SPE Industry Update
Oct. 3, 2012

SPE CEO talks plastics sustainability
Plastics News
Willem De Vos is CEO of the Society of Plastics Engineers. De Vos is also a thermoforming guy. He wore both hats in a keynote speech about sustainability, kicking off the SPE Thermoforming Conference. "Plastics is really the most sustainable solution for all of us," he said.More

Building better plastics with supercritical carbon dioxide
SPE Plastics Research Online
Nanocomposite plastics are a promising class of materials with a range of applications, particularly in the automotive industry. By incorporating mineral material of nanoscale dimensions, the mechanical properties of the bulk plastic, such as strength, thermal stability and flame retardance, are drastically improved, with little to no impact on other favorable properties such as low weight. In these composites, uniform dispersal of the mineral filler throughout the polymer matrix is a key factor. More

Thinner nanoparticles for stronger nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
In recent years, polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites have attracted great interest, both in industry and in academia because they exhibit remarkable improvements in a material's properties compared to the virgin polymer or conventional polymer composites. Smectite clays are the main choice for PLS nanocomposites. Depending on the interfacial interactions between the polymer chains and clay layers, the final structure of a polymer-clay nanocomposite can be exfoliated or intercalated.More

Berry Plastics planning IPO, may be worth about $2 billion
Plastics Today
Plastics packaging processor Berry Plastics plans to raise $500 million in an IPO with a market value of about $2 billion, according to reports. In a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company, backed by Apollo Global Management LLC, said it will offer 29.4 million shares of common stock at a price range of $16 and $18. Berry Plastics reported $4.8 billion in net sales during the last 12 months.More

Breakthrough in kitchen furniture production: Biocomposites challenge chipboard
Researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a kitchen furniture framework material from plastic polymers reinforced with natural fiber. The new material reduces raw materials consumption by 25 percent and the carbon footprint of production by 35 percent.More

Dynamics of nanoscale polymer chains atop different materials
Technologies such as microelectronics and lithography require nanoscale polymer films that sit atop various other materials. An understanding of the interplay between the dynamics of the thin film and the underlying substrate is crucial in determining the appropriate materials to be utilized for new and improved applications. Recent experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory provide new insights on the dynamics of thin polymer films sitting on various substrates and the importance of film thickness and supporting material properties on the surface dynamics of thin polymer films.More

Polystyrene depolymerisation: New recycling option
Chemistry World
A continuous process for converting waste polystyrene back to styrene monomer has been developed by U.S. chemists. The process could help polystyrene recycling become more economical by recycling it into high quality new materials, rather than simply melting and remoulding contaminated plastics into low value goods. "We recycle less than half of our plastic waste in the U.S., and worldwide probably a lot less. Mostly we put it in landfill or burn it," says Lanny Schmidt from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who led the team.More

CPIA launches pro-plastic bag website
Canadian Plastics
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association has gone on the PR offensive with a new website designed to counter some of the myths and promote the facts surrounding plastic bags in hopes of changing Toronto city councilors' decision to ban the bags. In June, Toronto made the decision to ban plastic bags entirely effective Jan. 1, 2013. Since then, the CPIA has been arguing that revising the ban is responsible from a number of angles, including environmental.More

Gas detecting nanosensors synthesized through polymerization of pyrrole
Nanowerk News
Researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran recently managed to fabricate nanosensors for pollutant gas leak detection through polymerization of pyrrole. Formation of nanostructured polymers over the nanosensor surface increases its interfacial area with the analyte gas so that detection at ultra low concentration levels is enabled. The research was aimed at synthesis of accurate sensors for identifying pollutant or toxic gases whose detection and analysis are of interest for particular purposes.More

Simulations reveal scaling-up behavior of polymers
Researcher Nava Schulmann and his colleagues from the Strasbourg University in France have used simulation to study thin films of polymers to their extreme limits. In order to obtain information on the heat and mechanical energy exchange between the links of the polymer, the researchers employed an established simulation model. More

Graphene-polymer nanocomposite kills bacteria on surfaces
Graphene can kill bacteria and prevent the formation of pathogenic and corrosive microorganisms, which makes it a potential candidate for antimicrobial coatings for surgical equipment other surfaces in various settings. Graphene can be hard to process on its own because the material tends to clump, but one way to get around this is to mix it with specific polymers. This allows graphene to disperse more readily in solution and coat surfaces more effectively.More

Standard addresses polymer degradation in marine environment
ASTM International via ThomasNet
An ongoing study of biodegradation rates of polymers has led to the development of a new ASTM International standard, ASTM D7473, Test Method for Weight Attrition of Plastic Materials in the Marine Environment by Open System Aquarium Incubations. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D20.96 on Environmentally Degradable Plastics and Biobased Products, which is part of ASTM International Committee D20 on Plastics. More

Boeing engineer: Plastics to play key role in improved aircraft interiors
Plastics News
Commercial airline passengers will be in for a treat when they fly, as Boeing engineer Jim Griffing described sleek plane interiors with smooth, rounded lines and mellow lighting, speaking at the SPE Thermoforming Conference. He showed images of the designs for a cabin of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, sporting larger overhead storage bins and smooth, curving lines outlined with sleek lighting. Thermoforming already plays a major role in sidewall panels and other parts, said Griffing, a 25-year Boeing veteran.More