The US Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has announced the three papers which received the highest average ratings for the group’s Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE), which takes place from 9–11 September, 2015.

Dr Christopher Pastore, professor of transdisciplinary Studies in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce at Philadelphia University took first place in this year's competition for his sole authored paper, ‘Lightweighting Composites through Selective Fiber Placement’, which will be presented on 10 September from 2:30-3:00 pm in the Advances in Reinforcements session at the conference.

‘The underlying idea is to use more expensive carbon fiber reinforcement only where needed through the use of a gradient hybrid material that incorporates glass everywhere else,’ said Dr Pastore. The goal is a process that allows automation while optimizing weight and cost for a given structural element. Through a combination of theoretical and experimental evaluations, a methodology for evaluating the weight/cost efficiency of chopped fiber composites has been developed and confirmed experimentally.’

 Amy Langhorst, research engineer in the Plastics Research group of Materials Research & Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Co took second place. Langhorst was lead author along with Dr Alper Kiziltas, Dr Deborah Mielewski, and Dr Ellen Lee, all of Ford Motor Co., on a paper entitled ‘Selective Dispersion and Comptabililizing Effect of Cellulose Filler in Recycled PA 6/PP Blends’, which will be presented on 10 September from 2:00-2:30 pm in the Sustainable Composites session.

About her topic, Langhorst noted that ‘The environmental impact of automobiles can be reduced by using combinations of recycled polymers and natural fiber reinforcements to replace traditionally unfilled, glass-filled, and talc-filled polymeric components. Composites containing recycled polypropylene, recycled polyamide 6 (PA 6, also called nylon 6), and cellulose were produced using a twin-screw extruder and injection molding. The resulting properties were investigated on a microscopic (scanning-electron microscope) and macroscopic (mechanical and thermal properties) scale and will be discussed during the session,’ she said.

Dr. Jacob Anderson, senior research & development engineer at the PPG Fiber Glass Science and Technology Center placed third in the competition. Anderson was lead author along with Dr Ryan P. Emerson on a paper entitled ‘Effect of Processing Technique on the Mechanical Performance of Glass Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics’, which will be presented on 10 September from 11:30 a.m.-12:00 pm in the Advances in Thermoplastic Composites session.

Describing his topic, Anderson explained ‘In the present work, thermoplastic bulk molding compound (BMC) was investigated to determine its mechanical performance relative to granulated long-fiber thermoplastic (GLFT) and continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tape (CFRT). This was achieved by using injection and compression molding to fabricate thermoplastic composite parts from GLFT, CFRT, and BMC. Versus the GLFT specimen, the BMC material was shown to exhibit improvements in flexural and impact performance of 100% and 20%, respectively, results of which will be described during the presentation.’ 

This story is reprinted from material from the SPE, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.