SPE Industry Update
Jul. 18, 2012

Plasmon chains act like polymers
Rice University via Futurity
Scientists have found that repeating patterns dictate the optical properties of nanoparticle arrays. The new research that seeks to establish points of reference between plasmonic particles and polymers could lead to smaller computer chips, better antennae and improvements in optical computing.More

Rotational molding of natural fibers and polyethylene composite materials
SPE Plastics Research Online
Rotational molding, or rotomolding, is a processing method for producing seamless, stress-free, one-piece hollow products that have significant advantages compared to traditional methods — extrusion or injection molding — such as fewer design constraints, lower capital investment costs and greater flexibility. Natural fiber polymer composites were produced by a rotational molding process using agave fibers and linear medium-density polyethylene as raw materials.More

Titanium dioxide gives tougher rubber
SPE Plastics Research Online
The exceptional air impermeability of chlorobutyl rubber (CIIR) makes it the elastomer of choice for the inner tubes and liners of tires. While the tire market consumes the majority of its annual worldwide production, CIIR is also used in mechanical damping applications due to its high loss modulus, extended fatigue life and oxidative stability. Adding filler particles to CIIR makes it stronger and less permeable, and consequently suitable for new applications, including chemical protective clothing. More

Triboelectric generator captures power from plastic
Georgia Institute of Technology via R&D Magazine
Researchers have discovered yet another way to harvest small amounts of electricity from motion in the world around us — this time by capturing the electrical charge produced when two different kinds of plastic materials rub against one another. Based on flexible polymer materials, this triboelectric generator could provide alternating current from activities such as walking.More

Ethereal aerographite is lightest stuff ever made
New Scientist
Previous record holders include aerogel and metallic microlattice, but scientists have crowned a new lightest material ever created. Aerographite easily smashes the previous record. With a density of less than 0.2 mg/cm3, it is barely there at all. Its sparse nature means aerographite can be compressed by a factor of a thousand, only to spring back to its original size.More

Flattening nanotubes produces better graphene
Chemistry World
Scientists in China have flattened carbon nanotubes to improve the quality and yield of graphene. Since its isolation in 2004, graphene has become a worldwide phenomenon and, with its incredible properties, is expected to have a huge impact in various fields. However, one of the biggest obstacles to its widespread industrial use is large-scale production. More

DNA-type polymer for nanoelectronics
CORDIS via PhysOrg
Scientists and engineers often turn to nature for inspiration and clues on how to do things more efficiently and effectively. European researchers successfully induced self-assembly of a novel electrically conductive polymer with the double-helical structure of DNA.More

Report: India poised to become a polymers powerhouse
Plastics Today
India's growing population has driven the demand for polymers, however, it has not achieved its full potential, research analyst Ashok Pant said. According to a new report from GlobalData, India is currently the world's third largest consumer of polymers, behind China and the U.S., with a share of 5.7 percent of the 2011 global total — an increase from its 2000 share of 3.5 percent.More

China's plastics exports grow 34 percent
Plastics News
China's General Administration of Customs recently released half-year data, noting a trend of labor-intensive, manufactured products taking a smaller share of the nation's total exports. However, specific stats on plastics exports illustrate decent volume growth and rapid value growth. The year-on-year growth reached 8.5 percent for volume and 34.1 percent for value.More

'Artificial leaf' under the microscope
Chemistry World
Since Daniel Nocera at Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered a cobalt catalyst capable of splitting water, researchers have been trying to discover more about its structure and how it works. Now researchers have used new techniques to gain a better insight into the structure and mechanism of these types of catalysts and hope that their research might lead to further improvements in the field.More

Quantum-dot mixture could boost solar cells
A new way to extend the lifetimes of charge carriers in solar cells has been unveiled by researchers in Spain. The technique involves creating an aggregate of two different kinds of quantum dots, which can be made using low-cost solution-processing techniques. More

Reports say heat melting new polymer bank notes
Despite having more security features than you can shake a stick at, Canada's new polymer-based bank notes may have one weakness — the sweltering summer heat. Brittney Halldorson, a teller at the Interior Savings Credit Union in Kelowna, Canada, said the new $50 and $100 bills are supposed to withstand boiling water, but she has seen cases where several of the bills melted.More

US pouch demand growing 5.1 percent annually
Plastics News
U.S. demand for pouches should increase 5.1 percent annually and could reach nearly $9 billion by 2016, according to a new market study. U.S. demand will grow to $8.8 billion by 2016, compared to $6.8 billion in 2011, spurred by pouches' advantages in sustainability, function and marketing over alternative packaging.More