SPE Industry Update
May. 23, 2012

Green chemistry for polymers
Plastemart
In the long term, industry will have to find substitutes for fossil fuels as supplies diminish and costs rise. So what is a sustainable resource for synthesis of conventional plastics? At Green Polymer Chemistry 2012 in Cologne, Germany, AMI brought together experts from agriculture, chemical engineering, biotechnology, the polymer industry and sustainability managers from brand owners and the automotive sector to hear all the angles on this topic.More

Thermal stabilization of polyacrylonitrile fibers
SPE Plastics Research Online
For both economic and environmental reasons, cars and airplanes need to increase their fuel efficiency. Consequently, a major incentive exists for developing carbon-fiber-reinforced, polymer-matrix composite construction materials characterized by low cost, corrosion resistance, light weight, high strength and modulus for use in a wide range of applications in the aerospace and automotive industries, among others. More

Capillary flow of low-density polyethylene
SPE Plastics Research Online
In rheometry, capillaries are used to study the rheology (flow behavior) of polymer melts. One of the most important plastics for industrial applications is low-density polyethylene, which is used in a wide variety of plastic products. Low-density polyethylene melts in capillary flow show large vortices and high-pressure drops due to the highly viscoelastic nature of the melt and the pressure dependence of the viscosity. More

Research may improve the efficiency of the biofuel production cycle
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via PhysOrg
Using new experimental methods and computational analysis, a team of scientists from the Joint BioEnergy Institute, led by Lawrence Livermore's Michael Thelen, discovered how certain bacteria can tolerate manmade toxic chemicals used in making biofuels.More

Where is the plastics industry today and where is it headed?
Team1 Plastics
VideoBrief Troy Nix, director of Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors, discusses where the plastics industry is today and its future. Plastic processors are optimistic about the future and are looking to hire and expand their operations, according to results from recent economic surveys completed by MAPP. Nix has a unique perspective as the director of MAPP because he talks to a variety of plastic processors on a daily basis.More

Report: Steel to lead lightweighting efforts in transportation sector
Plastics Today
While carbon fiber and nanomaterials tend to gain all the hype, other advanced structural materials such as magnesium and advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) will have a greater impact on efficient energy usage in the transportation sector, according to a recent report by Lux Research. More

US trade office in China wants to boost American plastics exports
Plastics News
A U.S. government trade promotion office in China is focusing on plastics as one of its industries to try to boost American exports to the country, as part of a federal government initiative to double U.S. exports worldwide. The U.S. Commercial Service office in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou says it is has identified plastics-related exports to the Chinese market as a target, and is putting more resources and staff time toward helping American firms in the sector.More

A rough patch for plastics in Europe
Recycling Today
Plastics markets are finding some challenges moving into the summer. The economic doldrums that are plaguing Europe are having a spillover effect on markets for a host of plastic scrap grades in Europe. Exacerbating the problems with supplying European plastic scrap consumers has been the demand for various grades of plastic scrap by Chinese consumers of the material.More

'Life-saving' medical applications get priority in elastomer force majeure
Plastics Today
Arkema feels confident it can continue to meet demands to medical customers "for life-saving applications" of Pebax elastomer although customers in other markets, such as sporting goods and automotive, will need to use "extremely close" alternatives. A force majeure on Pebax was declared due to the recent explosion at an Evonik plant that produced cyclododecatriene (CDT), a raw material used to produce lactam 12.More

New microfluidic polymer to monitor glucose levels
API via AZoNano
Engineers at the National University of Singapore and Singapore's Institute of Microeletronics have developed a noninvasive technique to monitor glucose levels. Glucose is vital for the body because cells derive their energy from glucose. But an overdose of glucose could be detrimental as high levels of glucose result in undesirable changes to the inherent structure of a cell.More

Polymer gel squeezes and strains like an intestine
Royal Society of Chemistry
VideoBrief A reaction best known for the attractive swirling patterns it produces in a Petri dish is more than just a pretty face, chemists in Japan have shown. The researchers have found that the oscillating chemical waves of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction are strong enough to carry a cargo, driving it along a length of smart polymer tubing using contractions — just like an intestine. More

New 'metamaterial' practical for optical advances
Purdue University via PhysOrg
Purdue University researchers have taken a step toward overcoming a key obstacle in commercializing "hyperbolic metamaterials," structures that could bring optical advances including ultrapowerful microscopes, computers and solar cells. The researchers have shown how to create the metamaterials without the traditional silver or gold previously required.More

New study changes existing beliefs on polymer structure in bacterial cytoskeleton
ICHF via AZoM
A study conducted by a research team from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, has changed the existing beliefs about the structure of polymers that forms bacterial cytoskeleton. Researchers have used an advanced measurement technique to describe the reasons for errors in the paste estimations. More

Determining the critical tearing energy of thin polymer films
Agilent Technologies via AZoNano
The interest in thin polymer films is increasing in the biological sciences and semiconductor packaging, as well as their popular application as packaging materials. Researchers are also showing interest in studying mechanical stresses and fracture behavior in soft biological materials.More

Plutonium signature captured after 50 years of trying
New Scientist
Devoted fans can wait hours on the red carpet to get their favorite movie star's autograph, but that's nothing compared to acquiring the signature of plutonium-239. After 50 years of trying, physicists have finally managed to analyse the fissile isotope using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This could potentially allow them to develop improved methods for storing waste from nuclear power plants.More

Could an invisibility cloak actually exist?
Mother Nature Network
Science has given us glimpses, as it were, of how anti-detection technologies might be possible. But full-fledged invisibility cloaks like those of science fiction and fantasy remain quite a ways off. Nevertheless, research into rendering objects invisible has made leaps and bounds just in the last several years. Partial cloaks that work like sophisticated camouflage — much like the shimmering distortion of the Predator alien in the 1987 movie of the same name — might be more realistically achievable, researchers said.More