Paul Johann Freudenthaler, Jörg Fischer, Yi Liu, Reinhold Lang,
"Short- and Long-Term Performance of Pipe Compounds Containing Polyethylene Post-Consumer Recyclates from Packaging Waste"
, in Polymers, Serie Advances in Plastic Materials Recycling and Reuse, Vol. 14, Nummer 8, MDPI, 4-2022, ISSN: 2073-4360
Short- and Long-Term Performance of Pipe Compounds Containing Polyethylene Post-Consumer Recyclates from Packaging Waste
Sprache des Titels:
The polymer industry is pushed to present solutions that lead to a circular plastics economy. High plastic packaging waste recycling targets will eventually lead to a high availability of packaging material recyclates. Although the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recyclates is prescribed by regulations to be used in new PET bottles, no such regulation prescribes the use of polyethylene recyclate (rPE) in new products. One possibility of using rPE, which is considered by the European Union, is the use within pipe materials. Pipe applications demand a certain property profile, most prominently a high slow crack growth (SCG) resistance, which is not met by most packaging materials or recyclates made from it. Hence, this work investigates the use of commercially available post-consumer recyclates out of high-density polyethylene from packaging applications in compounds together with high SCG-resistant virgin PE pipe material with a PE100-RC specification. Two rPEs were acquired from German producers and blended to compounds consisting of 25 m%, 50 m% and 75 m% recyclate. These compounds, together with the pure recyclates and several virgin pipe materials acting as benchmarks were tested in terms of short- and long-term mechanical performance and with other basic characterization methods. Several compounds exceeded the performance of one tested virgin PE pipe material, an injection molding PE80 grade, in several categories. The content of recyclate needed to outperform this benchmark grade was mostly dependent on the resulting melt flow rate (MFR) of the compound and thus also of the MFR of the pure recyclate. Furthermore, different levels of polypropylene contaminations within the recyclates resulted in differently contaminated compounds. This is proved to influence the SCG resistance too, as compounds of similar MFRs but with different SCG resistances were found.