SPE Industry Update
Jul. 25, 2012

The buzz about finding new allotropes
Chemistry World
Researchers in China have homed in on possible new allotropes of carbon, silicon and germanium using a particle swarm structure search technique. The discovery could lead to novel materials with as yet unknown properties and potential applications as well as explaining spectroscopic data that has puzzled chemists for decades.More

Development of smart heat sink composites using hybrid fillers
SPE Plastics Research Online
Heat dissipation efficiency is a critical parameter in the design of electrical circuits. If the amount of heat generated in electrical devices is allowed to accumulate, it is significant enough to cause irreversible damage. Even if circuits are below temperatures that cause damage, thermal cycling may cause fatigue and reduce the overall device lifespan, thereby underscoring the importance of efficient heat transfer in electronic materials.More

Polymer foams with tailored electrical conductivity using multiwall carbon nanotubes
SPE Plastics Research Online
Plastics are natural electrical insulators, which can be a drawback in certain instances as they may suffer from electrostatic charge build-up, for example. Incorporating carbon nanotubes into various plastics has been shown to effectively increase the electrical conductivity of the resulting material several orders of magnitude — an insulator-to-conductor transition — as described by the percolation theory.More

Chemicals, plastics are the hottest industries in America's cities
Business Insider
A new report on the metropolitan economies in the U.S. notes that the chemicals industry has been a major source of growth in America. The industry surge this decade in investment, jobs and incomes has been largely spurred by low natural gas prices. The report also includes tables where one can find all of the chemicals and plastics manufacturing jobs across all U.S. metro areas.More

Graphene defects tracked as they creep and climb
Researchers in the U.K. and Japan have succeeded in tracking dislocations with unprecedented resolution as the defects move through graphene — a sheet of carbon just one atom thick. The work may help scientists better understand plasticity in 2-D structures and how dislocation motion affects the mechanical properties of graphene and other technologically important materials.More

New type of chemical bond may form in extreme magnetic fields of stars
Ars Technica
Bonds between atoms are electrical in character: Atoms share electrons or mutually ionize, creating an attractive force binding them together. However, researchers are suggesting that it may be possible to generate magnetic bonds, resulting in stable molecules of different types than exist on Earth. While these molecules can't be produced with our strongest laboratory magnets, they could form in the extreme magnetic fields near white dwarfs and neutron stars, and their unique spectral signatures may make them visible through observations.More

Transparent solar cells for windows generate electricity
University of California, Los Angeles via R&D Magazine
UCLA researchers have developed a new transparent solar cell that is an advance toward giving windows in homes and other buildings the ability to generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside. The team describes a new kind of polymer solar cell that produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, not visible light, making the cells nearly 70 percent transparent to the human eye.More

Biowert launches grass-based bio-plastic
European Plastics News
Germany-based Biowert is using grass from local farmers to make a new range of zero environmental impact products, including a bio-plastic. The company has created AgriPlastic, a bio-plastic that the company claims is 25 percent lighter than competing materials.More

New EU standard launched to boost use of post-consumer plastics
A new Europe-wide certification and audit scheme has been launched that implements the existing CEN standard 15343 on post-consumer plastics recycling. It follows two years of work by plastics converters, recyclers and collectors to develop the EuCertPlast scheme.More

Inventor turns plastic trash into liquid gold
A Filipino inventor has found a way to turn plastic waste into fuel for vehicles. Jayme Navarro is not claiming to have invented the process but he says, in the Philippines where landfills are the size of large hills, it's a practical solution to a major problem, Elly Park reports.More

Study: Nonrecycled plastics could serve as a valuable energy source
Plastics Today
Sometimes one person's trash is another person's treasure. The American Chemistry Council and University of Texas at Austin have released a new study highlighting how nonrecycled plastics can serve as a clean, abundant, affordable source of domestic energy. More

Researchers devise a way to a create graphene transistor
Researchers in Germany appear to have found a way to create a monolithic graphene transistor, using a lithographic process applied to silicon carbide, a breakthrough that could lead to computers based on graphene chips, rather than those that use silicon.More

Plastics slim down electric car
Plastics News
Plastics are playing a role in helping a next-generation Japanese electric car slim down and extend its driving range 30 percent beyond current mass-produced electric vehicles. The SIM-WIL prototype car, made by Japanese technology development firm SIM Drive Corp., uses plastics in key components like the in-wheel motor and as a film replacement for circuit boards.More