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Polypropylene as a Promising Plastic: A Review
Polypropylene as a Promising Plastic: A Review
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Polypropylene as a Promising Plastic: A Review

    Polypropylene as a Promising Plastic: A Review

    Darrell Griffin hates to fly, so it was with no small degree of trepidation that he faced a flight from Los Angeles to

New York a couple of years ago. Desperate for a distraction, Griffin, a film

at the time, turned to his business partner for help. "To take my mind off the flight, he put a film on

my handheld PC," Griffin says. The movie was Hercules Unchained, starring Steve Reeves. The diversion worked, and by the

time Griffin landed in New York, he had an idea for a new business.

    When they returned to L.A., Griffin and his partner sat down to figure out how they could turn that distraction into a

business. "Pocket PCs are synced up all the time," Griffin says. "We wanted to figure out how to create a

retail product." They devised a technology to compress filmed content from CD-ROMs into a format PDAs could display.

Then in November 2001, Griffin helped launch Pocket PC Films, in Sherman Oaks, Calif., to distribute video content for Pocket

PC and Palm OS devices. Film fans can buy CD-ROM titles, load them on their computer and sync them into their handheld

device. (The films will also run on desktop PCs, but the format remains handheld-size due to licensing issues.)

    Griffin, now president of Pocket PC Films, has high hopes. "The market is growing faster than we thought," he

says. "Dataquest estimates that 23 million PDAs will be shipped in 2003, but that was before Dell and ViewSonic

announced plans to offer models."

            Beware the 9 warning signs of bad IT architecture and see why these 10 old-school IT principles still rule.

    Pocket PC Film now distributes 25,000 titles, priced from $9.99 to

$49.99, that run the gamut from 1941’s King of the Zombies to Oliver Stone’s more recent Natural Born Killers. The company

also provides self-help and business-oriented content, as well as classic TV packs with shows like Dragnet and the Sports

Illustrated’s "Swimsuit 2002" special?the most popular title so far.

    High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), which made of HIPS rigid film

, and Rigid Vinyl (sometimes referred to as PVC or RPVC) are often the main films considered for a variety of lower

cost applications such as point-of-purchase signage, shelf danglers, membership and loyalty cards, and tags to name a few. On

the surface, it is sometimes viewed that the two films are often interchangeable and either one can be used. However, there

are some key differences in film characteristics that leads to one film being the better choice over the other depending on

the application needs. The chart below compares key characteristics of the two films and will help you make the best choice

in using either rigid vinyl or polystyrene film


    Plastics are categorized into four main groups: thermoplastics, elastomers, thermosets and polymer compounds.

Macromolecular structures distinguish the class of any plastic material as well as its physical properties. Elastomers and

thermosets have soft and hard elasticity, respectively; and their resins cannot be melted for recycling purposes. However,

thermoplastics are either amorphous or semi-crystalline. Amorphous resins are disordered statistical oriented macromolecules

whereas semi-crystalline resins macromolecules are nearly ordered since they are embedded with crystalline phases. Typical

amorphous resins are polycarbonate (PC), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinylchloride (PVC) where typical semi-crystalline resins

includes polyamide (PA) and polypropylene (PP). Since PP is under the semi-crystalline class, our focus will be on this




    The annual global demand for plastics reached 245 million tons and it is project to grow dramatically because of the

increase in public demand. Figure 2 shows the total plastics demand by 2006. Around 90% of the total demand is accounted for

five main commodity plastics: polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS) and

polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In 1954, Giulio Natta discovered PP, but commercial production began in 1957. PP is the

most widely used thermoplastic since it is very cheap and flexible for molding. The second common plastic type is PE. There

are different grades of PE linear low density (LLDPE), low density (LDPE), medium density (MDPE) and high density (HDPE). The

density of PE grades ranges between 0.925-0.965 and obviously is higher than PP. However, the uniqueness of

PVC film is associated with chlorine content (57 wt. %) in its

structure. Annual worldwide PVC demand is approximately 35 million tons.


    According to previous studies, plastics are the most recyclable materials and there were 4.4 million tons of plastics

recycled in 2006.Polypropylene chemical resistance can be described as follows: excellent resistance to dilute and

concentrated acids, alcohols and bases, good resistance to aldehydes, esters, aliphatic hydrocarbons, ketones and limited

resistance to aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons and oxidizing agents. Polypropylene has a crystalline structure with a

high level of stiffness and a high melting point compared to other commercial thermoplastics. The Hardness resulted from the

methyl groups in its molecular chain structure. Polypropylene is a lightweight polymer with a density of 0.90 g/cm3 that

makes it suitable in many industrial applications. Still, polypropylene is not suitable to be used at temperatures below

0°C. Experiments proved that polypropylene has excellent and desirable physical, mechanical, and thermal properties when

used in room temperature applications. It is relatively stiff and has a high melting point, low density and relatively good

resistance to impacts.


    Typical crystallinity of PP is between 40-60%. PP is a low-cost thermoplastic polymer with excellent properties like

flame resistance, transparency, high heat distortion temperature, dimensional stability and recyclability making it ideal for

a wide range of applications.Propylene is one of the most important industrial petrochemical building blocks used to produce

various chemical derivatives. The dominant outlet for propylene is PP which accounts for nearly two-thirds of global

propylene consumption as shown in Figure 3. There are three major sources of propylene: from steam cracking of naphtha,

gasoline refining process and propane dehydrogenation technology. Polypropylene is the most important material among

polyolefins due to three main reasons. First, great properties of PP such as low density, high melting temperature and

chemical inertness with low cost making PP optimum for long-life applications. Second, polypropylene is a highly versatile

material meaning that diversity in structural designs and mechanical properties are achievable. Third, different

morphological structures of PP are possible by using fillers or reinforcing agents and blending PP with other polymers which

yield to have superior characteristics. Special and reinforced polypropylene grades include elastomer-modified PP, elastomer

modified filled PP, glass fiber-reinforced PP, filled PP, esthetic filled PP, flame-retardant PP and thermoplastic



    A study shows that branching process of linear Ziegler–Natta polypropylenes is possible by creating chains based on the

molecular weight distribution. Introducing branching into a linear polypropylene will result in having a product with high

molecular weight, high melt strength and better properties like high modulus and tensile strength, rigidity and excellent

heat resistance. Branching parameters β, the average number of branch points per molecule, and λ, the number of branch

points per 103 carbons, are calculated to identify the polymer structure and properties.


    A post-reactor is used for the branching process. The branching efficiency is associated with chemical composition and

temperature of the reaction. The relationship between branching parameters and molecular weight is important to design

polymers with unique properties for different applications. PP rigid

is very suitable for reinforcing and filling. Thus, another study focuses on studying the effect of fibers

reinforcement on the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polypropylene composites (FRPCs).


    A composite material is a polymer matrix that is embedded with reinforcement fibers such as glass or carbon. FRPCs have

better durability, moisture resistance and high strength properties; making them ideal in applications related to

constructions, sports equipment and cars. Synthetic fibers yield to have better mechanical properties compared to natural

ones. Glass fibers are widely used as a synthetic reinforcement with PP to produce very good mechanical properties

composites. However, mechanical characteristics of composites are controlled by numerous fiber treatments and coupling

agents. Fiber diameter is another significant factor in designing composites material. A certain value of fiber diameter

thickness should not be exceeded; if so fibers will decrease composites strength.


    Electrically conductive PP and PE composites are cost-effective, commercially proven and with outstanding electrical and

mechanical properties. It is mandatory to understand the distribution, orientation, interaction and aspect ratio of

conductive fillers with the polymer matrix to obtain the required conductivity. Better filler-matrix interactions are

achievable at low viscosity, low surface tension and high crystallinity. Grafting technique initiates the interactions and

the distribution of the fillers with PP and PE matrices.

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