SPE Industry Update
Apr. 2, 2014

The role of American gas in the US-Russia sanctions dance
By Lucy Wallwork
As the claws come out and sanctions are imposed by the West against Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, energy may also hold the key to how the situation will develop. Many doubt that the tit-for-tat sanctions seen so far will expand to anything more meaningful, given the billions invested by Russian oligarchs and businesses in Europe, the heavy dependence of many Europeans and U.S. exposure to strategic Russian players such as Gazprom and Rosneft. But market sentiment suggests otherwise.More

Strengthening wood-polymer composites cheaply
SPE Plastics Research
Over the last two decades, wood-polymer composites (WPCs) have attracted interest as replacements for natural wood in architectural, furniture manufacturing, and automotive industry applications. These materials offer a wide spectrum of advantages, such as recyclability, resistance to fungi, reduced equipment wear, and good processability.More

A polypyrrole/modified poly (styrene-alt-maleic anhydride) conducting nanocomposite
SPE Plastics Research
A nanocomposite was synthesized by emulsion polymerization to improve the processability, conductivity, antioxidant activity, and heavy metal ion-removal capabilities of the parent conducting polymer.More

Scientists create polymer that cools hot electric devices at 200 degrees Celsius
Counsel & Heal
Scientists, through an aligned array of polymer nano-fibers, have developed a thermal interface material that is able to conduct heat 20 times better than the original polymer. The newly discovered material can easily operate at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius. The new thermal interface material is expected to find its use in a number of applications, including drawing heat away from electronic devices in servers, automobiles, high-brightness LEDs and mobile devices.More

More PE, PP capacity should mean lower prices, more competition
Plastics News
New North American polyethylene capacity eventually will mean lower selling prices for that material. While in polypropylene, new supplies of propylene monomer will lead to some new resin capacity as well, making the material more competitive vs. HDPE.More

DME SmartSeries temperature control module gives molders more flexibility
SPE Plastics Engineering
DME Company, a manufacturer of mold technologies, has expanded its SmartSeries Hot Runner Temperature Controller product line. The addition of the TSM15 Temperature Control Module gives molders greater flexibility and control of their hot runners.More

The role of American gas in the US-Russia sanctions dance
By Lucy Wallwork
As the claws come out and sanctions are imposed by the West against Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, energy may also hold the key to how the situation will develop. Many doubt that the tit-for-tat sanctions seen so far will expand to anything more meaningful, given the billions invested by Russian oligarchs and businesses in Europe, the heavy dependence of many Europeans and U.S. exposure to strategic Russian players such as Gazprom and Rosneft. But market sentiment suggests otherwise.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

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

Genetic engineering increases yield of biodegradable plastic from cyanobacteria
Phys.org
The production of plastics using biological systems such as bacteria could lead to the sustainable manufacture of biodegradable and biocompatible plastics using carbon from the atmosphere. So far, however, it has proved exceedingly difficult to increase the yields of bioplastics to industrially viable levels. Takashi Osanai, Masami Yokota Hirai and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science have now engineered a cyanobacterium strain that produces triple the normal yield of the bioplastic polyhydroxybutyrate.More

Shrink wrap can enhance detection of infectious diseases
Novus Light Technologies Today
The new technique, described in a paper entitled “Enhanced Emission of Fluorophores on Shrink-Induced Wrinkled Composite Structures” and published in The Optical Society‘s journal Optical Materials Express, offers a way to significantly boost the signal of fluorescent markers used in bio-sensing, by depositing a combination of metals onto shrink wrap.More

Nanoparticle sensors detect drug damage in the liver
Chemistry World
A new way to screen animal livers for drug-related damage in real time, using tiny sensors embedded in nanoparticles, has been developed by researchers in the U.S. Liver toxicity is the leading cause of drug failure, so the advance could help streamline the drug development process, resulting in fewer toxic drugs and a greater success rate for clinical trials.More

Shale investment surge may be 'much bigger than we expected'
Plastics News
The U.S. petrochemicals market is riding four waves of investment thanks to the feedstock advantage provided by North American shale gas, according to a top executive at Dow Chemical Co. “This validates everything we’ve been trying to say about the potential of energy resources to recharge the U.S. economy,” he added. “It’s coming and it’s real and it will have an impact.”More

Severe winter doesn't impede plastic product manufacturing
Plastics News
The total output of plastics products by U.S.-based processors has escalated steadily through the first couple of months this year. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the index measuring total production of plastics products in the United States was 93.5 in February (it was 100 in 2007 before the Great Recession). This was a gain of 0.5 points over the January reading. More

Bioplastics concept car runs on biofuel
DesignNews
The Biofore Concept Car, using biomaterials from Finnish manufacturer UPM, premiered at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month. Many of the components in a car that are usually made of petroleum-based polymers or composites have been replaced in the Biofore by two different bioplastics: UPM Formi, a cellulose fiber biocomposite, and UPM Grada, a thermoformable plywood-like material.More

Powder injection molding may help build tidal energy generators
Knovel
The materials required for new energy production technologies are often expensive, necessitating the application of engineering information for the development of cost-effective component manufacturing methods. According to a news release, scientists from Charles III University of Madrid are working to design a tidal power generator that utilizes parts made using powder injection molding, a less costly technique for processing materials.More

Composite bridges on a path to wider use
Plastics News
When the district Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., needed to replace three aging bridges over the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Georgetown, plastic crossed the minds of engineers facing a problem. The 110-year-old bridge over 29th Street had to have a thin deck, but be strong enough to carry 4,000 vehicles, including some semi-trucks, over the waterway that opened in 1831 to get coal, lumber and food crops to market.More

Woman has her skull replaced with a 3-D printed plastic one
Popular Science
A woman with a rare bone disorder has had much of the top of her skull replaced with a 3-D printed plastic piece, Wired U.K. reports. Three months later, she's symptom-free and back to work. The woman's condition made her skull increase in thickness, giving her severe headaches and affecting her eyesight. The surgery, performed at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, gave the woman a replacement that closely matched the original shape of her skull.More

GE, Local Motors partner to pioneer new model for manufacturing industry
Business Wire
The partnership will source collaborative ideas online from a community of engineers, scientists, fabricators, designers and enthusiasts who will focus on identifying market needs and solving deep engineering challenges to unlock breakthrough product innovations. As part of the partnership, a new microfactory — a specialized facility focused on prototyping and producing a small batch of products at a rapid pace — will be established where community ideas will be built, tested and sold.More