SPE Industry Update
Feb. 20, 2013

The role of carbon nanotubes in polymers: Now and the future
By Dr. Brian P. Grady
According to a recent marketing project by TechNavio, the annualized growth rate of carbon nanotube production from now until 2015 is projected to be 10.6 percent. What benefits do carbon nanotubes bring to polymers, and — equally important — what can carbon nanotubes not do?More

Nanofibrous meshes by advanced electrospinning
SPE Plastics Research Online
A novel process incorporating twin screw extrusion and electrospinning permits in-line polymer processing and inclusion of nanoparticles for structurally and compositionally complex fiber meshes. Although more than eight decades have elapsed since its first use, the conventional electrospinning process has not been upgraded to include further basic polymer processing capabilities, such as mixing, devolatilization and stripping.More

Palm oil-based unsaturated polyester
SPE Plastics Research Online
The activation energy for synthesizing unsaturated polyester from palm oil using different reactant ratios and catalysts was investigated, along with the solubility and miscibility behavior of the resultant polymer. The only way palm oil can be polymerized is by attaching a suitably chosen functional group to the palm oil molecule that alters its behavior, converting it from a noncurable to a curable product.More

What do American manufacturers owe their country?
The Huffington Post
The Economist conducted an online debate on the question: Do multinational corporations have a duty to maintain a strong presence in their home countries? After a very intense written debate between Harry Moser, former president of GF AgieCharmilles and founder of the Reshoring Initiative, and Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor of Economics and Law, Columbia University, the vote was 54 percent "yes" and 46 percent "no."More

Apple's future is in plastics?
Reports have surfaced that Apple may source a plastic casing from a U.S. electronic manufacturing service provider rather than one comprised of aluminum and glass. Apple has used a plastic polycarbonate housing in its iPhones before — the 3G and 3GS models — so such a design would not be unheard of. But the question is what the form factor and capability set would be for any potential new device. More

New nanotech promises nothing will ever get wet. So how should it be used?
Ars Technica
VideoBriefTake a look at Ultra Ever Dry, a "revolutionary super hydrophobic coating that repels water and refined oils using nanotechnology." If you can solve the abrasion issue, could such nanotechnologies eventually evolve to help air travel during inclement weather? Even as is, might this help keep keyboards everywhere safe from errant coffee and water bottles? What potential applications or test cases would you most want to see for the nanotechnology Ultra Ever Dry boasts?More

Want to share your expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of the SPE Industry Update, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of SPE, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics and payment.More

Pakistan to require all plastics be oxo-biodegradable
Energy Digital
New legislation in Pakistan prohibits the import, manufacturing, stockpiling, trade, supply, distribution, sale and use of all disposable plastic products made wholly or substantially of polyethylene or polypropylene or polystyrene — unless they are oxo-biodegradable. While important for Pakistan, the legislation has much wider implications.

Related: Why Pakistan's biodegradable plastics ban may not benefit the environment (The Ecologist)

In-tool polymerization realizes continuous fiber-reinforced composites
Plastics Today
A new approach involving in-mold polymerization of the matrix resin now reportedly makes it possible to use the injection molding process to manufacture fiber-reinforced composites with thermoplastic matrix resins. So far, it has only been possible to use the injection molding process for fiber-reinforced composites made of short fibers or long fibers.More

In Ohio and beyond, Obama sees model for manufacturing revival
A former furniture warehouse in a struggling Rust Belt city has emerged as a national model for innovation after President Barack Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union speech. Obama now aims to convince Congress to spend $1 billion to replicate the model nationwide. But it will be a tough sell to Republicans, who oppose government spending on industry and argue private capital will respond if there is real demand.More

Turn your plastic recyclables into 3-D printing spools with Filabot
Singularity Hub
VideoBrief As many 3-D hobbyists have no doubt discovered, the purchase cost of the printer can be quickly dwarfed by feeding it spool after spool of raw plastic. At $40 or more per spool, an avid hobbyist can see his or her enthusiasm rapidly diminished. Filabot is a 3-D plastic extrusion system that takes all kinds of recyclable plastic — milk jugs, soda, detergent and shampoo bottles — and turns them into raw material for 3-D printing creativity. More

Sorry Mr. President, manufacturing will not save the US
The Atlantic Cities
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said "our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing." While there is much to applaud about the recent revival of American industry, manufacturing is simply insufficient to help revive lagging industrial regions or power the job creation the nation so badly needs. Here's why.More

US carmakers stick with metal despite plastics' benefits
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
Even though plastics have considerable potential to help the automotive industry cut weight and improve efficiency, auto industry veterans and researchers say metal will still be the predominant material of choice for the next five to seven years. Experts pointed to financial and logistical reasons as reasons that high-strength steel and aluminum will lead the way in vehicle construction until 2020.More

NYC Mayor Bloomberg to propose ban on polystyrene foam packaging
Plastics News
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will call for a citywide ban on expanded polystyrene foam packaging from stores and restaurants in his Feb. 14 State of the City address. In an excerpt released before the speech, Bloomberg describes polystyrene foam as "one product that is virtually impossible to recycle and never bio-degrades."More

Implants make light work of fixing broken bones
University of Southampton
Artificial bone, created using stem cells and a new lightweight plastic, could soon be used to heal shattered limbs. Researchers have developed a material with a honeycomb scaffold structure that allows blood to flow through it, enabling stem cells from the patient's bone marrow to attach to the material and grow new bone. Over time, the plastic slowly degrades as the implant is replaced by newly grown bone.More

Thailand 'well positioned' to be a global bioplastics hub
Plastics News
The Southeast Asian country is not traditionally thought of as a place that develops cutting-edge polymers, but Thai officials used a recent conference in Bangkok to make their case for linking their large agriculture and plastics industries to become a center for making plant-based plastics. The Thai government has spent $60 million to implement a detailed bioplastics development roadmap it unveiled in 2008.More

Milacron to acquire Mold-Masters in $975 million deal
Business Courier
Milacron LLC has agreed to acquire Toronto-based Mold-Masters Limited, a global manufacturer of plastics injection molding technology. Backed by private equity investor CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, Cincinnati-based Milacron will acquire all of the shares of Mold-Masters in a transaction with an enterprise value, including debt, of $975 million, the companies stated in a news release.More

Plastics faculty at Penn College establish scholarship
Gant Daily
Plastics and polymer engineering technology faculty members at Pennsylvania College of Technology have established a scholarship for students enrolled in plastics majors at the college. The scholarship will begin making annual awards in 2013-14 while building to be endowed.More