SPE Industry Update
Oct. 10, 2012

Fiber-reinforced plastics being developed for series production
Fraunhofer via AZoM
New approaches are needed for vehicle construction. While vehicles to date have mostly been built using metals such as aluminum and steel, the approaching era of electromobility will require light-weight construction. Increasingly, metals in cars and airplanes are being replaced by fiber-reinforced plastics. Producing these materials using tape laying offers several advantages. Scientists are now working on readying this technology for use in series production. More

Meta-aramid fibers with liquid crystalline properties form stronger composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Aramid fibers are widely used as reinforcing fibers for plastics and elastomers. However, the lack of active functional groups and the high crystallinity of the fiber surface makes aramid fibers so chemically inert and smooth that the interfacial adhesion strength between the fibers and the matrices is very poor. Therefore, it is necessary to study surface modification methods to improve the interfacial adhesion strength. At present, various approaches to modifying aramid fiber surfaces have been adopted, including physical and chemical treatments.More

Kinetic degradation of hybrid polymer nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Since the advent of nanotechnology, many studies have been performed to obtain and understand nanostructured polymers. From the perspective of macromolecular science, it is important to quantify the thermal behavior of polymer nanocomposites. One of the most studied nanoparticles is polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane. Its monomers are hybrid compounds that have an inorganic nucleus containing silicon atoms that is surrounded by organic groups.More

Plastics play key role in solar aircraft global circumnavigation
Plastics Today
Bayer MaterialScience is expanding its contribution to the Solar Impulse project — an unprecedented around-the-world flight powered solely by solar energy scheduled for take-off in 2015. The company is responsible for the complete design of the cockpit shell of the second, improved model. Among its contributions will be an innovative, extremely high-performance insulating material.More

Polyethylene to see more use during switch to 1-piece caps
Plastics News
The one-piece cap is coming to America. In the U.S., processors use injected molded, high-density polyethylene closures to cap water bottles. However, carbonated soft drinks and hot-fill applications are usually topped with compression molded, two-piece closures — an outer polypropylene shell and a liner, usually made from ethylene vinyl acetate. The U.S. preference for two-piece caps is unique — one-piece closures are common on soft drinks in other locations, primarily Europe and Asia — and the market’s tastes are starting to shift, according to experts.More

Graphene coating stops corrosion 100 times better
Monash University via Futurity
Extremely thin graphene films can make copper almost 100 times more resistant to corrosion, research shows. In a paper published in the September issue of Carbon, researchers from Monash University and Rice University say their findings could mean paradigm changes in the development of anti-corrosion coatings.More

Is earning ISO worth money?
Plastics News
There was a time when it was a significant achievement and honor for a company to acquire ISO certification/registration. Unfortunately, it has since metamorphosed from an ethical standardizations process to a profit-driven system controlled by a monopoly supposedly overseeing all major registration companies. In short, the fundamental principles of quality went from an esteemed achievement to one that can be bought. Is this quality? Or quality out of control?More

Green matter: Is whey the way to go?
Plastics Today
Bio-based materials come from numerous different sources. Examples abound of materials derived from starch, sugar, castor oil, lignin — you name it. What hadn't been used, at least not up until now, was whey. Whey is a by-product of cheese making that is formed when the cheese curds separate from the milk or cream and that is available in large quantities. The idea arose that it could be put to good use by turning it into a sustainable barrier film coating.More

New biorefinery could turn Starbucks coffee grounds and stale muffins into bioplastics
Instead of throwing out the thousands of tons of old coffee grounds and stale bakery goods generated by coffeehouses every day of the week, what if those same substances became the raw feedstock for producing renewable biofuels or plastics? That's what a research project is setting out to explore, thanks to a collaboration between researchers at City University of Hong Kong and their neighboring Starbucks stores.More

New superconductors are both ordinary yet odd
Chemistry World
Two new superconducting materials have been created: One's unconventional, while the other is more conventional except for one difference, it doesn't contain any transition metals. While the materials' origins and characteristics are quite different, both have layered structures, suggesting a new avenue for superconductivity research.More

Engen Petroleum enters plastics industry
Engen Petroleum, South Africa's petrochemical brand and marketer of petroleum products has announced its entry into the plastics industry by launching a new business within its chemicals and special products portfolio. Operating under the radar for the past three years, the polymer team has reported steady volumes growth in an extremely competitive environment.More