SPE Industry Update
April 6, 2011

Stronger financial conditions favor rise in mergers and acquisitions
Plastics News
The recovery of the market for plastics mergers and acquisitions is expected to continue in 2011 — even in the face of some slight headwinds. "Gross domestic product has recovered from late 2008 and 2009," investment professional David West said at the Plastics News Executive Forum, held March 7-9. "There aren't clouds on the horizon, but there aren't completely clear skies either."More

Copper alloy injection-mold tooling
SPE Plastics Research Online
Injection molding is a cyclic process in which a polymer is melted, injected into a cavity, solidified, and then ejected when it reaches a sufficiently low temperature to maintain its integrity. The cooling and solidification stages of this process are important, since they have direct effects on product quality and cycle time. Part mass, dimensions, and mechanical properties—such as tensile, flexural and impact strength — are all influenced by the polymer morphology, which is in turn dictated by the rate of cooling. Despite its importance, optimization of the cooling phase is often overlooked.More

Survivability design of composite wave-energy converters
SPE Plastics Research Online
In the context of the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project Sustainable Economically Efficient Wave Energy Converter, our Mechanics of Materials and Structures research group designed a wave-energy device made of composite materials. Such devices consist of a floating structure that is very similar to an oil platform, with a number of floating point absorbers ('buoys') below the platform's deck. When a wave passes, these absorbers move up and down, and this vertical motion (relative to the damped motion of the platform) is converted into electricity.More

UBM Canon takes plastics group digital-only, folds print titles
UBM Canon announced recently they will be going exclusively online with their plastic industry media brands, with Plasticstoday.com leading the digital strategy. The new approach includes e-newsletters, virtual conferences and virtal tradeshows, webcasts and market-focused channels for Automotive & Mobility, Medical, Packaging and Electronics & Electrical.More

It's not hamburger. It's biodegradable plastic
Popular Science
Future petroleum-free plastic could be made from the ground-up bone and meat parts left over from the animal rendering process. Though it's not exactly vegan-friendly, it's not dependent on fossil fuel, and it's perhaps less awful than throwing all of this offal into landfills, which is what happens to most meat and bone meal, since it has been banned as livestock feed.More

Greener auto plastics are possible with bananas, pineapples
First, researchers from the University of Warwick developed a race car made from potatoes, carrots and chocolate. Now Brazilian scientists have found a way to turn fibers from pineapples, bananas, coconut shells and other plants into plastics that can be used in automobiles.More

Controlling material properties with 'smart plastics'
Darmstadt researchers plan to selectively control the properties of underlying materials utilizing thin, "smart," plastic films. For example, paper might be induced to release printing inks, if necessary, chemical reactions might be started and interrupted as required, or medications might be tailored to affect only certain parts of the body.More

Solar photovoltaic boom could double demand for PMMA film
Plastics Today
With its excellent UV resistance and clarity, high gloss, scratch resistance and superior outdoor weatherability, PMMA film is turning out to be an ideal candidate for one of the world's fast growing markets. According to a study by Andrew Eldib, president of Eldib Engineering and Research, a Berkeley Heights, N.J., consultancy, the demand for polymethyl methacrylate film in photovoltaic cells, as used to capture solar energy, is expected to more than double the current markets for these films. The overall market for solar photovoltaic installations has been growing at a rate of 30 percent per annum.More

Plastics production seen doubling in Gulf
Trade Arabia
By 2015 the production of the polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polystyrene in the Gulf region is expected to double to reach more than 23.6 million tons, said the organizers of an upcoming plastics summit in Dubai. The second GPCA Plastics Summit will take place at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City on April 4-6.More

Malaysian plastics firms see demand rise
Malaysia Star
Plastic packaging material manufacturers in the northern region expect demand for their products to rise this year as Japan begins its rebuilding process after the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated many towns. But the companies also fear that rising crude oil prices due to the uncertainties in the Middle East and a stronger ringgit will erode their gross margins.More

Tips for those considering a science career
The Charlotte Observer
Peter J. Feibelman, 68, is a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., working in solid-state physics. Basic Books recently published a revised edition of Feibelman's 1993 book, "A Ph.D. is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science." It offers valuable career advice to graduate students who are finishing their Ph.D.s and are considering postdoctoral training. Questions and answers have been edited.More