SPE Industry Update
March 16, 2011

Smart money: Top hedge funds betting on plastics
"Just one word ... plastics." That well-known line from the classic 1967 movie "The Graduate" may sum up the recent investment strategy of some top hedge fund managers, including James Dinan and David Einhorn. A wave of managers snapped up shares of LyondellBasell Industries, which makes chemicals like propylene and polyethylene, the stuff that goes into plastics.More

Preparation of vinyl alcohol groups containing polymer nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polymer nanocomposites are becoming increasingly desirable as coatings and also as structural and packaging materials for a wide range of automobile, civil and electrical engineering applications. In addition, polymers generally have advantages of low cost, light weight, design flexibility, ease of processing and corrosion resistance. More

Plastic's new frontier: No scary chemicals
Some businessmen and scientists in Austin, Texas, are trying to change the way consumers think about plastic. They say it's not enough to buy a water bottle or sandwich bag that's free of BPA, the chemical consumer groups have criticized because, at least in animals, it acts like the hormone estrogen. They say BPA is only part of the problem, and they think they have a solution that involves a new approach to making plastic.More

New plastic automatically repairs itself
Researchers have announced a 'self healing' plastic that can automatically repair itself and stop the growth of micro-cracks. The source of inspiration was the caoutchouc tree hevea brasiliensis and plants that conduct latex, such as the Weeping Benjamin. The latex contains capsules filled with the protein hevein. If the caoutchouc tree is damaged, the latex escapes and the capsules break open to release hevein, which also links the latex particles in the latex to form a wound closure.More

Study: Poplar leaves may hold the key to biodegradable plastic
East Oregonian
Hybrid poplar tree leaves might contain the ingredients for the biodegradable plastics of the future. Researchers Steven Strauss and Ganti Murthy of Oregon State University are using a grant from the Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center to explore if this might be feasible in hybrid poplar trees grown in the Pacific Northwest.More

Australian plastics plant prepares for carbon price
The Sydney Morning Herald
Showing signs that Australian industry believes a carbon price is inevitable, AGL will announce plans to build a $45 million co-generation plant for plastics producer Qenos that is expected to save 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. The Altona facility will become the largest co-generation plant built in the past decade and have a capacity of 21 megawatts.More

Plastic bag backlash: Can recycling programs beat back anti-bag fervor?
Modern Plastics Worldwide
North Carolinians are being encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle their plastics grocery bags, with the state becoming the fourth in the U.S. to join the "A Bag's Life" recycling education movement. The program helps consumers find the roughly 1200 grocery and retail store drop off sites for plastic bags across North Carolina. More

New process molds CFRP parts in sub-1 minute cycles
Plastics Today
Thermoplastics replaces thermoset plastics in a carbon fiber parts process that facilitates the molding of large, complex applications such as automobile cabin frames in cycle times of less than one minute. The announcement comes as multiple carmakers are actively forging ties with carbon fiber suppliers to support increased use of these fibers in their vehicles.More

Exec says India needs innovation, scale
Plastics News
By the numbers, the growth in India's plastics industry is impressive — doubling in per capita consumption in five years and rising steadily among the world's major plastics markets. But look past the numbers, according to one prominent Indian executive, and there are major challenges like plastic waste in the environment, lack of innovation and companies too small to really compete in world markets.More