SPE Industry Update
Mar. 18, 2015

Smart Polymer Applications Entering Mainstream Markets
By Don Rosato
Properties inherent in shape memory polymers and other smart polymers have the potential to be game-changers across many industries. In the automotive field, these advanced materials may eventually lead to vehicle subsystems that can self-heal in the event of damage, or that can be designed to change color or appearance. In the medical field, smart polymers are being chemically formulated to sense specific environmental changes in biological systems and adjust in a predictable manner.More

Eco-Molding: More Power for Less Energy
Plastics Engineering
For years injection molding machine makers have touted savings of 30 percent, 50 percent, and even more in energy cost. But OEMs typically calculate energy savings by comparing new efficient machine functions to old-fashioned hydraulics in which standard induction electric motors run at constant RPM. These power one or more hydraulic pumps, running constantly, even when the machine is idling. The big energy savings come from reducing that unnecessary motion by adding servo motors to hydraulic pumps and variable frequency drives to electric motors, so they only turn when needed.More

Recycling Equipment Makers to Show Technology for Sustainability
Plastics News
Never has recycling been more at the forefront of the world’s consciousness, and that’s certainly is the case for plastics recovery and recycling. While moms and pops and kids do their part by diverting their recyclables from the trash, and waste management companies do their part by collecting and sorting those materials, the entire recycling community is interdependent on each portion of the process.More

New Carbon Progress from BASF and SGL
SGL and BASF have successfully completed a joint project to enhance the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing carbon fiber/thermoplastic composites in injection procedures – specifically thermoplastic resin transfer and reaction injection molding. The resulting composite is based on a reactive polyamide system and compatible with carbon fibers. A carbon-fiber surfacing agent – or sizing – specially designed for the matrix system, as well as tailored thermoplastic reactive systems means that lightweight structural components for the automotive industry can now be manufactured quickly and easily.More

Weak US Factory Data Suggest Softer Economic Growth
U.S. manufacturing output fell in February for the third straight month as the production of automobiles and a range of goods tumbled, the latest indication of slower economic growth in the first quarter. Factory production slipped 0.2 percent after declining 0.3 percent in January, the Federal Reserve said on Monday.More

Polyurethane Adhesive Can Replace Epoxies
Engineering Materials
Polytec PU 1000 is a single-part adhesive which cures quickly at room temperature to a flexible, electrically conductive polymer. It can replace traditional, rigid epoxies, says Intertronics, which require thermal processing. The resulting production efficiencies enable new applications where pliability and conductivity is important. More

Results of Michigan Study into Biodegradation-Promoting Additives Evoke Incensed Response
Plastics Today
It was not to be expected that the results of the study performed at Michigan State University into the effect of biodegradation-promoting additives on the biodegradation of PE and PET would be greeted with any enthusiasm by the manufacturers of these additives. The Michigan researchers, who evaluated biodegradation in compost, anaerobic digestion, and soil burial environments, were singularly unimpressed by the performance of the tested additives. As they wrote: "None of the five different additives tested significantly increased biodegradation in any of these environments. Thus, no evidence was found that these additives promote and/or enhance biodegradation of PE or PET polymers."More

Efficient, Profitable Recycling
Plastics Engineering
The plastics recycling industry continues to look for ways to improve and grow. Companies are developing more efficient processes that turn out better products, save money, or recycle specialty materials such as bio-based plastics. Education is also helping to unify the industry.More

UC Berkeley Showcases World's 1st 3-D-Printed Cement Structure
Global Post
Researchers with University of California at Berkeley have unveiled the first-ever structure made solely from printed cement pieces, so as to demonstrate the capacity and versatility of 3-D printers. The research team, led by associate architecture professor Ronald Rael at Berkeley's Environmental Design (CED) College, created the small pavilion known as "Bloom" in one year, to prove that this type of technology can go a long way. The structure was built by printing 840 bricks of cement and then assembled them together.More

Biofuels and Chemicals that Don't Cut into the Food Supply
Emma Master's team spent the last two years studying plant cell walls, the part of the cell that gives trees and other flora their structural strength. The wall itself is built from a tight complex of sugars and polymers, and Master wants to isolate these components so they can be used to create renewable fuels, high-value chemicals, and novel bio-based materials.More

Injectable Polymer Curbs Blood Loss by Strengthening Clots
With uncontrolled bleeding the major cause of deaths on the battlefield, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed an injectable polymer that could stem bleeding and provide extra time to get the injured to medical care. Called PolySTAT, the new polymer stems blood loss by strengthening blood clots.More

PTFE-Modified Compounds Exhibit Wear Resistance Under High Loads
Comprising polymers lubricated with PTFE formulation, LUVOCOM XTF series provides low coefficient of friction while preserving mechanical performance. Benefits include short running-in behavior at start-up. Minimizing deposition in tool cavities, mechanical properties result in PTFE not separating from polymer during injection molding process. Currently available versions include LUVOCOM 1105-9098/XTF and 1105-9182/XTF, which are based on PEEK (polyetheretherketone) polymer.More

Brazilian Composites Stable in 2014
Reinforced Plastics
The Brazilian composites sector's revenue totaled U.S. $ 1.202 billion in 2014, down 0.1 percent compared to 2013 according to new data commissioned by the Latin American Composite Materials Association (ALMACO).More

Polymers Designed for Protection
Today's soldiers rely on polymers as part of their protective systems. Polymers are molecular chains that can vary from a few linked monomers to millions of chemical units. With highly tunable properties and versatile processing they have become ubiquitous in use. In the defense community polymer fibers are particularly well known, especially polyamide fibers such as Kevlar and Nomex and polyethylene fibers such as Dyneema and Spectra. By combining good ballistic protection with a minimal weight penalty these materials have become commonplace in Soldier protection systems.More

Digital Printing Launched as Alternative in Packaging
Plastics News
Australian packaging giant Pact Group has installed and commissioned a new digital printing platform it claims will revolutionize plastic packaging's decorations in Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne-based Pact Group Holdings Ltd. has exclusive access to the technology in Australia and New Zealand. It is licensed from Polytype Converting AG, in Fribourg, Switzerland.More

A Bottom for US Natural Gas Producers is in Sight
Crude oil is not the only energy commodity that has taken a beating over the last 12 months. U.S. spot natural gas prices, priced at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, closed Monday, March 9, at $2.72 per million British Thermal Units. U.S. spot natural gas is down by $2.05/MMBtu, or 43 percent, over the last 12 months. UNG, the natural gas ETF, fared even worse, declining by 46 percent over the last 12 months.More

Toilet Seat Aims to Clear the Air
Plastics and Rubber Weekly
A U.S. firm has designed a polypropylene toilet seat that's equipped with a deodorizer to flush away bad odors. Called Purefresh, the new product retails for $119. Powered by two batteries, the carbon filter can neutralize smells by itself for six months or be used in tandem with scent packs with scents such as "garden waterfall," "avocado spa" and "fresh laundry," which last about a month.More

Prices Fall for PET, Nylon and PC
Plastics News
Lower feedstock costs have driven down North American prices for PET bottle resin, nylon 6 and 6/6 and polycarbonate since Jan. 1. Regional PET bottle resin prices fell an average of 5 cents per pound in January and are believed to have been flat in February. The January drop is shown on this week’s Plastics News resin pricing chart. Prices for the material already had fallen an average of 11 cents per pound in the last two months of 2014 as prices for oil-based feedstocks fell and carbonated soft drink demand continued to decline.More

Small is Big When it comes to the World of Plastic Straws
Plastics News
A new injectable polymer developed by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle could help strengthen blood clots and save lives. PolySTAT can be injected into the patient on site to stop bleeding before reaching a full medical team at a hospital or trauma center. In a study on rats, researchers at UW found it saved 100 percent of animals with fatal injuries to the femoral artery. In comparison, just 20 percent of rats treated with a natural protein to help blood clot survived.More

Sensible US Action Needed for Recycling Plastics
The Hill
Around 80 percent of the United States population has access to some type of recycling program. These programs are widely available at our homes, businesses, and in public locations. Despite the ease of access to recycling, however, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that in 2011, less than 35 percent of U.S. households and 10 percent of businesses recycled.More