SPE Industry Update
Aug. 3, 2011

ANTEC 2011: Diverse views in changing times
SPE
Visitors to Boston's Hynes Convention Center can see a skyline that reveals the city's diversity and development over centuries—from its oldest church spires and red-brick residential buildings to its ultra-modern skyscrapers. It was a fitting view for this year's ANTEC®, given how the amazing diversity of plastics, developed over just a few decades, was so obvious at the event. This concept of "change over time" was explicit in the ANTEC speech, "Embracing Change," of newly installed 2011–2012 SPE President Russell C. Broome.

This article also appears in the July-August 2011 issue of Plastics Engineering magazine.More

Entangling additives enhance polypropylene foam quality
SPE Plastics Research Online
Linear polypropylene (PP)—composed of long polymer chains devoid of branches or crosslinked structure—and blends of PP with olefinic elastomers are widely used in the automotive and packaging industries. What makes foams produced with these materials of growing interest is their potential to replace the prevalent thermoset polyurethane foams which are not recyclable.More

Mechanical properties and deformation behavior of plastic blends
SPE Plastics Research Online
Many common thermoplastics are too stiff by themselves, limiting their commercial applications. Such polymers can be copolymerized with an elastic polymer such that the material is toughened under strain, a process known as rubber toughening. Macroscopically, the matrix toughness, composition and concentration of rubber, rubber particle size, particle and matrix adhesion, as well as matrix ligament thickness (matrix thickness between neighboring rubber particles) all affect the capacity of rubber-toughened polymers to absorb energy without fracturing.More

Dow, Saudi Aramco approve $20 billion petrochemical project
Bloomberg
Dow Chemical Co. and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said they will proceed with a $20 billion petrochemical plant at the Saudi port of Jubail as the world’s largest crude-oil exporter tries to diversify its economy. The joint venture, Sadara Chemical Co., will have capacity to make more than 3 million metric tons of chemicals a year, the companies said in a statement.More

Chemical additive protects plastics from rats
Design News
Do you need to protect products from rats? If so, there is an important new tool to add to your specifications arsenal. PolyOne, a plastics compounder based in Avon Lake, Ohio, is offering a product called OnCap, an anti-termite/anti-rodent additive concentrate. It provides an alternative to metallic armor, glass roving, or special engineering polymers such as polyamide 12, which are often adopted to protect cables from hostile animal or insect environments.More

Prices fall for polyethyene, polypropylene and PET resins
Plastics News
A summer heat wave has melted North American prices for polyethylene, polypropylene and PET bottle resin. Since July 1, average selling prices for high, low and linear low density PE in the region are down 3 cents per pound, according to buyers and market watchers contacted recently by Plastics News.More

Study: Beer-in-PET market to reach 7.7 billion bottles by 2015
Canadian Plastics
Despite wobbles in some regional markets, global PET beer bottle consumption is forecast to grow at an annual growth rate of more than five per cent to reach 7.7 billion bottles by 2015, according to a new study published by market research firm Pira International.More

Cheap plastic made from sugarcane
MIT Technology Review
Making plastic from sugar can be just as cheap as making it from petroleum, says Dow Chemical. The company plans to build a plant in Brazil that it says will be the world's largest facility for making polymers from plants. The project will begin with the construction of a 240-million-liter ethanol plant, a joint venture with Mitsui, that is set to begin later this year.More

BASF seeks to expand presence in Mideast
Gulf Daily News
BASF will significantly expand its presence in the Middle East by building a state-of-the-art plant for customer specific antioxidant blends at the Bahrain International Investment Park. BASF is a global chemical company with a portfolio ranging from chemicals, plastics, performance and agricultural products to oil and gas.More

Braskem buys Dow's PP business
Plastics Today
Long rumored but finally realized, Dow Chemical Co. announced the sale of its polypropylene business to Brazilian plastics and petrochemical giant Braskem for $323 million, cementing that company's bid to become a global player in polyolefins and continuing Dow's push to center its commodity business on resins where it has a feedstock advantage, namely polyethylene.More

Formosa Plastics USA doubles its expansion project
The Taiwan Economic News
Formosa Plastics USA will expand the annual capacity of ethylene of its naphtha cracking complex by 800,000 metric tons, from the original plan of 450,000 metric tons, with the investment amount exceeding $1.5 billion, much higher than the $900 million originally, said Li Chih-tsun, chairman of Formosa Plastics, recently.More

Axion, Vertech to build plastic bridge
Recycling Today
Axion International, New Providence, N.J., has received a purchase order from Vertech Ltd., for the sale of Axion's Recycled Structural Composite material. The RSC will be used to make a plastic bridge in Scotland. Axion says the sale is the first of its kind outside the United States. Axion's business partner Sicut Holding Ltd. helped secure the details of the deal between the two companies.More

Mexico trade group to promote plastics in newspapers
Plastics News
Anipac, Mexico's plastics sector association, plans to publicize its 50th anniversary this year with a paid-for supplement about the industry in several newspapers owned by the Grupo Reforma media company, of Monterrey, northern Mexico. Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC) is inviting companies to sponsor the supplement by buying advertising space or editorial coverage about themselves.More

Rapid prototyping accelerates vehicle development at GM
Plastics Today
Rapid prototyping is increasingly helping General Motors accelerate the creative process and reduce the time and money spent on clay modeling and molding of expensive prototype parts for aerodynamic, test track, and on-road evaluations, effectively doubling testing capacity for the OEM over the last two years.More

Fine-tuning the band gaps of polymers for solar cells
Solar Novus Today
Researchers from the Institute of Polymer Optoelectronic Materials & Devices at the South China University of Technology, Guangzhou and the University of Hong Kong, have shown that the band gap and energy levels of conjugated polymers can be finely tuned using a donor-n-acceptor molecular design. This tuning ability is important for improving polymer solar cells.More