SPE Industry Update
Mar. 26, 2014

Automotive plastics lightweighting and environmental trend drivers
By Don Rosato
Auto-makers choose plastic parts for a multiplicity of performance features. Important characteristics include durability, chemical resistance, mechanical toughness, coloring and finishing ease, elasticity and light weight. These automotive advances are driving the use of higher-end plastics under the hood, as well as the development of new plastics and coatings in new under-the-hood environments. On a volume basis, more plastics than steel are now used in today's cars for a wide range of components. Overall, growth in automotive plastics use has progressed from a typical 60 pounds per vehicle in 1970 to more than 400 pounds today. More

Mechanical properties of hybrid composites enhanced with coir fiber hybridization
SPE Plastics Research Online
Hybrid composites possessing unique properties can be made by incorporating two or more natural fibers into a single matrix. Natural fibers such as oil palm, sisal, jute, coir, kenaf, hemp, banana, bamboo, and flax are sustainable, renewable in nature, low cost, hygienic, lower in energy consumption, more widely available, and relatively non-abrasive as compared to synthetic fibers. More

Recycling peroxide-crosslinked polyethylene
SPE Plastics Research Online
Among the many environmental problems humankind faces in the 21st century is how to improve environmental sustainability and manage a tremendous amount of polymer waste. Uncrosslinked thermoplastics can be easily reprocessed and reused. However, a 3-D internal network prevents flow and shaping of crosslinked plastics upon heating and shearing, and until now there has been no simple way to recycle them.More

US chemical industry poised for dynamic expansion
Canadian Plastics
“After a decade of lost competitiveness, American chemistry is reemerging as a growth industry,” said Kevin Swift, the ACC's chief economist. “We're seeing growing end-use markets, strengthening employment, surging exports, and an influx of tremendous capital investment. Put simply, the U.S. is now the most attractive place in the world to invest in chemical manufacturing.”More

Waste plastics unzipped into useful chemicals
Chemistry World
Useful small molecules with potential applications in the cosmetics and fine chemical industries have been recovered from waste plastics by scientists in the U.S. Petroleum based polymers such as polyesters and polycarbonates make up a significant proportion of the 100 million tons of plastic waste generated globally every year, of which only between 5 - 30 percent is recycled. Traditional recycling commonly leads to new plastics with inferior properties that frequently find use in lower grade applications, such as fibers or carpeting.More

US plastics machinery shipments up 8 percent in 2013
European Plastics
The year 2013 generally ended on a high note for manufacturers and suppliers of plastics processing equipment, and in 2014 they can expect another strong year. The Society of the Plastics Industry estimated shipments of primary plastics equipment for reporting companies reached $335.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 3 percent gain over the third quarter. More

Automotive plastics lightweighting and environmental trend drivers
By Don Rosato
Auto-makers choose plastic parts for a multiplicity of performance features. Important characteristics include durability, chemical resistance, mechanical toughness, coloring and finishing ease, elasticity and light weight. These automotive advances are driving the use of higher-end plastics under the hood, as well as the development of new plastics and coatings in new under-the-hood environments. 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

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

Natural gas boosts US manufacturing growth
AZoCleantech
Inexpensive natural gas will boost manufacturing growth in the U.S. and its metropolitan areas according to a new report released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and prepared by IHS Global Insight.More

Efficient numerical method to study behavior of 'ring' polymers
AZoM
The experimental and numerical study of the behavior of polymers in concentrated solutions is a line of research that is still highly active. In the past, it enabled us to understand why materials like rubber have certain elastic properties. A distinctive feature of these systems is that the long "chained" molecules composing them tend to penetrate each other and interweave at their ends forming very durable bonds that make them always return to their initial conformation whenever they are "stretched."More

Polyfibroblast helps heal scars due to corrosion on military vehicles
AZoM
A new additive could help military vehicles, including the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, heal like human skin and avoid costly maintenance as a result of corrosion. Developed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in partnership with the Office of Naval Research, polyfibroblast allows scratches forming in vehicle paint to scar and heal before the effects of corrosion ever reach the metal beneath.More

FDA approves first porous PEEK-based medical device
Plastics Today
This week, MedShape Inc. received US FDA 510(k) clearance for its Morphix SP Suture Anchor, which features the company's new Scoria technology, a polyetheretherketone material manufactured with micrometer-scale surface porosity and based on Zeniva PEEK resin from Solvay Specialty Polymers. MedShape reportedly is the first company to develop and clear through FDA a device containing porous PEEK.More

Report: Recycling of plastic packaging across Canada continues to increase
Canadian Plastics
According to a new report prepared by Moore Recycling Associates for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, an additional 10 percent of plastic packaging was recycled in 2012 compared to 2011, an increase resulting from material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information.More

Could bio-plastic be the answer to bottle woes?
Euro News
Discarded plastic bottles are a huge environmental problem. Around the world, 20 million tons of plastic are made into bottles every year, and discarded plastic bottles are a huge environmental problem. So scientists are looking for new, more environmentally-friendly ways of making plastic without using oil. At the Biological Research Center in Madrid, Spain, scientists are looking at the role bacteria could play in plastics production and making polymers out of organic waste.More

3-D printed devices help restore baby's breathing
AZoM
In his 18 months of life, Garrett Peterson has never gone home, spending his days in hospital beds tethered to ventilators that even at the highest settings couldn't prevent his breathing from periodically stopping. His condition was so tenuous that often his parents could not hold him for fear of compromising his breathing. But after surgeons at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital implanted 3-D printed devices to open up Garrett's airways, his parents are now planning to take their son home to their house in Utah for the very first time.More

Reality step closer for rotationally molded car
European Plastics News
European Plastics News featured Total’s Concept Car, a prototype city car showcasing the potential of using rotational molding to build a lightweight monocoque shell. Unlike a traditional automotive monocoque, an internal skeleton onto which an exoskeleton of body panels is added, the concept car from the France-based petrochemical giant showed the possibilities of using multi-layered rotational molding to make a structure that is both chassis and skin, internal and external.More

Shrink-sleeve labels create a huge expense for PET recyclers
Plastics News
Dealing with shrink-sleeve labels, new research shows, is an expensive proposition for plastic bottle recyclers. But while shrink-sleeve labels are an effective marketing tool, they are denting the wallets of plastics recyclers.More

'Paintable' electronics paves way for cheaper gadgets
LiveScience
Researchers in the field of materials science are using a new technique to create “paint-on” plastic electronics that can be used to make popular gadgets less expensive and better for the environment.More