Monday, 28 February 2022

Design Properties for Plastics Engineering: Key Electrical Properties of Selected Engineering and High Performance Polymers for E-Mobility

Hello and welcome to a new blog post. Today I present to you selected electrical properties of the most used engineering and high performance polymers. The data can support you during polymer material selection for various electric car applications.

In general, polymers in electric vehicles are used as isolators, insulators, and component housings and find many electrical focus applications such as busbars, connectors, circuit breakers, modules and switches that carry a current. At the same time, the demand for polymers is increasing in several property dimensions such as thermal rating, EMI shielding and thermal conductivity. Also, looking at autonomous driving systems, relative permittivity is a major concern and new plastic compounds are developed to offer solutions (low absorption or reflection of radar signals at 80 GHz [2]). In part design, we see more and more miniaturization resulting in a higher heat exposure to the polymer in use. Thinner walls represent another challenge for polymers to fill all the mould cavity.

In addition, environmental aspects play a key role in the use of plastics too. As already discussed in this post [3], the trinity of thermal, chemicals and time need to be considered since polymers change their behavior if exposed to chemicals and temperature.

Below the table shows the key electrical properties of selected engineering and high performance polymers for e-mobility. 

Key Electrical Properties of Selected Engineering and High Performance Polymers for E-Mobility 

Also, check out my training videos to better understand the individual properties: 

Polymers For E-Mobility I Electrical Design Properties I Part 1

Polymers For E-Mobility I Electrical Design Properties I Part 2 - Flammability Ratings

Polymers For E-Mobility I Electrical Design Properties I Part 3 - Comparative Tracking Indices (CTI)

Polymers For E-Mobility I Electrical Design Properties I Part 4 - Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

Polymers For E-Mobility I Electrical Design Properties I Part 5 - Applications

Design Properties for Plastics Engineering - Engineering and High Performance Polymers (collection of all my posts)

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Greetings,

Herwig

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Literature

[1] https://plastics.basf.com

[2] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2053-1591/abcb3b/pdf

[3] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2020/11/plastic-part-failure-part-2-antidote.html

[4] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2020/10/design-properties-for-engineers.html

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Stay Tuned - New Project On The Way!


Hello and welcome to this announcement post. I would like to inform you that I will soon reveal my latest project I am working on. 

So much to say - it will have polymer material selection as baseline. 

Stay tuned for more! 

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Herwig

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Using Blockchain Technology and Cascade Regrind Strategy to Trace Recycling Content of Plastics Compounds

In today’s post we discuss the blockchain technology as an enabler for tracing recycling content of plastic compounds.

The use of recycled plastics

Using recycled plastics on your shop floor becomes more and more realty since end-consumer and large brands as well as governments demand a certain amount of recycled plastic in the end-use application. 20% of the global plastic waste is currently recycled by the plastic manufacturing industry. 40% of packaging waste is landfilled and according to the EU Green Deal, 50% of plastic packaging should be recycled by 2025. Industries such as consumer products, construction and automotive have ambitious targets to recycle their waste and make high-value products out of it again. Challenges for manufacturing companies occur in sourcing such recycled materials and to be sure that all necessary information about the recyclates is available (end-uses; thermal/ heat history).

Here new technologies such as the blockchain technology can be an enabler to shade light into grey supply chains.

Example of Circulor

Circulor offers solutions to track the origin of raw materials as well as the actual flow of materials (production processes, transformations such as moulding, and recycling). Using blockchain enabled technology, a digital twin is created which then tracks the digital identity of the plastic's journey. This in turn introduces visibility and safety along the supply chain.

What about the plastics regrind?

Cascade recycling is a possible way forward for plastics processing companies to ensure a proper tracing of the used polymers. Usually virgin and regrind are mixed in a ratio of 20% regrind and 80% virgin plastic. Mr. Bozelli lays out seven problems one may deal with when handling with regrind mixing (level actually used, degraded polymer in the regrind, broad of granule sizes in the regrind; possibility of contamination; excessive fines in the regrind; tracking the actual level of regrind in a plastic part; testing worst case situations using regrind). In short – it can become a mess! To minimize such problems, Mrs. Janicki, Mr.  Groleau, and Mr. Bain, introduced the so-called cascade regrinding.

How is it done?

You can start by storing the regrind from the first-pass of the virgin compound until all of the virgin material is used. This is followed by running down 100% regrind and in parallel store the second generation of regrind. Then you use 100% of the second generation and collect the third generation. This can be done till the regrind is used up (Table 1).

Example of cascade regrind strategy based on 50% and 25% material remaining after each pass. 

This method allows tracking the heat history of the regrind in an accurate way. In addition, combining it with blockchain, the regrind history can be tracked too.

Altogether, I believe we will see more of the blockchain enabled technology solutions for handling recycling of plastics allowing to increase the chances of success on a global scale. 

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Herwig

Further post on recycling and regrind: 

Rule of Thumb for Plastics Injection Moulding: Usage of Regrind

nterested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Literature:

[1] https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1302

[2] https://www.circulor.com/total-press-release

[3] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/1196/1/012021/pdf

[4] https://www.plasticstoday.com/managing-regrind-maximum-quality

[5] https://knowledge.ulprospector.com/1468/pe-regrinding-plastics/

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Design Data for Plastics Engineering: Selected Properties of Natural Fiber Based Polymer Compounds

Hello and welcome to a new blog post. Today I present to you selected properties of natural fiber based polymer compounds as part of our design data for plastic engineering series.

Which natural fibers can be used and why to replace e-glass with them?

The use of natural fibers represents a sustainable alternative to synthetic glass and carbon fibers. They can be used in applications ranging from automotive, aeronautics to building and construction. Natural fibers can be plant, animal, and mineral based. In this post, we focus only on plant based fibers as reinforcement. The most important plant based fibers (cellulose) include cotton, flax, hemp, jute, pineapple, abaca, wood, wheat, rice, bamboo, and esparto. Among the animal fibers are lamb’s wool, goat hair, angora wool, and cashmere. Mineral fibers are fibrous brucite and wollastonite.

Recycling of glass and carbon fibers is still high energy consuming. Table 1 shows the environmental parameters (production of 1 kg of fibers [5]) of hemp and glass fibers. In all three categories, hemp fibers represent a sustainable alternative to glass fibers.

Table 1: environmental parameters (production of 1 kg of fibers [5]) of hemp and glass fibers

Properties of fibers

Before deciding to replace glass fibers with natural fibers, a look at the mechanical properties of natural fibers is important. This will later enable a better material formulation and material selection.

Figure 1 and 2 compares the mechanical properties of glass with those of jute, flax, hemp, and cotton. It can be shown that the tensile modulus of flex and hamp is with 70 GPa in the range of the glass tensile modulus.

Figure 1: Tensile strength vs. density of different natural fibers and glass fiber

Figure 2: Tensile modulus vs. density of different natural fibers and glass fiber


Properties of natural fiber reinforced plastics

For formulating plastic compounds using natural fibers, thermal processing properties must be in the suitable range of the fibers. Polyethylene (PE) and Polypropylene (PP) base polymers are good examples for such a suitability and our examples will be based on a PP copolymer.

Figure 3 presents the mechanical properties of PP based natural fiber compounds (six different fibers; always 35%) and compares them to a PP based glass fiber compound (also 35%). Within the natural fiber compounds, mechanical values are in a similar range. PP glass fiber reinforced compounds are double in tensile modulus and tensile strength.

Figure 3: Tensile modulus vs. tensile strength of different PP compounds with natural fiber reinforcement and PP with glass fiber reinforcement


Conclusions

Natural fiber based compounds allow a weight saving in the range of 10 -30%. Most used fibers are hemp, jute, and flax. Hemp fiber production is almost pesticide free. Additionally, hemp fibers are hydrophilic and proper drying must be done prior to compounding. In terms of performance, natural fiber compounds can be used in automotive interior applications (door panels, seat backs paneling), together with exterior applications (bumpers, spoilers). In building and construction, such compounds can be found in roof panels and insulations.

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Herwig Juster

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Literature:

[1] WIS Polymer-Wissenmatrix; https://www.advanced-compounding.com/de/polywood-pp.html

[2] https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Mechanical-Properties-of-chemically-treated-jute-fibre-reinforced-polymer-composites_tbl6_282073854

[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmats.2019.00226/full#B95

[4] https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03153829/document

[5] Shahzad, 2011: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0021998311413623





Monday, 7 February 2022

Plastics Industry – The 6 Strategic Principles For Business Leaders

Hello and welcome to a new post. Today I picked up the six strategic principles of Mark McNeilly’s book “Sun Tzu and the art of business” and tried to apply them in today’s VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) plastics world. 

I re-read this book recently and in my view, the principles apply still today and the one or other principle may help you in your next business management decision. 

Overview – the six strategic principles

1. Win all without fighting: capturing your market without destroying it

2. Avoid strength and attack weakness: striking where they least expect it

3. Deception and foreknowledge: maximizing the power of market information

4. Speed and preparation: moving swiftly to overcome your competitors

5. Shape your opponent: employing strategy to master the competition 

6. Character-based leadership: providing effective leadership in turbulent times

Overview - 6 strategic principles of Sun Tzu


Detailed discussion 

“Win without fighting” can be achieved in several ways. To start with, less visible and indirect attacks are preferred to gain market share and not triggering an immediate competitive response. In addition, if the defender starts to counter-attack to keep market share, it still takes between 11 and four years. The response is delayed due to strategic, bureaucratic, and political barriers, followed by the denial of the executives from the defending companies that the attack will be successful. Price increase or decrease attacks lead to faster reactions of the defending companies. After all, the aim is to gain relative market share, which ensures a long-term survival and growth of your business.

“Avoid strength and attack weakness” reminds me of the famous quote of C. Jung: “That which you most need, will be found where you least want to look”.  There are situations, where the competitor’s weakness opens up attack opportunities for your business to apply your strengths there and win big. There are weak links along the value chain which are referred to as boundary points: manufacturing needs to interact with supply chain and supply chain with sales and service. These boundary points open up areas of weakness. The competitor may have strong manufacturing operations however is not strongly linked to regional distributors. This immediately opens up an opportunity for you to attack by reinforcing your distribution channels and capturing their customers. Another way is to avoid competitors at all by creating new markets (small pond, only player vs big pond and many players). Or being a first mover in emerging markets. Important is to know where the weaknesses are and when to strike. Also, hiding your weakness is important too.

“Deception and foreknowledge” is needed to conquer market share and is done by learning the capabilities, culture, mindset, and facts of your competitors. If you attack, you need to know what your competitor will do to counter-attack. Businesses are built up out of products, processes, and people. Learn all the details of your own products, process, and people, together with strengths and weaknesses. Capability of your business is as important to understand as what it is incapable of doing. Do you know which markets are fertile and allow your business to grow? Masking your intentions with deception is important too since it will leave competitors executives in the dark. Time and place of attack – those too must be hidden away.

“Speed and preparation” are crucial for your victory on the business battlefield. Start-ups and small companies are intrinsically faster compared to chemical giants. However, it is valid for all kinds of companies to move with speed and win before the competitors can even react. Surprise, shock and exploitation of opportunities are the big advantages of speed in the marketplace. Furthermore, all execution cycle times, including product development, production, delivery and customer service must be cut down. Preparation is essential to ensure rapid movement of everyone (5 P’s: proper planning prevents poor performance). Develop scenarios and play competitive reactions through. Important is that you hit your goals before the competitor is able to set defensive moves. Big corporations tend to spend a lot of time with reorganizations instead of attacking in full force with new products.

“Shape your opponent” can be done over a direct and an indirect approach resulting in a misdirection of your competitors attention. Key elements to support you can be alliances to increase your strength and decrease the strength of your competition. On the other hand, attention needs to be given that competitors do not shape one. Therefore, best is to not fall into routines with tactics and strategy.

“Character-based leadership” can be summarized as lead by example: bad times and good times should be shared with your people. Clarify as a leader your strategy and communicate in an effective manner so that all of your reports can carry it out, even in your absence. Missions must be clear and distinct, together with the right selected people to achieve them. In addition, personal development of the leader by reading about several subjects, listening well to others, and taking time to think is part of this too. 

How do you see this? What are your favorite principles? 

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Herwig Juster

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Literature: 

[1] Mark McNeilly - Sun Tzu and the art of business


Thursday, 3 February 2022

Residence Time Calculation for Extrusion - Polymer Processing

Hello and welcome to a new blog post. In a previous post, I presented the residence time calculation in injection moulding. Today we will focus on the extrusion process.

Residence time in extrusion is referring to the time, which a polymer pellet, and as consequence, polymer melt needs to travel from the melting zone until the end of the metering zone.

The online calculation

For an approximate calculation of the residence time, building the quotient of the volume of the extruder filled with melt and the volume flow of the melt is possible (underlying basic laws of physics). This is the background of the online calculation tool shown below:


In literature, extruder output can be calculated by the following equation [3]:


The leakage flow is calculated by addition of mass flow rate (drag) and pressure flow rate minus the extruder output.

Also as a general rule, the higher the temperature, the lower should be the melt residence time. 

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Herwig Juster

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section

Literature:

[1] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2017/10/how-to-calculate-residence-time-in.html

[2] https://www.extrusion-training.de/extruder-dimensionierung/

[3] N. Rao: Design formulas for plastics engineers

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Design Properties for Engineers: Mechanical properties of PCR, PIR, bio-based, and mass balanced plastics

Hello and welcome to a new post where we discuss mechanical design properties of polymers with reduced environmental footprint. In this past post, I gave an overview on the sustainability of the plastics industry.

Let us start with some definitions

  • PCR = Post-Consumer Resin: ISO defines PCR as “material generated by the end-users of products that has fulfilled its intended purpose or can no longer be used (including material returned from within the distribution chain).” In this category fall consumer packing such as bottles, buckets, films, as well as industrial packaging (IBC totes). Recycling those used packages can make new plastic products.
  • PIR = Post-Industrial Resin: ISO defines PIR as “material diverted during a manufacturing process”.
  • Bio-based content = refers to the amount of biomass in a product; it considers four key elements (EN 16785-1): carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen; expressed as percentage of overall weight of product;
  • Bio-based carbon content: focus is on the carbon; expressed as percentage of the carbon the product contains (ASTM D6866 and EN 16640);
  • Mass balance method: when both recycled and virgin feedstock were used in the manufacturing process, this method helps to determine the use of recycled content in the final product. The total inputs should be balanced with the outputs.

Environmental benefit overview

In case, one of your requirements during polymer material selection is to lower the environmental impact of the final product, then apart from the technical benefits of the plastic compounds, the environmental benefits need to be understood. As we learned before, it is not easy to have a direct grade comparison, since the final compound can have PCR or PIR only, a mix of PIR and PCR, or just using recycled glass fibers.

Therefore, I listed below the environmental benefits of each of the selected compounds below: 

  • ALTECH PA66 ECO 2030/116.01 GF30 (PA 6.6-GF30): contains high load of post-industrial recyclates (PIR)
  • Borcycle™ UF582SA-90 (PP): 55% post-consumer recycled content (PCR)
  • Bornewables™ RF365MO (PP-CoPo): bio-based; renewable feedstock using the mass-balance method.
  • EMERGE™ PC/ABS 7590E60 (PC/ABS): contains up to 95% post consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonate.
  • Rilsan® PA 11 BMNO (PA 11):  material is derived from 100% renewable carbon (castor oil basis).
  • Green Isoter® B30 100 AS UV GR2509 (ABS) contains around 50% post industrial recycled (PIR) ABS.
  • Omnix® ReCycle HPPA 6050 (HPPA-GF50): minimum of 33% recycled content, consisting of 70% PIR/PCR recycled resin.
  • LNP ELCRIN W10001iQ (PBT): contains up to 60% recycled weight content.

Property data (density vs. tensile strength, modulus, and elongation at break)

Property data of plastics with reduced environmental footprint: tensile strength vs. density

Property data of plastics with reduced environmental footprint: elongation at break vs. density

Property data of plastics with reduced environmental footprint: tensile modulus vs. density

Thank you for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Greetings,

Herwig

Interested to talk with me about your plastic selection, sustainability, and part design needs - here you can contact me 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.
New to my Find Out About Plastics Blog – check out the start here section
You can support me here on  PayPalMe
Polymer Material Selection (PoMS) for Electric Vehicles (xEVs) - check out my new online course

Literature:

[1] https://www.mauserpackaging.com/de-DE/Site-components/News/News/041621_PCR_-What-is-It_Benefits

[2] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2021/07/biopolymers-difference-between-bio.html

[3] https://www.positiveplastics.eu/

[4] https://www.solvay.com/en/brands/omnix-hppa/omnix-recycle-hppa

[5] https://zerowasteeurope.eu/2021/03/mass-balance-approach/#:~:text=Mass%20balance%20is%20a%20set,be%20balanced%20with%20the%20outputs.