26 No. 4
Party IV.2.1 "Structure and Properties of Commercial
Polymers"— History, Output, and Future Prospects
by D. R. Moore and H.
For a long version of this article, including references and
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is nearly an axiom that working groups within organizations
of almost all sorts come and go with need, interest and fashion.
Thus the continuous existence of a Working Party (WP) within
IUPAC for over 40 years is, to say the least, unusual. Nevertheless,
since 1963 academic and commercial scientists with similar
interests have contributed to the distinguished history of
the Working Party on Structure and Properties of Commercial
Polymers. Today the WP functions as a formal Subcommittee
of the Macromolecular Division.
|Participants at the Working Party
IV.2.1 research meeting in Ludwigshafen (2003), hosted
by H.M. Laun at BASF. Front row from left: S. Monsheimer
(Degussa), U. Handge (ETH Zürich), H. M. Laun (BASF),
A. Machado (Guimares), Ch. Chai (BP chemicals), W. Gleissle
(Karlsruhe), G. Ourieva (Exxon Mobile), J. Lyngaae-Jörgenson
(Lyngby). Middle rows: P. Pelz (Freudenberg), M. Rüllmann
(BASF), D. Stocks (ICI), R. S. Bailey (ICI), D. Dijkstra
(Bayer), J. Meissner (ETH Zürich), R. Koopmans (DOW),
V. Rouyer (BP Solvay), T. Inoue (Kyoto), G. Biebaut (Shell),
H. Steininger (BASF),V. Altstädt (Bayreuth). Back
rows: R. Brummer (Beiersdorf), F. Ramsteiner (BASF), W.
Zoetelief (DSM), B. Hochstein (Karlsruhe), I. Fortelny
(Prague), C. Gabriel (Basell), U. Göschel (Stuttgart),
E. Piorkowska-Galeska (Lodz), C.B. Bucknall (Cranfield),
T. Tagigawa (Kyoto), K. Nitta (JAIST), A. Galeski (Lodz),
F. Langouche (Solvay), E. Wassner (Elastogran), B. Ouriev
WP has a robust current membership of 66 scientists from 17
countries, representing industry, universities and institutions.
It has held 70 meetings and published more than 80 scientific
papers in its 40 years; it is largely self-governing and elects
its own executive officers.
so often is the case, its beginnings were humble. At the first
meeting of the WP in 1963 there were only 7 scientists in
attendance. However, the numbers of participating scientists,
companies and institutions grew quickly. The first publication
"The Relationship of Performance Characteristics to Basic
Parameters of Polymers. I. A Collaborative Study of Polystyrene
Using Torsion Pendulum and Impact Methods" was published
in 1968. Six laboratories contributed to this publication:
BASF, DOW, Monsanto, Solvay, TNO and Technická Prague.
first publication on the collaborative study of polystyrene
and polyethylene melts was published by J.L.S. Wales in 1969.
Contributing laboratories were Monsanto, Péchiney-Saint-Gobain,
Solvay and TNO. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was an early focus,
especially its mechanical and capillary-flow properties. Initially
most participating scientists were from U.S. and European
plastics industries, but they were increasingly supplemented
by scientists from academia worldwide, including the then
Soviet Union. In addition to the early work on polyolefins,
PVC and polystyrene, there were also excursions into polypropylene
its first 10 years, the WP was particularly concerned with
how to relate mechanical and rheological measurements to the
practical world of plastics processing and performance. In
one project, the rheological properties of three low-density
polyethylene samples were related to their tubular-film-blowing
characteristics. From this work, the importance of extensional-flow
testing became obvious and motivated further efforts in the
development of extensional rheometers.
the period between 1963 and 1980, the WP held 37 meetings,
all of them in Western Europe. However, there was a strong
presence from the USA in the membership of the group and the
WP finally held its first meeting in the USA in 1981. In addition,
two regional sub-groups were established in the early 1980s,
one in Japan with members from Japan, China and Korea, and
another in eastern Europe, with members from Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Poland and the USSR. The motivation for the formation
of these sub-groups was to expand membership on a global basis
and to ease travel restricted by cost or political conditions.
These sub-groups established their own projects and reported
to the main WP.
early 1980s were a time of expansion for the WP. There were
projects on the impact behaviour of injection mouldings led
by C.B. Bucknall, and feasibility studies for understanding
polymer blends in terms of processing-structure-property relationships.
In particular, in projects led by H.M. Laun and P. Hope, the
WP looked at suitably selected model systems for miscible
and immiscible blends based on technical polymers. In East
Asia there were also projects relating to structure-property
relationships for polybutadiene-rubber blends.
significant development involved establishing projects on
contemporary polymeric materials and systems. Polymeric fibre-reinforced
composites were fast emerging and the Working Party was well
placed to contribute to this area. Studies were started by
D. R. Moore and J. C. Seferis on continuous carbon-fibre reinforced
semi-crystalline polymers, followed by projects led by A.
Cervenka and P.S. Allan on discontinuous fibre-reinforced
traditional interest that the WP has had in linking rheological
properties to processing continued. In two projects J.L. White
explored a link between rheological properties and unstable
melt-spinning for linear and branched poly(ethylene terephthalates),
and examined the stability of extrusion, melt spinning and
tubular film extrusion for some high-density, low-density,
and linear-low-density polyethylene samples.
final decade of the 20th century were years of considerable
achievement; it was also what can be described as a political
period. IUPAC was undergoing considerable restructuring; this
naturally had a profound influence on the organizational aspects
of the WP, though almost none on its activities.
emergence of détente and political freedom within
continental Europe provided new ease of access and communication
between scientists in the East and West. The WP held meetings
in Czechoslovakia (just before it became the Czech and Slovakia
Republics) and in Poland in 1992 and 1993, respectively. The
WP closed the East-Europe subgroup after these meetings and
integrated the scientists involved into the main group.
integration of the East Asian subgroup was more difficult
because there were more substantial cost barriers to meetings
at a single location. An arrangement was established whereby
the members of the sub-group became members of the WP, but
could hold a research meeting in their area once a year. This
was consolidated with a full meeting of the WP being held
in Korea in 1996. Ten of the 28 participants were members
from Europe, USA and Canada.
fibre-reinforced composites became of significant interest
in the 1990's, in particular, composites with a potential
for engineering parts in primary aerospace structures. A project
led by D.R. Moore and J.C. Seferis studied two materials systems
of continuous carbon-fibre reinforced thermoplastics. A key
feature in the overall study was to find a way of accommodating
the massive anisotropy in these fibre-reinforced composites
whilst retaining an ability to measure some conventional but
second fibre-reinforced composites study was led by P.S. Allan
and A. Cervenka and became the largest single project undertaken
by the Working Party, with 21 participating laboratories and
7 published papers. The project was concerned with the processing
and properties of injection-moulded discontinuous fibre-reinforced
thermoplastic composites, with the aim of providing characterisation
of the processing-property-structure relationships that characterise
third composites project led by D.R. Moore and A. Cervenka
focused on future requirements for the characterisation of
continuous-fibre-reinforced composites. In this study, contributing
scientists reviewed some of the history of processing and
properties of these composite materials and tried to identify
factors that would be important in the future. This was the
first WP project with a philosophical rather than an experimental
a major strategic thrust was being developed on immiscible
and miscible blends. The first blends project coordinated
by A.P. Plochocki was a joint study of the effect of mixing
and processing conditions on the phase morphology and rheology
of polystyrene/low-density polyethylene (PS/LDPE) blends.
A second study led by P. S. Hope and J. E. Curry focused on
the reactive blending of immiscible blend components.
project on miscible blends was co-ordinated by H. M. Laun,
J. Lyngaae-Jorgensen and V. Alstädt. It focused on the
preparation of blends of various morphologies but with the
same composition of the constituents and the study of the
effects of morphology on rheological and mechanical properties.
The constituents were very similar in their viscoelastic behaviour.
The shift of the regime of miscibility by simple shear flow
was investigated, and the observed morphology changes in oscillatory
shear were compared with available theories for droplet/matrix
and co-continuous structures. The composition and temperature
dependence of the interaction parameter c
was quantified by means of neutron diffraction and cloud-point
studies for blends of PaMSAN with
PMMA and with poly(methylacrylate-co-methylmethacrylate).
Finally, the effects of morphology on the mechanical properties
of the blends were investigated.
B. Bucknall and M. Kozlowski undertook another large project
on blends. In this work, the addition of "core-shell"
rubber particles to thermoplastic matrix materials was studied
for enhancement of toughness with an aim of understanding
the mechanisms involved in the toughening process. Two rubber-particle
systems were selected having quite different glass-rubber
transition temperatures. These were blended with four different
thermoplastic matrix materials at the same volume concentration
of the rubber. Mechanical and rheological properties of these
systems were investigated, and structural and deformational
mechanisms were discussed for tensile impact behaviour, dart-drop
and notched bending test, and fatigue behaviour. A transmission-electron-microscopic
investigation of in situ deformation was published.
the IUPAC Strategy Development and Implemention Committee
recommendations of 1998, the Macromolecular Division moved
to a project-driven system. As a direct consequence, from
2000 the WP no longer held official status within IUPAC and
became an ad-hoc working group. In the reorganised Division,
the Chairman of the WP became one of the Characterization
coordinators within the Division, while both the secretary
of the WP and the chairman of the East Asian Research Meeting
acted as task group chairmen of projects.
B. Bailey (Secretary) became Task Group Chairman of a five-year
project on "Quantifying scratch resistance of commercial
polymers". The goal is to consider the range of scratching,
abrasion and erosion techniques used in the plastics industry
and to apply a more fundamental understanding of the issues
that contribute towards scratch resistance. In stage 1 of
the project, key links between bulk and coating mechanical
properties and scratch and abrasion resistance are to be identified
using generic techniques to manufacture materials with a 'scratch-resistant'
surface on acrylic and polycarbonate polymers. Stage 2 will
focus on emerging and novel scratch-resistant coatings.
C. Kim became Task Group Chairman of a three-year project
on "Structure and properties of cyclic olefin copolymers
(COC)". Here, the focus is on relating the chemical structure
of commercially available COCs to rheological and processing
properties as well as to optical and mechanical properties
in the solid state.
2002, a former feasibility study of the East Asia members
became a three-year project on "Structure and properties
of polyester elastomers composed of poly(butyleneterephthalate)
with T. Tagigawa as Task Group Chairman. Sub-topics of the
joint study are (i) molecular structure, (ii) rheological
properties, (iii) rubber elasticity, (iv) aggregate structure
and deformation mechanism, and (v) blends with other polymers.
WP amended its rules to make all communications electronic
by e-mail. A Working Party homepage <www.launweb.de/iupac>
was set up to keep the documentation on projects, reports,
people and actions continuously updated. It contains a public
sector open to anyone and a private sector for members only.
new IUPAC guidelines, projects are to last about about three
years. Based on Working Party experience, this is often not
enough time for voluntary and unfunded joint experimental
work. Therefore, proposals for new projects within the WP
are converted into feasibility studies in which the outline
and goal of the work, the suppliers of the material, and contributors
and coordinators are defined. Only then is the project application
submitted to IUPAC via the Macromolecular Division.
2003, the WP again became an official part of the IUPAC Macromolecular
Division and was recognized as the Subcommittee on Structure
and Properties of Commercial Polymers, a most welcome change
of status for the 40th anniversary of the group. Studies that
will occupy the Working Party over the next few years include:
Structure and properties of linear and crosslinked, structural
Flow properties of ceramic and metal injection-moulding
Recommendations for data presentation applicable to mechanical
and rheological measurements of polymers.
Critical check of capillary-flow predictions using viscoelastic
finite-element simulation and IUPAC LDPE literature data.
The role of stress-induced cavitation in mechanical performance
of semi-crystalline polymers.
Rheological characterisation of polyamides.
Future developments of new materials based on commodity
polymers by physical structure and morphology alteration.
Investigation of morphology parameters governing the properties
of melt-processable filled polymers.
The direction of the WP was set in its early days. It was
broad ranging and flexible, and it has not changed significantly
over the years. The group existed within the IUPAC organizational
structure, which monitored but did not define its activities.
The group's project base was self-defined and the consequences
of this are extremely important.
the WP has consistently initiated projects that it knew were
of relevance to industry, academia and the world at large.
Also, in a general sense, the work had to be convincing to
the paymasters, namely, industrial managers or academic supervisors.
It was, therefore, crucial that the appropriate skills be
present and active in the WP.
the members of the Working Party find great value in working
with like-minded scientists on a global basis; it offers contacts
and networks that would be difficult to establish by any other
means. In addition, there is considerable value in scientific
project in which an individual (or his or her organization)
is funding only a fraction of the cost.
the definition of a project by its task group members ensures
that the project is of contemporary value and importance.
Common themes that are important to several industrial scientists
can be turned into a useful but non-competitive project. Further,
seeking academic involvement often provides useful input from
leading experts. Despite moves within the broader IUPAC organisation
to generate and define projects on a top-down basis, it will
be vital to retain some projects that come from the bottom-up
approach of the WP.
The driving force behind the WP has always been the motivation
to obtain value (to them and their businesses) from participation
in the group. If value is obtained, participation is funded.
This principle has guided the Working Party for 40 years through
changing economic climates; there is no reason to assume it
won't work for another 40 years.
international network of scientists making up the WP will
continue to pursue projects that have contemporary value and
that lead to publications. The types of materials and the
approaches used will no doubt change, but there will always
remain issues relating to polymeric systems or particular
properties that will need to be characterised and understood.
is likely to be demand for shorter projects in the future,
as impatience for return on investment is always present.
In a recent trial of a possible approach, a philosophical
document on the future requirements for the characterisation
of composites was written. This type of approach is based
solely on an existing knowledge base, eliminating the need
for conducting new measurements. The decline in major corporate
organisations in the chemical industry suggests that the need
for such as approach could be larger than we might predict.
completed projects have provided comprehensive data on commercial
polymers that are still available and may be used for further
research outside of the WP. Recent examples are poly(a-methylstyrene-co-acrylonitrile)
(PaMSAN) and poly(ethyl methacrylate)
(PMMA) and their blends. Besides a rheological and mechanical
characterisation of the constituents and their blends, there
is valuable information available on the interfacial tension
as well as the interaction parameter c
as a function of temperature and composition. Further studies
on this system are specifically encouraged.
are also educational values that the WP could satisfy. A new
recruit could serve a few years on the WP in order to become
acquainted with the network of activities and people or merely
to learn a different approach to conducting research or a
is obvious that the future lies with the people involved and
on their commitment to the broader aims of the WP. It will
depend on whether they involve others in the activities of
the group because they see and appreciate its benefits. Finally,
it will depend on whether they communicate the values and
virtues of the WP and ensure that their organisations support
their continued involvement.
authors are very grateful to Joachim Meissner, Wolfgang Retting
and Toshira Masuda for carefully reading the manuscript and
providing valuable additional information.
Royston Moore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
has been involved with the WP for more than 10 years and is
now an IUPAC Fellow; he is now at the Mechanical Engineering
Department of the Imperial College in London, U.K.; H. Martin
works at the Polymer Research Division of BASF Aktiengesellschaft
in Ludwigshafen/Rhein, Germany.
last modified 18 July 2004.
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