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POLYMERS

THERMOSETS, THERMOPLASTICS, ELASTOMERS


Module 5 Part A
Common Polymers
Thermosets Thermoplastics
Elastomers /
Synthetic Rubber
Formaldehyde
resins
Polyethylene Styrene-Butadiene Rubber
Polyurethane Polypropylene Polybutadiene
Epoxy resins Polyvinyl chloride Butyl rubber
Polystyrene Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
Polymethylmethacrylate Ethylene propylene
Polycarbonate Ethylene propylene diene
Acrylonitrile Butadiene
Polyester Urethanes
Commodity Polymers Classification
Commodity Polymers - whose demand is maximum
Polyolefins
Polyethylenes - LDPE, HDPE, LLDPE
Polypropylene (PP)
Vinyls
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Styrenics
Polystyrene (PS)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN)
Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR)
Commodity Polymers Classification
Thermosetting
Formaldehyde Resins
Epoxies
Polyurethanes
POLYETHYLENE
Soft and tough, crystalline polymer,
LDPE (low-denslLy L = 0.92 g/cm3),
HDPE (high-denslLy L = 0.93 g/cm3)
LLDPE (linear-low-denslLy L, = 0.92 - 0.95 g/cm3)
The stiffness of PE increases strongly with increasing density.
All types gradually lose their properties upon temperature increase,
and they melt at 105 to 130 C
Principal applications are:
packaging film, bags, pipes, crates, pails, bottles, etc.
Special grades are made in smaller quantities, such as UHMPE (ultra-
high-molecular), which is extremely tough and abrasion resistant
A new development is a series of PE with very low density (.86 to .90
g/cm3), a series which extends into the region of rubbers.
POLYPROPYLENE
Polypropylene (PP) resembles PE, but is somewhat
harder and stiffer than HDPE.
lL ls crysLalllne and melLs aL = 163 C.
Its impact strength at lower temperatures is quite
poor; therefore PP is often modified with a certain
amount of rubber (mostly built-in as a copolymer).
Main applications are: film for packaging, fibres, crates,
pipes, automotive parts (often with reinforcing fillers).
A special feature of PP is its ability to form integral
hinges with a practically unlimited resistance against
repeated bending.

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE
Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is a hard, amorphous
polymer which softens at about 85 C.
Rubbers are sometimes added in order to
improve the impact strength.
Main applications of PVC are: pipes, gutters, front
panels of buildings, cables, bottles, floor tiles.
A much softer and more flexible material is
obtained by blending with plasticizers: soft or
plasticized PVC is being used in artificial leather,
tubes and hoses, footwear, films, etc.

POLYSTYRENE
Polystyrene (PS) is an amorphous, very brittle,
hard polymer with a softening temperature of
about 90 C.
Improvement of its impact strength is obtained
by blending with rubber (in most cases butadiene
rubber)
Unmodified PS is being largely applied as foam
for packaging and thermal insulation.
High-impact PS (TPS or HIPS) is used for coffee
cups, household ware etc.
POLYCARBONATE
Polycarbonate (PC) is amorphous glassy transparent
polymer up to about 140 C
Has excellent mechanical properties, in particular as
regards its impact strength.
Very suitable for substitution of glass and for a series of
technical applications in which it replaces metals.
For the latter, reinforcement with short glass fibres
opens further possibilities.
A weak point of PC is its poor resistance against
environmental stress cracking in contact with a number
of organic liquids.
Polethylene Terephthalate
Polyethylene terephtalate (PET) is a
(saturated) polyester
large-scale use as a textile fibre.
Also as a plasLlc ln fllms, boLLles (Lhe L1-
boLLle") and ln[ecLlon-mouldings.
Though its stiffness decreases significantly
above 70 C, it remains a solid up to its
melting point (255 C).

PHENOL FORMALDEHYDE
Phenol-formaldehyde (PF) was the first fully
synLheLlc macromolecular maLerlal (8akellLe",
1907).
In a slightly precured condition and provided
with fillers, it is, as a moulding powder,
available for processing into end-use articles
such as bulb fittings, switch housings, coils,
laminated wood and foam for thermal
insulation.

EPOXY RESINS
Epoxy resin (EP) has to be mixed with a second
component, the curing agent, to undergo the curing
reaction, which can take place at ambient
temperatures.
Epoxy/fibre composites (with glass, carbon or Aramid
fibres) find similar applications as PC/glass, but are
being applied more selectively because of their higher
price and better properties.
Besides, epoxies are used in lacquers and adhesives
and as casting resins in electro-technical applications.

STYRENE BUTADIENE RUBBERS
Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is, quantitatively,
the most important synthetic rubber.
It is a copolymer of styrene and butadiene in such
a ratio that its rubbery nature predominates.
Vulcanization is carried out with sulphur,
reinforcement with carbon black.
Used at a very large scale in tyres for passenger
cars
In large tyres it cannot replace natural rubber
because of its heat development (hysteresis
losses).

PROCESSING OF POLYMERS
Module 5 Part 2
COMPOUNDING
For ease of processing:
lubricants for the transportation in the processing
machine
antioxidants for protection of the polymer against
oxidative degradation during processing
sulphur, for the vulcanization of rubbers,
accelerators, for speeding up the network forming
reaction with rubbers and thermosets,
blowing agents, for producing foams, etc.

COMPOUNDING
For improving mechanical properties:
plasticizers, e.g. in PVC, to obtain flexibility,
quartz powder, mica, talcum etc. to improve the
stiffness.
short glass fibres, to improve stiffness and
strength,
rubber particles, to improve impact strength, etc.
COMPOUNDING
For other desirable properties:
ultraviolet stabilizers, to protect the polymer
against degradation in sunlight,
antioxidants, for protection against degradation
during use at elevated temperatures,
antistatic agents, to reduce electrostatic charging,
pigments,
cheap fillers such as wood flour, for price
reduction,
flame retarding additives, etc

COMPOUNDING
Two roll mill
COMPOUNDING
internal mixers
kneaders
Masticators
paddle blenders
Tumblers
Blenders
Internal mixers, such as the Banbury mixer,
contain two connecting chambers, in which
After mixing, the pieces are removed from the
chambers, milled into a sheet and cut into
ribbons for storage or further processing.
COMPOUNDING
INTERNAL MIXER BANBURY MIXER
COMPOUNDING
EXTRUDER
COMPOUNDING
CAPTIVE BY LARGE CONSUMERS
OUTSOURCED BY MEDIUM & SMALL
CONSUMERS
PROCESSING
Common preliminary steps in processing of
polymers:
handling of particulate solids
melting
pressurization and pumping
mixing, and often a final step of
devolatilization and stripping off undesired
components
The processing methods differ in the step of
forming in which the material is given its final
shape

PROCESSING TECHNIQUES
CASTING & COMPRESSION MOULDING
INJECTION MOULDING
EXTRUSION
FILM BLOWING
BOTTLE BLOWING
CALENDERING
PROCESSING TECHNIQUES
SECONDARY SHAPING
THERMOFORMING
COLD SHEET FORMING
FORGING
BENDING
MACHINING
WELDING
GLUING
SURFACE COATING
PROCESSING TECHNIQUES
COMPOSITES
IMPREGNATING
FOAMING
CASTING
Simplest processing technique
the mould is filled with a liquid which, at ambient temperature, has
low viscosity and is able to fill the mould under its own weight.
Curing starts after filling to form the material
With thermosets this is a reaction between the components which,
prior to filling, have been mixed together, and which react into a
three-dimensional network. Sometimes a catalyst is added to
initiate or accelerate this reaction.
Dependent on the combination chosen, curing takes place at room
temperature or at an elevated temperature
Some thermoplastics can also be used in casting processes; the
mould is filled with the monomer. Reaction takes place presence of
suitable catalysts at desired temperature.
In this way thick sheets and large articles can be produced
COMPRESSION MOULDING
INJECTION MOULDING
ROTATIONAL MOULDING - BIAXIAL
ROTATIONAL MOULDING
SINGLE AXIS
REACTION-INJECTION MOULDING
EXTRUDER
EXTRUDER CUTAWAY
Most screws have these three zones:
Feed zone. Also called solids conveying.
Melting zone. Also called the transition or compression zone.
Metering zone. Also called melt conveying.

In addition, a vented (two-stage) screw will have:
Decompression zone.
Second metering zone.
POLTRUSION
FILM EXTRUSION
A
Film Die
B
Die Inlet from Extruder
C
Air Inlet and Valve
D
Plastic Tube (Bubble)
E
Air Ring for Cooling
F
Guide Rolls
G
Collapsing Frame
H
Pull Rolls
I
Windup Roll
BLOW FILM EXTRUSION
BLOW MOLDING
CALENDERING
VACUUM FORMING
COLD FORMING
FORGING
BENDING
Bending of a sheet or a pipe is a simple operation; in
most cases the object is heated till it reaches the
rubbery state. Sometimes cold bending is possible, e.g.
with a thin PVC sheet to cover a wooden gutter, though
at the cost of the mechanical properties. Thin-walled
channels with a large cross-section are easiest made by
bending of sheet; the seams are then welded. The
heating operation is hampered by the low heat
conductivity of the material and by its sensitivity to
heat degradation during long exposure times. Sheets
up to 3 mm can be heated from one side; with thicker
ones both sides should be heated. The use of a liquid
bath, e.g. glycol, is, when possible, the best method.

MACHINING
Plastics can be shaped by machining with some special precautions:
The low stiffness necessitates rigid supporting and clamping devices
forces exerted should not be too high.
Brittle plastics may present difficulties with stamping and cutting
operations.
In view of the low softening temperature, combined with low heat
conductivity, very effective cooling and a low cutting speed is required
Absorption of oil or water may affect the dimension tolerances and even
cause environmental stress-cracking.
PVC and fluoropolymers develop irritating or poisonous vapours upon
heating
Recoil of the material may affect the dimensions; with drilling, for
instance, an over-measure of a few tenths of one mm is desirable.
Machining operations are expensive due their high cost of labour and my
be used for small number of products. For mass production injection
moulding is more economical, from labor as well as material loss point of
view.

WELDING
Welding of intermediate products such as pipes,
sheets or films is mostly applied to articles in the
technical sector (pipe installations, tanks etc.)
and in the packaging sector (packaging film).
Since the viscosity of the molten material is
always high, the weld does not flow
spontaneously together such as with metals; a
good weld is only formed under pressure.
Welding is performed through heat and
pressure.

GLUING
The adhesion of a glue to a substrate can take place by three
different mechanisms:
Mechanical anchoring of the glue in the surface. The surface
should be rough or porous and the glue should be able to
penetrate into all surface details.
Absorption of the adhesive into the surface. The glue should
then contain a solvent which swells the plastic substrate. The
glue can then penetrate into the surface, and, after
evaporation of the solvent, it adheres well to the surface. As a
gluing agent a solution of the same polymer is sometimes
used.
Adsorption of the adhesive to the surface can, also with
smooth and non-swelling materials, provide a good joint;
molecular attraction between both kinds of molecules effects
the adhesion.

SURFACE COATING
Surface coating
The technology of coating fabrics and paper, a major outlet for some
plastics, encompasses a vast magnitude of applications. The plastic may be
utilized as a melt, solution, latex, paste, or enamel or lacquer. It may be
applied to the substrate by spreading with a knife, brushing, using a roller,
calendering, casting, or extrusion
Coating processes include dipping, in which a form (such as for a rubber
glove) is dipped into a suspension or latex of polymer and then into a bath
of coagulating agent After several dips to build up the desired thickness,
the film is stripped from the form and subjected to heat treatments to
cure or crosslink the resin.
Another way of surface improvement is metallising. Very thin metal layers
(up to a few m), are deposited by evaporating the metal under vacuum.
This method can be applied to all types of plastics. Metallised films find
their application in electrotechnics and as reflectors for radiant heat. In an
electric oven aluminium is evaporated, while the vapour is precipitated on
the surface to be treated; in most cases an extra protective transparent
layer is added.

Processing of composites
Impregnating
Reinforced thermosets are made by impregnating the fibres, present as
mats, bundles or cloths, with a liquid resin system; after total
impregnation the resin is cured. In most cases glass fibres are used. They
can be applied as rovings, i.e. bundles of parallel elementary filaments,
each 5 to 10 m thick. These rovings offer the possibility to be positioned
in various directions, so that they can match the desired distribution of
strength. By applying, for example, in a cylindrical tank twice as much glass
in the circumferential direction than longitudinally, the strength properties
are adjusted to the various stresses brought about by the internal
pressure.
Another form is the glass cloth, composed of rovings. Weaving can take
place in various patterns, varying from practically unidirectional to spoote
weoves with equal properties in the two main directions.
Another possibility is the use of glass mats, composed of glass felt, which
is obtained by joining together pieces of fibre with a small quantity of
polyester resin. The fibres are oriented at random. Glass mat is relatively
cheap, and is very well suited for the construction of complex objects.

FOAMING
The production of plastic foams is accomplished by
generating a gas in a fluid polymer, usually at an
elevated temperature
A plastic foam is a heterogeneous blend of a polymer
with a gas. The gas cells are between 1 mm and 0.1
mm. Foams are made from thermoplastics, thermosets
and rubbers. In all these cases the foam structure is
generated in the fluid condition; with thermoplasts it is
fixed by solidification, with thermosets and rubbers by
the curing or vulcanisation reaction.
Hard polyurethane foams are mainly applied for heat
insulation.
FOAMING
Thermoplastic structural foams are, in most
cases, made in an injection moulding
machine. The gas is either formed from a
chemical blowing agent, or injected under
pressure into the molten polymer. The melt is
injected into the mould until this is filled for
e.g. 60 to 80 %, after which the foaming
process completes its filling. The mould has
only to withstand the pressure till set.
FOAMING
Thermoplastic structural foam (e.g. PVC, PP,
PPE/PS, PC) is applied at a large scale for
furniture, apparatus casings, motorcar parts,
etc. The advantages are, in the first place, the
relatively simple fabrication technique, in
particular for large-sized products. Moreover,
the extra high stiffness is of importance.
LAMINATING & LOW PRESSURE
MOULDING
Both lamination, a high-pressure process, and low-pressure molding involve

(a) the impregnation of sheets (wood, paper, fabric) with a liquid or dissolved
thermosetting resin which acts as an adhesive,
(b) assembly of the individual sheets, and
(c) compression and curing.

In low-pressure molding or laminating, the sheets of impregnated material
are laid over a mold and held in place by a rubber mattress or bag which is
inflated with steam to provide heat and pressure to hold the laminate in place
and effect the cure. Many variations of' the process are practiced. Lamination
differs from low-pressure molding in that standard shapes are produced in
sufficient quantity to allow economical application of hot-press methods.

Resins requiring higher temperatures for curing can also be used

ELASTOMERS PROCESSING
Thermoset Elastomers
Rubbers are also being extruded, in a not essentially different way from
plastics. Cooling of the extrusion cylinder is necessary to prevent
premature vulcanisation as a result of the heat developed by internal
friction. The extruder is fed by ribbons, obtained from milled sheets. End
products are: hoses, profiles, and cable mantles.
On-line vulcanisation can be achieved by passing the extrudate through a
steam channel, while the rate of extrusion is adjusted to the rate of curing.
For this purpose high-rate vulcanisation recipes have been developed.
Steam temperatures of about 200 C are being applied (15 bars pressure).
Treads for motorcar tyres are also extruded
Thermoplastic Elastomers
The two most important manufacturing methods with TPEs are extrusion
and injection molding. Compression molding is seldom, if ever, used.
Fabrication via injection molding is extremely rapid and highly economical.
Both the equipment and methods normally used for the extrusion or
injection molding of a conventional thermoplastic are generally suitable
for TPEs. TPEs can also be processed by blow molding, thermoforming,
and heat welding.