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Recycling of Waste Medical Plastic Syringes in Manufacturing Low-Cost
Rashid Faisal1,a*, Waleed Bdaiwi2,b
1College of Education for Pure Sciences, University of Anbar, Anbar, Iraq
2College of Education for Pure Sciences, University of Anbar, Anbar, Iraq
Keywords: Waste, Recycling, low-cost structures, plastic syringes, unsaturated polyester adhesive.
Abstract. Particles of waste from plastic medical syringes (WPMS) are recycled with a polymeric
adhesive from unsaturated polyester resin (UPS) to manufacture structural profiles at the lowest cost,
and that could be used in various applications such as buildings, furniture manufacturing, toys, etc.
The manual molding method was used in preparing the models for testing with the following
volumetric fractions (0%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70% and 80%), and with a granular size of (0.45mm)
of (WPMS). Some tests were performed on the prepared samples, including mechanical ones, tests
included are (tensile test, bending test, and hardness test), in addition to the physical test, which is
(thermal conductivity),The results of the mechanical tests showed an increase in the values of
mechanical properties of (tensile strength (27MPa), the flexural modulus (3.42GPa), and hardness
(69 N/mm2) ) as the volumetric ratios of Waste plastic medical syringes (WPMS) particles increased.
Whereas, the thermal conductivity (2.14W/m.°C) values decreased as the volumetric ratios of Waste
plastic medical syringes (WPMS) particles increased. Given that this is the first time that this type of
waste is used in manufacturing structural profiles at a low-cost in exchange for less harms to the
Composite materials have received increasing attention in the current era as a basic engineering
material, because of its excellent properties, and its success has emerged in many specialties and uses,
like: (medical industries, military and civil industries, furniture industry, toys), and in our daily life.
All of that is because of its unique properties which makes it the number one choice over all other
materials. Its use increased in many technological and industrial applications, because of its
specifications that replaces traditional materials, such as metals and alloys, which have durability and
strength but lack high density and polymers, which are being low in density, but need way more
strength and durability. So, composite materials have become the trend , because of their effective
role and distinctive properties, such as (light weight, hardness, and high strength). These properties
made the composite materials to be the source of attraction for investors and engineers in various
industrial branches [2-4]. The composite materials can be defined as the materials coming from
mixing two or more substances with different properties to produce new ideal properties that are
different from the properties of the materials included in the composition process, even if it is a single
substance . Polymeric Composites can be prepared from various stiffeners and specific fillers to
produce distinct properties that have widely used in various applications . The emergence of
polymers as a result of the requirements of the current era, which is witnessing a remarkable
development in various life fields, has led to the common thinking that the world without polymers
is impossible, because of their excellent properties that keep pace with the scientific development that
is occurring, compared to other materials like (metals, ceramic), which are easy to manufacture,
resistant to oxidation and corrosive solutions, such as acid and base solutions, let alone that they are
prone to discoloration . Plastic waste is different and diverse, as plastic is used in various medical
fields, which results in enormous plastic waste that must be utilized Single-use, especially . Plastic
materials create a major cumulative problem over time, which generates thousands of tons of waste
after its use .Waste is generally known as materials that have lost their value, for example, medical
Materials Science Forum Submitted: 2021-08-12
ISSN: 1662-9752, Vol. 1050, pp 115-123 Revised: 2021-08-15
© 2022 Trans Tech Publications Ltd, Switzerland Accepted: 2021-08-18
All rights reserved. No part of contents of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of Trans
Tech Publications Ltd, www.scientific.net. (#571475587-22/10/21,21:10:06)
waste, which includes plastic waste . Medical waste is a part of environmental waste arising from
various medical practices and activities, including plastic medical syringes (WPMS) , and sources
of such waste are government and private hospitals, laboratories, blood banks, sample collection
operations, and various health sectors and centers . This is in addition to meeting the needs of
researchers and the ease of formation and modification of plastic properties, which, in turn, led most
world countries toward recycling plastic materials in the industrial and construction field. Thus, and
because of the industrial and environmental requirements, this prompts us to recycle Waste plastic
medical syringes (WPMS), and reduce environmental damage on the one hand, and produce a
composite material used in industrial applications on the other as a substitution of raw materials for
two major reasons. First, to preserve the natural resources for the longest possible period of time, and
second, to reduce the damage arising as a result of burying and burning the waste. Recycling has
become one of the most important pillars which many industries rely upon today [13-15]. The
research aims at recycling the waste of medical plastic syringes (WPMS) to manufacture low-cost
structural profiles which could be molded with multiple thicknesses and sizes, use them in many
applied and industrial fields, and reduce the harms of environmental pollution resulting from these
wastes, because they compose gradually and slowly in the environment, and need large landfill places.
Let alone that burning these wastes produces toxic gases which are very harmful to the people and
the environment in general.
2. Experimental Work:
2.1 Recycled materials: The waste from plastic medical syringes (WMPS) were recycled after
being cutting and grinded using high-quality technical methods to obtain particles of (0.45mm) in
2.2 Adhesive Material: In preparation of the current work, an adhesive material from (UPS),
which is manufactured by the Saudi Company for Specific Industrial Resins (SIR) with quality
(SIROPOL-8341), which has a transparent viscous liquid form at room temperature with a density of
approximately (1.2 g/cm3). It is the type of resins that harden with heat, to increase the speed of
solidification. Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (PMEK), which is also manufactured by the same
company, it is a transparent liquid that is added to the unsaturated polyester resin at a ratio of (2g) per
(100g) at room temperature, to increase the hardening speed.
2.3 Sample preparation: The manual molding method was used to prepare samples from
(WPMS) particles after cleaning them from contaminants, drying them completely, then cutting and
grinding them, and using them in volumetric proportions of (30% 40%, 50%, 60%, 70% and 80%).
(WPMS) were mixed with the adhesive substance (UPS) gradually and slowly in order to obtain a
complete homogeneity between the particles of (WPMS) and the adhesive material (UPS). The
mixing continues slowly so as not to cause bubbles that affect the consistency process, and the mixing
is done in all directions to ensure the uniformity process for a period of (2min). All of that in order
not to have clumpy mixture which will be poured into the special molds, after ensuring consistency
and no lumps in the mixture, the liquid mixture is placed in the mold carefully and is left for
approximately (30minute) at room temperature. Once it is frozen, it is placed in an electric oven at a
temperature (50 C°) for (1 hour), and remains in the (electric oven) after turning it off at this
temperature until it cools- down. Thus, obtain the best interlocking between the polymeric chains and
achieve the best solidification, and then, we take it out of the mold. We repeat the process with the
same steps for all samples, according to the volume ratios of the recycled (WPMS) particles.
2.4 Mechanical tests:
Tensile tests: Tensile samples were prepared according to the required standard dimensions, in
accordance with the approved American specifications (ASTMD638-03) , using a tensile testing
machine, specifically (LARYEE Testing Solutions). The machine stretches the sample from the upper
and lower side and then applies stress force on the sample (load) until it collapses (until failure), and
the reading process begins for the diagram of the samples prepared for this test, and through the
interface graph we obtain (stress - strain) curves. Through which, we calculate the properties of
116 Materials for Sustainability
(tensile strength). Figure (1) represents the standard dimensions of tensile samples according to
international specifications, and figure (2) represents the tensile test samples.
Figure (1) Scheme of tensile samples according to International Standards (ASTM).
Figure (2) Tensile test samples
Bending test: The bending samples were prepared according to the American specifications made
for testing materials (ASTM D790) , with the dimensions (4.8X10X100mm3). A three Point
Bending Test was performed for these samples, where the sample is installed between the two
supports braces of the device, and then, load is applied to the middle of the sample until it fails. The
interface graph starts reading the test samples through which we obtain the stress-strain curves and
from those curves we calculate (the modulus of elasticity of bending). Figure (3) represents the
standard dimensions diagram for the test samples according to the international specifications ASTM,
whereas figure (4) represents Bending Test Samples.
Figure (3) The standard dimension diagram of the test samples according to International
Materials Science Forum Vol. 1050 117
Figure (4) Bending Test Samples
Hardness Resistance Test: The samples for this test were prepared according to the international
specifications of the device (ASTM-D2240) , and according to Shore D hardness measurement
method, because this method is suitable for polymeric materials that harden with heat, samples with
a thickness of (4mm) and a diameter (40mm) were used in order to be suitable for measurement when
conducting the examination. Figure (5) shows a diagram of the hardness test samples. We put the test
sample in the designated place, and then we take the readings for all proportions directly after testing
them with the hardness measuring device that contains a needle installed which penetrates the surface
of the sample. Figure (6) shows the hardness test samples.
Figure (5) Diagram for the measures and dimensions of hardness samples according to
international specifications (ASTM-D2240).
Figure (6) Hardness Test Samples.
2.5 Physical tests:
Thermal conductivity test: This test was performed through the use of hot disk analysis, where
the sample is placed inside the device, and this device is considered one of the most common
techniques to read (thermal conduction) properties. This is heated via an electrical connection with a
capacity (0.022W) with resistance (11.56Ω). The sensor works as a heat source as it heats up by
passing an electric current for a limited period of time, and at the same time the temperature is
118 Materials for Sustainability
recorded for the sample being used. It is necessary that the sample is larger than the sensor diameter
to ensure that the thermal energy is not dissipated. Figure (7) shows Thermal conductivity test
Figure (7) Thermal conductivity test samples.
3. Results and Discussion
3-1. Results and discussion of tensile strength test: Figure (8) on this page shows an increase in
the tensile strength values reaching the volumetric ratio of (50%) by (27MPa), then it started to
gradually decrease as the volumetric ratios increased for particles from (WPMS) with the adhesive
material (UPS), and this is because of the (WPMS) particles that possesses tensile impedance and
have good elasticity. Particles penetrate into the adhesive content, especially when the particle size is
appropriate, which leads to a gradual reduction of defects in the cavity of the adhesive used . In
addition to that, composite materials reinforced via the formed particles, do not necessarily depend
on the qualities and properties of the components of the composite materials, but there is a
fundamental role for the nature of the interface between the two components, as well as the geometric
shape and the proportions of the granular size of the particles being used . We notice with the
increase of the quantity of (WPMS) particles as well as its increasing volumetric percentages, the
tensile strength values decrease gradually till it fails collapses, and that is due to the small interface
area between the adhesive material (UPS) and the number of particles obtained from the increase of
volumetric ratios of the particulate matter. This leads to weakening the forces that bind the
superimposed materials (WPMS) and the adhesive material (UPS), and this leads to the collapse of
the overlaying material with the least load applied. That is especially true if the amount of particles
is large, making it difficult to penetrate into the cavity of the adhesive material, and a number of
internal defects may arise that cause the collapse of the overlaying material with the least load applied
Figure (8) Tensile Strength (WPMS) and (UPS).
3.2 Results and discussion of the Flexural Modulus Test: Figure (9) shows that the values of
the Flexural Modulus Test start to increase when we add (WPMS) particles until it reaches the highest
percentage (30%) which is equivalent to (3.42GPa), and this is due to the nature of the particles and
010 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Tensile Strength (Mpa)
Volume Fraction (%)
Materials Science Forum Vol. 1050 119
the great flexibility they have in the composite material, and its ability to adhere the (WPMS) particles
and the adhesive material (UPS). These particles penetrate the adhesive material, which increases the
entanglement and durability of the overlay material, and that consequently increases the Flexural
Modulus. Then, the Flexural Modulus starts to decrease gradually whenever there is an increase in
the amount of (WPMS). Although, it remains higher than the Flexural Modulus of Polymer particles
(UPS). This is due to the weak bonding in the composite material when increasing the number of
particles, and the cracks that are formed around (WPMS) particles may merge with each other while
applying load to it. Thus, because of the presence of cracks occurring inside and on the outer surface
of the sample, this would decrease the Flexural Modulus.
Figure (9) Flexural Modulus of (WPMS) and (UPS).
3.3 Results and discussion of Hardness Test: Most plastics are used in various applications,
which may generally be subjected to scratches and cracks. Therefore, the hardness test is considered
one of the basic tests that are very important . Figure (10) shows the values of hardness for all
samples prepared from the composite materials. Hardness values are improving gradually for all
samples when we increase (WPMS) particles. The highest value with volumetric ratios of (80%)
reached (69 N/mm2), and this is due to the homogeneity between the (WPMS) particles and the
adhesive material (UPS). In addition to the quality, size, and shape of the particles and their ability to
penetrate inside the expansions occurring inside the polymeric chains, and this contributes to the
increase in the binding force between those polymeric chains and (WPMS) particles. The increase in
the pressing force works on slowing-down the movement of polymeric particles, where the
dimensions between the polymeric chains are small, which reinforce its resistance to scratching or
penetration . which increases their resistance to plastic deformation. Because the forces that work
to connect between atoms or molecules, as well as the distance between the polymeric chains are
what Hardness mainly relies upon. As the hardness values rise when the bonding forces are large, as
well as the reasons that led to the increase in hardness is that those (WPMS) particles take over the
largest amount (space) within the adhesive material (UPS), which will lead to a better and more
efficient fragmentation of the applied load.
010 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Bendning Moduluse (Gpa)
Volume Fraction (%)
120 Materials for Sustainability
Figure (10) Hardness of (Shore-D) (UPS) and (WPMS).
3.4 Results and discussion of the Thermal Conductivity Test: Figure (11) shows that these
values gradually decrease for all the prepared samples, and that the lowest value of thermal
conductivity has volumetric ratios of (80%) reaching (2.14W/m.°C). This is due to the (WPMS)
particles which are inside the composite material are tangled and irregular, which obstructs the
passage of heat in one direction from one end to another. Also, it is divided in different directions,
which leads to heat dissipation to inside the prepared sample, and also due to the structure of the
adhesive material (UPS). Which is random and irregular, obstructing the thermal conductivity, has
low thermal conductivity rating, as well as the irregular and asymmetric structural composition of the
adhesive material. This leads to random waste of energy, as well as irregularity of (WPMS) particles
while bonding with the adhesive material (UPS), which increases the thermal energy dissipation, and
reduces thermal conductivity. The higher thermal conductivity of (UPS) is due to the interference
between the polymeric chains, which leads to a decrease in crosslinking, which gives great freedom
of movement for the thermal energy. This in turn increases vibration inside the material significantly,
due to the nature and form of the actual material .
Figure (11) The Relationship between the Thermal Conductivity Values of the Adhesive
Material (UPS) And (WPMS) Particles.
From the results obtained, when Waste plastic medical syringes (WPMS) particles are used with the
adhesive material unsaturated polyester resin (UPS), we conclude the following:
1- There is an improvement in some mechanical properties (tensile strength, flexural modulus, and
hardness) when the volumetric ratios of Waste plastic medical syringes (WPMS) particles is
010 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
-D) (N /mm2)
Volume Fraction (%)
010 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Volume Fraction (%) CF
Materials Science Forum Vol. 1050 121
2- There is a decrease in the values of the physical property, which is (thermal conductivity),
whenever we increase the volume ratios of Waste plastic medical syringes (WPMS) particles.
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