SPE Industry Update
Nov. 9, 2011

Edinburgh atom weaving could strengthen plastic
BBC News
Weaving threads of atoms into star-shapes could produce lighter, stronger plastics, according to scientists. Edinburgh University researchers have managed to tie molecules into complex knots which they said could give materials "exceptional versatility." Working on a scale, which is 80,000 times smaller than a hair's breadth, the team has woven threads of atoms. They have been creating building blocks of materials which are flexible and potentially shock absorbent.More

Bioplastic nano-reinforcement extracted from phormium leaf fibers
SPE Plastics Research Online
Biodegradable polymer resins, such as poly(lactic) acid (PLA), are increasingly being used for industrial applications because of growing environmental concerns. However, these plastics have several drawbacks—such as poor strength, stiffness, and toughness as well as high cost—that limit their use compared to petroleum-based plastics like polyethylene terephthalate.More

Effect of ceramic filler on photopolymerized barium-titanate acrylic composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Ferroelectric materials such as barium titanate (BaTiO3) and PZT (lead zirconate titanate) exhibit piezoelectric behavior that favors their use in ultracapacitors for energy storage, transducers, piezosensors and hydrophones. Combining these ferroelectric ceramics and a polymer host (matrix) results in flexible composites with functional dielectric (insulating) and piezoelectric properties.More

DME accepting applications for 2012 Spring semester scholarship Program
DME Company
DME Company, a leading manufacturer of mold technologies, is now accepting applications for the DME Plastics University® Scholarship Program. The program is designed to support the plastics industry by ensuring the availability of a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce. The program's two components – a Student Scholarship and a Continuing Education Support Scholarship – provide funds to support students interested in plastics-related careers as well as to advance the skills of DME customers working in moldmaking and plastics.More

Plastics Environmental Council questions California lawsuit
Plastics News
A consortium that is working to develop a standard that plastic products can meet to be called biodegradable says it does not understand the timing of a lawsuit about biodegradable containers filed by the state of California. The lawsuit was filed in late October charging Enso Plastics and two companies that sell bottled water with making false claims about biodegradability.More

Saudi SABIC sees moderate 2012 growth
Saudi Basic Industries' (SABIC) venture capital arm is looking at acquisitions of up to $100 million for the new business, its chief executive said recently, and has already made a few purchases in Europe and the United States. Mohammed al-Mady also said the petrochemicals giant, one of the world's largest chemicals firms by market value, expected to see moderate growth in 2012 on the heels of record quarterly results so far this year.More

Sustainability drive hits European plastic packaging growth
Food Production Daily
Despite a market recovery following the 2008-2009 recession, demand for European food and beverage packaging in specific areas is being hit by "structural changes" including the sustainability trend. Applied Market Information drew this conclusion in a new research report, which notes that European plastic converters are also suffering from the high cost and poor availability of essential raw materials.More

Recycled plastics enter rooftop solar energy market
American Recycler
The green community likes nothing better than integrating recycled materials into renewable energy and sustainability projects. It's a double-down sustainable solution that appeals to solar developers, public utility commissions, community sponsors and, most of all, to commercial and residential buyers. That's one reason why more rooftop photovoltaic panels are being mounted on plastic bases using both 100 percent recycled high density polyethylene and mixes of virgin and recycled resins. More

Making the case for sustainability
Packaging Digest
Sustainability is more than just a buzzword; it's a permanent part of packaging industry vocabulary. Consumers clamor for greener packaging more each day. Corporations are setting lofty sustainability goals-Procter & Gamble, for example, recently announced its aim to use 25 percent renewable or recycled materials for all of its packaging by 2020.More

Turkey's overall plastics imports come down slightly in September
Data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute show that Turkey's overall plastics imports came down slightly for the month of September, with the country having imported 319,000 tons of polymers in that month. On a yearly basis, however, the country's overall imports reached the highest figure seen for the month going back to 2001.More

Electric vehicle charging stations prompt search for new plastics
Plastics Today
As new and upcoming international standards look at the charging electronics, connector types, and communications on the insides of electric vehicle charging stations, charger manufacturers are turning towards plastics as they take different approaches to developing covers for the outside. Outdoors, charging stations must remain durable in northeastern Europe's icy winter weather as well as heat resistant in the southwest deserts of the United States.More

Plastics sustain world's billions, BPF tells government
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
With the world's population slated to top 7 billion Oct. 31, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) has urged world governments to recognize the role plastic plays in helping human survival. The BPF said the use of plastics was "key to supporting population growth and raising the hopes of deprived people."More

Study finds nonrecycled plastics can fuel alternative energy industry
Recycling Today
A new study conducted by the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University, New York, and sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, Washington, D.C., has found that converting the nonrecycled plastics that are currently landfilled each year in the United States to energy using currently available technologies could provide at least enough energy to fuel 6 million cars annually. More

Medical Musings: Why medical plastics are booming
Plastics Today
It seems that major announcements are made almost weekly of a company's or organization's increased commitment to the medical plastics field. Most recently, BASF announced new investments in its Tarrytown, N.Y., R&D center, new grades, and new production capability. Small wonder. The Conference Board is predicting an anemic 1.1 percent growth rate in the U.S. GDP next year, and a not-much-better 2.1 percent in 2013.More

Bending light: Polymer composites with tunable index of refraction
An ideal optical material would be one that can precisely guide light without losing a drop of it. Such a material would be invaluable for photonics applications from light detection, telecommunications, information processing, lighting, to metrology, spectroscopy, holography, and medicine. Writing online in the Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Physics, Natalie Stingelin and coworkers demonstrate that achieving this does not necessarily require costly and time-consuming processing.More

European polyethylene converters seek to trace ethylene's fall for November contract prices
European polyethylene converter sources this week said they were seeking contract price reductions in November, tracing a fall in the feedstock ethylene. The European ethylene CP fully settled last week at Eur1,095/mt ($1,510/mt) FD NWE, a fall of Eur20/mt on the back on softer naphtha costs and a slow ethylene-derivative offtake. More