SPE Industry Update
Mar. 19, 2014

Bioprinting of body parts inching closer to reality
By Donna Balancia
New 3-D printing technology is giving hope to medical patients who need to replace and repair body parts and organs. Creating organs through the use of a patient's own cells in many cases, this 3-D printing technology — known as "bioprinting" — is a promising new industry in the scientific community. The 3-D printing industry has been around for almost 20 years, but is coming to light now as many scientific companies compete for lucrative grants and awards to be among the first to replicate human organ, such as a liver, scientists say.More

Improved toughness of polypropylene/wollastonite composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polypropylene (PP) is the polymer of choice for many home appliances, packaging, and the automotive industry due to its mechanical properties, amenability to processing, low cost, and affinity for numerous types of filler. Micron-scale fillers, such as wollastonite, chalk, mica, and talcum, are added to polymers, including PP, for a variety of reasons: cost reduction; to improve processing conditions; to control density; as flame retardants; and to improve electrical and mechanical properties.More

Wood apple shell particulates reinforce epoxy composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Reinforcement plays a significant role in fabricating composite materials. Because of their superior properties, biowaste fiber composites are being used more frequently in the composite industry and more researchers are studying them. Most biowaste fibers, such as coconut shell, bamboo, jute, and sisal, are used as filler with expensive epoxy resin to reduce the resin cost, replace the synthetic fiber, and improve the polymer's properties.More

US silicone demand to reach $4.3 billion
Plastics Engineering
U.S. demand for silicones is forecast to climb 4.7 percent annually to $4.3 billion in 2018, with volume rising 3.2 percent per year to 900 million pounds. This will be an acceleration from the performance of the 2008-2013 period, spurred by rising manufactured goods output and a strong rebound in construction activity. More

Economy, plastics industry are on the upswing
Plastics News
The S&P 500 stock index has surged tremendously since the end of the Great Recession and is now at an all-time high. “The market is saying it’s time to invest,” economist Bill Wood said at the 2014 Plastics News Executive Forum in Wesley Chapel, near Tampa.More

Bioprinting of body parts inching closer to reality
By Donna Balancia
New 3-D printing technology is giving hope to medical patients who need to replace and repair body parts and organs. Creating organs through the use of a patient's own cells in many cases, this 3-D printing technology — known as "bioprinting" — is a promising new industry in the scientific community. More

Rapid evaluation of thermal aging of polymer composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polymer composites based on high-temperature thermosetting resins show promise as next-generation materials for aerospace applications. Of particular interest is a series of composite materials consisting of epoxy resin and carbon fibers, which have excellent bonding, thermal, and mechanical characteristics.More

Innovative solar energy applications point the way forward
By Don Rosato
Most people no longer ask whether solar energy will be a success; the question is rather which forms of photovoltaic technology and system types will be successful. The total global installed PV capacity is fast approaching 100 GW, up from 1.5 GW in 2000 to 89.5 GW at the end of 2013.More

Why environmental concerns are helping the plastics industry find new applications
Engineering Materials
Metal replacement continued to be a trend exhibited throughout the plastics industry in 2013. At the world's largest plastics exhibition, held every three years in Dusseldorf, K 2013 highlighted just how far plastics have come in terms of competing with metals.More

Potentially safer, greener alternative to BPA could come from papermaking waste
A waste product from making paper could yield a safer, greener alternative to the potentially harmful chemical BPA, now banned from baby bottles but still used in many plastics. Scientists made the BPA alternative from lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength, and they say it could be ready for the market within five years.More

US becoming more competitive in global production costs
Plastics News
U.S. injection press cost rates are higher than rates in China, but thanks to stable domestic energy prices and rising energy costs and wages in China, the gap is narrowing, an official of Plante & Moran PLLC reported at the Plastics News Executive Forum.More

Producing useful bioplastics from the gasification of urban waste
Until now, research has focused on deriving gas from urban waste. Now, the Synpol project, funded by The European Union and due to be completed in 2016, has found ways to "employ" bacteria to ferment such gases to produce bioplastics.More

Thermoplastic bearing helps prosthetic foot to walk the walk
Plastics Today
A prosthetic foot developed and manufactured by Fitbionic Inc. incorporates load-carrying bearings made of Torlon polyamide-imide from Solvay Specialty Polymers. The thermoplastic was chosen for this application because of its long-term strength and stiffness as well as its wear and fatigue resistance, according to Solvay.More

3-D printing technology used to reconstruct man's face in groundbreaking surgery
For what appears to be the first time in history, doctors were able to use 3-D printing technology during a facial reconstruction surgery to help a British man who survived a motorcycle accident, but walked away traumatized and disfigured.More

Spot commodity resin trading was a bit below average
Plastics Today
The spot resin markets were slow in early March and prices for both polyethylene and polypropylene were steady, The Plastics Exchange reports. Railcar offers began to trickle in during the week, so most of the spot liquidity was provided by national resellers and Houston traders with inventory. Domestic demand was mostly seen from processors seeking truckloads for immediate usage rather than higher volume railcars to supplement their direct supply.More

Harnessing everyday motion with nanotechnology to power mobile devices
Imagine powering your cell phone by simply walking around your office or rubbing it with the palm of your hand. Rather than plugging it into the wall, you become the power source. Researchers at the 247th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, presented these commercial possibilities and a unique vision for green energy. More

Recycling of rigid plastics surpasses 1 billion pounds
Packaging World
A National Report shows that rigid plastics recycling increased 10 percent in 2012 over the previous year, with polypropylene and polyethylene comprising the largest part.More

New CVP leader has a 'plastics point of view'
Plastics News
It was no accident that the Curbside Value Partnership unveiled a new leader at the Plastics Recycling Conference. CVP, a nonprofit, “works to increase participation and improve efficiencies in residential curbside recycling programs,” according to the group. And for only the second time in its 11-year history, the group has a new leader as Keefe Harrison succeeds the mustachioed and well-known Steve Thompson.More