IKT develops processes and material solutions

David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: December 23, 2013 9:36 am ET
Updated: December 23, 2013 9:38 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, K 2013, Business News & Features

The IKT Institute of Plastics Technology at Stuttgart University exhibited at a K show for the first time at the 2013 event in Düsseldorf, Germany in October, in the “Science Campus” area of the fair focusing on lightweight construction and bioplastics themes.

IKT demonstrated the use of thermography as a non-destructive test method for lightweight plastic parts and compounding of additives into bioplastics with a mini-compounder fitted with an open processing zone.

In the area of high performance single-screw compounding machinery, Stefan Epple of IKT is developing the Helibar concept of extrusion machinery producer Extrudex.

Although the Helibar extruder’s continuously helical-grooved barrel achieves high melt throughput by generation of high pressure, Epple says the downside is short residence times which can cause decreasing melt homogeneity in some materials.

The IKT project on the Helibar system seeks to address the homogeneity issue by “development and investigation of suitable mixing section geometries through systematic variation of screw and barrel geometry, along with development of an objective method to evaluate melt homogeneity.”

As part of its work in reactive extrusion of new and existing polymers, IKT has developed a new “RIM pultrusion” in-situ process for production of continuous glass-fiber-reinforced PA 6 semi-finished products. Production speeds are one meter per minute with potential of two meters/minute.

Reaction injection molding applies here, since the process involves mixing of low viscosity caprolactam monomer with 2.5 percent weight activator as one component and with 3.76 wt percent catalyst as a second component in a protective gas atmosphere (against influence of humidity). This is followed by injection of the still low viscosity mixture into a mold tool.

In bioplastics, IKT has investigated bio-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as an impact modifier for polylactic acid (PLA), together with 3 percent methylene diphenyl-diisocyanate coupling agent. Benefits were found in elongation at break and impact strength values, compared with the usual PBAT biodegradable impact modifier used in PLA. IKT researcher Linda Goebel says IKT will also look at compounding natural fibers into bio-TPU-modified PLA.

Having investigated welding properties of various PBAT-modified PLA compounds, Goebel says further work will be done with a coupling agent and has indicated IKT may also look at weldability of bio-TPU-modified PLA compounds too.

IKT has developed compounds with new functional characteristics and advanced processing. It has compounded Carl Schenk’s plate-like shaped Cubrotec 5000 copper particles in the Ultramid B40 grade of PA6 from BASF. To do this, it used a special die with a narrow 0.5 mm diameter entry and a 15 percent angle leading to the exit as an expansion zone.

This technique overcomes the problem of particle orientation in the length direction, resulting in molded test pieces with 2.4-3.9 times higher heat conductivity in the thickness direction. This could enable the design of thinner walled and more compact plastic moldings in applications as diverse as coil formers and heat exchangers, IKT researcher Otto Skrabla suggests.

In laser processing, Benjamin Neubig of IKT works on selective heating of thermoforming sheet and having obtained small thermoformed parts with better wall thickness distribution and increased compression resistance, he now seeks to apply the technique to larger parts.

In selective laser sintering (SLS), IKT has worked with the Fraunhofer ICT Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal, Germany, using PEEK polymer from Victrex to produce a material that can absorb laser energy better and therefore heat more thoroughly underneath the material surface.

The special material is key to a new so-called “additive-supported selective laser sintering” (ASLS) process.

According to IKT researcher Michael Kroth, tensile strength and stiffness values of ASLS parts in the special carbon-black-modified PEEK “almost reached the values required of injection molded reference samples.”

3D printing is also a theme for IKT in a new project aimed at developing 3D printing in bio-based plastics, with the company Biopro and Fraunhofer Institute.


Comments

IKT develops processes and material solutions

David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: December 23, 2013 9:36 am ET
Updated: December 23, 2013 9:38 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

EU moving closer to rules that will reduce plastic bag use by 80 percent

April 17, 2014 10:54 am ET

European Union countries could have to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by at least 80 percent by 2019 under draft rules backed by the...    More

With European Parliament vote looming, official urges bag restriction

April 16, 2014 9:56 am ET

Janez Potocnik, Europe's commissioner for the environment, told the European Parliament April 15 that plastic shopping bags are a “highly...    More

Image

Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

April 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe's largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.    More

Image

SodaStream turns to PET for its new pre-measured flavor 'Caps'

April 15, 2014 1:40 pm ET

SodaStream International Ltd., maker of home beverage carbonation systems, is using plastic to bring more flexibility to its consumers.    More

Plastics recycling rates in Michigan will go up, if new initiative works

April 14, 2014 4:15 pm ET

Clean Tech, a unit of Plastipak Packaging Inc., expects to recycle about 6 billion plastic bottles this year and has an eye on 10 billion plastic bott...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events