In order to increase the effectiveness of a material in certain applications, it is often necessary to modify some of its properties. The purpose of this modification is to improve the mechanical strength, thermal resistance against degradation, processing behavior in the molding operation, environmental stress crack resistance, and gas or liquid barrier properties. Sometimes there is a need to modify a material in order to lower its cost. The methods of achieving this purpose could involve the preparation of polymer blends, the chemical modification of the structure, and/or the preparation of filled materials. The Institute's capability includes a state-of-the-art 1.25 inch Werner-Pfleidezer Twin Screw Extruder. It is equipped with a Colortronic Blender, a ConAir dehumidifying hopper dryer system and a pelletizer. In addition, the Institute operates a 0.75 inch Braebender Extruder.
Members of the institute assist in the selection and evaluation of commercially available plastic materials for specific applications. Once the property requirements related to an application have been identified, information in scientific publications, trade journals and manufacturer's literature is evaluated to determine the most cost effective and suitable material(s). Regular contacts are made with principle manufacturers of plastic resins and additives, in order to keep up-to-date on new material developments.