuse rate, for a total of 42 percent. Alberta reported that 49.8 percent of used plastic oil containers were recovered. Saskatchewan’s recovery rate was 25 percent recycled plus 24 percent reused, for a total rate of 49 percent. Quebec’s program is new and did not report a recovery rate.151 Some other used oil recycling programs around the world also recycle the oil bottles, although many do not do so. Pesticide and similar containers, like oil bottles, are not accepted in most curbside and drop-off recycling programs because of the problems posed by contamination with these hazardous chemicals. Household pesticide containers usually must be disposed of in the regular trash or in special collection of hazardous wastes. However, there are opportunities for recycling such containers when they are generated in the agricultural sector, where the much larger volumes make collection more viable. The Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) reports that 7.9 million pounds of plastic crop protection product containers were collected and recycled in 2004. Applications for

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these containers that are seen as acceptable include new pesticide containers, pallets, construction site mats, commercial truck or manure spreader decker boards, field drain tiles, speed bumps, parking stops, hazardous waste drums, scaffold nailing strips, and commercial truck subfloor support members. Some plastic lumber applications are also found acceptable—those that result in low human exposure, such as fence posts, marine pilings, railroad ties, landscape timbers, and sound barriers.152 Canada claims leadership in recycling of empty pesticide containers used for agriculture. The program began in 1989 and has collected about 55 million empty containers as of 2005. There are now about 1200 collection sites across Canada. Current recovery rates are about 70 percent, the highest return rate in the world. The recovered plastic is recycled into fence posts for use on farms and for highway guardrail posts. Some is used for energy recovery.153 8.5.3

Recycling of Nonbottle HDPE

While most recycled HDPE comes from bottles, limited recycling of other HDPE materials also occurs. Some recovery of HDPE film occurs, along with LDPE, when retail bags are collected for recycling. This is discussed in Sec. 8.6. This collection dropped precipitously between 1996, when it reached a high of 50 thousand tons, and 1998, when it fell to 10 thousand tons. EPA reports about 10 thousand tons of bags and sacks recycled in each year since 1998.4 DuPont operates a recycling program for its Tyvek envelopes. For small quantities, less than 25 envelopes per month, customers are instructed to turn any Tyvek envelope inside out, stuff it with other envelopes, and mail it to DuPont’s Tyvek® recycling specialist in Virginia. Medium-quantity generators are eligible for a pouch program, with each pouch holding approximately 200 envelopes. Filled pouches are sent to a regional recycler. For generators of more than 500 envelopes per month, DuPont will set up a custom recycling program.154 In Canada, Haycore recycles tubs, lids, injection-molded plastics, and other non-HDPE and PET bottle materials from curbside collection program. The company produces highquality clean flake.155 Markets for the material include pallets made by Granville Composite Products, protective plastic spacers for shipping made by PBI Industries, and recycling containers made by Buckhorn Canada.156 HDPE drums are recycled by some companies, usually on a local or regional basis. Conigliaro Industries recycled drums of all types, including plastics. 8.5.4

Recycling Processes for HDPE

Recycling processes for HDPE bottles are similar to those for PET. Typically, the collected HDPE is first sorted to separate the higher-value unpigmented containers. In some cases, the pigmented HDPE is further separated into color families. Sorting of the unpigmented bottles is often done prior to initial baling but may be done at a later stage. At the plastics processor, the baled HDPE containers are usually shredded, washed, and sent through either a float-sink tank or a hydrocyclone to separate heavy contaminants. Air classification may be done prior to washing. The clean materials are dried and then usually pelletized in an extruder equipped with a melt filter to remove residual nonplastic contaminants. If mixed colors are processed, the result from typical curbside or drop-off programs is a grayish-green color, which is most often combined with a black color concentrate to produce black products. Several types of contamination are of concern in HDPE recycling. The first is contaminants that add undesired color to natural HDPE. A prime culprit is caps on bottles. While

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consumers are generally told to remove caps before turning the bottles in for recycling, a significant number arrive with the caps still in place, and the caps are generally brightly colored. Most of these are polypropylene, with the next largest fraction polyethylene. Neither of these materials is separable in the usual recycling systems, so they usually remain with the HDPE, where they result in discoloration of the resin. Typically, the amounts are low enough that mechanical properties are not affected, but they do impart a grayish color to the material. The introduction of pigmented HDPE milk bottles, which seem to periodically pop up in various places, is a concern to recyclers because, if they were widely adopted, they could significantly cut into the use of the more valuable natural bottles. Pigmented HDPE recycled resin typically sells for only 60 percent of the price of natural HDPE.157 A second type of contamination is mixing of high-melt-flow injection-molding grades of HDPE with low-melt-flow blow-molding grades. The result can be a resin with intermediate flow properties that are not desired by either injection or blow molders. Since the coding system for plastic bottles (see Sec. 8.3.5) does not differentiate between the two, it is difficult to convey to consumers in any simple fashion which bottles are desired in the recycling system and which are not. The recycling process does not separate the two grades, since their densities and most other physical properties are equivalent. Some programs simply accept the resulting contamination, while others try to get the message to consumers, sometimes by specifying bottles “with a seam.” Fortunately, the vast majority of HDPE bottles, especially in larger sizes, are extrusion blow molded. Mixing of polypropylene into the HDPE stream is also a concern. As discussed above, much of this arises from bottle caps left in place. Some also arises from fitments on detergent bottles and from inclusion of PP bottles in the recycling stream. Since both PP and HDPE are lighter than water, the density-based separation systems commonly employed will not separate the two resins. Fortunately, in most applications, a certain level of PP contamination can be tolerated. However, particularly in the pigmented HDPE stream, levels of PP contamination are often high enough to limit the amount of the recycled material that can be used, forcing manufacturers to blend the postconsumer materials with other scrap that is free of PP or with virgin (often off-grade) HDPE. While triboelectric systems for separating chipped PP from HDPE have shown some promise, they are not generally available or used. Finally, contamination of the HDPE with chemical substances that may later migrate from a container with recycled content to the product can present problems. This is a more serious issue with HDPE than with PET for two primary reasons. First, the solubility of foreign substances of many types is greater in HDPE than in PET. Thus, the level of contamination that may be present is higher. Second, the diffusion of most substances is faster in HDPE than in PET. Combined, these factors create a significantly greater potential for migration of possibly hazardous contaminants out of recycled HDPE into container contents. Nevertheless, the use of some types of recycled HDPE for limited food contact applications has been approved by the U.S. FDA. The strategies for dealing with potential migration of hazardous substances from recycled HDPE are essentially the same as with PET. First, a combination of the selection of starting materials and processing steps can be used to minimize the contamination levels that are present. The first company to obtain a letter of nonobjection from FDA for recycled HDPE in direct food contact was Union Carbide, which later sold the technology to Ecoplast, which also received a letter of nonobjection.158 Recycled HDPE can also be used in a multilayer structure that provides a layer of virgin polymer as the product contact phase. This is the standard approach for laundry products, where FDA approval is not an issue, but where consumer acceptability issues associated with objectionable odors in the product surfaced early in the development

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stage. In this case, the multilayer bottles used have a layer of virgin polymer on the outside as well as on the inside. This not only solved appearance problems that were also associated with the use of recycled plastic, it permitted a significant savings in the amount of fairly expensive colorants that are required. The middle layer in such structures is composed of a blend of recycled HDPE with process regrind. An additional benefit from the inner layer of virgin polymer is the better environmental stress crack resistance of the copolymer virgin HDPE compared to the regrind/recycle mix. 8.5.5 Markets for Recycled HDPE A major early market for recycled HDPE was agricultural drainage pipe. Pipe continues to be a significant market, but a number of additional markets have developed as well. In particular, coextruded bottles containing an inner layer of recycled HDPE have developed into a major market. Nearly all laundry products sold in plastic bottles in the United States use this structure, typically incorporating about 25 percent recycled content. Motor oil is often sold in single-layer bottles made from a blend of virgin and recycled HDPE. Figure 8.26 shows the proportion of recycled HDPE going into various market categories in the United States in 2003.43

FIGURE 8.26 Uses of recycled HDPE in the U.S., 2003.43

As can be seen, while pipe remains a significant use of recycled HDPE, by far the largest use is in bottles (nonfood). United States companies that are major users of recycled HDPE include Procter & Gamble, which uses 25 to 100 percent recycled HDPE in most of its household products, and Clorox. The use in plastic lumber and the related lawn and garden sector is increasing, as its benefits of long life compared to treated wood, freedom from the hazardous chemicals often used in outdoor grades of lumber, and maintenance of color without painting are recognized. Plastic lumber does carry a higher initial purchase price than wood equivalents, but life-cycle costing generally shows substantial benefits for plastic. Composites of wood fiber and plastic, either HDPE or LDPE, are also growing in use. Plastic lumber is discussed in more detail in Sec. 8.14.

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Recycled HDPE is also used in manufacture of film, especially for merchandise bags. Often, the material used is recycled milk bottles. Other uses of recycled HDPE are manufacture of milk crates, curbside recycling bins, and other products. TransPac uses recycled HDPE in pallets, slip sheets, and pallet separator boards.159 DuPont uses recycled HDPE in its Tyvek envelopes.160

8.6 RECYCLING OF LOW-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (LDPE) AND LINEAR LOWDENSITY POLYETHYLENE (LLDPE) Because of the similarity in properties and uses of low-density polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene, and because they are often blended in a variety of applications, use and recycling of LDPE and LLDPE are often reported and carried out together. Therefore, we will use the term LDPE to refer to both LDPE and LLDPE. Nearly two-thirds of the LDPE found in municipal solid waste originates in packaging, as shown in Fig. 8.27.1 Another sizable fraction comes from nondurable goods, especially trash bags. The two main sources of recycled LDPE are both in the bags, sacks, and wraps category: stretch wrap and merchandise bags. The U.S. EPA calculated that 150 thousand tons of LDPE/LLDPE bags, sacks, and wraps were recovered in 2003, for a recycling rate of 5.7 percent. The overall recycling rate for LDPE in MSW was 2.4 percent.1 The overall recycling rate for LDPE and LLDPE in Australia was reported to be 12.2 percent in 2003—above the 2002 rate of 11.2 percent but lower than the 2001 rate of 13.4 percent. 11

FIGURE 8.27 LDPE/LLDPE in MSW in the U.S., 2003.1

Recycling of grocery and other merchandise sacks is generally carried out at drop-off locations. At one time, there was a wide network of such sites across the United States, but many merchants discontinued the program due to contamination and other concerns. Bag recycling through schools has remained available in a significant number of locations. In contrast to PET and HDPE, curbside recycling is not yet a significant factor in recycling of LDPE in the United States, although such recycling is increasing. San Juan Capis-

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trano, CA, began collecting plastic bags at curbside in 2005, and other California cities are considering doing so. It reportedly is the first city in the country to collect bags curbside for use in new plastic bags. Residents put bags into a specially made plastic sack that goes in their curbside recycling bin. Increasing prices for oil have made plastic bags a more desirable feedstock.161 The proposed bag taxes in California may also be a motivating factor. The American Plastics Council has set up a special web site for plastic bag and film recovery in California, which provides the general public, recycling coordinators, and businesses with information on recycling. Among other features, people can search for a drop off location in their area.162 Hilex Poly Co. announced in November 2004 that it was building a $13 million recycling plan in North Vernon, IN, in response to environmental challenges facing the plastic bag sector. The company is one of the largest plastic bag manufacturers in the United States, using primarily HDPE rather than LDPE. Its aim is to use the recycled material in the manufacture of new grocery bags, in a closed loop system it calls “Bag 2 Bag.” The company also is working with its customers on reducing use of plastic bags through proper packing, and so on.163 Several bag-related companies have joined the NextLife Recycling Alliance to support film and bag recycling in the United States. It operates two recycling plants in Kentucky and Michigan and accepts truckloads of mixed material including plastic film and bags. Materials are sold to a variety of markets.164 Curbside collection of plastic film is much more common in Canada. The Plastic Film Manufacturers Association of Canada and EPIC have sponsored curbside recycling programs for plastic film of all types. By 1996, the program had grown to 146 communities in Ontario and 19 in the Montreal, QC, area. In 1998, EPIC published the Best Practices Guide for the Collection and Handling of Polyethylene Plastic Bags and Film in Municipal Curbside Recycling Programs. Source separation is recommended, but best practices for commingled collection that includes bags are also covered.165 By 2005, 43 percent of the Canadian population had access to plastic bag recycling through either municipal curbside programs, drop-off sites, or in-store recycling programs.166 Nonetheless, Ontario reported a recycling rate of only 5.6 percent for plastic film in 2003.88 Stretch wrap is collected primarily from establishments such as warehouses and retailers, where large quantities of goods arrive in pallet loads unitized with the wrap. Sending such material to be recycled, rather than paying to dispose of it, often makes economic sense for the companies involved. This is particularly true under present economic conditions, when companies may be able to sell their stretch wrap.167 Processing of film plastics is more difficult than processing of containers. The lower bulk density of the film leads to difficulty in handling the material, and it is more difficult to remove contaminants. Historically, a large fraction of merchandise bags collected in the United States were shipped to the Far East, where low labor costs permitted hand sorting. Stretch wrap is less contaminated, especially if paper labels are not used, and is often handled domestically. EPIC has devoted considerable effort to identifying processing systems capable of handling postconsumer polyethylene film, as well as to collection of the material, as mentioned above. They chose to focus on dry processing as key to keeping the cost of pelletizing the materials down. EPIC found that pneumatic separation of polyethylene film can remove 98 percent of contaminants from film which has first been chopped, shredded, or granulated. For agglomerating the shredded material, continuous-feed agglomeration was found to be generally superior to pellet mill processing and batch-style agglomeration. While the equipment was more costly than batch agglomeration, labor costs were lower, and product quality was higher. EPIC has also produced a stretch wrap recycling guide.168

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A major market for recycled plastic film and bags is manufacture of trash bags, typically in a blend with virgin resin. Recycled plastic has also been used in manufacture of new merchandise bags, bubble wrap, housewares, and other applications. In 2004, Dixons Group, a retailer, and Nelson Packaging, the UK’s largest producer of plastic carrier bags, were recognized for the 2003 introduction of the first carrier bag with 100 percent recycled content to be adopted by a major UK retailer.169 A rapidly growing application is the use of recycled LDPE in plastic lumber as a composite with wood fibers. Plastic lumber is discussed further in Sec. 8.14. Agricultural film poses a special problem, since it may be heavily contaminated. On the other hand, its disposal can be costly, so users have motivation to find a less-expensive solution. A number of pilot projects have looked at recycling this film. Markets are often local, since it is expensive to collect from far away. In 1997, New Jersey began a pilot recycling program targeted at nursery and greenhouse film. In the three-month project period, it collected nearly 450,000 pounds of film, about 45 percent of the total used by growers in the state. The biggest problem encountered was the dirt in the film. The program was successful enough to expand in 1998.170 There are now two permanent collection sites in operation year round. One accepts film only from New Jersey, at a charge of $20 per ton. The other accepts film from out-of-state customers as well, at a charge of $25 per ton.171 EPIC has published a best-practices guide for agricultural films. It identifies plastic stretch wrap, silage bags, cover sheets for bunker silos, and hay bale wrap as viable sources of agricultural film for recycling. Film should be clean and dry, having less than 5 percent contamination. Air drying for one to three days is recommended. Shaking can be used to remove a lot of the dirt and other foreign objects. The film should be stored away from sunlight to prevent further degradation. Products from recycled film identified in the guide are plastic lumber, plastic plywood (puckboard or baleboard), horse fencing, and farm pens for dairy cattle, hogs, and poultry.172 Another specialty film is marine shrink film, used to wrap boats to protect them from winter weather. WasteCap, of Massachusetts, with funding from the American Plastics Council and the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, started a recycling program for this film in 2003. Collection points are Massachusetts marinas, where significant amounts of the shrink film can be collected. During 2003 and 2004, approximately 35 tons of the white wrap was collected each year, out of about 130 tons that were sold in the area.173,174 Delta Plastics of the South, in Stuttgart, AR, recycles polyethylene tubing used for crop irrigation. Farmers often discard the tubing at the end of the year, because it becomes contaminated with soil and vegetation. Delta accepts used tubing from farmers who buy new tubing from the company. They operate over 100 collection sites in a 4-state area.175 The collected material is cut, washed, and palletized. End uses include trash bags, construction film, and agricultural film. Between 1998 and 2005, Delta recycled over 69 million pounds of tubing.176

8.7 RECYCLING OF POLYPROPYLENE (PP) Sources of PP in MSW in the United States are shown in Fig. 8.28. Packaging represents 38 percent of the total, and durable goods 37 percent. There is little recycling of PP from packaging reported by EPA, which noted a rate of only 0.7 percent in 2003, all from the “other plastics packaging” category.1 It is likely that most recycled PP comes from durable goods, where the recycling rate was 12.4 percent in 1998.2 As mentioned, EPA no longer divides plastic from durable goods by resin type, simply lumping it all in “other plastics”

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FIGURE 8.28 PP in MSW in the U.S., 2003.1

in the final compilation. A significant amount of recycled PP is known to come from automotive and other lead-acid battery cases. The overall recycling rate for PP in U.S. MSW in 2003 was reported as 0.3 percent, but this is likely an underestimate due to omission of battery cases.1 The overall recycling rate for PP in Australia was reported to be 9.9 percent in 2003, a significant increase from 7.0 percent in 2002 and 8.0 percent in 2001.11 Lead-acid batteries are prohibited from MSW disposal facilities in 37 U.S. states, primarily due to concern about the effects of lead. Several states impose deposits on batteries. Effective recycling programs for these batteries have existed for a number of years. The Battery Council International reports a 2003 recycling rate of more than 97 percent for lead-acid batteries. Polypropylene makes up about 7 percent of the battery, by weight, and is recovered along with the lead. The primary market for the recovered PP is new battery cases. A typical battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled PP. The recycling rate for the cases can be assumed similar to that for batteries.177 Some PP is recovered from recycling of electronics and automobiles; see Secs. 8.15 and 8.16. Polypropylene hangers from department stores are also sometimes recycled. Some PP bottles are collected in “all-bottle” collection programs; these may be recycled or may simply be discarded. Collection of other PP packaging is rare in the United States but more common in Europe and in some other parts of the world. Unfortunately, little information is available about recycling rates, products manufactured, and so forth. The American Plastics Council reported a 3.4 percent recycling rate for PP bottles in 2003, down from 3.9 percent in 2002.43 The 2001 rate was 3.8 percent.145 A few innovative programs for recycling PP packaging do exist. Stonyfield Farm, a yogurt manufacturer, has entered into a partnership with Recycline to recycle the company’s yogurt cups. All the handles of Recycline’s products, such as toothbrushes and razors, are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, and at least 65 percent of that is recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups. Furthermore, Recycline has a postage-paid recycling system so the end-of-life products can be sent back and again recycled, this time into plastic lumber.178

8.8 RECYCLING OF POLYSTYRENE (PS) Nondurable goods represent by far the largest category of PS in U.S. MSW, 56 percent, with plastic plates and cups alone representing 31 percent (Fig. 8.29). Durable goods account for about 32 percent, with packaging amounting to about 10 percent.1 A substantial

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FIGURE 8.29 PS in MSW in the U.S., 2003.1

amount of PS is used in the building and construction industry, mostly for insulation materials, but these wastes are not considered part of the U.S. MSW stream. EPA reports no significant recycling of PS in 2003. The American Plastics Council reported a 1.1 percent recycling rate for PS bottles in 2001 and did not collect data on PS in 2003 or 2004.43,145 There is very little recycling of food-service PS in the United States. In 1989, the National Polystyrene Recycling Company (NPRC) was formed by several PS producers, with a goal of achieving a 25 percent recycling rate for food-service PS by 1995. It focused on institutional generators of such wastes, primarily schools and other cafeterias. However, the operation was plagued by high levels of contamination with food wastes and was unable to operate profitably. Recycling rates and amounts for PS food-service items, including packaging, declined after an initial period of growth. In 1999, NPRC and its remaining two recycling facilities were sold to Elm Packaging Co. and its name changed to Polystyrene Recycling Co. of America.179 By late 2000, recycling of foodservice PS had all but stopped.180 However, Evergreen Partnering Group, Inc., in March 2005, announced plans to expand its small two-year-old pilot recycling program for polystyrene food-service items. The company recycles used PS trays, cups, and bowls in the Boston and Providence, RI, public schools and said it hoped to expand to Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.181 Nearly all recycling of PS from packaging in the United States now comes from recycling of foam cushioning materials. Such recycling has been much more successful than recycling of food-service PS. According to the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, recycling rates for EPS foam have ranged between 9 and 13 percent since 1992 (Fig. 8.30). In 2004, 25.0 million pounds of postconsumer EPS were recycled, for a rate of 12.0 percent, down from 26.2 million pounds and a 13.0 percent rate in 2003.182 (It should be noted that these materials should be considered recycling by EPA, since all packaging is considered part of MSW; nevertheless, EPA does not report these amounts.) In addition to the postconsumer material, 32.9 million pounds of postindustrial EPS was recycled, mostly scrap from manufacturing facilities.182 The Alliance provides a toll-free number for consumers to find whether EPS recycling is available in their area. It also sponsors a take-back program for small quantities of EPS, where consumers can mail the materials via the postal service or UPS to its national headquarters in Crofton, MD.183 In addition to recycling, there is considerable reuse of expanded polystyrene loose fill. The Plastic Loose Fill Council operates a toll-free “Peanut Hotline” to provide information to consumers about where to take EPS loosefill for reuse. This information is also

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FIGURE 8.30 EPS recycling in the U.S.182

available via the organization’s web page. PLFC reports that over 30 percent of all EPS loose fill is reused, and it averages 25 percent recycled content.184 One of the leaders in EPS recycling in the United States is FR International, which began PS recycling in 1990. The company recycled 10.9 million pounds of expanded polystyrene in 2000,185 but only 8.5 million pounds in 2002, the latest figures available. The company has five manufacturing operations in the United States, and also has several facilities in Europe. It also manufactures loosefill EPS cushioning from recycled EPS.186 One of the problems in recycling EPS is the very low bulk density of the material, which makes shipping it over long distances uneconomical. International Foam Solutions, Inc. (IFS), of Boca Raton, FL, developed a process that dissolved EPS in a citrus-based solvent, producing a gel and eliminating 90 percent of the volume. The “Polygel” was stored in drums and shipped to IFS for processing. IFS further diluted the gel, filtered out contaminants, and produced new PS products. Contaminant levels were reportedly reduced to less than 1 ppm. The intent was to use the process for food-contaminated EPS as well as other EPS materials.187 However, no current information about the company was found, so it may no longer be in operation. Kodak operates a recycling program for PS in disposable camera bodies and also recycles film containers. Recovered camera bodies are ground, mixed with virgin resin, and used in the production of new disposable cameras. The PS internal frame and chassis of the cameras may be recovered intact and reused in new cameras. The cameras, from any manufacturer, are collected from photofinishers, who may be reimbursed for the cameras they return. The company’s program is active in over 20 countries.188 In 1992, Japan, the United States, Germany, and Austria signed an international agreement to promote EPS recycling. By 2002, a total of 31 countries had signed. EPS Recycling International reported a global EPS packaging recycling rate of 45 percent in 2001 (no updates are currently available). The organization also provides information about member organizations in various countries.189 In Japan, one of the goals of the Japan Expanded Polystyrene Recycling Association (JEPSRA) is to increase recycling of expanded PS. Volume of collected material is reduced by pulverization, melting, or the use of solvents. With a network of more than 1000 recycling sites, Japan achieved a 39 percent recycling rate for EPS in 2002 (Fig. 8.31). JEPSRA’s goal is to achieve a 40 percent recycling rate by 2005.190

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FIGURE 8.31 EPS recycling in Japan.190

Korea reports a recycling rate of 48.8 percent for EPS in 1999, excluding building insulation and food containers, for a total of 24,371 tonnes. The growth in EPS recycling is shown in Fig. 8.32.191 The Canadian Polystyrene Recycling Association (CPRA), with a plant in Mississauga, ON, accepts polystyrene from all over Canada. Over 95 percent of its revenue comes from the sale of recycled resins, mostly black high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). The remainder comes from member companies, representing manufacturers, distributors, and end users of polystyrene products. The plant, which has a capacity of 5000 tonnes of PS per year, accepts both food-service PS and cushioning materials. While it uses mostly postconsumer materials as feedstock, it also accepts obsolete PS materials from manufacturers, such as scrap from sign manufacturing.192

FIGURE 8.32 EPS recycling in Korea.191

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In Australia, the overall recycling rate for PS (not including EPS) was reported to be 5.1 percent and for EPS was 7.0 percent in 2003. Recycling rates in 2002 and 2001 were 6.7 percent and 7.7 percent for PS, and 2.6 percent and 3.6 percent for EPS, respectively. As can be seen, the PS recycling rate continued to decline while the EPS rate rose significantly.11 Products manufactured from recycled polystyrene include cushioning materials, horticultural trays, video and audio cassette housings, rulers and other desktop accessories, clothes hangers, and other items.

8.9 RECYCLING OF POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) Polyvinyl chloride in U.S. MSW comes mostly from nondurable goods, followed closely by packaging and durable goods (Fig. 8.33).1 In western Europe, about 26 percent of PVC is used in pipes and fittings, 17 percent in film and sheet, 11 percent in window profiles, 9 percent in cables and wires, 5 percent in bottles, and 18 percent in floorings and coatings.193

FIGURE 8.33 PVC in MSW in the U.S., 2003.1

The U.S. EPA reports no significant recycling of PVC from municipal solid waste in the United States.1 The American Plastics Council reported a PVC bottle recycling rate in 2003 of only 0.2 percent, down from 0.4 percent in 2002.43 There is limited recycling of PVC from other waste streams, especially construction and demolition material, which is not classified as MSW. Since non-MSW waste streams account for considerably more PVC and tend to be more uniform than MSW PVC waste streams, most efforts have focused on these materials. The overall recycling rate for PVC was reported to be 4.0 percent in Australia in 2003, unchanged from 2002. The rate in 2001 was 4.9 percent.11 One PVC recycler in Australia is Armstrong Australia, which uses both scrap from installation of flooring and recycled PVC bottles in manufacture of its commercial vinyl flooring. Amounts are relatively small—about 80 tonnes of PVC bottles (and 10 tonnes of HDPE shopping bags) in 2004.194

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In the United States, the Vinyl Institute publishes a directory of North American companies involved in vinyl recycling, which is available in searchable on-line form. It currently lists 94 companies that accept postconsumer materials. The Institute also offers a database of U.S. and Canadian companies manufacturing products from recycled vinyl that currently lists 85 companies. A study commissioned by the Institute reported that about 18 million pounds of postconsumer PVC were recycled in 1997 from sources such as carpet backing, medical products, windows and siding, and packaging. Recycling of postindustrial materials was a much larger amount, representing about 78 percent of all recycled vinyl. Since nearly 70 percent of PVC production goes into products expected to last 10 years or more, recycling of postconsumer materials is expected to be more important in the future. The report found that demand for rigid postconsumer vinyl was smaller than the supply, despite the low recovery rates. The situation was somewhat better for flexible materials, but these were valued mostly for their plasticizer content, not the PVC itself. No updated information is currently available from the institute.195,196 PVC has been criticized by Greenpeace, and also by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, which in 1998 labeled PVC a recycling contaminant, pointing to the failure of a year-long effort to find markets for recycled PVC and the fact that many of their members had to landfill recovered PVC bottles because they could find no markets for them.197 After that report, the Vinyl Institute funded a pilot project aimed to jump-start the PVC recycling market,198 but, while recycling of PVC bottles increased slightly in 2002 from 2001, it decreased again in 2003. Overall use of PVC bottles continues to decline as well. In 2003, 208 million pounds of PVC were used in bottles, and only 0.2 million pounds were recycled.43,145 A number of projects have focused on recycling of vinyl siding, usually on scrap originating during building construction or remodeling, and often with financial support from the Vinyl Institute. As a result of one such pilot project in Grand Rapids, MI, recycling of vinyl siding waste is included in the EPA-funded publication, Residential Construction Waste Management: A Builders’ Field Guide.199 Among the most high-profile pilot projects are those involving Habitat for Humanity, which builds housing for low-income families. The Vinyl Institute and other PVC-related industry organizations have donated money and materials to some of these projects, in addition to supporting recycling efforts for the PVC scrap generated during construction. In 1997, Polymer Reclaim and Exchange, in Burlington, NC, was recycling about 300,000 pounds per month of vinyl siding scrap, through drop-off sites located at landfills and near manufacturers of mobile and manufactured homes.200 However, the company soon thereafter went out of business. With the aid of a grant from the Vinyl Institute, it was purchased by a former employee and reopened as Reily Recovery Systems (RRS) in Sanford, NC. Within two years, it was recycling more than 2 million pounds per year, used to produce PVC pipe, mobile home skirting, and other products.201 In 2005, EPIC released a “best practices” guide for vinyl siding recovery from residential construction and demolition.202 Other recycling efforts that targeted building-related PVC wastes have focused on window profiles, carpet backing, and pipe. Often, these, along with vinyl siding scrap, are preconsumer rather than postconsumer wastes. There is also considerable interest in recycling of both preconsumer and postconsumer automotive scrap, especially in Europe, with legislative requirements for automobile recycling. In fact, PVC recycling is much healthier in Europe than in North America. In Europe, Vinyl 2020 is a ten-year plan to put into action the Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry to achieve sustainability throughout the life cycle of PVC. Its two main foci are reduction in use of lead stabilizers and increase in recycling. The organization’s 2005 progress report summarizes accomplishments during 2004. The European PVC Window

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Profile and Related Building Products Association (EPPA) recycled 2865 tonnes of postconsumer waste, with preconsumer waste bringing the total to 5429 tonnes. The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) recycled 5640 tonnes of pipes and fittings. The European Single Play Waterproofing Association (ESWA) recycled 568 tonnes of PVC roofing membranes, more than 25 percent of the total available. The European PVC Floor Manufacturers (EPFLOOR) recycled 972 tonnes of waste. The EuPC PVC Coated Fabrics Sector Group (EPCOAT) started a trial collection project for coated fabrics. RGS of Denmark neared completion of a full-scale industrial demonstration project for recycling PVC waste into oil, salt, and minerals. It will have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year and is scheduled for completion in summer 2005.203 A leading PVC recycler is Solvay, which has a full-scale Vinyloop demonstration plant in Ferrara, Italy, based on solvent technology. The plant recycles vinyl cable waste and has also tested blisters, automotive wastes, roofing, and flooring, among other products. A modification in 2005 improved productivity and reduced steam consumption. In January 2005, a licensing agreement was signed with Kobelco Eco Solutions to build a Vinyloop facility near Tokyo to produce 18,000 tonnes per year of regenerated PVC from 20,000 tonnes of waste cable, greenhouse sheets, and wallpaper. Vinyloop Ferrara now is producing a recycled PVC resin, Vinyloop FC001, which contains PVC resin, plasticizer, stabilizer and filler. The company also has a subsidiary, Texyloop, which recycles old tarpaulins made of a composite of PVC and polyester.204 Hydro Polymers is installing a system to produce the UK’s first recycled PVC resin, known as EcoVin. It will be made from postindustrial scrap and is intended for use in cable conduits, fencing, and window profiles, where it will have an outside layer of virgin PVC.193 In Japan, Sumitomo Corporation and Refineverse are building a PVC recycling company that will recycle a range of PVC materials, from tile office carpet, flooring, and wallpaper to construction and automotive materials.205

8.10 RECYCLING OF NYLON AND CARPET Most nylon recycling projects target carpet as the largest volume of nylon in MSW. Occasional programs are directed toward other waste streams. The Monofilament Recycling Project, initiated in Florida in 2001, collected monofilament nylon fishing line in an effort to prevent some of the wildlife harm associated with discarded fishing line.206 About 4.7 billion pounds of carpet were discarded in the United States in 2002, about 1 percent of all MSW by weight and about 2 percent by volume, according to the EPA. Only 3.8 percent of it was recycled. As a consequence of pressure to do something about this large volume of waste, after two years of negotiation, carpet and fiber manufacturers, the Carpet and Rug Institute, state governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the EPA developed the National Carpet Recycling Agreement, signed in January 2002. This agreement established a ten-year plan to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of postconsumer carpet and decrease the amount going to landfill. The goals for 2012 are 3 to 5 percent reuse or at least 200 to 340 million pounds; 20 to 25 percent recycling or at least 1.4 to 1.7 billion pounds; 3 percent or 200 million pounds use in cement kilns as an alternative fuel source and an additive in cement production; and 1 percent or 67 million pounds energy recovery per year. The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) was created as a third-party organization to achieve these goals. Total landfill diversion is targeted at 40 percent by 2012. Negotiations for goals for the next ten-year period are to start in 2010, with the goal of eventually eliminating land disposal and incineration of postconsumer carpet.207,208

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CARE’s 2004 Annual Report shows that progress is behind schedule, but continued increases in oil prices are expected to improve carpet recycling economics. The total amount of carpet recycled in 2004 was 98.4 million pounds, a 13.6 percent increase over 2003. This occurred despite the closure of the Polyamid 200 recycling plant in Germany in mid 2003. The recycling rates reported are lower than the EPA estimate given above: 0.99 percent for 2002, 1.79 percent for 2003, and 2.17 percent for 2004. CARE reports that recycling may be underestimated by as much as 60 percent, as response to their survey was only 7 percent. Despite a slow start, the organization still feels it has a very good chance of meeting or exceeding its 2012 goal.209 Market development is seen as a continuing challenge. CARE is currently sponsoring research on development of large-volume products capable of consuming significant quantities of recycled carpet. One effort is directed at railroad ties; tests are currently going on both in laboratories and in the field. Conigliaro Industries, of Massachusetts, is developing PlasCrete Wall Blocks, each block weighing 1850 lb, which can contain large quantities of mixed postconsumer carpet. Vortex Composites, of Chicago, has developed a retainer wall system designed to look like brick, but it is 40 percent lighter than concrete. Several efforts directed at recovery of nylon in a form usable for carpet face fiber are underway. Auburn University has developed a patented process that involves selective dissolution of nylon in formic acid, followed by precipitation in supercritical carbon dioxide. Both the formic acid and CO2 are recovered and reused.209 About 25 percent of carpet is nylon, and many carpet recycling efforts have focused on it as the most recoverable and highest-value carpet material. BASF Corp. claims to have initiated the first comprehensive recycling program for used commercial carpet in the United States and Canada. Its 6ix Again program, which began in 1994, provides recycling of BASF nylon 6 carpet. At first, it provided recycling only for carpet manufactured after Feb. 1, 1994, and containing 100 percent Zeftron nylon 6 yarn. Carpets are sent to collection centers located throughout the United States and Canada. BASF recycles the carpet using chemical depolymerization into caprolactam and repolymerization, and it uses the material in new carpet, resulting in closed-loop recycling. In 1997, BASF expanded carpet recycling to customers replacing ineligible carpets with qualifying carpet, accepting all carpet yarn types and backing systems, and recycling them if a viable method is available—or incinerating the old carpet if recycling is not available. The program was later expanded again to include products containing Ultramid nylon 6 plastic with recycled content, and, in 2002, upholstery fabric made with Zeftron nylon upholstery yarn was added.210,211 DSM and Honeywell (formerly AlliedSignal) formed a joint venture, Evergreen Nylon Recycling (ENR), to recycle nylon 6 carpet. Like in the BASF process, the nylon 6 was depolymerized to caprolactam. The $85 million ENR plant in Augusta, GA, began operation in November 1999, with a capacity of more than 200 million pounds of carpet waste per year, producing over 100 million pounds of caprolactam. About 140 million pounds of the 200 million pounds processed each year was postconsumer carpet. The recovered caprolactam was used partly for production of new nylon 6 for carpet and other products and partly as a feedstock for production of other engineering plastics. Honeywell calculated that the process saved about 700,000 barrels of oil each year. The program accepted nylon 6 carpet made by any manufacturer.212,213 In 2000, DSM and Honeywell announced plans to set up carpet recycling ventures in Europe and Asia but said that, first, an economically feasible way to collect the old carpet needed to be established.214 The Evergreen process involved feeding entire carpets into the reactor. Polypropylene and latex backing and calcium carbonate filler from the carpets exited as a sticky brown substance that was sent to a cement kiln for incineration. The calcium carbonate in the mix became part of the cement.210 However, in 2001, Honeywell and Evergreen suspended production of their Infinity recycled nylon resin due to higher than

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expected production and development costs, along with business and economic conditions. As of this writing, the company still maintains a web site, but there have evidently been no updates since 2001.215 C&A developed a closed-loop process for recycling postconsumer carpet and manufacturing waste into recycled content backing for new carpet. Recycled content ranges from 31 percent to 52 percent, and the material is recyclable back into carpet at the end of its life.209 Invista, based in Calhoun, GA, has been recycling carpet since 1991. It will collect and reclaim any used carpet, as well as installation scraps, from any manufacturer, and guarantees that no material will be sent to landfill. Recycled materials are used in manufacture of new carpet, carpet cushions, filtration devices, automotive parts, packaging materials, and furniture. Users must pay for the service.209,216 Wellman, Inc. of Johnsonville, SC, recycles nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 carpet, using a proprietary process, and formulates the product into moldable engineered nylon resins, with both filled and unfilled grades. Wellman received the CARE Recycler of the Year Award in 2005 for its developments in recycling nylon into automotive parts. Their EcoLon resin contains 25 percent postconsumer carpet.68,217 Shaw Industries has an environmental guarantee program, promising to collect, transport, and recycle any carpet tile made with their EcoWorx backing, at no cost to the customer. The company will recycle the material into new carpet. The company was awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for development of that carpet tile as well as the Most Innovative Product Award at NeoCon. Shaw also manufactures Eco Solution Q nylon face fiber for carpets, which contains 25 percent recycled content.209,218 A number of other companies either are or have been engaged in nylon (or other) carpet recycling programs. A limited amount of nylon recycling from appliances and automotive parts is taking place as well. For example, DuPont is working on recycling radiator tanks and air intake manifolds into nylon materials for new tanks and manifolds.219,220 Australia reported a 3.0 percent recycling rate for nylon of all types in 2003.11

8.11 RECYCLING OF POLYURETHANE Recycling of polyurethane differs from recycling of thermoplastics, since the thermoset polyurethane cannot be melted and reformed. Most scrap from production and fabrication of soft polyurethane foam is shredded into small pieces and then rebounded into molded large blocks that are next laminated with film and used as carpet padding. Some is also used directly as filler for pillows or furniture. Used carpet padding can also be recycled in this way, making new carpet padding. Some mechanical recycling of polyurethane, especially harder foams, is being done using ground-up material as a filler in new materials. Other efforts have targeted chemical treatment to break down the material into polyol, which can then be used in production of new plastics.221 Primary potential sources of polyurethane foam for recycling include automobiles, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and refrigerators and freezers. In 2007, refrigerator disposal alone is expected to yield 126 million pounds of polyurethane foam.222 In the United States, polyurethane recycling, other than for production of carpet backing, has been quite limited. However, in Europe, the directive on waste from electric and electronic equipment (WEEE), by requiring the removal of ozone-depleting blowing agents that were once used in polyurethane foam production, has spurred development of treatment facilities for the material and thus is producing an increasing volume of rigid PU foam that is available for recycling.223

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BASF teamed with Philip Services to open the first facility in North America for recycling rigid and semirigid polyurethane in 1997. This plant used a BASF-patented glycolysis process and was designed first for automotive waste, with the intention to expand to other waste streams.224 However, the facility appears to be no longer in operation. Mobius Technologies developed polyurethane foam recycling technology for PU scrap from slab and molded foam. The process pulverizes the scrap foam into powder of less than 50 µm and suspends it in polyol for use in production of new foam, replacing up to 10 to 12 percent of the new polyol and thus lowering costs. The scrap can be from either flexible or molded sources and can be production scrap or scrap from postconsumer applications such as old automobile seats. Mobius partnered with Dow Chemical to install a recycling system at Dow’s Technical Development Center in Meyrin, Switzerland, in 2002.225 Mobius also now has a strategic relationship with Energy and Environmental Ventures in China.226 ISOLA NV claims to be the largest rigid polyurethane recycling company in Europe, recycling 5000 tonnes of rigid polyurethane waste each year, including production waste from polyurethane panel and block industries and polyurethane recovered from end-of-life refrigerators in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Scandinavia.227 In 2004, it announced an intent to produce building blocks with up to 95 percent reclaimed polyurethane.223 The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, in Eugene, OR, in collaboration with the International Sleep Products Association and with additional funding from the city of San Francisco, opened a mattress components recycling facility in Alameda County, CA, designed to recycle about 500,000 pounds of polyurethane foam a year. The facility can handle 250 to 500 mattresses a day. It is designed to recover steel, wood, and cotton from the mattresses as well as polyurethane. The system first slices the incoming mattresses so that layers of polyurethane foam and cotton fiber can be removed from the steel framework. In the future, whole mattresses will be shredded.228,229 Conigliaro Industries, of Framingham, MA, in August 2001, received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for development and start-up of a mattress shredding and recycling facility. The company claims its plant, which opened in December 2002, was the first commercial plant for shredding and recycling mattresses. In addition to polyurethane foam, wood, cotton, and steel are recycled. The plant has a capacity of 1 mattress per minute, or 140,000 per year. Low-quality mattresses such as those from hospitals and schools are simply put through a shredder, and about 60 percent of the components are recycled. For brand-name mattresses, the mattress is first slit and then shredded, resulting in recovery of about 90 percent of the components.230 Troy Polymers is investigating glycolysis of mixed polyurethanes, reacting the polymer with diols at elevated temperature to yield materials that can be used to form new polyurethane or polyisocyanurate foams.231 RAMPF Ecosystems, in cooperation with FH Aalen and support from the EU LIFEProgramme, has developed three types of chemical recycling processes for PU foams: partial glycolysis, polyolysis, and acidolysis. The process targets both pre- and postconsumer polyurethane. The material is first sliced into pieces about 5 cm in size and then introduced to a depressurized reactor for chemical depolymerization. The result is a mixture of polyols and low-molecular-weight urethane. Filtration removes incidental foreign matter contaminants. The resultant polyol, Recypol, can be used alone or mixed with new polyol for production of foams. Yields are expected to be 97 to 99 percent when the process is fully developed. It is suitable for nearly all forms of polyurethane. Problems encountered are related mostly to the low quality of postconsumer residual materials.232 One focus of PU foam recycling efforts is motor vehicles. Such efforts are generally more prevalent in Europe, due to producer responsibility and recycling mandates.

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In 1999, NV Salyp of Ieper, Belgium, began building the Salyp ELV Center in Belgium, which uses technology licensed from the Argonne National Laboratory, of Illinois, to recover polyurethane foam and other plastics from auto shredder residue (ASR). It also uses technology licensed from a German firm, KUTEC, for separating different types of thermoplastics from the Argonne technology reject stream. About 5 percent of automotive shredder residue, the material remaining after metals are recovered, is polyurethane. The Argonne technology separates the fluff into three streams: fines, foam, and a thermoplastic-rich stream. The foam stream is cleaned and sold for markets such as rebond foam in carpet underlay and for padding in automobiles. The thermoplastic stream is sorted further for recovery of a variety of pure resins. Even the fines stream may be recovered for applications such as cement, substituting for iron or mill scales that are now used to provide the needed iron. Salyp reports that the process can also recover PUR foam from shredded mattresses.77,82,83 In the United States, the Vehicle Recycling Partnership is supporting research efforts on ASR recycling. For example, Changing World Technologies has a pilot plant for recycling auto shredder residue, including polyurethane. Thermal depolymerization is used to convert hydrocarbons and other organics into fuels and specialty chemicals.233 The Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry operates a recycled polyurethane markets database that allows searches for either buyers or sellers of polyurethane.234 Australia reported a relatively high 16.2 percent rate for polyurethane recycling in 2003.11 In 2004, Coim Brasil, a subsidiary of the Italian company Chimica Organica Industrialle Milanese, began operation of the first polyurethane recycling plant in Brazil. It targets shoe soles and has the capacity to recover 200 tonnes per month.235

8.12 RECYCLING OF POLYCARBONATE (PC) Some recycling of polycarbonate from products such as automobile bumpers, compact discs, computer housings, and telephones has been carried out. Bayer built Europe’s first polycarbonate CD recycling facility in Leverkusen, Germany, in 1995. The PC was separated from aluminum coatings, protective layers, and imprinting. The product was blended with virgin PC for use in a variety of products.236 In Europe, Bayer recycles returnable polycarbonate bottles and jars used by dairies as well as compact discs.237,238 As the number of compact discs, and now also DVDs, has grown, so has interest in recycling this high-value engineering polymer. For example, Taiyo Yuden, in Japan, is engaging in a major effort to recycle used, defective, and obsolete optical discs.239 In the UK, Polymer Reprocessors recycles CDs, producing injection-grade polycarbonate granulate.240

8.13 RECYCLING OF ACRYLONITRILE/ BUTADIENE/STYRENE COPOLYMERS (ABS) AND OTHER PLASTICS Most ABS recycling is focused on appliances. Refrigerators alone are expected to yield 23 million pounds of ABS in 2007.222 Telephones, especially cellular telephones, are also a significant source of ABS in the waste stream.

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In Australia, the overall recycling rate for ABS/SAN was reported to be 8.5 percent in 2003, higher than the 7.2 percent rate in 2002 but lower than the rate of 9.8 percent in 2001.11 A few other types of plastics are recycled in small amounts. For example, the Thai Poly Acrylic Company Ltd. has depolymerization facilities for waste acrylic sheet, with the product used in production of new sheet.241 Many of these plastics are found in appliances, electronics, and automobiles. More information on electronics recycling can be found in Sec. 8.15, and automotive recycling in Sec. 8.16. One of the most unusual plastics-related recycling programs is the KnoWaste LLC program for recycling disposable diapers and adult incontinence products. In addition to paper, the superabsorbent polymers used in the products are recovered, as are film materials. KnoWaste began with a pilot-scale facility in Mississauga, ON. It operates a facility in Arnhem, Netherlands, with a capacity of 70,000 tons per year. A successful nine-month demonstration diaper recycling program was conducted in Santa Clarita, CA, in 2002 and 2003. Most recently, it announced plans to provide diaper recycling in the Toronto, ON, metropolitan area.242

8.14 COMMINGLED PLASTICS AND PLASTIC LUMBER When mixed plastics streams are collected, separation by resin type may not be feasible or economical. Similarly, heavily contaminated plastics streams may not be suitable for highvalue end markets. Use of plastics in a commingled form, typically in applications where plastics replace wood or concrete, offers relatively low-value end uses that are much more tolerant of contamination than traditional plastic resin markets. In addition, the plastic substitutes for lumber and concrete tend to be considerably more durable than the materials they replace. This is especially true for plastic lumber, where the plastics also have the benefit of not employing some of the toxic chemical systems used to protect wood from degradation in moist outdoor environments. Many companies have been into and out of the commingled plastics business. The products typically sell for more than the wood or concrete items they replace, and convincing people to buy the products, even when they will last considerably longer than the cheaper alternatives, has been difficult. A relatively new company in the business of recycling commingled plastics is ReSyk, of Utah. The company’s patented process is claimed to be suitable for all kinds of incompatible plastics as well as contaminants such as motor oil, labels, aluminum, and copper. Products are compression molded. The company claims that, rather than just melting one of the plastics and having the others act as fillers, as was the case for many of the earlier commingled plastics processes, its process actually bonds the different types of plastics together. The company was formed in 1999 as a spin-off from Rotational Molding, of Utah, which had acquired the technology in the mid 1990s. At first, ReSyk made products including trash-can wheels, water-meter covers, and bumpers for loading docks.243 Now, it evidently licenses its patented technology, manufactures prototypes, and serves as a consultant rather than being involved in product manufacture.244 As mentioned, one application for recycled commingled plastics is in plastic lumber. The plastic lumber business has grown rapidly in the last five years. Not all plastic lumber is made using recycled plastics, but much of it is. Some companies using recycled plastics for plastic lumber use mixed plastics, and others use relatively pure streams of material. Some use primarily postconsumer materials, while others use mostly industrial scrap.

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Many manufacturers make composite plastic lumber out of wood fiber, with HDPE, LDPE, or PVC serving as the plastic component. From 1992 to 1997, the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) and Rutgers University, along with several recycled plastic lumber (RPL) manufacturers, carried out a project to optimize the production process for RPL and develop demonstration projects. In 1998 to 2000, the Plastic Lumber Trade Association and Battelle, with four RPL manufacturers, several government agencies, and others, completed a three-year cooperative effort to develop the use of RPL in structural applications in decking, marine waterfront, and material handling.245 As a result of these and other projects, the usefulness of plastic lumber in several types of applications is now accepted. In 1999, the Plastic Lumber Trade Association reported that RPL was growing at a 30 percent annual rate.245 Growth of plastic lumber was been fueled by growing knowledge about performance properties of the material and how they relate to composition, as well as by the development of performance standards such as the standard test methods developed by ASTM.246 By 2005, nine ASTM test methods for RPL had been established, along with two standards for plastic/fiber composites.247 However, growth of plastic lumber has slowed, and the Association has not placed an annual report on their web site since 2002. Residential decking is a large component of plastic lumber sales. Major manufacturers using recycled plastics include Trex and Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies (AERT) with plastic/wood fiber composites, and U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp. with both structurally foamed HDPE and plastic/wood composites.248 Recycled plastic railroad ties have very large-scale potential. A number of test projects with a few ties each were carried out between 1996 and 1997. In 1998, the Chicago Transit Authority became the first commercial purchaser, buying 250 ties for a test on its elevated train line.250 U.S. Plastic Lumber has been one of the major producers of these materials and claims they have twice the life span of wood ties. Polywood produces RPL for railroad ties as well as for bridges and boardwalks from a blend of polyethylene and polystyrene.251 TieTek, Inc., a subsidiary of North American Technologies Group, Inc., produces railroad ties from a mixture of recycled plastics and recycled rubber, with a total recycled content of 75 percent. The company’s plant facility in Houston, TX, began production in July 2000. In 2001, TieTek announced plans to build a production facility in New Zealand. In 2005, TieTek reported that more than 140,000 of its crossties have been installed in 18 U.S. states and 8 foreign countries.252 Plastic lumber has been used in constructing bridges, walkways, and piers. One of the first major uses was a bridge at Fort Leonard Wood in St. Robert, MO, that used 13,000 pounds of commingled recycled plastics from a number of different suppliers. The bridge is primarily for pedestrian use but can support light trucks. It is expected to last 50 years without maintenance—significantly longer than the 15-year life span of a treated wood equivalent.253 Manufacturers include Polywood as well as U.S. Plastic Lumber, which manufactures fiberglass-reinforced RPL as well as foamed HDPE lumber.254 As mentioned, several companies have combined recycled plastic with wood fiber, sawdust, or recovered paper fiber. For example, Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. (AERT) of Springdale, AR, has been producing window frames from recycled LDPE film (mostly pallet wrap) and wood fiber for a number of years.255 Trex Co., of Winchester, VA, which also has production facilities in Nevada, manufactures recycled plastic/wood composites, primarily for decking, from LDPE and HDPE originating in pallet wrap and grocery bags, and waste wood fiber. Trex was selected by Industry Week as one of the 25 most successful small manufacturers in the United States.68,256 A number of other companies manufacture plastic lumber as well.

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In 2003, EPIC released a report on the potential for plastic lumber in marine applications in Canada. The higher cost of these materials compared to conventional ones is a major drawback at present. However, the report concludes that use will likely increase significantly in the future as price goes down.257 A New Brunswick boat builder has made a barge that uses a considerable portion of plastic lumber, made from recycled bottles, shrink-wrap, and agricultural film. Recycled plastic 2 × 4s were used for the frame and 2 × 6-3/4-in tongue-and-groove planks cover wooden bulkheads. The hull is filled with foam blocks, making it unsinkable. In this application, using recycled plastic saved money; the barge cost about 20 percent less than a fiberglass-wood version.258 Another EPIC report looked at the potential for use of plastics in railway ties. Plastic railroad ties were reported to be superior in weather and abrasion resistance.259

8.15 RECYCLING PLASTICS FROM ELECTRONICS Consumer electronics are getting increasing attention as a waste problem, as the boom in personal computers and their short lives before obsolescence result in a burgeoning number entering the waste stream. The hazardous heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, present in some computer components make their disposal problematic, so there is a growing movement toward instituting recycling programs for these materials in particular. In Europe, manufacturers will be held responsible for the ultimate recycling of consumer electronics, so they have an added financial incentive to improve the products’ recyclability and to develop recycling systems. In the United States, several computer manufacturers have instituted voluntary take-back programs for computers. However, most charge customers for taking back the items, which significantly limits recovery. For example, in the United States, buyers of a new IBM PC can purchase the recycle of any manufacturer’s computer system for a moderate fee. Customers send the systems via UPS to Envirocycle, a designated recycling center, where components will be either refurbished to benefit charities or recycled. A similar service is available in Canada. IBM also operates product take-back operations in Europe, Japan, and Taiwan.260 For larger business customers, IBM operates an Asset Recovery Solutions program throughout the world that will pay participants for their outdated computer hardware or sell it for them.261 In 2001, a group of manufacturers, recyclers, and government representatives in the United States formed the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI), with the major goal of creating a framework for product stewardship for electronics for the whole United States. At this time, product stewardship initiatives have already been initiated in the northeast and the western regions of the country.262 Efforts to reach agreement on the national initiative continued until 2005, when NEPSI was finally abandoned.263 Product take-back requirements for electronics continue to spring up around the world. In Ontario, the government added electronics and electrical equipment of all kinds to the list of items that are to be diverted from disposal. The plan is to require a company called Waste Diversion Ontario to develop a program to handle the diversion of waste electronics from the municipal waste stream.264 Because computers and electronics contain 15 to 20 different types of plastics, which in turn containing a variety of plasticizers, colorants, flame retardants, and fillers, recovery of plastics from these materials is complex.265 Much of the research has been directed toward development of some of the microsorting techniques discussed in Sec. 8.3.7. Other efforts have been devoted toward design of computers and electronics to facilitate recycling, incorporating guidelines such as minimizing the use of different types of plastic resins, providing for identification of the types of resins used in computer parts, and

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designing items to be easily disassembled. Electronics manufacturers have also increased the use of recycled materials in their products. The Electronic Industries Alliance operates a Consumer Education Initiative, with a web site that directs consumers to electronics recycling and reuse opportunities.266 In 1992, IBM became the first major computer maker to code plastic parts for ease in identification for recycling. In 1999, IBM reported that 675,000 pounds of PVC, ABS, and PC/ABS resins recovered from old computers were reused in its products in 1998.267 Nearly all the internal plastic parts in IBM PCs were reported to have recycled content at about this time.68 The company’s 2004 server brochure says that IBM uses recycled content resin into systems “where technically possible” and that several internal resin parts such as stiffeners, clips, and fillers use resin with pre- or postconsumer recycled content.268 Sony Electronics Inc., in cooperation with the State of Minnesota and Waste Management, Inc., initiated a five-year program in 2000 to take back all Sony electronic products in Minnesota at no cost to consumers.269 It operates through drop-off sites, which also accept other brands of electronics for a small fee. Over 8000 pounds of electronics were collected through this program in 2002.270 Butler-MacDonald Inc., of Indianapolis, has recovered plastics from computer electronics for many years, initially concentrating on ABS and other plastics from telephones. The company has relied primarily on density-based separation systems but is adding new separation technologies.271 MBA Polymers, of Richmond, CA, with funding from the American Plastics Council, developed automated sortation techniques for plastics from computers and electronics. The mixture of resins is sorted by family, with the major products polypropylene, high-impact polystyrene, acrylonitrile/butadiene/styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), and ABS/PC blends.265,272 In Japan, Kobe Steel Ltd. developed a sandwich technique to apply virgin resin to a core of recovered plastic, permitting increased use of recycled plastics in computers and other products.273 3M developed recycling-compatible label materials to enhance the recyclability of durable goods, including computers and electronics, by permitting the label to remain in place when the equipment housing is recycled, without detracting from resin performance.274 Mixed recycled plastics from computers and other electronics equipment are being used by Conigliaro Industries, of New England, in an asphalt road-paving mix.275 The company also developed a system for recycling the plastic equipment housings from computer and electronic products and a unique cold patch asphalt/recycled plastic mix for filling potholes.276 In 1997, Dell announced that the computers in its OptiPlex PC line, sold to business, government, and education customers, would be designed to be recyclable by using an ABS chassis without fillers or coatings, and would also be designed to make the computer easier to maintain and upgrade.277 Several computer companies have minimized the number of types of plastics used in computers. Panasonic once used 20 different polystyrene resin grades but has cut that to 4. Hewlett-Packard (HP) tries to use a single polymer in products, if possible, preferably HIPS or ABS. HP also codes any piece of plastic greater than 25 g with a resin identification number.278 HP also has an active return program for printer cartridges, through their Planet Partners program, incorporating prepaid mailing labels in new cartridge boxes so that the old ones can be returned at no cost to the user. The program is now in operation in 36 countries and recovered nearly 55 thousand tonnes of used products in 2004.279 Another design change is to facilitate disassembly by using standard screws and quickrelease connections, and minimizing the number of fasteners. Molded-in ornamental com-

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ponents or information have replaced some painted decorations and adhesive labels. Many manufacturers are identifying the hazardous materials used in products and working toward reducing or eliminating them. On the other hand, some of the new, vibrant colors being used in electronics will make recycling more difficult. Also, smaller and lessexpensive products, while achieving source reduction, can make repair, reuse, and upgrading more difficult.278 In 2000, the American Plastics Council published a report on recycling of plastics from residential electronics equipment. Plastics accounted for about one-third of materials collected in two pilot residential electronics recycling programs, which operated during 1997 and 1998 in Somerville, MA, and Binghamton, NY. Only about 25 percent of the plastics fraction was “clean plastics,” hom*ogeneous and free of contaminants. The report identifies 16 different generic plastic resins sold into the electrical and electronics sector (excluding wire and cable) in significant amounts in 1995. The six most common were polystyrene, acrylonitrile/butadiene/styrene (ABS), PP, PU, PC, and phenol formaldehyde (PF). Of plastic materials collected during a two-week period in Hennepin County, MN, through its curbside and drop-off collection programs for electronics, only 35 percent were found acceptable for further processing for recycling. Of these materials, high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) was the most common material, followed by ABS and polyphenylene oxide (PPO). There was considerable variation between categories of consumer electronics. Televisions had 75 percent HIPS, while computers contained mostly ABS and PPO. A similar project in San Francisco showed that recovered fans contained mostly polypropylene. APC concluded that, while televisions accounted for nearly half the electronics recovered, they were not a rich source of high-value engineering plastics. Computers were, however, and hence had a better chance of being effectively recycled.280 A report by researchers from Stockholm University drew attention to the problem of release of potentially toxic flame retardants during dismantling and recycling of consumer electronics. Airborne levels of flame-retardant additives were found to be two to three orders of magnitude higher in such facilities than in other work environments, and flame retardants were found in the blood of plant workers.281 Subsequently, two of the three types (penta and octa) of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that were widely used in fire retardants have been, or are about to be, banned in much of the world, as they were shown to bioaccumulate, and there is evidence that they are harmful. The PBDE most used in electronics (deca), which represents more than 95 percent of PBDEs used each year, is not affected by the bans. California became the first U.S. state to ban PBDEs, passing a law in August 2003 that takes effect in 2008. As originally written, the bill would have banned all three types, effective in 2006, but was changed after strenuous opposition from the electronics industry and others. The two compounds that are banned are used mostly in furniture.282 The EPA has reached a voluntary agreement with manufacturers to remove penta and octa PBDEs from the U.S. market. The European Union is also banning PBDEs, and other countries either have done so or are considering similar action. The ban in Europe includes deca PBDEs, effective in 2006.283 Matsush*ta Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, in 2002 announced the development of what was claimed to be the first plastic recycling system capable of separating flame retardants from used plastic while maintaining its original physical properties. The plan was to release a commercial version of the system by March 2004, but no record of such a release was found.284 E-Scrap News conducted a survey of U.S. electronics scrap processors in 2004. More than one-third of respondents were in their first 5 years of operation, while 45 percent had been in operation for 11 years or longer. The majority were small organizations, with one or two facilities. Nearly half had fewer than 25 employees, and almost a third had $1 million or less in sales per year. When asked about the challenges they face, 62 percent saw

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legislation and regulation as positive for the overall industry, while only 22 percent felt they hurt the industry. Export markets were seen as hurting the industry by 64 percent of respondents and as helping by 31 percent. An overwhelming majority (92 percent) felt that additional research and development was either somewhat or very important. There was similar support for an environmental certification program to create system management standards, with 93 percent agreeing that there is a need for such a program. Cost of logistics, obtaining sufficient processing volumes, the cost of processing, and markets for plastics were rated as the biggest challenges facing the industry.285 For electronics, collection programs that charge participants have become the norm in the United States, with 53 percent of programs responding to the survey reporting that residents are charged for dropping off electronic waste, compared to 49 percent in the preceding year’s survey. Fees are relatively stable, however, with only 25 percent of respondents reporting fee increases, and 7 percent reporting decreased fees. At the other end, fees charged by reclaimers are also relatively stable, with 50 percent of respondents reporting that these remained constant and 27 percent reporting decreases. More than 80 percent of programs accept CPUs, CRTs, computer peripherals, printers and scanners, TVs, and fax machines. About a quarter of all programs responding accept any item with a power cord. Periodic collection events are run by 45 percent of respondents, 31 percent have permanent drop-off collection facilities, and 22 percent have a combination of services. A number of programs plan to change from periodic collection to permanent facilities. Most programs report that participation in collection programs is increasing (79 percent) and that volume of collected materials is increasing (81 percent).286 A number of recent efforts are directed toward the rapidly increasing stream of discarded cellular phones. Unlike other electronics recycling programs, these usually do not charge a fee. Most of these operate through voluntary drop-off at participating retailers. In Australia, the Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association (AMTA) has a mobile phone recycling program that is a voluntary, industry-led program, funded by a fee on sale of new mobile phones from participating manufacturers and network carriers. The phones, along with batteries and accessories, are collected from more than 1600 participating stores throughout Australia. At present, plastics from handset casings and housings are being stored until a processing facility in Melbourne is completed.287 ReCellular Inc., in 2004, signed a five-year exclusive agreement to provide cell-phone recycling and refurbishing in South America, Central American, and the Caribbean.288 The International Association of Electronics Recyclers has developed a searchable database that allows individuals to search for organizations that are involved in electronics recycling. The database includes organizations and companies that provide recycling services.289

8.16 RECYCLING AUTOMOTIVE PLASTICS As is the case for electronics, regulations have spurred interest in recycling plastics from automobiles as well as in using recycled plastics and designing to facilitate recycling. European regulations are a major factor, as manufacturers will be responsible for achieving 95 percent recovery and 85 percent recycling of end-of-life vehicles by 2015.77 Japan has a similar requirement. All major automobile manufacturers are working on design changes to improve recyclability and on incorporating more recycled materials in automobiles. For example, in late 1998, DaimlerChrysler set standards for recycled content that include asking suppliers of plastics parts to provide at least 20 percent recycled content in 2000, increasing to 30 percent beginning in 2002.290 In 1999, it demonstrated two

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Dodge Stratus sedans developed with 26 supplier companies to show the potential for use of recycled materials. More than 500 parts were modified to increase recycled content, and up to 40 percent of the plastic materials used were from recycled materials. DaimlerChrysler is working toward making its vehicles 95 percent recyclable within the next few years.291 One of the problems with recycling automotive plastics is paint removal. This applies not only to end-of-life vehicles but also to thermoplastic olefin (TPO) painted parts, which have a high scrap rate. Polymer Sciences Inc. announced plans in late 1999 to build recycling facilities in Duncan, SC, and somewhere in Europe, using the company’s mechanical process for stripping paint from TPO parts before they are ground and pelletized. However, the plant was not built, and the company now lists paint removal as a technology that it has available for sale or license.292,293 A mechanical paint-removal process is also used by American Commodities Inc., based in Flint, MI, which is reported to be the largest recoverer of postconsumer automotive plastics in North America. The company has capacity to recycle 40.5 million pounds of TPO a year. One user of the American Commodities process is Visteon, which recycles 1 million pounds of painted TPO parts each year, using about 15 percent recycled old TPO bumpers in manufacture of new bumpers. Even higher amounts of scrap can be used when it is available, as the company is approved to use 100 percent scrap. Visteon’s Milan plant increased scrap use to 60,000 pounds per week of recycled TPO in 2000.292,294,295 ACI specializes in bumper recycling, through its bumper buy-back program, but now recycles other materials as well. The company sells postconsumer Enviraloy plastics with a variety of base resins: ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, PC/acrylic alloys, PC/PBT alloys, and PPOnylon alloys, in addition to TPO. The same group of resins are available in the Impact family of resins made from postindustrial materials.296 In early 2000, American Commodities, in a joint venture with Wipag Polymer Technique of Neuberg, Germany, began recycling scrap instrument panels, which contain styrene maleic anhydride (SMA), polyurethane foam, and PVC. The process separates the three materials so that each can be recovered. It can also be employed on door panels, where it also separates the textile inserts. Wipag has been using the process on instrument panels in Europe, where it has facilities in Neuberg, Germany, and Kent, England. Materials are returned to 99.98 percent purity at a cost savings of about 30 percent compared to virgin material. Recovered plastic is used in the production of new automotive parts.295–297 While many automotive recycling processes target disassembled components, including scrap parts produced during the manufacturing process, others are directed toward the more complex problem of recovering usable plastics from the residue from automobile shredder operations designed primarily for metals recovery. Auto shredder residue typically contains 15 percent to 27 percent plastics. The plastics fraction contains thermosets and thermoplastics. The thermosets, in addition to rubber, are mostly rigid polyurethane and fiberglass/polyester composites. The thermoplastics fraction includes nearly 50 different resins, but about 80 percent is PP and ABS.77 One of the systems that has been developed for recovery of plastics from ASR was discussed in Sec. 8.11, since its major recovery target is polyurethane foam. Another company that is working on recovery of plastics from ASR is Galloo Plastics, in France. According to a report in 2000, Galloo crushes the ASR into 1-in granules at the shredder and then shreds then to less than 1/2-in size at the recycling facility. Ferrous and nonferrous metals and small glass particles are removed, and then the ASR is aspirated to remove PUR foam. A drum tumbler removes wire and metal waste, leaving a plastics/ wood mix. A proprietary float/sink process recovers filled and unfilled PP. The PUR foam fluff has been tested for sound-deadening applications but was not found to be economically viable. The PP is sold, and the company plans to add PE and ABS as products.298

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Galloo is also working on recycling of electronic products and currently is expanding its facility.299 Argonne National Laboratory has a pilot facility for investigation of recycling from automotive shredder residue. It includes a mechanical separation facility and a wet-density/ froth-flotation separation facility.300

8.17 DESIGN ISSUES As mentioned, the design of items made of plastics can affect their recyclability. Obviously, design can also affect other environmental impacts associated with the item.

8.17.1

Design for Recycling

Obviously, product design can greatly affect the ease of the recycling the product at the end of its life. The original PET soft drink bottle had a PET body, HDPE base cup, aluminum cap, and paper label. All of these materials had to be separated to permit PET recycling to occur (and, of course, residual product and other contaminants also had to be removed). The current bottle design has a PET body, no base cup, and PP cap and label. Consequently, recovery of a pure PET stream for recycling is much easier. Various organizations have produced guidelines for the design of products and/or packages, with the explicit goal of facilitating recycling. The general approach is to simplify identification of plastics by resin type and then to make it easier to separate the various plastic streams from each other and from nonplastic components, or to make the various plastics compatible with each other so that they do not need to be separated. One of the early efforts to produce guidelines for “design for recycling” was the City/ Industry Plastic Bottle Redesign Project, established in early 1994 to reach a consensus on design changes for plastic bottles so as to improve the economics of recycling. The “city” representatives included Dallas, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, New York, San Diego, and Seattle. “Industry” participants included Avery Dennison, Enviro-Plastic, Johnson Controls, Owens Illinois, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson Wax, and St. Jude Polymer. The study received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Wisconsin and New York. The focus was to assist plastic recyclers as well as to maximize the return to cities collecting postconsumer resin. Therefore, balancing costs of making package design changes against the recycling benefits was part of the effort. Recommendations for plastic bottle design included • Making caps, closures, and spouts on HDPE bottles compatible with the bottles, ensuring that any aluminum seals used on plastic bottles pull off completely when the bottle is opened by the consumer • Using unpigmented caps on natural HDPE bottles • Phasing out the use of aluminum caps on plastic bottles and HDPE base cups on PET bottles • Using water-dispersible adhesives for labels • Not using metallized labels on plastic bottles with a specific gravity greater than 1.0 • Not printing directly on unpigmented containers • Using PVC and PVDC labels only on PVC containers

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• Making all layers in multilayer plastic bottles sufficiently compatible for use of the recyclate in high value end markets • Avoiding the use of PVC bottles for products that are also packaged in other resins that look like PVC The industry participants abstained from this final recommendation.301 Some of these recommendations, such as phasing out use of aluminum caps on plastic bottles and HDPE base cups on PET bottles, have been nearly completely accomplished. Other recommendations, such as not using pigmented caps on unpigmented HDPE containers, have been almost totally ignored. Other organizations have also issued plastic bottle design guides. The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers published a set of specific guidelines for PET, HDPE, PP, and PVC bottles.107 It also issued a special advisory against the use of opaque white PET bottles, which were found to pose a special problem for recyclers.302 The Council for PET Bottle Recycling, in Japan, has published design guidelines for PET bottles.303 The Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe also has guidelines for design of rigid plastic containers.304 Petcore has published design guidelines for PET bottles that focus on the acceptability of additives and barrier materials.305 The automotive industry has also directed efforts toward improving the recyclability of automotive plastics by change in automobile design. Efforts include designing components for ease of disassembly, as well as efforts to minimize the use of different resins and to ensure that all resins in a component are compatible with one another. One of the reasons for these changes, in addition to voluntary actions by manufacturers, is requirements in Europe that mandate that the auto industry provide a system for collection and recycling of vehicles at the end of their life. Currently, 74 to 80 percent of the weight of a typical vehicle is reused or recycled; the End of Life Vehicle Directive requires that this amount be increased to 80 percent by 2006 and 85 percent by 2015. Furthermore, vehicles must increase their use of recycled materials.306 The computer and electronics industry is also being forced to increase recycling of materials, including plastics. Japan mandates certain percentages of recycled material in electronics.307 Europe is instituting producer responsibility requirements for electronics that require specified recovery and recycling amounts be achieved beginning in 2006. (Precise requirements differ by category.)308 The American Plastics Council, with the Society of the Plastics Industry, published a set of design guidelines for information and technology equipment§309 Fuji Xerox, in Japan, has a detailed set of design guidelines in support of its goal of zero waste.310 IBM became the first computer manufacturer to code plastic components to promote their recycling, in 1992.310 Another of the early actions by computer manufacturers was by Dell Computer Corp., which announced in 1997 that it would make its computers marketed to business and government more recyclable by using plastic materials that do not contain fillers and coatings that can inhibit the recyclability of the materials. Dell also changed the chassis design for their computers, making metal and plastic parts easily separable. Plastic components are marked with international ISO standard codes. Dell also instituted a take-back program for its large corporate customers, accepting computers of any brand and giving discounts for the purchase of new Dell computers. Much of the equipment, instead of being recycled, was upgraded and resold in other countries.311 Apple Computer has banned the use of various chemicals in its products, including PBDEs. It prohibits any PVC parts or packaging of more than 25 g, except for closures for cables and wires. Several of its computers use recyclable polycarbonate for the enclosure. Large mechanical plastic parts are made of a single material or of compatible materials and marked with resin identification codes to facilitate recycling.312

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Environmental Certification Programs

Another influence on design is the existence of programs to certify, in some fashion, the “environmental goodness” of a product or packaging. While recycling is not the only criterion, inclusion of recycled content is sometimes the basis for such certification. Environmental certification programs include Green Cross and Green Seal in the United States, the Blue Angel program in Germany, the EcoMark in Japan, and the Environmental Choice label in Canada. In all these programs, manufacturer participation is voluntary, with a fee generally charged to cover the cost of the program. The impetus for manufacturer participation is the marketing benefit derived from the eco-label. 8.17.3

Green Marketing

Significant marketing advantages can be derived from presenting products as having some positive environmentally related attributes, including recyclability or use of recycled content. When this phenomenon started, there was a great deal of misleading advertising. Such claims are subject to requirements under general legislation related to deceptive advertising, but, in a number of places, specific laws have been enacted to regulate environmental marketing claims. Companies considering making environmental claims about products need to be aware of the legal requirements. In the United States, laws differ somewhat from state to state. General guidance has been provided by the Federal Trade Commission, with its document “Complying with the Environmental Marketing Guides.”313 One of the requirements is that a claim of recyclability cannot be made about a product or package unless a substantial majority of consumers in the locations where the claim is made have access to recycling programs that accept the item for recycling. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission held that conspicuous display of the plastic resin codes constitutes a claim of recyclability, while inconspicuous use does not.314 8.17.4

Other Environmental Issues

Another important environmental issue facing plastics (of some types) at present is concern about components used in plastics, often as plasticizers, that are suspected of having hormone-mimicking or antagonizing effects. Initially, these concerns were directly predominantly to chlorine-containing chemicals, but a variety of nonchlorinated substances, many in the phthalate or related families, are now suspect as well. For example, one recent report linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to changes in the reproductive organs of male offspring.315 In June 2005, the EU Commission voted to prohibit the use of three phthalate plasticizers in children’s toys and to restrict the use of three others.316 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) remains under attack, although the level of attention seems be less than it was in the 1990s. Recently, a life-cycle assessment of PVC and competing materials concluded that, in many applications, environmental impacts of PVC are comparable to those of alternatives. Furthermore, it found that the market share of PVC bottles even in Europe, where they once were very strong, is now minor.317 This likely reflects the years of environmentally related pressure against PVC use as well as the positive attributes of PET, its main competitor. Use of heavy metals in plastics as coloring agents, stabilizers, and so forth has decreased greatly in the last two decades. In the United States, the “Model Toxics Law,” written by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) Plastics Task Force, has been adopted by at least 19 states (Table 8.6), resulting in nearly total elimination of use of lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium in packaging (including plastics pack-

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aging) in the United States. A number of other countries have now adopted similar policies.318 Currently, efforts are underway to mandate elimination of these heavy metals in other applications, including in plastics used in electronics and automobiles. TABLE 8.6 States that Have Adopted the CONEG Model Toxics Law to Prohibit the Deliberate Introduction of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Hexavalent Chromium in Packaging57

8.17.5

California

Iowa

New Hampshire

Vermont

Connecticut

Maine

New Jersey

Virginia

Florida

Maryland

New York

Washington

Georgia

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Illinois

Missouri

Rhode Island

Life-Cycle Assessment and Sustainability

During the last two decades, there has been increasing interest in use of life-cycle assessment techniques to evaluate the environmental trade-offs associated with manufacturing and purchasing decisions. The philosophy behind life-cycle assessment is that the entire life cycle of a process or product, from acquisition of raw materials to eventual waste disposal, must be considered in evaluating the effects of that process or product on the environment. If only a portion of the life cycle is considered, then decisions about which of two alternatives has lesser adverse environmental impacts may be flawed, as looking at only a portion of the life cycle may result in ignoring serious impacts and lead to comparisons that are not accurate. A great deal of work has been done on trying to develop life-cycle assessment to the point that it is a useful tool. For example, the Industrial Designers Society of America, with funding from EPA, is currently developing a tool to produce a single score from a life-cycle assessment that can be used for comparison of alternative products. The International Design Center for the Environment is also developing a system using streamlined LCA. The U.S. Green Building Council has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system for evaluating green buildings.319 Europe has generally been ahead of the United States in developing computerized models that can be used for life-cycle analysis as a way to cut down the complexity and expense associated with use of this tool. Some of these also produce single ratings; others produce a matrix. Because of the complexity of the issues involved, life-cycle assessment has not yet reached the point at which it can be easily used to provide guidance in making complex production or purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, it still is too often true that “life-cycle analyses” issued by different groups about the same product choices come to diametrically opposing conclusions about which product is “best” for the environment. For example, in the 1980s, there were such analyses purporting to prove that disposable diapers were better than cloth diapers—and the reverse. In 2005, a newly issued life-cycle assessment, this time coming from the UK, may have signaled a reopening of the “nappy wars.”320,321 Life-cycle analysis may be a useful tool some day, but (certainly for now) both producers and consumers of goods should be very cautious in relying on life-cycle assessments, whether done by an organization with a particular point of view or even by supposedly un-

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biased commercial software programs, in determining whether product A or product B is environmentally “superior” to the other. More recently, interest in life-cycle assessment is being superseded to some degree by interest in development of sustainable systems. Sustainability is perhaps a more useful concept than life-cycle assessment, since it avoids some of the complexities of determining, for example, whether x amount of air emission A is better or worse than y amount of water emission B. Rather, the focus is on whether goods are being produced, used, and disposed of in a manner that allows us to continue to produce and use them into the indefinite future. One intersection of sustainable development with plastics is increased interest in biobased plastics, since these likely come from renewable feedstocks, with potential for sustainable production, rather than from nonrenewable fossil fuels. Of course, recycling may also help make production systems more sustainable. In 2005, K. Sonneveld et al. presented a discussion of how sustainable packaging can be defined and measured. The key factors are that packaging is effective, adding real value to society; efficient, using materials and energy as efficiently as possible throughout the life cycle; cyclic, with materials continuously cycled through the system, minimizing degradation or use of additives; and safe, not posing any risks to human health or ecosystems. The paper also reports on efforts of the Australian Sustainable Packaging Alliance to develop a Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool (PIQET) to provide packaging technologists and managers with “hands-on input for defining company packaging strategies, selecting materials for packaging redesign or packaging innovation, and specifying packaging for procurement of incoming goods.”322 Others have proposed the goal of zero waste, defined as waste reduction, clean production, and maximum recovery and use of materials. This idea has also begun to gain significant attention. In mid 2004, the Haut-Rhin Department, in the Alsace region of France, became the first locality in France to become a zero waste pilot program. The community had been considering an incinerator but opted for comprehensive recycling and composting instead.323 As mentioned earlier, Fuji Xerox in Japan has adopted a zero waste goal.310 Another approach to the ideas of sustainability and zero waste is the “cradle-to-cradle” idea, where after use, the product or package becomes the same or another product, through reuse, technical nutrient flow (recycling), or biological nutrient flow (composting or resource growth) in a continuous cycle. This concept has led to some interesting ideas, such as using more packaging material, not less, and designing the best package possible rather than using the cheapest materials. Both of these approaches maximize the useful life of the package. The basic idea behind cradle-to-cradle design is to design waste out of the package life cycle. Another controversial idea is that “littering” can help the environment when the littered products are biodegradable.324 A prime stimulus for this idea is the book by W. McDonough and M. Braungart, Cradle-to-Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, published in 2002.325

8.18 LEGISLATION One way to increase recycling of end-of-life plastics, and thus reduce their burden on disposal systems, is to institute legal requirements in the form of specific laws designed to aid recycling in some manner. Deposits on plastic bottles, discussed in Sec. 8.2.1.1, fall in this category. Several U.S. states and a large number of municipalities have instituted mandatory recycling for certain products, and plastic bottles are sometimes included. Many states have target levels for recycling or for reduction of waste going to disposal.

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Another way to increase recycling is to require target levels of recycling and to mandate that the producers of the items take responsibility for ensuring that this occurs and that they bear the costs for doing so. This version of the “polluter pays” principle is known as extended producer responsibility (EPR). A variant, also denoted EPR, is extended product responsibility. The difference between the two is that extended product responsibility spreads the burden past the producer to government entities and to users of the products involved, stating that they all must bear some of the responsibility. Most often, EPR is interpreted to mean extended producer responsibility in Europe, and extended product responsibility in the United States. A term that is being used increasingly in the United States and Canada is product stewardship, which is essentially equivalent to extended product responsibility and has the benefit of avoiding the confusion of the two different meanings that have been associated with EPR. 8.18.1

Recycling Rates and Recycled Content

Wisconsin, Oregon, and California have laws related to recyclability and recycled content of rigid plastic containers. In Wisconsin, plastic containers except those for food, beverages, drugs, and cosmetics, are required to contain 10 percent recycled content. The exemptions do not apply if the U.S. FDA has approved the use of recycled content. However, the law allows “remanufactured” material (regrind and so forth) to be counted as recycled, and it has had little effect. Oregon requires that rigid plastic containers contain at least 25 percent recycled content, be recycled at an aggregate rate of at least 25 percent, be made of plastic that is recycled in Oregon at a rate of at least 25 percent, or be a reusable container that is made to be reused at least five times. Containers for medical foods, drugs, and devices, and containers of food other than beverages are exempt, as are packages that have been reduced in weight by at least 10 percent compared to packaging for the same product used five years earlier. Since the law went into effect, the recycling rate for covered containers has exceeded the 25 percent requirement, so no action by companies has been required. However, in determining the projected rate for 2000, the state warned that the recycling rate had been declining and might fall below the target 25 percent level as early as 2002. While the rate to date remains slightly above 25 percent (Fig. 8.34), the state has reiterated this warning each year.326 California had a law that was very similar to that in Oregon, except that the law set a higher recycling target for PET—55 percent. However, for most of the time since the law was passed, California’s overall rigid plastic packaging container (RPPC) recycling rate was below the 25 percent required. Therefore, companies manufacturing, distributing, or importing nonexempt products in RPPCs had to comply with the law in some other way. Recycling rates in California are shown in Fig. 8.34. California recently revised its RPPC law, eliminating the state calculation of recycling rates and the option of manufacturers to comply via these rates. Manufacturers now have the following options for compliance: • Containers made from at least 25 percent postconsumer resin • Containers source-reduced by 10 percent • Containers reused or refilled at least five times • Containers having a 45 percent recycling rate (brand specific or for a particular type of RPPC) (product manufacturer must perform calculations to determine recycling rate) Compliance may be achieved by averaging across an entire product line or sublines but can include only regulated RPPCs, not those that are nonregulated or exempt.327 Industry

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FIGURE 8.34 RPPC recycling rates in Oregon and California.327

generally opposed the changes in the law, feeling that the burden on them would increase. In 2004, California decided not to require that companies certify compliance for 2003, even though it determined that the RPPC recycling rate was only 23.9 percent for the state for that year.328 8.18.2

Plastic Bag Taxes and Bans

Over the last several years, plastic bags have become a particular focus of attention. For example, California for several years has had a requirement that plastic trash bags with a thickness of 0.7 mil (0.007 in) or greater contain at least 10 percent postconsumer recycled content, or that the manufacturer use at least 30 percent postconsumer recycled content averaged over all its plastic products. In 2002, the California Integrated Waste Management Board had recommended dropping this requirement except for bags purchased by state government, but this change was not made. Over the last few years, the amount of plastic used in garbage bags has dropped considerably, from about 8.4 million pounds in 1998 to about 2.6 million pounds in 2002. As a consequence, in 2003, the state banned two of the four largest trash bag manufacturers from getting state contracts because of their failure to comply. Bag makers attribute the decline to limited supplies because of competition from manufacturers of plastic lumber.329 Between 1989 and 1992, Italy had a tax on producers and importers of plastic bags equivalent to about 6 cents per bag, about five times the manufacturing cost. The tax greatly cut the use of plastic bags, as well as providing significant revenue for the government. However, it is no longer in effect.330 In 2002, Ireland implemented a tax on plastic bags equivalent to about 20 cents (U.S.) per bag. Proponents say the law has cut plastic bag use by 95 percent and dramatically reduced bag litter.331 Opponents charge that plastic bags were never a large fraction of litter in the first place, cite the environmental benefits of lightweight, energy-efficient plastic bags that are frequently reused, and charge that the bag tax has increased theft.332

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A number of other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, have considered following Ireland’s example in imposing plastic bag taxes. Taiwan implemented a plastic bag tax in 2002, and bag use fell by 80 percent.333,334 Denmark has taxes on both paper and plastic bags. Hong Kong requires customers to be charged for bags over a minimum size.335 In June 2005, plastic bag tax legislation was introduced in Scotland.336 Kenya, in March 2005, proposed a ban on thin plastic bags (less than 30 µm) and a tax on heavier ones.337 Some locations have banned plastic bags altogether. In 2003, Coles Bay, Australia, a popular tourist spot, became the first community in Australia to ban plastic bags at all retail outlets.338 Bangladesh banned them in 2002 because of flooding problems when the bags clogged drainage pipes.334 South Africa banned thin plastic bags, requiring them to be thicker so they can be reused.335 8.18.3 Extended Producer/Product Responsibility and Product Stewardship In many countries, concerns about the impact of plastics (as well as other materials) on the municipal waste stream are at a higher level than is currently the case is most of the United States. This may stem from a greater lack of disposal capacity, differences in the prevailing philosophical approach to waste management, more concern about resource use, and so on. Often, this means increased regulation of production, use, and/or disposal of products. The resulting legislative and societal pressure has led to increased growth in plastics recycling in many parts of the world during the period when plastics recycling (as well as that of some other materials) has declined in the United States. Many countries have applied the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to disposal of materials, including plastics. Under this philosophy, the manufacturer of a product (including packaging) is responsible for the ultimate recycling and/or disposal of that product. Government sets recycling requirements but leaves it to industry to formulate and manage the systems required to meet those requirements. Extended producer responsibility got its start in Germany with take-back and recycling requirements for packaging. The government instituted requirements that the producers of products be responsible for recovery and recycling of product packages. The government set targets that must be met but left it up to industry to decide how to do so. What emerged, for consumer packages, was the Duales System Deutschland (DSD), or Green Dot system. It is an industry-funded system to collect and recycle packaging for consumer products. The current requirements call for 25 percent recycling and 50 percent recovery. By December 2008, the requirement will be recycling of 55 percent and recovery of 60 percent of waste packaging, with energy recovery through incineration counting towards the recovery target.339 Recycling targets for individual materials are also being revised. For plastics, the requirement will be 22.5 percent recycling in December 2008, counting only materials that are recycled back into plastics. Current minimums are 15 percent for each packaging material. Furthermore, the targets are to be revised every five years. The 22.5 percent recycling target for plastics includes recycling of biodegradable plastics by composting.340 This system, while widely criticized at first, became policy for the whole European Union and is also in place in countries that are trying to become EU members. The EPR approach has also spread far beyond the borders of Europe. It has also expanded beyond packaging. For example, the EU has adopted EPR for automobiles and electronics. The European Union’s directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requires companies selling electronic products in Europe to set up end-of-life collection and recycling systems for these products by August 2005.341

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An alternative to EPR are systems in which certain products seen as particularly problematic are subjected to fees or taxes, providing an economic incentive against their use. For example, as discussed above, plastic bag taxes have been springing up in a number of countries around the world. Another approach to minimizing the impact of plastics on systems for recycling or otherwise managing waste is laws that limit the types of products or packages that can legally be produced and sold and thereby limit what enters the waste stream. This may be directly in the form of bans on certain products or product components (such as bans on heavy metals in packaging), or it may be indirect in the form of requirements that certain types of products be manufactured from specific types of materials (such as biodegradability requirements). Canada adopted a National Packaging Protocol in 1989 that required a 50 percent reduction in packaging waste going to disposal by 2000. The target was actually achieved four years ahead of schedule. However, most of the reduction was in transportation packaging rather than consumer packaging. Various provincial governments soon turned their attention to extended producer responsibility to achieve further reductions and to pass along part of the cost of managing packaging waste to the producing companies. All ten provinces in Canada now have EPR in place for one or more categories of products.342 A modification of extended producer responsibility, known as extended product responsibility (and also usually abbreviated EPR), asserts that the product manufacturer, the consumer, and government share responsibility for managing recycling and/or disposal of products and packaging. This is the basis for the fees levied in Ontario, Canada (and now being implemented in Quebec as well), on packaging and printed material, which are designed to require the producers of the materials to pay part of the cost of collecting and recycling them. Environment Canada maintains an inventory of Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship programs in Canada on its web site. Users can search by region, program, sector, key word, and so on.343 EPR and product stewardship are being adopted in many other countries around the world. Examples include Japan, Korea, Brazil, Australia, and many more. In many cases, the systems are imposed by regulation. In others, governments and businesses are forging voluntary agreements to head off mandatory requirements. It seems certain that industry will be called on increasingly to assume some of the consequences of handling the wastes from the products they manufacture, and this means, of course, that industry will increasingly be paying attention to the disposal-related consequences of their product and package design decisions. In Japan, the law provides for “shared responsibility” of consumers, local governments, and industry. Consumers must participate in the sorting and collection systems that are operated by local governments. The Japan Container and Packaging Recycling Association was established to carry out industry’s obligation to recycled a percentage of the waste packaging that has been collected and sorted. Fees are charged to manufacturers on the basis of the quantity of packaging they generate; manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers smaller than a designated limit are exempt.344 In the United States, extended producer responsibility has not yet been a major factor. Product stewardship, however, has been officially adopted as state policy in Minnesota, and other states are considering the approach. In Minnesota, product stewardship is currently being implemented for electronics, paint, and carpet. The state has set up voluntary programs to test collection strategies and recycling for household electronics waste and for paint. It has gone a step farther for carpet, negotiating to set national recovery and recycling goals and being instrumental in the carpet industry setting up a third party organization to achieve those goals. In all cases, cooperation and voluntary agreements with

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industry have been involved.345 Minnesota’s EPR program for carpet has been criticized for lacking consequences for not meeting recovery targets.342 In the United States, a major product stewardship effort was made for handling end-oflife computers and other electronics through the National Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative. However, after nearly four years of effort, it failed to reach its goal of “the development of a system, which includes a viable financing mechanism, to maximize the collection, reuse and recycling of used electronics, while considering appropriate incentives to design products that facilitate source reduction, reuse and recycling; reduce toxicity; and increase recycled content.”263,346 While participants were able to reach consensus on many program elements, such as the products to be included and the roles of various parties, they were unable to reach agreement on financing.347 This has, at least for the time being, thrown the matter back to states, since many state governments have not been satisfied with voluntary actions by electronics manufacturers. States have taken two main approaches, advance recovery fees (ARF) and extended producer responsibility (EPR). Advance recovery fees are currently in place in two places in North America, the province of Alberta and the state of California. In both places, consumers pay a fee when they purchase certain electronic devices to finance the return and recycling of those products. In Alberta, the fees are equivalent to $7 to $37 (U.S. dollars) per item and apply to televisions, computers, and some computer accessories such as printers. In California, the fee is $6 to $10 and applies to televisions and cathode ray tube (CRT) display devices with display size greater than 4 in (diagonally). Both programs began collecting fees in 2005.263 An industry-funded system will handle specific obsolete products, with fees to fund the system being charged to brand owners and importers. California also is implementing producer responsibility for cell phones under the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004, Section 42490 of the California Public Resources Code. Beginning in 2005, local governments in Maine will be required to collect computer monitors and televisions and deliver them to regional consolidations centers. Producers will be required to run the centers and fund the recycling of the products. Legislative study groups in Minnesota and Oregon have recommended establishment of advanced recycling fees in those states and legislation is being considered. Ontario is in the process of adding electronics and electrical equipment to its product stewardship program.347 In 2005, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan adopted requirements for province-wide electronics recycling programs to be financed by ARFs and managed by industry.348 While the product stewardship approach is still relatively uncommon, it seems likely that this approach to waste management and prevention will increase in the future.

8.19 BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS 8.19.1

Overview of Plastics Degradation

Until the early 1970s, the focus was on preventing plastics degradation to avoid the loss in performance properties that resulted as plastics aged, were exposed to sunlight, and so on. The extent of degradation was generally measured by the percent loss of useful properties. One “rule of thumb” was that 90 percent loss in tensile strength was equivalent to total degradation, as this was sufficient to render the plastic object unusable. In the mid 1980s, when concerns about solid waste disposal increased, interest in biodegradation intensified as some perceived it as a solution to the landfill “crisis.” Plastics were attacked as major factors in this crisis, taking up landfill space for centuries or more, since nearly all synthetic plastics are not biodegradable. Biodegradation and other types of degradation were often not clearly distinguished from each other, and measures of degra-

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dation were equally unclear. This brought the initial generation of “biodegradable” plastics, which most often were mixtures of starch with low-density polyethylene. As time went on, information increased about both the behavior and composition of solid waste in landfills. It became clear that the majority of material in landfills was, in fact, biodegradable, consisting of paper, food waste, and yard waste (see Fig. 8.4). Therefore, if biodegradation was the solution to landfill problems, there should be no problem! However, studies of landfill behavior showed clearly that, when landfills are kept dry, as is required by regulations designed to help prevent groundwater contamination, degradation is a very slow process, taking decades or more to be complete. Hence, simply making the plastics in a landfill biodegradable was not a real solution when conditions prevent rapid microbial destruction of landfilled materials. Furthermore, calling a plastic “biodegradable” on the basis of loss of tensile strength, or even complete loss of structural integrity, is questionable at best. The starch/polyethylene bags may disappear from view when the starch fraction is metabolized by microorganisms, but this is no guarantee that there has been any substantial change in the polyethylene fraction of the bag. The current view is generally that complete biodegradation means complete destruction of the molecular structure, a “return to nature” of the carbon content of the polymer rather than conversion of a plastic item to unidentifiable plastic powder. Implicit in labeling a polymer biodegradable is the assumption that this molecular destruction will take place in some “reasonable” time frame. Even the most recalcitrant plastic will probably biodegrade eventually—but eventually may mean centuries. Obviously, such slow biodegradation is of no practical value in the short term. In recent years, there has been some tendency to stay away from terms like “biodegradable” that are fraught with uncertainty in meaning. Rather, plastics may be labeled “compostable” if they meet requirements set by national or international standards for this designation. Any material that is compostable is almost always biodegradable, but the reverse is not necessarily the case. Another designation for plastics that is drawing increasing interest is sometimes related to, but by no means identical to, biodegradable. Biobased plastics are those that are formed from natural renewable feedstocks rather than fossil fuels. Biobased plastics may or may not be biodegradable (or compostable), and vice versa. In January 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began setting guidelines for designating items made from biobased products that will be given preference in federal purchasing programs, much as products with recycled content are given preference. Plastics may undergo a variety of other types of degradation. Of particular interest in the context of this discussion are photodegradation and hydrolytic degradation. Photodegradation is degradation that occurs as a result of exposure to light, generally ultraviolet radiation that is part of sunlight. During the 1980s, some plastics labeled “degradable” as a marketing tool were photodegradable rather than biodegradable. Photodegradation can be an important attribute for plastics that are frequently littered, but is of little or no value for plastics that are landfilled or composted. Hydrolytic degradation is degradation through the action of water, usually involving chemical reactions of the polymer with water, often in reactions that essentially reverse the polymerization process. A number of the commercially important biodegradable plastics degrade in part by hydrolysis. In some cases, the polymers are not biodegradable until they have first hydrolyzed enough to significantly reduce their molecular weight, making them susceptible to microbial attack. As has been mentioned, degradation of plastics, as is the case for other materials, is affected by the conditions to which the plastic is exposed. Sunlight, mechanical stress, temperature, and humidity all affect the degradation rate. The practical value of biodegradable plastics is a subject of some debate. As discussed, in a landfill, even foods degrade slowly, a fact amply illustrated by photographs that have

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been presented of grass, carrots, chicken, and other products still readily recognizable after ten years or more in a landfill.349 Therefore, there is little value in using biodegradable plastics if a landfill will be their eventual destination. Nonetheless, some users perceive value in the use of biodegradable plastics as part of a “green” image for the company. This is especially true, for example, for products that are marketed as organic. Composting, in contrast, is designed to accelerate biodegradation and serve as an alternative to landfilling. Use of biodegradable plastics permits disposal through composting and therefore can reduce the burden on landfill if systems to direct the product or package to composting are in place and utilized. In addition, for products that pose a litter problem, the use of biodegradable plastics can greatly reduce their prevalence and longevity in the environment. This can be of particular value for plastics that may reach water systems. Plastics in the marine environment are a significant problem. Even plastics improperly disposed of on land can eventually reach the ocean, where they pose significant problems to sea turtles and other marine life. Unfortunately, some compostable plastics do not biodegrade quickly in water, as they require the elevated temperature of a compost pile to cause sufficient hydrolysis to start the degradation process. One way to structure composting programs that may accept biodegradable plastics is through curbside collection of a compostable fraction of waste, often termed wet organics. Such programs generally collect food wastes, yard wastes, and food-contaminated paper. Biodegradable plastics can also be accepted in such programs, at least in theory. (In practice, there may be concerns about the ability of individuals to discriminate properly between biodegradable and nondegradable plastics.) Biodegradable bags for collecting these organic wastes are already a substantial market in Europe. In the United States, composting is limited almost entirely to yard waste. Food wastes are composted primarily in special programs targeted at institutions such as food-processing facilities, restaurants, and cafeterias. Recently, a few communities have started to institute residential composting programs. One of the first was in San Francisco, where what started as a pilot program in a few neighborhoods has now gone citywide and is expanding to neighboring communities. Freedonia forecasts that demand for biodegradable/compostable plastics will grow more than 16 percent per year between 2004 and 2008, reaching a total of over 290 million pounds in 2008.350 In Europe, composting has a much longer history and is more highly developed. The first composting plants for mixed municipal solid waste date to the 1970s. Collection of wet organics is commonplace in many countries. Expansion of composting is being driven by regulations requiring a reduction in landfilling of biodegradable municipal wastes. By 2006, the amount must be reduced to 75 percent of 1995 levels; additional targets culminate in reduction by 2016 to 35 percent of those levels.351,352 With fees for nonbiodegradable plastics to ensure their collection and recycling, it is easier for compostable plastics, which generally cost more per pound, to compete economically. In part for this reason, interest in compostable plastics for European markets is generally greater than for U.S. markets. Canada also is actively increasing composting as a disposal alternative. BASF, Cargill Dow, Novamont, and Rodenburg Biopolymers, in November 2004, signed a ten-year Environmental Agreement with the European Commission, committing themselves to using biodegradable and compostable polymers in the manufacture of packaging materials. The agreement includes a certification plan for quality control, and a labeling plan to facilitate waste handling. It will be managed by the International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups (IBAW). These four companies are estimated to represent more than 90 percent of the European market for biodegradable plastics and a similar share of the global market. As of mid 2005, supermarket carrier bags and bags for collection and composting of food waste were estimated to consume 38 percent of all biodegradable plastics.353

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One concern that is frequently raised about degradable plastics is their effect on plastics recycling. As we have seen, in recycling, separation of plastics by resin type is key, at least for most high-value applications. If adequate separation is achieved, biodegradable plastics should not adversely impact recycling. Some biodegradable plastics can themselves be recycled if an infrastructure for doing so is developed. As a practical matter, it is unlikely that sufficient quantities will be available to make it worth setting up such systems, at least in the short term. Of course, some argue that composting itself is “nature’s recycling.” To the extent that biodegradable/compostable packages compete with alternatives that would be otherwise recycled, there is the additional issue of whether recycling or composting is more environmentally beneficial. A full answer to this question, which would require a thorough life-cycle assessment, is not available. Certainly it will be impacted by actual recycling rates and very possibly by local variables such as water availability, energy mix used for both corn (or other feedstock) cultivation and conversion and for plastic production, types and quantities of herbicides used, and a multitude of other variables. Various organizations have issued standards for determining the biodegradability or compostability of plastics. For example, in Europe, EN 13432 describes methodology for evaluating the compostability of a polymer. In the United States, the Biodegradable Products Institute certifies materials that meet its requirements, and, in combination with the U.S. Composting Council, award their “Compostable Logo” to qualifying products. Japan’s system for testing and certification of biodegradable plastics is GreenPla, managed by the Biodegradable Plastics Society. ASTM D6400, “Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics,” is another commonly used evaluation procedure. There is ongoing international effort to standardize policies and procedures for certifying biodegradable products.354 Biodegradable plastics can be categorized in a number of ways. They can be divided into synthetic plastics and natural plastics, into biobased and nonbiobased plastics, or by polymer family. The reported chemical compositions of various biodegradable plastics, as compiled from various sources, are shown in Table 8.7.355–358 It should be noted that cellophane, the first transparent packaging material, is biodegradable, but it and other biodegradable cellulosic materials (such as paper) are not included in this discussion because they are not plastics. Biodegradable plastics designed primarily for medical applications, personal hygiene products, agricultural products, textiles, and so on also are not included.

8.19.2

Starch-Based Plastics and Other Polysaccharides

8.19.2.1 Starch-Based Plastics. As can be seen in Table 8.7, a variety of starch-based plastics have been produced by several companies. Starch-based plastics are often watersoluble as well as biodegradable. Some contain almost entirely starch; others contain blends of starch with other biodegradable components. An early producer of all-starch biodegradable plastics was Warner-Lambert. In 1990, it produced what was claimed to be the first biodegradable plastic from starch and sold it under the tradename Novon. The polymer contained about 70 percent branched starches and 30 percent linear starch, along with a glyceride as a plasticizer. In 1993, Warner-Lambert suspended operation of Novon after trying unsuccessfully to sell the business. In 1995, EcoStar International acquired the technology and formed Novon International, which soon thereafter was acquired by Churchill Technology. In 1996, Churchill Technology filed for bankruptcy, and production of Novon stopped. StarchTech, Inc., of Golden Valley, MN, sells biodegradable starch-based resins for injection molding and other processes and licenses their technology to other producers. One

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TABLE 8.7

Reported Composition of Selected Biodegradable Plastics*355–358

Polymer category

Trade name

Manufacturer

Starch

Mater-Bi

Novamont

Cellulose acetate

Acetate cellulose CelGreen Eco-Excel Fasal Lunare Natureflex

Teijin Daicel Chemical Industry Ebara Jitsugyo Co. (EJ CO) IFA Nihon Shokubai Innovia Films

Cellulose acetate/polyethylene succinate

EnviroPlastic

Planet Polymer Technologies

Chitosan

Dolon

Aicello Chemical (Aicello Kagaku)

Polybutylene adipate copolymer

Bionolle Ecoflex EnPol

Showa Highpolymer BASF Ire Chemical

Polybutylene succinate

Bionolle SkyGreen BDP

Showa Highpolymer SK Polymers

Polybutylene succinate copolymer

Biomax Bionolle Eastar Bio Ecoflex EnPol Iupec

DuPont Showa Highpolymer Novamont (was by Eastman Chemical) BASF Ire Chemical Mitsubishi Gas Chemical

Polycaprolactone

CAPA CelGreen Tone

Solvay Daicel Chemical Industry Dow (was Union Carbide)

Polycaprolactone copolymer

Celgreen

Daicel Chemical Industries

Polyester, aliphatic-aromatic

Eastar Bio

Eastman Chemical Co. (Novamont) BASF

Ecoflex Polyester carbonate

IUPEC

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical

Polyethylene sebacate

Eternacoll

Ube Industries

Polyethylene succinate

Lunare

Nippon Shokubai

Polyethylene succinate copolymer

Lunare

Nippon Shokubai

Polyethylene terephthalate copolymer

Biomax Green Ecopet

DuPont Teijin

Polyhydroxyalkanoate

Nodax Pullulan

Procter & Gamble Hayashibara Co

Polyhydroxybutyrate and copolymers

Biogreen BioMer Biopol PHBH, Nodax

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Biomer Metabolix Kaneka Corp.

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8.91

Reported Composition of Selected Biodegradable Plastics*355–358 (Continued)

Polymer category

Trade name

Manufacturer

Polylactic acid

EcoPla Hycail Lacea Lactron Lacty (Lacti) NatureWorks Toyota Ecoplastics Vyloecol

Cargill Dow Polymers Hycail Mitsui Chemicals Kanebo Gohsen Ltd. Shimadzu Cargill Toyota Motor Corp. Toyobo

PLA blend

Bio-Flex

Nature Compounds (FKuR Kunststoffe)

PLA copolymer

GS Pla Mazin Plamate Vyloecol

Mitsubishi Chemical Gemplus, U. of Nebraska Danippon Ink & Chemicals Toyobo

Polysaccharide

Pullulan

Hayashibara Co.

Polytetramethylene adipate co terephthalate

Eastar Bio

Chemitech (Novamont)

Polyvinyl alcohol based

Aquarto Dolon Ecomaty, Gosenol

Starch-based

BIOPar Bioska Clean Green

Planet Polymer Technologies Aicello Chemical Nihon Gohsei Kagaku Kogyo (Nippon Synthetic Chemical) Enpol Polyval Elvanol DuPont Erkol Erkol Hydrolene Idroplast J-Poval Japan VAM & Poval Kuraray Poval, Kuraray Exeval, Kuraray Kuralon MonoSol MonoSol Div. of ChrisCraft Polinol DC Chemical Co. Poval ShinEtsu Chemicals, Kureha (Kuraray)

Cohpol Cornpol Earthshell Eco-Foam Eco Ware Envirofil EverCorn Flo-Pak Bio Greenfill

BIOP Biopolymer GmbH Plastiroll Oy Clean Green Packaging, StarchTech VTT Chemical Technology Japan CornStarch EarthShell Corp. American Excelsior Co. Nissei EnPac (DuPont & ConAgra) Evercorn (Japan Corn Starch & Grand River Technology) Marfred Industries, Free-Flow Packaging Corp. Green Light Products Ltd., Heygates

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TABLE 8.7

Reported Composition of Selected Biodegradable Plastics*355–358 (Continued)

Polymer category Starch-based (continued)

Trade name Greenpol Greensack Mater-Bi Paragon Placorn Plantic Renature Solanyl Star-Kore Supol SWIRL Vegmat

Manufacturer Greenpol Co Convex Plastics Novamont Avebe Bioplastics Nihon Shokuhin-Kako Plantic Technologies Marfred Industries, Storopack Rodenburg Biopolymers Star-Kore Industries Supol GmbH Milleta Vegeplast

* Note: not all of these plastics are currently commercially available; reported compositions in some cases may be inaccurate.

of their products is Clean Green Packing.359 American Excelsior, headquartered in Arlington, TX, manufactures several starch-based plastics, including Eco-Foam loose fill and sheet and laminated structures. These materials also are water soluble as well as biodegradable.360 Novamont makes Mater-Bi, another starch-based biodegradable polymer. This material is widely used for bags for collection of organic wastes for composting. Novamont claims programs serving over 15 million people use Mater-Bi bags and carriers for collection of organic wastes and grass clippings.361 Biotec is a German producer of starch-based polymers. In mid 2005, it announced plans to expand its production capacity from 2000 tonnes per year to 12,000 tonnes per year within the next 6 months, with the announcement of acquisition by Stanelco. Stanelco makes radio-frequency welding equipment and pioneered RF technology used to seal starch-based polymers without overheating or burning. Stanelco also recently acquired Adept Polymers, a manufacturer of water-soluble polymers.362,363 Stanelco uses Biotec products to make food trays, air pillows, and edible packaging. The company hopes to bring the price for starch-based sheet for thermoforming down to less than 10 percent more than competitive PET sheet.364 EarthShell Corp. uses a combination of starch and limestone to make packaging products that are biodegradable and compostable. Products manufactured include cups, plates, bowls, sandwich wraps, and hinged-lid containers. The company’s foam laminate is produced by mixing the starch and limestone with water and fiber and placing it in a heated mold. Vaporization of the water foams, forms, and sets the product. The material physically disintegrates in water when it is crushed or broken.365 Freedonia predicts demand for starch-based plastics will increase an average of 11.6 percent per year through 2008, reaching a total of 83 million pounds, compared to 48 million in 2003.350 8.19.2.2 Other Polysaccharides. Some biodegradable or biobased plastics are made by starting with cellulose and modifying it to make it thermoplastic. For example, the Japanese company Ebara Jitsugyo, Ltd. (EJ CO), manufactures several products based on cellulose acetate that are claimed to be biodegradable.366 Some efforts are being made to develop biodegradable plastics based on chitosan, produced from shrimp and crab shells. One company involved in this effort was Aisero Chem-

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ical, in Japan. Other natural polysaccharides have also been investigated. Hayashibara produced Pullulan polysaccharide-based films, with properties similar to polystyrene. Pullulan is still used in cosmetics applications but does not appear to be used as film. 8.19.2.3 PHB, PHBV, and Other Bacterial Polyesters. Currently, the leading company in the development of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a type of polyester produced by biological fermentation, is Metabolix, based in Cambridge, MA. The company’s PHAs are stable to water but biodegrade in fresh water, sea water, soil, and composting environments. They also degrade under anaerobic conditions such as in septic systems and municipal waste treatment plants. The polymers are also claimed to be recyclable. Properties of hom*opolymers and copolymers in this family vary from strong moldable thermoplastics to highly elastic to soft and sticky, depending on the chemical composition. Molecular weights range from about 1 thousand to 1 million. The polymers are produced in “biofactories” by accumulation inside microorganisms (produced by recombinant DNA) and later harvesting. The company has demonstrated its fermentation technology, based on renewable resources such as corn sugar and vegetable oil, on the tonnage scale and claims that commercial-scale trials indicate that production costs will be well under $1 per pound. This is much lower than was achieved by previous ventures into PHA production. Metabolix is also engaged in research to produce PHAs directly in nonfood crop plants. The U.S. Department of Energy has supported research on using native American prairie grass for this purpose, through genetic engineering. In 2005, Metabolix was awarded the 2005 Presidential Green Chemistry Award in the small business category for its progress in commercializing these materials.367,368 In 2004, Metabolix announced an alliance with Archer Daniels Midland to commercialize its fermentation technology. The two companies, in a 50/50 joint venture, will establish a state-of-the-art 50,000 ton production facility and will manufacture and market natural PHA polymers for a wide variety of applications, including coated paper, film, and molded products.369 Also in 2004, Metabolix began a joint project with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center on development of PHA packaging film for the Navy. The project is being supported by the Navy’s Waste Removal Afloat Protects the Sea (WRAPS) Program. It focuses on melt-processing PHA films used to enclose many of the fresh foods found in grocery stores and may also include exploration of nanocomposites and coextruded multilaminate systems as potential food packaging systems for both the Navy and the Army.370 In 2005, Metabolix announced an alliance with British Petroleum to further develop direct production of its PHAs in switchgrass. The two-year agreement will research and develop grass crops containing high levels of naturally grown polymers that can be used to produce biodegradable plastics. A coproduct will be “advantaged biomass material which can be converted to energy.”371 Recently, investigators at University College in Dublin, Ireland, found that a certain strain of bacteria can use waste styrene to make PHAs, opening the door for remediation of a toxic waste and its conversion into a useful plastic at the same time. The team is working on scale-up and increasing the efficiency of the bacterial action to make commercially useful amounts of PHA plastics.372 8.19.2.4 Polylactides. Polymers based on lactic acid have a very long history. DuPont patented the ring-opening polymerization process for lactic acid polymers, following conversion of lactic acid to a cyclic dimer in the first reaction stage, back in 1954.373 Applications were primarily in the medical area, including items such as absorbable sutures. High cost was a major deterrent to more widespread use. One of the key developments permitting more economical production of polylactides, and opening the door to largervolume uses such as packaging, was development of the ability to control the ratio and distribution of the d- and l- forms of lactide in the polymer backbone. This is essential to

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controlling crystallization and producing plastics with the desired combination of physical properties. The development of polylactides for packaging and other nonmedical applications was spurred by a partnership between Dow Chemical Company and Cargill. Cargill had begun working on polylactides before 1987. They began production of pilot plant quantities in 1992, under the EcoPLA name, and built a 4000-tonne-per-year facility near Minneapolis. The 1997 joint venture with Dow, under the name Cargill Dow Polymers, enabled further commercialization of these materials.374,375 In 2005, Cargill bought Dow out of the company, which is now operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill under the name NatureWorks LLC. In addition to NatureWorks PLA plastics, the new company sells PLA fiber under the Ingeo brand name. Cargill reports that PLA prices are now competitive with PET.376 The current production method for polylactide plastics begins with bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates, generally cornstarch that has first been fermented to sugar using a type of lactobacillus. In 1992, Cargill patented a polymerization process for polylactide production using prepolymerization to low-molecular-weight polylactic acid, catalytic conversion to lactide, and finally ring-opening polymerization to produce PLA. The properties of the resulting polymer are determined by its molecular weight and the proportion of d-, l-, and meso-lactide in the polymer and by processing conditions.377 Cargill Dow built a large commercial facility for PLA production near Blair, NE, which opened in 2002. PLA bottles are currently being used for Biota water bottles. Since the molding temperature for these bottles is lower than for PET, energy savings are claimed. The bottles are claimed to be the first in the world to be approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute. The bottles are substantially heavier than the PET alternative, but reportedly this was done by choice so that the bottle would have a premium feel. The bottles will disintegrate in 75 to 80 days in a composting environment that provides a temperature of 120 to 140oF, microorganisms, and moisture. They will not, however, degrade quickly in a backyard compost operation, as these do not reach as high a temperature.378 Alcas, of Italy, is using NatureWorks PLA for its ice cream cups and tubs as well as for drinking glasses, straws, and spoons in its “02 line.” The name stands for “zero consumption × zero waste.”379 Sony reports it is using PLA with other materials, including an inorganic flame retardant, in casings for some of its electronics products.380 In 2005, Fujitsu claimed to be the first company to use PLA in a large laptop computer; the material used is a blend of about 50 percent PLA with an amorphous plastic developed by Toray.381 In 2004, the Belgian brewery Alken Maes became the first Belgian brewer to use PLA cups. Previously, the brewery used polycarbonate cups at public festivals but saw the PLA cups, made by Huhtamaki from Cargill Dow’s NatureWorks PLA, as a more environmentally friendly option.382 In 2005, Sharp Corporation announced that it has developed technology to blend PLA with polypropylene recovered from electronics recycling, using a newly developed compatibilizer that greatly improves the properties of the blended materials. Its intent is to use the blend in new consumer electronics, thus significantly reducing their environmental impact as compared to using petroleum-based feedstocks.383 NAT-UR, in 2005, became the first cutlery product to be granted the Biodegradable Products Institute compostable designation. The utensils are manufactured with NatureWorks PLA in combination with starch. They are reported to degrade in 30 to 60 days in a compost environment.69 Several companies have determined that IR sorting equipment will successfully separate PLA from a PET recycling stream.384 Freedonia predicts demand for PLA will grow at an annual rate of 24.6 percent through 2008, reaching a total of 135 million pounds that year, compared to 45 million in 2003.350

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8.19.3

8.95

Other Biodegradable Polyesters

8.19.3.1 Polycaprolactone. Polycaprolactone has been used in relatively small quantities for a long time. The most well known supplier was Union Carbide, which manufactured Tone brand polymers, which are compostable. Dow Chemical acquired this technology when it acquired Union Carbide and continues to manufacture Tone polymers.385 8.19.3.2 Ecoflex. BASF manufactures Ecoflex, a synthetic aliphatic-aromatic copolyester. Ecoflex resins have been certified as compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute, DIN CERTCO in Europe, and the Biodegradable Plastics Society in Japan (which describes the polymer as polybutylene adipate/terephthalate). When used for bags for collecting and composting food scraps and yard trimmings, disposable packaging or agricultural sheeting, it decomposes in compost within a few weeks without leaving any residues. Combinations of thermoplastic starch and Ecoflex are used for films and coatings for food packaging. BASF’s plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, has a production capacity of 8000 tonnes per year.386 In 2005, the company announced that it will start up a new 6000tonne-per-year plant in early 2006, at Schwarzheide in Germany, due to the expanding world market for biodegradable plastics. In particular, the company mentioned the amendment to the German packaging ordinance that exempts packaging certified as biodegradable from fees under the German DSD packaging ordinance until 2012. Ecoflex F is designed for flexible film applications, whereas Ecoflex S is designed for blends. Most current use of Ecoflex is in blends with other renewable materials, including starch, cellulose, and polylactic acid.387,388 8.19.3.3 Eastar Bio. Eastar Bio is a family of copolyesters developed by Eastman Chemical Company in 1998. Properties are similar to low-density polyethylene. The material meets requirements for food contact in a variety of applications and is compostable. In September, 2004, Eastman sold the business and technology to Novamont.389 8.19.3.4 Polybutylene Succinate (PBS). Manufacturers of polybutylene succinate, produced from polymerization of succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol, include Showa Highpolymer, which produces Bionolle polymers; SK Polymers, which makes SkyGreen BDP; and Mitsubishi Chemical. Normally, the source of both monomers is maleic anhydride. However, Mitsubishi is working with Ajinomoto to produce succinic acid by fermentation of sugar and starch, providing a biodegradable polymer that is partly biobased.390 8.19.3.5 Biomax. Biomax is a family of aliphatic/aromatic polyesters based on polyethylene terephthalate and manufactured by DuPont. A combination of hydrolysis and microbial action breaks down the polymer, and some grades have been certified as compostable. Reportedly, as many as three different proprietary aliphatic monomers may be incorporated into the polymer.391 8.19.3.6 Polyvinyl Alcohol and Other Water-Soluble Plastics. Several water-soluble polymers have a long history of use in niche applications. Many of these polymers are biologically stable when they are in the solid state but will biodegrade readily once they are dissolved. These include polyvinyl alcohol, cellulose esters and ethers, acrylic acid polymers, polyacrylamides, and polyethylene glycol, among others. Polyethylene oxide is biodegradable at low molecular weights. 8.19.3.7 Polyvinyl Alcohol. Polyvinyl alcohol is formed by hydrolysis of polyvinyl acetate. By controlling the degree of hydrolysis, the solubility can be modified, resulting in

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grades that will dissolve only in hot water or grades that dissolve in cold water as well. Some grades can be extruded, but others must be cast from solution. One important application is in laundry bags and hamper liners for use in health care facilities. The filled bag is sealed shut with an attached adhesive strip. When placed in the washer, the adhesive and bag break down completely during the hot washing and disinfection. Any remaining polymer will biodegrade during the wastewater treatment process. The bags are impermeable to bacteria and viruses during normal use, as well as resistant to gases, solvents, and cool liquids, so they cut the risk of contamination, protecting hospital staff.354 PVOH films are also used to encapsulate agricultural chemicals to avoid human exposure when the chemicals are measured into water for application to crops. It is widely used as a binder and has other niche applications as well. One of the first manufacturers of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) was Air Products & Chemicals, which manufactured it under the Airvol trade name. It appears that the product may no longer be available, however. Another early manufacturer was ChrisCraft Industrial products, Inc., which still makes PVOH through its Monosol division. Another major supplier is Kuraray, which makes a variety of water soluble plastics, including PVOH under the name Poval. DuPont sells PVOH under the Elvanol tradename and Polyval under the name Enpol. There are other suppliers as well. 8.19.4

Other Biodegradable Plastics

A number of investigators are working on the development of protein-based plastics. In some cases, these are being targeted as edible films. Of course, if a film is edible, it is generally biodegradable. Starting materials include zein, a corn protein; soy protein; and other materials. None of these materials has yet reached any large-scale commercial application. Researchers at Cornell have created a biodegradable polymer called polylimonene carbonate, from limonene obtained from orange peel and converted to limonene oxide, plus carbon dioxide. The polymer has properties similar to those of polystyrene and has potential to use carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect.392 8.19.5

Nonbiodegradable Biobased Polymers

As mentioned, there has also been interest in biobased polymers because of their basis on renewable feedstocks, regardless of whether they are biodegradable. One of these materials is Sorona™, manufactured by DuPont. In 2004, DuPont and Tate & Lyle PLC, a London-based renewable ingredients company, formed a joint venture, DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts LLC. A plant in Louden, TN, will produce the key polymer building block, 1,3-propanediol (PDO), by fermentation from corn sugar in place of the petroleum-based process currently used. The polymer will then be 37 percent based on corn. DuPont has a goal of deriving 25 percent of its revenue from nondepletable resources by 2010, and this will be a step toward that goal. In 2002, the company derived 14 percent of its revenue from such resources. Sorona is intended for a variety of applications, including textile apparel, interiors, engineering resins, and packaging. Sorona is not biodegradable, although DuPont says it has the technology to make biodegradable Sorona resins if the market grows for such materials, and mentions packaging as a potential application.393,394 Another market for biopolymers is production of polyurethanes. Soybean oil can be combined with an isocyanate to create soy polyol, which can then be used in all types of rigid and flexible polyurethane foam applications.395

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8.97

Additives Claiming to Instill Biodegradability

As mentioned earlier, in the late 1980s, when the “solid waste crisis” hit the public consciousness, a number of manufacturers took advantage of consumers’ desire to do something positive for the environment by marketing “biodegradable” merchandise sacks and garbage bags that contained about 6 percent starch and 94 percent polyethylene. The claims of the manufacturers that the polyethylene fraction of the bags would biodegrade once the starch portion was consumed was eventually disproved, and these products disappeared from the marketplace. The next generation of starch/polyethylene blends claimed to be biodegradable because the blend included pro-oxidants. The argument was that the polyethylene would be oxidized, causing fragmentation of the molecular structure, and the small polymer chains would then be biodegradable. In this case also, there was no evidence that the process actually worked as claimed. In particular, when these bags were sent to landfill, the anaerobic environment that soon develops would prevent any substantial oxidation, even if the claim that the plastic was biodegradable after oxidation were true. These products also disappeared from the marketplace, and that was where the matter of additives stood until recently. Currently, Symphony Plastic Technologies Plc is selling additives and polyolefin resins that incorporate the additives, claiming that the materials produced with this additive are biodegradable. The claim is that incorporation of usually less than 4 percent of the additive (a metal salt) in any polyethylene or polypropylene resin will render it “totally degradable.” The action of the additive is initiated by any combination of heat, light, and stress, and the material can be engineered to start to degrade in a time period of between 60 days and 5 to 6 years, depending on the formulation, amount of additive used, heat, light, stress, and so forth. The compostable version is claimed to “completely degrade between 60 to 90 days in a commercial compost environment.” If the resins are later added to a recycling stream, the extrusion process reportedly deactivates the additive, so it will not harm the recycled resin (yet the company says it can be added to resins being recycled to make them degradable and also states that the action of the prodegradant additive is “triggered by the extrusion process”).396 The “totally degradable” d2w® Symphony resins are even claimed to be superior to biodegradable plastics, because they do not need a biologically active environment to start degrading. A close look at the claims shows that the resins reportedly undergo molecular fragmentation due to the effect of the additive. Biodegradation is claimed because, as a result of the “oxidative action” of the additive, “the molecular ‘backbone’ collapses,” and the “molecular chains become shorter and water ‘wettable,’ permitting the formation of a bio-film on the surface of the plastics, which allows microbial deterioration to take over.”396 In the section on “Credentials” on the company web site, there is one report of testing by an independent laboratory—but this testing (“Migration Testing and Ageing Tests on Symphony EMc Film”) provides the information that accelerated weathering reduces tensile strength and elongation more than in a control film, and that oxidation at 175oC is much more rapid than in the control. Biodegradation was not evaluated.396 EPI Environmental Plastics, Inc., markets a similar product. Their additive can reportedly make LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, PP, and PS “that will be returned to the natural biocycle.” The company says the products will “degrade in landfills, photodegrade (through exposure to sunlight) in city streets and in the countryside, and begin to biodegrade at compost sites and in soil.” The polymers with the additive are said to retain the same properties as without the additive “for a controlled period of time (service life) until degradation is triggered by one or all triggers of heat, sunlight, or enhanced mechanical stress.” Again, the mechanism appears to be oxidation, as the company says it is “Pioneering OXO-Biodegradable Technology,”397

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In June 2005, the International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups (IBAW) issued a formal “Position on ‘Degradable’ PE Shopping Bags,” talking about the appearance in the marketplace of plastic bags and other products made with polyethylene that claim to be “degradable” or “bio-, UV- or oxo-degradable,” or even “compostable” and where the underlying technology is “based on special additives (master batch) which, if incorporated into standard PE resins, are purported to accelerate the degradation of the film products.” IBAW concludes that this technology and the products are not new but appeared in the 1980s when “many doubts [were] expressed as to whether these products provide what they promise. Such doubts are still valid in the current context.”398

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303. The Council for PET Bottle Recycling, Design Guideline for Recycling Designated EPT Bottles, April 1, 2001, http://www.petbottle-rec.gr.jp/english/en_design.html. 304. Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe (APME), Design for Recycling of Rigid Plastics Containers, Brussels, June, 1996. 305. Petcore, Guidelines on Acceptability of Additives and Barrier Materials in the PET Waste Stream for an Effective Recycling of PET, http://www.petcore.org/chargement/publications/ Guidelines.pdf. 306. Europa, Management of End of Life Vehicles, http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/ l21225.htm. 307. SpecialChem, Environmental and Recycling Issues for Plastics and Additives, Sept. 16, 2003, http://www.specialchem4polymers.com/resources/articles/article.aspx?id=1327. 308. Europa, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/ l21210.htm. 309. American Plastics Council, A Design Guide for Information and Technology Equipment, http:// www.plasticsresource.com/s_plasticsresource/docs/800/745.pdf. 310. Fuji Xerox Co., Recycling Systems, http://www.fujixerox.co.jp/eng/ecology/report2000/pdf/1420.pdf. 311. Goldsberry, C., OEMs Undertake Quest for Computer Afterlife, Plastics News, Jan. 13, 1997, p. 9. 312. The MPW 50, Modern Plastics, July 1, 2005. 313. U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Complying with the Environmental Marketing Guides, http:// www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/greenguides.htm. 314. Toloken, S., “FTC Cracks down on Resin Code Placement,” Plastics News, May 4, 1998, pp. 5, 24. 315. Phthalates and Male Babies, C&EN, June 6, 2005, p. 8. 316. Hileman, B., EU Bans Three Phthalates From Toys, Restricts Three More, C&EN, July 11, 2005, p. 11. 317. Baitz, M. et al, Life Cycle Assessment of PVC and of Principal Competing Materials, European Commission, July 2004, http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/chemicals/sustdev/pvcfinal_report_lca.pdf. 318. Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, Fact Sheet, Jan., 2005, http://www.toxicsinpackaging.org/ adobe/TPCH-fact-sheet.PDF. 319. Toloken, S., Groups Strive to Simplify Life-cycle Rating, Plastics News, Oct. 25, 2004, p. 12. 320. Nappy Clash Leaves Consumers Confused, Edie News Network, May 20, 2005. 321. Environment Agency, Life Cycle Assessment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK, Bristol, UK, May 2005. 322. Sonneveld, K. K. James and H. Lewis, Sustainable Packaging: How Do We Define and Measure it? presented at 22nd Iapri Symposium, May 22–24, 2005. 323. Seldman, N., Creating a Zero Waste Future in Europe, BioCycle, Aug. 2004, p. 66–67. 324. Newcorn, D., Cradle-to-cradle: the next Packaging Paradigm? Packaging World, May 2003, pp. 62–65. 325. Braungart, M. and W. McDonough, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, North Point Press, New York, 2002. 326. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Minimum Content Requirements, http:// www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/solwaste/mincont.html. 327. California Integrated Waste Management Board, http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov. 328. Toloken, S., Calif. Law Could Tighten Requirements, Plastics News, Sept. 27, 2004, p. 39. 329. Toloken, S., California Targets Trash Bags, Plastics News, Nov. 24, 2003, p. 3. 330. International Institute for Sustainable Development, Instruments for Change: Compendium of Instruments, http://www.iisd.org/susprod/displaydetails.asp?id=148. 331. Friends of the Irish Environment, http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/. 332. British Plastics Federation, The Full BPF Position on the Issue of a Plastic Bag Tax, http:// www.bpf.co.uk/bpfissues/plastic_bag_tax_bpf_position.cfm. 333. Hui, S., Greens Step Up Fight for Plastic Bag Tax, The Standard, Nov. 27, 2004, http://www.thestandard.com.hk/stdn/std/others. 334. Zero Waste, Plastic Shopping Bag Report, July, 2002, http://www.zerowaste.co.nz/assets/Reports/PlasticShoppingBagsandbiodegradablepackaging.pdf.

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335. Smith, S., Plastic Bags, Briefing Paper No. 5/2004, Parliament of New South Wales, May 3, 2004, http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/0/33469EB37225F1F8 CA256ECF00077479. 336. Scotland Could Bag New Eco-tax, Edie News Network, June 24, 2005, http://www.edie.net/. 337. Kenya Proposes Plastic Bag Ban in New Waste Strategy, Edie News Network, March 4, 2005, http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=9618&channel=5. 338. Tilley, K., Australian Town Bans PE Bags from Outlets, Plastics News, Sept. 22, 2003, p. 13. 339. Burning Argument over Packaging Waste Bill, Edie Weekly Summaries, Dec. 12, 2003. 340. European Commission, Packaging and Packaging Waste, http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/packaging_index.htm. 341. U.S. Electronics Businesses Face New European Union Compliance Directives, American Recycler, July 2005, http://www.americanrecycler.com/0705us.shtml. 342. Sheehan, B. and H. Spiegelman, EPR in the U.S. and Canada, Resource Recycling, March 2005, pp. 18–21. 343. Environment Canada, Extended Producer Responsibility & Stewardship, http://www.ec.gc.ca/ epr/inventory/en/index.cfm. 344. Japan Expanded Polystyrene Recycling Association (JEPSRA), Law for Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging, http://www.jepsra.gr.jp/en/j/j03.html. 345. Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, 346. NEPSI, http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/clean/nepsi/. 347. Powell, J., Stewardship of Electronic Products: Successes and Failures, Resource Recycling, Jan. 2005, pp. 24–27. 348. Saskatchewan Adopts E-waste Program, Resource Recycling electronic newsletter, March 29, 2005. 349. Degradable Plastics and the Environment, Mobil Chemical Company, 1988. 350. Freedonia, US Degradable Plastics Demand to Reach 370 Million Pounds in 2008, news release, Nov. 2004. 351. Barth, J. and B. Kroeger, Marketing Compost in Europe, BioCycle, Oct. 1998, pp. 77–78. 352. De Bertoldi, M., Composting in the European Union, BioCycle, June 1998, pp. 74–75. 353. Four Plastics Companies Commit to Biodegradable Plastics, Environmental News Service, Feb. 16, 2005. 354. EPIC, Degradable Plastics Gaining Favour in Niche Applications, Special Report EPIC News & Views, Environment and Plastics Industry Council, March 2005. 355. Biodegradable Plastics Society, http://www.bpsweb.net/02_english/. 356. List of Companies Involved in Producing Biodegradable Packaging material, Friendly Packaging, http://www.friendlypackaging.org.uk/materialslist.htm. 357. PRA Inc., Bioplastics, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Aug. 2003, http://www.agr.gc.ca/ misb/spec/bio/pdf/plast2_e.pdf. 358. Types, International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups, http:// www.ibaw.org/eng/seiten/basics_types.html. 359. StarchTech, Inc., http://www.starchtech.com/index.html. 360. American Excelsior Company, http://www.amerexcel.com/. 361. Mater-Bi (Novamont), http://www.materbi.com/. 362. Cundy, C., Biotec to Expand Starch-based Polymer Production, Plastics & Rubber Weekly, July 26, 2005. 363. Cundy, C. Stanelco Acquires Starch Polymer Maker Biotec, Plastics & Rubber Weekly, June 6, 2005. 364. Packager Moves: Stanelco Buys Biotec; Berry Buys Kerr, Food Production Daily.com, June 7, 2005. 365. EarthShell, http://www.earthshell.com. 366. Eco-Series Products, EJ CO, http://www.ej-p.co.jp/english/index.html. 367. Metabolix, Where Nature Performs, undated brochure, Metabolix, http://www.metabolix.com/ resources/brochure.pdf. 368. Metabolix, Metabolix’s Natural Plastics Win Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, press release, June 20, 2005. 369. Metabolix, Metabolix, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company Enter Strategic Alliance to Commercialize PHA Natural Polymers, press release, Nov. 4, 2004.

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370. Miller, M., Metabolix Wins Grant to Explore PHA Bioplastics for Packaging Film, Metabolix press release, March 2, 2004. 371. Barber, J. and O. Peoples, BP and Metabolix Agree to a Joint Development Program for Renewable Plastics, Metabolix press release, March 22, 2005. 372. Biodegradable Plastics are Made from Toxic Waste, Food, Cosmetics and Drug Packaging, Feb. 2005, pp. 28–29. 373. Kharas, G., F. Sanchez-Rivera, and D. Severson, Polymers of Lactic Acids, in D. Mobley, Ed., Plastics from Microbes: Microbial Synthesis of Polymers and Polymer Precursors, Hanser Pub., Munich, 1994, pp. 93–137. 374. Cargill, Cargill Developing Degradable Polymers Made from Corn, press release, Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 15, 1991. 375. Thayer, A., Polylactic Acid is Basis of Dow, Cargill Venture, C&EN, Dec. 8, 19997, pp. 14–16. 376. NatureWorks LLC is New Name for Cargill’s Corn-based Plastic Business, Omnexus, Feb. 4, 2005. 377. Auras, R., B. Harte and S. Selke, An Overview of Polylactides as Packaging Materials, Macromol. Biosci., 2004, pp. 835–864. 378. Lingle, R., BIOTA’s High-water Mark in Sustainable Packaging, Packaging World, Jan. 2005, pp. 62–64. 379. Ice Cream Cups Use Corn-based Plastic, Food, Cosmetics and Drug Packaging, Feb. 2005, p. 23. 380. Sony Corp., Sony Develops Flame-retardant Vegetable-based Plastic for the Casing of DVD Player, press release, February 12, 2004, http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/Environment/news/ 2004/01.html. 381. Vink, D., Fujitsu Launches Large Notebook with Biodegradable Housing, Plastics & Rubber Weekly, Jan. 14, 2005, http://www.prw.com/main/newsdetails.asp?id=3601. 382. Vink, D., Summer Beer Drinkers Get Biodegradable Cups, Plastics & Rubber Weekly, Aug. 5, 2004, http://www.prw.com/main/newsdetails.asp?id=3059. 383. Sharp Develops New Technology to Blend Plant-Based Plastic with Waste Plastic, Omnexus, July 12, 2005. 384. xx NatureWorks LLC, Leading Recycler Sorting System Separates NatureWorks PLA from PET, press release, Jan. 24, 2005. 385. Tone, Dow Chemical, http://www.dow.com/tone/. 386. BASF’s Ecoflex, Resins Earn the Biodegradable Products Institute’s Emblem, press release, Ewire, June 23 2003. 387. BASF, BASF Increases Capacity for Biodegradable, news release, April 26, 2005, http:// www2.basf.de/basf2/html/plastics/englisch/pages/presse/05_225.htm. 388. BASF, Ecoflex Biodegradable Plastic, undated brochure, http://www2.basf.de/basf2/html/plastics/englisch/pages/presse/05_225.htm. 389. Novamont, http://www.novamont.com/. 390. Spotlight on Specialty Chemical—Polybutylene Succinate, Nadini Chemical Journal, June 2003, http://www.nandinichemical.com/online_journal/may03.htm. 391. DuPont Biomax Resins, http://www.dupont.com/packaging/products/biomax.html. 392. Sweet and Environmentally Beneficial Discovery: Plastics Made from Orange Peel and a Greenhouse Gas, Omnexus, Jan. 18, 2005. 393. DuPont, DuPont and Tate & Lyle Form Bio-Products Joint Venture, press release, May 26, 2004, http://www.dupont.com/sorona/news/052604.html. 394. DuPont Sorona, Frequently Asked Questions, DuPont, http://www.dupont.com/sorona/faqs. html. 395. United Soybean Board, New Life-Cycle Data Quantifies Soy Advantages, Biobased Solutions, Nov. 2003. 396. Symphony Plastics, http://www.degradable.net/. 397. EPI Environmental Technologies, Inc., http://www.epi-global.com/en/Index-e.htm. 398. Position on “Degradable” PE Shopping Bags, International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups, http://www.ibaw.org/eng/downloads/050606_Position_Degradable_PE.pdf.

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Source: Handbook of Plastics Technologies

CHAPTER 9

PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS K. Sehanobish and Tom Traugott The Dow Chemical Company Midland, Michigan

9.1 ELASTOMERIC MATERIALS 9.1.1

Introduction

This section discusses elastomeric materials such as thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), TPVs, and other rubber systems such as thermoset elastomers/rubbers (TSRs) invoked in automotive applications apart from their use as impact modifiers in polymer blends. If one starts from under the hood, elastomers are used primarily in belts and hoses, bellows, and gaskets. At the separation between engine compartment and the interior, elastomers are used for sound management. Inside the car, they are used in floors, instrument panel skins, instrument panels for soft touch, gaskets for side mirrors, and so on. Outside the car, they can be found in tires (base tire, treads, side walls) and, finally, they are used in wire and cables and coatings in almost all parts of the car as needed. Worldwide consumption of TPE was estimated to be about 3.0 billion pounds for automotive applications (including use as impact modifiers) in 2005. Some of the major producers of elastomeric materials are Dupont, Advanced Elastomers Systems, Bayer, BASF, and Dow. The automotive market represents 65 percent of the total TPE demand in North America and is equivalent in the rest of the world. Two major performance segments that drive TPE volume growth in automotive are (1) energy absorption and (2) acoustics. In the energy absorption segments, TPE is a dominant player in the form of neat materials, blends, and foams. Thermosetting elastomers are predominant in applications where acoustics is the driver. Polyurethane (PU) foams dominate the market in all sorts of acoustic-related applications, including flooring and carpets. Polyolefin (PO) foams will continue to challenge this segment in future.

9.1.2

Thermoplastic Elastomers

Let us first review the various thermoplastic elastomers used in automotive applications. These are styrenic block copolymers (SBCs), thermoplastic olefins (TPOs) (cross-linked

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and uncross-linked), thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), copolyester, polyamide, polyisoprene, polybutadiene, and last but not the least, natural rubber.1 Various types of SBC include styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), SB(butadiene)S, SI(isoprene)S, SE(ethylene)BS, SEP(propylene), and SEB. Thermoplastic olefins are ethylene-α-olefin copolymers (α-olefins range from C3 to C8), EPD(iene)M(monomer), and their blends with polymers such as polypropylene (PP). TPVs are mostly made from EPDM and PP through a dynamic vulcanization process with some type of crosslinker. One can replace EPDM with nitrile or butyl rubber as well TPV. Thermoplastic polyurethanes are usually made using aliphatic or aromatic isocyanates and in large part are used as coatings, adhesives, and dispersions. Most of the TPO elastomers are used as impact modifiers in polypropylene and will also be covered separately in the section on engineering applications of TPO. About 80 percent of TPO is consumed by the automotive industry. 9.1.2.1 Styrene Butadiene Copolymer (SBC). In the automotive industry, SBCs are often referred to as f-TPVs (fully cross-linked TPVs) as well. Most of them are SEBS blocks, and total global demand is approximately 30 million pounds. Global usage of SEBS is roughly expressed in Fig. 9.1. Most of these resins end up as air bag covers. Due to the possible litigation resins associated with airbags, SEBS compounds are designed to have superior elongation, tensile, and tear strength over other thermoplastic elastomers. Figure 9.2 displays a relative comparison of SEBS properties with a fully crosslinked TPV.

FIGURE 9.1 Global SEBS demand in terms of the major auto producers.

SEBS Compound • Tensile strength to 5000 psi • Elongation to 750% • Shore A 70 ± 5 • Limited resistance to hydrocarbons • Flexible at ≤70°C

f-TPV Compound • Tensile strength to 1200 psi • Elongation to 375% • Shore A 45 to 50 D • “Some” resistance to hydrocarbons • Flexible at ≤ –40°C

FIGURE 9.2 Comparison of mechanical properties of SEBS compound vs. f-TPV.

Some of the SEBS grades in the market are Kraton G, Europrene, Bergaflex, and Multiflex G. The safety cushion provided by its properties makes it difficult for other elastomers to penetrate in this market, and SEBS compounds have a high price, in the range of $2.00/lb. Other application of SBCs are in window seals, gasketing and other noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) mitigation. Its interesting that, although polystyrene is not the best in terms of squeak and rattle performance, the rubbery block structure of the copolymers makes it suitable for dealing with the dissipation characteristics needed in NVH.

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PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

9.3

SBCs are characterized by their molecular architecture, which has a “hard” thermoplastic segment and a “soft” elastomeric segment that alternate in many different ways. Figure 9.3 shows a typical molecular architecture of SBS rubber. In a very crude sense, SBCs have strength properties equivalent to vulcanized elastomer systems without vulcanization.

FIGURE 9.3 SBS molecule showing alternate blocks of sizes a and b.

9.1.2.2 Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) Elastomers. Elastomeric TPOs (soft TPOs) are increasingly used in special automotive applications because of their lower specific gravity, injection moldability, economics, recyclability, and noise performance. Essentially, elastomeric TPO is some type of blend of PP, filler, additives (slip agent, antioxidant, and so on) and a thermoplastic elastomer. Some variations of these essential ingredients are either compounded in extruders (other mixers) or prepared in some combination of reactors (often referred to as reactor TPO) that can make both PP and the rubber. TPOs are offered in Japan and sold under the name Toyota Super Olefin (TSOP). It is differentiated in its flow characteristics, modulus, and balance of low temperature properties due to some unusual co-continuous morphology achieved through some unique fabrication route of the PP and elastomer blend.2 The elastomer-to-PP ratio can be adjusted to control the modulus and elastic recovery. These elastomers are not designed for high elastic recovery or compression set performance. They can be formulated at low cost and can be injection molded for applications that do not require high recovery. They are often used in such applications as battery covers or dash mats, as they provide adequate energy absorption characteristics at low cost. Certainly, the higher melting temperature of the PP component over typical elastomers is a positive attribute for some applications. Consumption of TPO in these applications is much less than TPO as a thermoplastic in interior and exterior applications such instrument panels, fascia, and so on. 9.1.2.3 Thermoplastic Vulcanizate (TPV). TPVs are generally classified as f-TPV and p-TPV, wherein the prefixes indicate fully and partially vulcanized, respectively. Compounds of f-TPVs are typically made with EPDM and PP. In few special TPV compounds, EPDM is replaced by nitrile rubber, and natural rubber as well. The industry benchmark is TPV compounds, and they are sold under the trade name of Santoprene™ and marketed by Advanced Elastomer Systems (AES) Ltd. Mitsui is also dominant in the TPV based interior skins market in Europe. Seventy-five to 90 percent of TPV compounds are fully crosslinked with EPDM and are priced at approximately $1.80/lb. Two to 10 percent are par-

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CHAPTER 9

tially cross-linked TPV compounds that sell for approximately $1.47/lb. Another 8 to 15 percent of the TPV compounds are fully cross-linked with nitrile rubber and cost more than $2.00/lb. Fully cross-linked TPVs are positioned for complex injection molded components, as they have good oil and fluid resistance and compression set. Typical automotive requirements that a fully cured TPV can meet are shown in Table 9.1. TABLE 9.1 Typical Automotive Requirements Met by Fully CrossLinked TPV Fully cured EPDM in a polyolefin base Grade B

Grade C

Original durometer

67 ± 3

73 ± 3

Shore A

Original elongation

300

340

min. %

35 50

35 55

max. % max. %

Compression set 22 hr @ 70°C 70 hr @ 125°C

Allowable changes to original values After 168 hr @ 150°C Durometer Elongation

8 –35

10 –35

pt @

After 1008 hr @ 135°C Durometer Elongation

10 –30

10 –40

pt @

After 70 hr in oil at 125°C Durometer Elongation Volume change

–40 –70 120

–40 –70 95

pt @ max. %

A. Y. Coran and a few other researchers discovered a new route to thermoplastic elastomers based on dynamic vulcanization—the process of vulcanizing an elastomer during its melt-mixing with molten plastic. The resulting compositions comprise completely vulcanized micron-size particles of rubber dispersed in a thermoplastic matrix. The elastomer phase can be quite voluminous; thus, very rubbery products can be produced that can be processed as thermoplastic materials. Commercial elastomers that were the result of the work are Santoprene® and Geolast® thermoplastic elastomers. Such products are called thermoplastic vulcanizates, a term coined by Coran. Thermoplastic elastomers are processed into finished parts at far less expense than are conventional TSRs. They are not vulcanized in the mold. (Conventional “in-the-mold” vulcanization requires long periods of time for the vulcanization process, or cross-linking, to take place. During this time, expensive molding equipment is engaged.). The Santoprene and Geolast thermoplastic elastomers can be rapidly and directly fabricated into finished parts using techniques (injection molding, calendaring, extrusion, and so forth) that are generally used with thermoplastics [e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, poly(vinyl chloride), polystyrene, and others].3

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PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

9.5

TPV growth in automotive applications will be stimulated by its penetration into body/ glazing seals, interior skins, and belting. TPVs ability to be blow molded is a major reason why it is replacing TSRs, mainly neoprene and copolyesters, in automotive uses. It can easily be made into boots and bellows to act as fluid seals, acoustic seals, lubricant containers, and dust protectors. 9.1.2.4 Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU). Automotive TPU applications are rather limited. Mostly, it appears as aqueous dispersions for the coating industry. There is a very small market for molded goods, but the higher price makes TPU uninteresting even with some differentiated performance over other TPEs. TPU elastomer is renowned for its high tensile strength; abrasion resistance; elongation; tear strength; resilience; resistance to fuels, oils, and oxygen; good hydrolytic stability; excellent impact resistance; good vibration damping; and excellent low-temperature properties (usually the caprolactone-based TPUs). TPUs are generally high-molecular-weight linear polymers that exhibit room-temperature elastomeric properties and are thermoplastic in nature. The aqueous dispersions are created by incorporating carboxyl group in the chain to provide water affinity. A typical polycaprolactone or polyether polyols with pure methylene-diphenylene isocyanate, and the procedure of polymerization includes reacting long chain diols such as liquid polyester, then the NCO terminated prepolymer, and adding a chain extender such as 1,4 butanediol.

9.1.3

Thermoset Elastomers

A substantial amount of these elastomers, in cross-linked form, also end up in the tire industry, in belts and hoses, and in gaskets. They are formulated and vulcanized in almost all cases. Most treads are made of isoprene rubber, polybutadiene, or SBR. Base tires and the side walls are generally made from natural rubber and polybutadiene. While tires are the biggest segment of TSRs, the nontire industry represents about 25 percent of the total value of the rubber consumed in North America and Europe. EPDM is the primary ingredient for the nontire TSRs. Others are natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile rubber, and others. The belt industry is another area in which TSR dominates. Belt manufacturing is a multistep process that may face some pressure from TPV in future. The major belt manufacturers (Gates, Dayco, and Goodyear) control 75 percent of the market. Nitrile rubber, neoprene, and EPDM are the usual ingredients for belt compounds. The automotive body mount segment is primarily controlled by butyl rubber. Globally, roughly 350 million pounds of EPDM ends up in body seals and glazing seals applications. TPVs are attempting to penetrate this segment, as they offer some performance advantages (compression set) and the opportunity to utilize thermoplastic processing tools. The compression set advantage over EPDM occurs only after long-term exposure at 70ºC. However, the price of TPV still remains a challenge to its rapid penetration in the TSR market.

9.1.4

Conclusions

Elastomers serve a large potion of the overall need for plastics in the automotive industry. Their prime applications are in energy absorption, followed by noise, vibration, and harshness. However, the industry is crowded with many equivalent choices, and competition is growing fiercely. Sometimes, as a result of regulatory changes in areas such as safety and fuels, the need arises for either more elastomers or novel ones with differentiated properties.

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CHAPTER 9

9.2 OTHER THERMOPLASTICS IN AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS 9.2.1

Introduction

This section discusses the more rigid non-elastomeric thermoplastics used in automotive applications like body panels, fenders, under-the-hood connectors, instrument panels, knee bolsters, radiator end cap etc. Generally, moduli of these resins are higher than elastomeric materials. Thermoset resins that are often used as fiber reinforced composites for high stiffness applications through reaction injection molding, transfer molding, liquid molding etc. will not be covered here. 9.2.2

Thermoplastics

Let us first review various thermoplastics used in automotive applications. These include nylon 6,6-based blends (e.g., nylon 6,6-PPO), glass-filled nylon 6,6 with without impact modifiers, hom*o- and copolymers of PP, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene (PE), bis-phenol A polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), PC-ABS blends, glass-filled PP, and ABS. 9.2.2.1 Nylon 6,6. Nylon 6,6 appears in automotive applications mostly in impact-modified, blended, and filled (mostly glass reinforced, with or with out impact modifiers) form. Impact modification of nylon 6,6 is of significant commercial importance, especially for automotive uses. Typical applications include fasteners for interior and exterior components, a host of connectors, holding fixtures, and radiator end caps, and a fairly common application is for air intake manifolds (Fig. 9.4). These applications rely on the ductility and toughness of impact-modified nylon 6,6 as a mechanism to connect assemblies or join components.

FIGURE 9.4 Photo of typical injection-molded

impact-modified nylon 6/6 components including (A) fuel line connector, (B) christmas tree fastener, and (C) tufflock fastener. These applications require high toughness, so modifier selection and attention to detail during production are critical.

Fuel vapor canisters represent a relatively new automotive use of molded impact-modified nylon 6,6, and it is experiencing rapid growth (Fig. 9.5). It’s an excellent choice for the application, given its inherent toughness and resistance to the combined effects of temperature and gasoline vapor. The Clean Air Act of 1990 mandated that all cars, beginning with the 1998 model year, must make provisions to trap hydrocarbon fumes emitted from the fuel tank and related to the refueling process.

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PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

9.7

FIGURE 9.5 Photo of two different fuel vapor canisters molded from impact-modified nylon 6,6. These applications generally require minimal toughness, so lower-cost impact modifiers and compounding technology are employed to produce the resultant products.

DuPont leads the market in impact-modified nylon 6,6, with products that exhibit a range of impact and mechanical performance. The market is segmented into three performance categories: super tough, moderately tough, and low toughness. The biggest breakthrough in relatively brittle nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 systems occurred in 1979 with the issuing of a key U.S. patent to Epstein.4 The patent claimed that maleic anhydride or fumeric acid grafted EPDM rubber, among a variety of rubbers, after being blended with nylon, can provide a high degree of toughness. Epstein believed that the soft phase of the polymer only has to adhere with the polyamide matrix at the interface and that adhesion may be achieved by hydrogen or covalent bonding (Fig. 9.6). There were also claims with regard to the modulus of the rubber phase and rubber size. Mechanical performances of DuPont’s major products that serve these markets are summarized in Table 9.2. Historically, a number of different impact-modification technologies have been used. These include various maleated olefinic rubber such as EB, EP, and so on; SBS; brominated isobutylene-para-methyl styrene elastomers produced by Exxon; and many others. Dow’s metallocene-based ethylene-α-olefin elastomers were found to be very effective as well. The rheology of toughened nylon 6,6 is usually directly related to the maleic anhydride graft level of the impact modifier. Rubber particle size averages of greater than 0.25 µm and less than 0.5 µm are required to achieve the required balance of mechanical performance. Optimum particle size varies with the percentage of rubber. Nylon 6,6 is often blended with PPO (Noryl GTX) to make extremely rigid polymers for exterior body panels. Most of its applications are in Europe, in automobile fenders. This product is offered by General Electric Plastics, which currently is developing a commercial conductive polymer solution to facilitate production-line painting. Absorption of moisture by nylon remains a continuing critical issue to be dealt with to meet the performance requirements. 9.2.2.2 hom*o, Co-, and Impact Copolymers of Propylene (H-PP, Co-PP, ICP). PP can be divided into two types based on stereo regularity: isotactic and syndiotactic. The designation depends on the placement of CH3 and H units along the backbone. Absence of regularity and random placement results in atactic PP. Both iso- and syndio-polymers are

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9.8

CHAPTER 9

FIGURE 9.6 Maleic anhydride grafted rubber and its possible chemical interaction with PA6 or PA 6,6.

TABLE 9.2

Mechanical Performance of Dupont’s Two Major Zytel Product Lines

Units

Super tough Dupont Zytel ST801

Moderate tough Dupont Zytel 408

°F

420

420

Izod @ 72°F

ft-lb/in

17

5

Izod @ 0°F

ft-lb/in

6

2

Izod @ –40°F

ft-lb/in

2

1.2

Flex strength

psi

9800

Flex modulus

ksi

245

160

Tensile strength

psi

7500

7500

Tensile elongation

%

60

270

Performance test DTUL @ 66 psi

crystalline, whereas atactic is amorphous. Sundiotactic PP has not made a measurable entry in automotive applications and will not be discussed. Crystallinity in polypropylene can also be disrupted by incorporating α-olefin comonomers ranging anywhere from ethylene to octene, resulting in copolymers (co-PPs). Commercially, ethylene to butene comonomers are available. The absence of comonomers usually results in hom*opolymer polypropylene (H-PP) with predominantly isotactic conformation. Stereo defects in a predominantly isotactic structure result in hom*opolymers with varying crystallinity and crys-

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PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

9.9

tal morphology. On top of stereo (tactic) defects, one can also introduce regio defects, depending on the catalyst used. Metallocene catalyst tends to introduce regio defects. Impact copolymers (ICPs) can be made in one or more reactors by incorporating ethylene into the reaction process along with polymerization of hom*o- and copolymers of PP. Most commercial products end up incorporating approximately 50:50 weight ratio of ethylene and propylene. Thus, most ICP structure essentially contains a h-PP or co-PP with a certain weight percent of EP rubbers. Each producer has variations in the molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of these components, resulting in performance differentiation. Some uncontrolled levels of propylene-ethlyene (PE) and atactic PP are often formed in the reactors, which also results in variation in ICPs among various producers. One can also consider other ethlylene-α-olefin rubbers to differentiate their ICP structures. Due to lower specific gravity, injection moldability, economics, recyclability, and gloss, TPOs are continuously replacing ABS and PC/ABS polymers. As the price gap closes, disadvantages like weatherability, higher gloss, and noise characteristics still plague ABS-type polymers. Most automotive applications are for interior components such as instrument panels, interior trims, airbag doors, some interior skins, and so on— with the exception of bumper fascia, which is the most common exterior application. All TPOs used in automotive applications also require the balance of low-temperature toughness, density, a certain elastic modulus, coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE), and shrinkage to fit into a specific part and tool design. Scratch and mar resistance of the final molded part can become very important, depending on the application (e.g., instrument panels). Crystallinity of the PP matrix plays a dominant role in determining the overall modulus. Thus, the high-stiffness TPOs always start from a very high-crystallinity, high-isotacticity hom*o- or copolymer or sometimes a reactor TPO that has a very highmodulus PP component. On the other hand, the high-toughness TPOs tend to contain a higher proportion of rubber. Fillers are mainly introduced for reasons of cost, CLTE, and (to a lesser extent) for modulus. The final performance of a TPO part is strongly dependent on mixing as well as the subsequent molding conditions. Dow Chemical Co. has the largest participation in the elastomer component of the compounded PP, while Exxon, Basell, and others are the biggest suppliers of the PP component of the TPO. While producers try to differentiate in the ingredients, tiers and compounders try to create differentiation through their processing and molding technology. Although H-PP is often used as a blend for making TPO, or filled with short or long fibers, and so forth, there is very little direct H-PP application in the automotive industry. These applications take advantage of the lower cost and scratch resistance of H-PP. PP may also go into some of the fibers used in automotive components. In contrast, ICPs, with their excellent balance of toughness, rigidity, and processability, have made enormous inroads into automotive applications over the last two decades, becoming a dominant interior thermoplastic. (Clearly, the economics of hydrocarbon-based resins plays an important role.) Table 9.3 shows some characteristic properties of hom*o, copolymer, and impact copolymer PPs. Automotive applications for PP, especially ICPs, are numerous and varied. Functional requirements that call for the use of ICPs include moderate impact, easy molding, moderate modulus, noise absorption, UV resistance, and a low-gloss surface. Most applications in which ICPs can be found are in the interior—trim, consoles, door panels, and instrument panel trim. Exterior parts are dominated by highly modified PPs, but ICPs can be found in less challenging applications such as wheel well covers. In general, they can be classified into two broad categories: high stiffness and high toughness. TPO compound specifications are proliferated by the compounders, tiers, and OEMs into more than five types to bring differentiation to the consumer, but there is a

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9.10

CHAPTER 9

TABLE 9.3

Typical Properties of hom*o- and Copolymer Polypropylenes

Property (ASTM) MFR Flexural modulus (kpsi)

hom*o-PP

Co-PP

ICP

20

35

35

250

200

170

Izod impact strength (ft-lb)

0.8

0.7

2.9

Tensile yield strength (kpsi)

5.2

5.1

3.2

Percent elongation at yield

9

4

244

216

216

DTUL (264 psi, °F)

strong underlying current from the OEMs to use fewer specifications to meet all needs. Some typical TPO properties in the high-stiffness and high-toughness applications are listed in Table 9.4. 9.2.2.3 Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). PBT is another polymer used mostly under the hood or close to the engine electrical and electronic connectors, for smart network interface devices, power plugs and electrical components, switches and controls, circuit breaker enclosures, and various housings. GE, Dupont, and Ticona are the biggest manufacturers of PBT, which is sold under the brand names Valox® (GE), Crastin® (DuPont), and Celanex® and Vandar® (Ticona). Usually, these products range from 100 percent unmodified PBT resins to combinations of glass-fiber reinforced, mineral-filled, mineral/ glass-reinforced, and flame-resistant grades. In automotive use, there is no known application of the unmodified PBT. The base PBT resin is made by reacting butane diol with dimethyl terephthalate or terephthalic acid, and this material is the foundation for grades that are reinforced with fiberglass, minerals such as mica or wollastonite, stainless steel fibers, or carbon fibers, or that are filled with glass beads or other essentially nonorienting fillers (Fig. 9.7). PBT and modified resins offer chemical resistance, outstanding dielectric strength, outstanding electrical properties, low-temperature performance down to –40°F (–40°C), strength and modulus at elevated temperatures, very good processability (long flow in thin sections), and last but not the least, flame resistance.

FIGURE 9.7 Linear PBT molecule polymerized by reacting butanediol with terephthalic acid. Conventional commercial production of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) involves a condensation reaction between dimethyl terephthalate and 1,4-butane diol.

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MFR >15

>15

High-toughness

High-stiffness

1200–1500

800–1000

Flex mod., MPa

Min. –20°C

Min. –40°C

D/B transition instrumented falling dart, 3 mm

Instrument panels (IPs) and trim, >400

Fascia and airbag, critical interior, >500

Application and global volume, million lb

Typical Properties of High-Stiffness and High-Toughness TPOs

In or at reactor TPO

TABLE 9.4

Scratch res. (CLTE 80–120) Gloss 60=1.5

Paint adhesion (CLTE 80–120)

CCR

Basell PPU9057HSHGL23 Exxon Exxtral BNU011 Dow and others

Stamylan P108 M97 Basell Hifax E308G9 Exxon 8224/8114 Dow and others

Typical commercial products

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9.12

CHAPTER 9

9.2.2.4 Polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene covers a huge segment of the polymer industry and can be classified into mostly linear high-density polyethylene (HDPE), substantially linear ethylene-α-olefin copolymers [also known commercially as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)], and mostly long-chain branched low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Another subsegment of the ethylene-α-olefin copolymers was discussed earlier in terms of their elastomeric performance. HDPE is used predominantly as fuel tanks and is supplied by companies such as BASF, Solvay, and Phillips. Since these products are blow molded, they require a unique balance of high melt strength and toughness. LLDPE and LDPE are used in many packaging applications in shops, essentially for shipping and transportation of parts. They do not play any primary role in automotive applications. 9.2.2.5 Polycarbonate (PC). Although the first reported synthesis of aromatic polycarbonates from bisphenol-A can be traced back to Einhorn5 in 1898, there were no additional investigations into this polymer for the next 50 years. Despite numerous investigations into polycarbonates deFIGURE 9.8 Polycarbonate polymeriza- rived from other aromatic diols, the foundation of the polycarbonate industry lies on bisphenol-A. tion via interfacial process. Hereafter, the term “PC” will refer only to bisphenol-A polycarbonate. Figure 9.8 shows the structures of the PC polymer and its monomer precursors. As in many such technical breakthroughs, the development of high-quality PC resins was aided by related activities, and acceptance of PC relied on advancements in high-purity bisphenol-A processes.6 Early in its development, polymer chemists realized the importance of monomer purity to reaching ultimate color and mechanical properties in PC. In this connection, Kissinger and Wynn7 have been credited with process innovations that eliminated the need for water, organic solvents, distillation, or extraction and put the commercial manufacture of this monomer in an accessible position. Today, it is estimated that the global PC manufacturing capacity is about 2.6 million Mton. The major producers are General Electric Plastics and Bayer, with a combined 60 percent of global capacity. Global capacities can be seen in Table 9.5. Capacities are relatively balanced between western Europe and the United States. Japan’s share of the global capacity is about half that of the western regions. Between 2000 and 2010, global capacity growth is projected to be >50 percent; however, the regional shares should be the same except for some relatively increased capacity in western Europe. Over the last 35 years, the process for manufacturing PC has undergone significant modernization and evolution. Early process attempts at melt transesterification and solution polymerization with pyridine were both deemphasized based on equipment limitations and economics, respectively. Both batch and continuous processes are practiced today. Solution polymerization in methylene chloride in contact with aqueous sodium hydroxide has become the preferred process by some major producers. Melt polymerization has also regained attention, facilitated by improvements in polymerization equipment. Melt polymerization also addresses recent concerns with potential release of volatile organic compounds into the environment. The commercial polycarbonate polymerization processes can be categorized according to whether phosgene (COCl2) or its derivative is utilized as a raw material. Thus, the processes are distinguished as employing either phosgenation or transesterification. Phosgenation is most often implemented via interfacial polymerization. In this process, PC polymer is formed at the interface of an aqueous sodium alkoxide bisphenol-A salt solution and phosgene organic solvent mixture. The PC polymer becomes soluble in the organic solvent phase as it is formed. The phosgene remains partitioned between aqueous

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9.13

PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

TABLE 9.5

PC Capacity and Demand by Region 1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2010

U.S.

666

666

666

815

815

865

915

1029

W. Europe

575

575

705

845

845

885

885

955

Japan

347

347

347

395

395

395

395

445

Total

1588

1588

1718

2055

2055

2145

2195

2429

U.S.

409

428

424

441

472

509

550

736

W. Europe

400

440

435

453

480

516

555

760

Japan

201

226

182

191

199

208

217

271

Total

1010

1094

1041

1085

1151

1233

1322

1767

Capacity

Demand

103

Mton

and organic layers. The appeal of this process is the low operating temperature, the fact that no drying of monomers is required, and its relative insensitivity to impurities. Polymers of high molecular weights are readily achieved. The disadvantages of this approach are the rather involved isolation and purification steps and the health and safety aspects of the large amounts of phosgene and organic solvent (typically methylene chloride) required. Nonphosgene routes to PC have been extensively developed and are in commercial use. Companies operating such processes are GE Plastics, Bayer, and Asahi/Chi Mei. The literature indicates that other producers are investigating this area. The approach being used by these companies relies on the transesterification of diphenyl carbonate with bisphenol-A. This process takes place in two major steps. In the initial step, bisphenol-A and diphenyl carbonate are reacted, and phenol is liberated. The phenol is removed to produce a prepolymer. This prepolymer can then be polymerized via an ester disproportionation reaction whereby diphenylcarbonate is formed and volatilized. A challenge of this process is reported to be the low pressures and high temperatures required (35 percent over the last four years. Long glass fiber PP derives its unique properties by artfully combining a low-density, semicrystalline PP resin with compatibilized e-glass fibers in such a way as to preserve the filler aspect ratio. All references to fiber length will be for the molded part, not the starting fiber length. It has long been understood that this is a key to maximizing the potential of glass fiber reinforcement of PP; however, the combination of material and transformation science has just now gelled to make this a popular commercial option. Composites theory can be used to describe the effect of fillers on modulus as a function of aspect ratio.* (Note that this predicts modulus in the direction of fiber orientation.) These relationships can be seen in Fig. 9.17. Another important property improvement seen in LGF-PP is impact resistance. Figure 9.18 compares the falling dart impact (FDI) strength and tensile properties of long and short glass-reinforced PP. Clearly, an impressive level of toughening is achieved with long glass fiber reinforcement. Material scientists attribute this drastic improvement† in impact energy management to a mechanism whereby energy is dissipated due to slippage at the long glass/PP interface.

FIGURE 9.17 Effect of filler volume percent on modulus improvement. * Fiber †

length/diameter ratio. Relative to short glass-reinforced PP.

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FIGURE 9.18 Comparison of falling dart impact and tensile properties of GF-PP.

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CHAPTER 9

Another important element to attaining optimum properties via LGF-PP is the addition of a compatibilizing, grafted additive. Because of the chemical mismatch at the interface of PP and e-glass fibers, without additional treatments, there is the potential for very poor energy transfer between fiber and matrix. Numerous microscopic studies have verified poor adhesion of glass fibers to PP and motivated the development of grafted polypropylenes to improve the adhesion. The addition of maleic anhydride grafted PP (MA-g-PP) has been shown to improve the adhesion between the two major phases. Figure 9.19 compares the relative adhesion of a fracture surface with and without modification by MA-g-PP. Smooth fibers indicate very poor adhesion and stress transfer, whereas a roughened glass surface is indicative of cohesive failure at the glass-PP interface. Better interfacial bonding has been shown to be a strong contributor to modulus in these types of composites.

FIGURE 9.19 Scanning electron micrograph of PP-glass fracture surfaces. The sample on the

left had no compatibilizer, sample on right had MA-g-PP added.

LGF-PP properties are very much dependent on the conversion process used to incorporate the fibers and form the parts. Thus, representative properties should be reported for each of the major processes and glass levels. Table 9.11 gives a summary of properties from both direct compression and pellet injection. Three glass fiber levels were chosen: 20, 30, and 40 percent. PP can be modified with long glass fibers and formed into articles in a number of ways. However, two very distinct methods are used to incorporate PP and long glass fibers: direct and pellet processes. In the direct process, glass roving is fed to a portion of the forming process, and the fiber filled melt is transferred to either an injection or compression molding process. Alternatively, if existing injection molding capital must be used, then molders have the option of purchasing a material from the pellet process. In the direct process, glass roving is added to a stage of the process where shear can be carefully controlled and fiber lengths are maximized. Two major direct processes are commercially practiced: injection and compression. The direct injection process uses a coupled process whereby a compounding extruder is coupled to an injection molding press. Typically, the extruder is operated continuously and fills an accumulating tank that, in turn, feeds the molding machine. In this case, the extruder can clearly be seen mounted on the top of the press. Direct compression is also linked to the forming process, and glass modified, molten “buns” are transferred to a compression press. Pellet processes are practiced by suppliers who may also do more conventional molding. The original process, begun by Fiberfill Co. in the 1950s, consisted of simply pulling glass rovings through wire coating dies. This incomplete wetting of the glass fibrils re-

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9.27

PLASTICS AND ELASTOMERS: AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

TABLE 9.11

Example Properties of LGF-PP at Three Levels of Glass Reinforcement Pellet

Direct

Process

Injection

Injection

Compression

Compression

Long glass fiber, % Specific gravity Tensile strength (MPa) Tensile elongation, 5 mm/min, break Flexural modulus (GPa) Flexural strength (MPa, 2 mm/min) Izod impact @ 23°C (kJ/m2)

20 1.03 96 2.7 5.0 140

30 1.12 120 2.6 6.7 170

40 1.22 78.6 2 5.7 146.9 15.3

30 1.12 54.5 1.5 5.0 108.3 15.1

sulted in poor dispersion and suboptimum part properties. Although this process was ultimately abandoned, development began again in the 1980s, fueled by the rapid growth of advanced composites. As a result of their intense efforts, pultrusion processes to produce LGF-PPs with wetted fibrils and good dispersion were developed. Factors that influence the quality of the product and output of the process include impregnation chamber design, die geometry, line speed, number of strands, and extruder output. Line speed must be balance against the desired degree of fiber wet-out with minimal free fibers. Long glass fiber PP offers a unique engineering option of automotive engineers in place of metal or high-performance engineering thermoplastics (ETPs). Compared to alternatives, LGF-PP has the following very compelling advantages: Metal • Cost • Corrosion resistance • Weight reduction • Intricate design capability • Thermal and sound insulation ETPs • Cost • Density (vs. filled ETPs) • Processability • Sound insulation • Moisture absorption Numerous applications for LGP-PP have been developed. The most popular applications in automotive are: instrument panels, underbody shields and front end carriers. Figure 9.20 shows the relative share of each application. As LGF-PPs find their way in to new applications, it is only natural that additional performance requirements are requested by automotive molders. One such development is for exterior, unpainted panels and steps. This requires materials for these applications not only to have sufficient modulus and processability but also the ability to withstand impact (e.g., stones and grocery carts) and maintain acceptable appearance for the life of the vehicle. Although various methods for impact modifying LGF-PPs are possible, a novel approach using masterbatches was recently reported by Richardson et al. (WO 2004/035295 A1). She

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9.28

CHAPTER 9

FIGURE 9.20 Automotive applications for LGF-PP.

demonstrates that, by adding a specific levels of elastomer impact modifier (i.e., ethylene/ octene copolymer) directly to the process, impact strengths can be greatly increased. This masterbatch approach could also bring other functionality to the part, such as weather resistance, thermal stability, and colorant. Table 9.12 shows the performance one can achieve with LGF masterbatches that are designed to bolster impact performance of the part. TABLE 9.12 Properties of Direct Compression LGF-PP with Impact Modifier Added On-Line (WO 2004/035295)

Composition PP POE Glass Color SA Properties FM, MPa FS, MPa TS, MPa TE , % IDI @ 3 mm, J IDI @ 4 mm, J IDI @ 5 mm, J

1

2

3

4

67 0 30 2 1

65 2 30 2 1

63 4 30 2 1

61 6 30 2 1

4760 97 52 1.4 15 18 29

5330 113 55 1.6 14 20 33

5000 115 53 1.4 14 22 33

4820 108 58 1.5 17 24 34

IDI = instrumented dart impact; POE = polyolefin elastomer; SA == glass/PP-compatibilizer.

9.3 REFERENCES 1. Market Analysis of Thermoplastics Elastomers, Robert Eller Associates, Inc., September 2000. 2. N. Kawamura., et al., Super Olefin Polymer for Material Consolidation of Automotive Interior Plastic Parts, SAE Technical Paper 960296, 1996. 3. A. Y. Coran and R. Patel, Rubber-Thermoplastic Compositions. Part I. EPDM-Polypropylene Thermoplastic Vulcanizates, Rubber Chem. Technol., 5, 141, 1980. 4. B. N. Epstein, U.S. patent no. 4,174,358, 1979. 5. A. Einhorn, Annahlin, 300,135,1898. 6. J. E. Jansen, U.S. patent no. 2,468,982, 1949. 7. G. M. Kissinger and Nicholas P. Wynn, U.S. patent no. 5,362,400, 1994. 8. T. A. Callaghan, K. Takakuwa, D.R. Paul and A.R. Padwa, Polymer 34, 3796, 1993.

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