SPE Industry Update
April 13, 2011

Gulf growing as world hub for plastics
Khaleej Times
The Gulf region is growing as the world's hub for plastics development with the right ingredients of location between current and future large plastics demand centers, the hydrocarbon resource base and proximity to markets, a senior industry official said recently.More

Join us in Boston!
SPE Executive Director Susan Oderwald writes, "It is hard to believe that ANTEC is already here! Last month we published the entire advance program, but I want to highlight a few key points here, and invite you to join us in Boston for the largest gathering of plastics experts in the world! As you know, we have a full docket of more than 700 technical presentations."

This article appears in the April 2011 issue of SPE's Plastics Engineering magazine.More

Theoretical model sheds light on film blowing
SPE Plastics Research Online
The film blowing process is well-known and important for industrial biaxially-stretched polymeric film production. Here, the polymer melt is continuously vertically extruded through an annular die at a constant flow rate, forming a thin-tubular film of varying radius and thickness. A stretching force applied by nip rolls causes an axial extension of the film, flattening it into a double-layer sheet and sealing the bubble from above the film.More

Tissue engineering scaffolds formed by pseudo-negative voltage electrospinning
SPE Plastics Research Online
Micro- and nanofibrous materials are used in numerous applications, including chemical engineering, health care and the military. Various techniques, including template synthesis, drawing, phase separation and electrospinning, have been developed to produce ultrafine polymeric fibers. Among these, electrospinning has received considerable attention because of its ease of operation and versatility.More

PET resin prices still soaring; PVC hikes smaller but ambitious
Plastics News
North American prices for PET bottle resin have continued their dizzying upward climb in early 2011. Average selling prices for suspension PVC also ended a flat period by climbing in March. Both the PET and PVC moves are reflected on this week’s Plastics News resin pricing chart. PET prices shot up an average of 8 cents per pound in February and another 5 cents per pound in March for a two-month leap of 13 cents per pound.More

Chicken feathers suggested as basis for plastics
BBC News
The millions of tons of chicken feathers discarded each year could be used in plastics, researchers say. A study reported at the American Chemical Society meeting in the U.S. suggests feathers could lead to more environment-friendly, lighter plastics. The chemical recipe requires significantly less petroleum-derived material. More

Ohio man recycles used cigarette filters into new plastic products
The Columbus Dispatch
Blake Burich of Dublin, Ohio, has patented a way to recycle cigarette filters into car parts and products made out of recycled plastics. He mixes them with different solvents to create plastics that range from rigid to highly flexible. It's still largely a part-time operation in which friends with chemical-engineering experience and other expertise are his partners.More

Germans create self healing rubbers, plastics inspired by nature
Dr. Anke Nellesen, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology in Germany, was fascinated by caoutchouc tree hevea brasiliensis and plants that conduct latex, such as the Weeping Benjamin. Millions of years of evolution yielded a highly specialized response to wounding in these trees. When attacked by insects or suffering other mechanical damage, the trees emitted a thick mess of latex particles. More

Plastics in automotive engineering: Next weeks difficult, but long-term outlook still bright
Plastics Today
In 1970, plastic parts accounted for only about 5 percent of a car's total weight. Those of us who burned ourselves on metal dashboards and steering wheels won't argue with that number. Today, it's more like 15 percent, and the chance of the percentage climbing even higher is almost a given.More

Healthcare product and recycling companies to collaborate
Waste Management World
Eight health care, recycling and waste management companies have come together to form a technical coalition seeking to inspire and enable sustainable, cost effective recycling solutions for plastic products and materials used in the delivery of health care.More

Agilyx attracts cash for turning plastics to oil
You've heard of turning recycled plastic bottles into floor carpeting or clothing. How about back into oil? Tigard, Oregon-based Agilyx said that it has raised $22 million in a series B round to further develop a process for converting plastics into a synthetic oil, which can be refined for transportation fuel or used to make plastic or other oil-based goods.More

Plastics supply mega-merger as Solvay buys Rhodia
Plastics Today
A huge merger in the ranks of plastics suppliers is set to take place as Solvay, which includes a broad range of high-end thermoplastics in its portfolio plus PVC and fluoropolymers, has launched a friendly cash offer for 100 percent of the share capital of Rhodia, which among other products markets engineering plastic compounds based on polyamide 6.6.More

First polymer solar-thermal device heats home, saves money
Science Daily
A new polymer-based solar-thermal device is the first to generate power from both heat and visible sunlight — an advance that could shave the cost of heating a home by as much as 40 percent. Geothermal add-ons for heat pumps on the market today collect heat from the air or the ground. This new device uses a fluid that flows through a roof-mounted module to collect heat from the sun while an integrated solar cell generates electricity from the sun's visible light.More

Plastics company molds bright future in Massachusetts
The Boston Globe
S&E Specialty Polymers in Lunenberg, Mass., has enjoyed amazing growth since owner Steven Graham paid $9 million in 2004 for the facilities and intellectual properties. The father and son team of Charles and Gary Gitto, and four company officials, were indicted for fraud after the company declared bankruptcy in 2004. "It's important to us to let the community know we are here," said Shooltz, the chief operating officer for S&E. "We are a debt-free company and very stable and enjoy employing local people."More