SPE Industry Update
Aug. 22, 2012

Crystals from chaos: Physicists observe new form of carbon
Carnegie Institution for Science via PhysOrg
A team of scientists has observed a new form of very hard carbon clusters, which are unusual in their mix of crystalline and disordered structure. The material is capable of indenting diamond. This finding has potential applications for a range of mechanical, electronic and electrochemical uses.More

Starch-filled polymer composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Degradable polymer composites have long been considered part of the solution to the environmental and waste management problems posed by extensive use of non-degradable polymeric materials. One of the most commonly used approaches to create such degradable composites is to incorporate starch into degradable synthetic polymers.More

Predicting layer rearrangement in extrusion
SPE Plastics Research Online
Extrusion is the process of pushing material through a die of desired cross section to arrive at a final part profile. When viscoelastic materials, such as polystyrene, polycarbonate or low-density polyethylene, are extruded, velocity components develop that are perpendicular to the primary flow direction within noncircular geometries, such as the cross-sectional area of an extruder's flight screw path.More

Deadline for paper submission has been extended for ANTEC Mumbai
The deadline for submitting papers for ANTEC Mumbai has been extended to Sept. 14. You are invited to submit a paper in any of the following areas: advances in materials, advances in processing, advances in materials performance, advances in machinery and advances in rheology, modeling and simulation.More

Pilot flying from Australia to London on plastic fuel
The Sydney Morning Herald
Plastic will be fantastic when modern-day adventurer Jeremy Rowsell retraces Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's epic 1929 flight from Australia to Britain. Rowsell's flight will be the first in the world to be powered by plastic fuel — that is, aviation-quality diesel made from recycled plastic. "Regular aviation fuel is increasingly uneconomic and also pretty toxic," he says. "It's still got lead in it. And so plastic-to-fuel is a totally new technology that could really change everything."More

Recession spurs Tennessee plastic plant's growth
Chattanooga Times Free Press
When shoppers are worried about losing their jobs, they're a lot less likely to spring for the name-brand groceries. So in some ways, the recession has been good for Chattanooga, Tenn., bottle producer Arch Plastics Packaging. "People moved away from the branded drugs," said Shital Rali, whose company produces plastic bottles for generic-brand products such as vitamins and mouthwash. "We have been growing steadily."More

Mississippi professor devises self-healing plastic
Hattiesburg American
Over the past three years, Marek Urban has fielded interviews from The New York Times, National Geographic, Japanese TV programs and a host of prominent publications from around the world. Now his work on self-healing plastics has received high praise from the British magazine Stuff as "One of the five materials that could change the world." So the University of Southern Mississippi polymer science professor really must be on to something, right? Maybe even something out of this world.More

Plastics machinery market rebound continues despite broader threats
Plastics Today
The U.S. plastics industry is continuing its long climb out of the depths of the great recession, with an expansion in 2011 expected to be followed by more growth in 2012. But looming threats and unanswered questions have created a market that plastics machinery executives call "mixed and strange" with a general "uneasiness" about the future.More

Uniloy North America expands structural foam export markets
Plastics News
Uniloy North America is breaking new ground by shipping the first low-pressure structural foam machines to China, Russia, Poland and Thailand, said company executive Ed Hunerberg. "In the U.S. because of the economy, there's not a lot of growth," he said. "We're flat. So we've been working hard to try to find new customers and take what normally in the past has been a North American technology, outside of North American to the rest of the world."More

New class of materials capable of preventing biofilm formation
The University of Nottingham
VideoBrief Using state-of-the-art technology, scientists have discovered a new class of polymers that is resistant to bacterial attachment. These new materials could lead to a significant reduction in hospital infections and medical device failures.More

A handy way to sort carbon nanotubes
Chemistry World
U.S. researchers have discovered that a derivative of vitamin B2 can sort single-walled carbon nanotubes — SWNTs — according to their handedness. The discovery could be an important step on the road to being able to simply separate left- and right-handed SWNTs. SWNTs are hollow cylindrical structures composed of a single atomic layer of graphene, which conceptually have been rolled up in one of three ways.More

Oil price drops to near $95 a barrel
The Associated Press via TIME
Oil prices fell recently after news reports suggested the U.S. might tap its strategic reserves to slow the rising price of oil. Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 42 cents to $95.18 per barrel at midday Aug. 17 in London in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.More

Sunflowers inspire more efficient solar power system
University of Wisconsin-Madison News
A field of young sunflowers will slowly rotate from east to west during the course of a sunny day, each leaf seeking out as much sunlight as possible as the sun moves across the sky through an adaptation called heliotropism. It's a clever bit of natural engineering that inspired imitation from a UW-Madison electrical and computer engineer, who has found a way to mimic the passive heliotropism seen in sunflowers for use in the next crop of solar power systems.More