SPE Industry Update
May. 27, 2015

Soft-Touch Packaging: A Boost for Brands
By Sharon Derbyshire
When faced with revitalizing an iconic brand, Bayer wanted to differentiate itself from the competition with a package makeover. The company ultimately chose an oversized ergonomic cap for its aspirin and Aleve over-the-counter medications. The new cap — overmolded with thermoplastic elastomers — makes it easier for arthritis suffers to grip and get to the pain reliever inside. The easily-recognized caps with raised logo are preferred by consumers and are even endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation.More

Improving Polymer Blend Nanocomposite Films
SPE Plastics Research Online
The ability to tailor the properties of polymeric materials has led to the widespread use of polymer blends. However, their properties depend not only on the intrinsic properties of the different polymers constituting the blend, nor on their reciprocal amounts, but also on their chemical affinity. Differences in the chemical nature of the blend components can lead to incompatibility and result in disappointing properties.More

ORNL Researchers Develop Temperature-Controlled Shape-Memory Polymer
A research team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Washington State University and the University of Idaho has succeeded in developing a shape-memory polymer that can change from its original shape, through a sequence of temporary shapes, before finally returning back to its initial form. This shape transformation is controlled by temperature variations.More

Shape-Shifting Plastic
F&D Magazine
Not all plastics are created equal. Malleable thermoplastics can be easily melted and reused in products such as food containers. Other plastics, called thermosets, are essentially stuck in their final form because of cross-linking chemical bonds that give them their strength for applications such as golf balls and car tires.More

Impact of Lower Crude Prices on the Polyethylene Industry
Plastics Engineering
Crude oil prices collapsed from over $100/barrel to the mid-$40s, before stabilizing to about $60/barrel toward the end of February 2015. Further downward corrections are not excluded, with continued pressure from rising inventories — a key factor as of press time.More

Survey Reveals Concerns About Biodegradable Plastics
Plastics News
High prices, product availability and basic ignorance are hampering sales of biodegradable and bio-based plastics in the agricultural, forestry and landscaping sectors, according to a new survey. A poll conducted by Brilliant Little Planet, a Fakenham, England-based supplier of bio-based and biodegradable lawn and garden products, and Adapt Low Carbon Group, a management consulting group, found that while eight out of 10 respondents said they used biodegradable products, more than half felt the cost was too high.More

High-Performance PLA Polymer Blend Expands Bioplastics' Potential
Packaging Digest
Floreon’s patented polymer formulation yields PLA-based polymer blends suitable for thermoformed and injection-molded packaging that also show promise for film and blow-molding operations. Bioplastic technology company Floreon Transforming Packaging Ltd, Hull, U.K., has been granted a patent for Floreon, a biodegradable, polyester-based polymer blend of a standard bioplastic, polylactic acid. The patented technology yields a resin that is much tougher and easier to process than current materials and has the potential to expand the uses of bioplastics.More

Doping Graphene with Boron to Make Wearable Supercapacitors
The Engineer
A simple process for making flexible polymer supercapacitors could have implications for wearable electronics, according to researchers at Rice University in Texas. The process, which turns common polymers into graphene, may also have applications in catalysis and the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries and solar cells.More

Can Museums Save Decaying Plastic-Based Artworks?
Use of innovative new materials such as plastics, PVC, polyester, and polyurethane in contemporary art is creating some unique challenges for restaurateurs. The Guardian reports that research is being conducted by London's Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Imperial College and University College London to come up with solutions to the challenges posed by the conservation of 20th century artworks made from plastics.More

Plastics Used to Build New Bridges
Plastics News
After a brush fire scorched a wooden bridge that's part of the Sandia Mountains trail system in New Mexico, state officials looked for a low-upkeep, fast fix that wouldn’t become ready tinder in the recreation area near Albuquerque.More

Solvay to develop all-plastic engine for concept car
Plastics Today
Chemical company Solvay is developing an all-plastic automotive engine called the Polimotor 2 which will be put to the test in 2016 when the four-cylinder, double-overhead CAM engine will be fitted in a Norma M-20 concept car to compete at the racing of Lime Rock Park, Connecticut.More

California May Ban Microbeads By 2020
Plastics News
The California Assembly passed a bill that would ban the sale of products containing plastic microbeads by 2020. The measure (AB 888) still needs the approval of the state’s senate and governor, but is expected to move through the legislative process relatively easily and with bipartisan support. Although California would not represent the first statewide microbead ban, it would be the most populous state to take it on.More

6 of the Nation's Largest School Districts Dump Polystyrene Trays
The Washington Post
Six of the largest U.S. school districts have pooled their collective purchasing power to make significant changes to school lunch, and they’re starting by jettisoning the polystyrene tray. The Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition that includes the school systems of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando, has commissioned a school lunch dish that is made from recycled newsprint and can be turned into compost after use.More

Who Are the Plastics Industry's Leading Women?
Plastics News
There are plenty of talented women owners, executives and managers in the plastics industry and this year, Plastics News is shining a light on this key segment of the plastics industry, with a July 20 special report on Women in Plastics.More

L'Oreal to Start 3-D-Printing Skin
BBC News
French cosmetics firm L'Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3-D-print human skin. It said the printed skin would be used in product tests. Organovo has already made headlines with claims that it can 3-D-print a human liver but this is its first tie-up with the cosmetics industry.More

Sustainability Pledges Help Push Recycling Forward Even as Prices Dip
Plastics News
These days plastics recycling shares something in common with Mark Twain, says the head of one group deeply involved in the industry. “The rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, despite the months-long trend of lower oil prices.More