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8/9/2016 | 4 MINUTE READ

Best Paper Awards Dominated By LFT Thermoplastics

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Three authors address this topic at the upcoming SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition 2016.

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Three authors address this topic at the upcoming SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition 2016.


Not surprisingly, thermoplastic composites will figure prominently at this year’s SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition, the group’s sixteenth-annual show, which is jointly sponsored by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions.


It’s being held on Sept. 7-9, 2016 at the Diamond Banquet & Conference at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich., the same ‘bustling’ location where we held the Thermoplastic Composites for Automotive (TCC Auto2016) conference, the second such well-attended event presented by Plastics Technology magazine and CompositesWorld, sister publications within Gardner Business Media.  


We have been reporting on advances in long-fiber thermoplastics (LFT) over the last few years, with automotive among the key target applications. So, it is very interesting to see that this was the topic of the Dr. Jackie Rehkopf Best Paper Award winners recently announced by the organizing committee for the SPE ACCE 2016.


Three authors who received the highest average ratings by conference peer reviewers out of a field of 92 contenders will be honored for excellence in technical writing with a commemorative plaque during the upcoming event’s opening ceremonies on Sept. 7.  (The best paper awards honor long-time SPE ACCE committee member, session organizer, two-time technical program co-chair, and long-time automotive-composites industry researcher Dr. Jackie Rehkopf.) Here, then, are the winners:


• Sebastian Goris (pictured top right), a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate research assistant at the Polymer Engineering Center (PEC), Madison, Wis., took first place in this year’s competition. He was lead author along with his advisor, Prof. Tim Osswald of PEC on a paper entitled:


“Progress on the Characterization of the Process-Induced Fiber Microstructure of Long Glass Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastics.”


The paper discussed new measurement approaches developed to determine the full three-dimensional fiber architecture obtained using micro computed-tomography technology for fiber orientation and fiber density distribution, as well as an automated process to determine the fiber-length distribution. Results of the work measured on 40-wt% injection molded long (glass) fiber-(reinforced) thermoplastics PP (LFT-PP) suggest that the common assumption of uniform fiber length and fiber density distribution in injection molded parts is not correct. “The potential impact of the heterogeneity of process-induced microstructure we found can be critical for accurate analysis of LFT parts and should inform future material modeling approaches.”


• Dr. Ying Fan (pictured top left), a research engineer in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Western University (WU); formerly University of Western Ontario; London, Ont., took second place. Fan was the lead author on a paper entitled:


“Effects of Processing Parameters on the Thermal & Mechanical Properties of LFT-D-ECM Glass Fiber/Polyamide 6 Composites.”


Her co-authors were Y.S. Liu, T. Whitfield; T. Kuboki and J.T. Wood from WU, as well as V. Ugresic from the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research, London, Ont.


According to Fan, the team investigated the influence of process parameters—including melt temperature, extruder fill level, glass-fiber temperature, and screw speed in the mixing extruder—on the thermal and mechanical properties of direct/inline compounded 30-wt. % long (glass) fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (D-LFT) nylon 6, which was subsequently compression molded. “The effects of processing parameters on glass transition temperature (Tg), melt temperature, and relative degree of crystallinity will be presented in this work.”


• Christoph Kuhn (pictured bottom), is simultaneously working as a project engineer in the Group Research department at Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany, and also pursuing a doctorate degree at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlanger, Germany. He placed third in the competition and was lead author along with William Kucinski and Olaf Taeger at Volkswagen Group Research and Prof. Tim Osswald at University of Wisconsin-Madison on a paper entitled:


“Lightweight Design with Long Fiber Reinforced Polymers—Technological Challenges due to Effect of Fiber Matrix Separation.”


According to Kuhn, “A major effect that results when processing long-fiber thermoplastics (LFT) is fiber matrix separation (FMS), which leads to a non-uniform fiber density distribution throughout the part. Experimental investigations in compression molding with LFT composites have shown an unequal distribution of fiber content in free-flow regions and especially in complex geometries. In the case of rib sections, for example, fiber content decreases greatly, leading to a significant change in component behavior. Through experimentation, our team analyzed the governing mechanism of FMS and developed a new approach for predicting the phenomenon.”


SPE’s ACCE draws more than 1000 speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees and provides an environment dedicated solely to discussion and networking about advances in transportation composites, according to Peggy Malnati, SPE Automotive Div. Committee Chair.


Its global appeal is evident in the diversity of exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who come to the conference from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia/Pacific as well as North America. Fully one-third of attendees indicate they work for automotive and light truck, agriculture, truck & bus, or aviation OEMs, and another 25% represent tier suppliers. Attendees also work for composite materials, processing equipment, additives, or reinforcement suppliers; trade associations, consultants, university and government labs; media; and investment bankers.