SPE Industry Update
Feb. 22, 2012

Webinar: 'Pitch Your Science' — Develop a value proposition

SPE and RAPRA are proud to co-sponsor the "Pitch Your Science" free webinar series. This series was developed as a resource for the RAPid Impact competition, but is open to all who wish to hone their entrepreneurial skills!More

Efficient toughening and reinforcing of polyvinyl acetate
SPE Plastics Research Online
The past decade has seen a remarkable increase in interest in using nanocelluloses to reinforce biodegradable and synthetic polymers. Nanocelluloses have not only abundant and renewable raw material sources, but also large specific surface area and outstanding mechanical properties. Yet, despite reports that they can enhance the strength and modulus of polymers, convincing evidence that they can toughen polymers is scarce. More

Modeling complete perforation failure of fiber metal laminates
SPE Plastics Research Online
Fiber metal laminates are an interesting hybrid material formed by combining a metal, typically an aluminum alloy, and a fiber-reinforced composite such as a glass fiber-reinforced epoxy. Knowledge of the perforation behavior of a glass fiber-reinforced epoxy/aluminum, modeled by finite element analysis, could help optimize fiber metal laminate designs. More

EPA sets new rules for emissions from PVC production
Houston Chronicle
The Environmental Protection Agency set stringent new emissions limits for industrial plants that manufacture polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC. The new federal rule comes two years after a settlement between three activist groups and the EPA. The Sierra Club and two community groups in Louisiana filed a lawsuit in 2008 to force the agency to establish limits for several harmful pollutants at the nation's 17 vinyl-producing plants.More

Wood may give way to plastic on Coney Island Boardwalk
The New York Times
After a yearlong fight over New York City's proposal to use concrete to replace the wooden boards along stretches of the aging Boardwalk of Coney Island, the city's parks department is offering a compromise of sorts — but wood is not part of the plan. Instead, the department is promising to use a combination of concrete and a type of recycled plastic that looks like wood. More

New uses for layered polymer films
National Science Foundation via U.S. News and World Report
Scientists are using a new technology that cuts and stacks different polymer materials into thousands of layers a scant billionths of a meter in size to develop a range of new improved products — powerful lenses, packaging that keeps foods safer and fresher, and "tunable" lasers, among them — that likely will be inexpensive to make, as well as environmentally friendly.More

Report: Resurgence across end-use markets will drive global plastics boom
Canadian Plastics
Shaking off the effects of the recession, global plastics consumption is expected to reach 297.5 million tons by 2015, according to a new report by market research firm Global Industry Analysts. In particular, the global packaging sector is expected to boom, and will find increased use in healthcare and personal care products, and packaged foods and beverages markets. More

Indian plastics firms see growing opportunity in Africa
Plastics News
As Africa's plastics industry grows, Indian companies say they are picking up substantial business there, with exports rising for machinery firms, and India's resin and processing companies making investments. The India factory of U.S. machinery firm Milacron LLC, for example, said it sends more than 200 injection presses a year to Africa, its largest export market and more than 20 percent of its total production.More

Resin prices: PE, PP up; price increases drive down exports
Plastics Today
Spot resin trading activity improved and offering volumes increased, although at higher prices according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange. TPE noted that a larger percentage of opportunities were completed as buyers came to terms with elevated resin costs. Continued strength in monomer costs is also supporting the market, helping allow polyethylene producers renew their effort to implement a $0.06/lb increase. February polypropylene contracts are jumping $0.165/lb along with the recent PGP contract settlement.More

Gecko feet inspire super-adhesive material
Product Design & Development
For years, biologists have been amazed by the power of gecko feet, which let these 5-ounce lizards produce an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall without slipping. Now, a team of polymer scientists and a biologist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst have discovered exactly how the gecko does it, leading them to invent "Geckskin," a device that can hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall.More

Plastic-bag makers fight 5-cent tax in Maryland county
The Washington Times
Plastic-bag manufacturers are fighting efforts by Prince George's County lawmakers in Maryland to pass a proposed 5-cent bag tax in the county, which supporters say would reduce littering and pollution. The most resistance has come from the American Progressive Bag Alliance and American Chemistry Council, which have hired Annapolis, Md., lobbying firms this session to sway legislators and defend against what they consider unfair scapegoating of the industry.More

Funding supports Northland College professor to study biorenewable plastics
The University of Minnesota Materials Research Facility Network has provided funding to Dr. Nick Robertson, Northland College's chemistry professor, for biorenewable plastics research. The funding will support the faculty to access advanced laboratory space, equipment and travel expenses. The main aim of the project is to analyze impacts of molecular structure over polymer properties and how the polymer is affected by bio-based chemicals. More

Qatar Petroleum International in deal for $4.5 billion venture
Arab News
Qatar Petroleum International has signed a joint venture agreement with Siam Cement Group and its Vietnamese partners in Bangkok to invest in the petrochemicals complex in Long Son Island in southern Vietnam, valued around $4.5 billion. Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Company and PV GAS, a subsidiary of Petro Vietnam, signed a long-term feedstock agreement to supply propane and naphtha to the petrochemical complex.More

IKEA creates plastic pallets as an alternative to wooden pallets
Plastics Today
IKEA, the international furniture retail giant, has developed plastic pallets to replace the traditional wooden pallets when shipping goods across its global operations. The plastic shipping pallets, called the OptiLedge, weigh less than two pounds, are durable and 100 percent recyclable. An IKEA spokesperson said the OptiLedge pallets are made from copolymer polypropylene, and feature many advantages over paper platforms.More

NatureWorks, BioAmber join to commercialize new bio-based polymers
Biofuels Digest
NatureWorks and BioAmber announced the creation of their AmberWorks joint venture to bring new performance bio-based polymer compositions to market. NatureWorks brings to the joint venture a global commercial presence, established customer relationships, developed applications across a breadth of industries and experience in commercializing polymers. BioAmber owns PLA/PBS compounding intellectual property and applies biotechnology and chemical processing to produce renewable chemicals.More

Nissan testing high-tech, self-healing paint coating for smartphone cases
Calgary Herald
Japanese automaker Nissan, in collaboration with University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials, may soon be introducing what is probably the first self-healing iPhone case. According to Nissan, the case has three key benefits: the elastic properties of paint technology allows scratches to quickly mend; its tactile gel-like surface is more scratch-resistant than conventional paint and provides for better grip; and the case itself is made of ABS plastic — a high-grade substance widely used in the automotive industry.More

UK firm expands plastics recycling facility
Recycling Today
The Liverpool, U.K.-based plastics recycler Centriforce Products has opened a plastics recycling facility at its Liverpool production center. The company, which says it is the largest independent plastics recycling firm in the U.K., invested $1.5 million on the project. According to Ronnie Doctor with Centriforce, the company has installed various types of equipment, including sorters, agglomerators, shredders and conveyor lines. More

Toy maker Revell's US and German operations coming together
Plastics News
After 56 years of separately serving model builders of all ages, Revell's operations in the United States and Germany are coming together under common ownership. Hobbico Inc., parent company of Revell-Monogram, has acquired Revell Deutschland Holding GmbH of Bünde, Germany. The U.S.-based predecessor to Revell-Monogram was formed in 1945 by cofounder Lou Glaser who in 1956 established the German company to serve Europe.More