SPE Industry Update
Oct. 19, 2011

University of Minnesota breakthrough in fuel cost, efficiency
University of Minnesota researchers have overcome a major hurdle in designing a more cost effective and energy efficient gasoline, plastics and various chemicals. The specialized type of molecular sieve could make the production of gasoline and related products more cost effective and energy efficient.More

Plastics testing and analysis
Knowing all the characteristics of a plastic you're working with and how it will react under various conditions is important for developing new materials or new products. Thorough testing and analysis can help determine how additives, weathering, or downgauging will affect the material or the final plastic part. If a failure occurs, a scientific approach to analyzing the failure can provide a way to prevent the problem in the future.

This article appears in the October 2011 issue of Plastics Engineering magazine.More

Clay's location affects flammability of polypropylene
SPE Plastics Research Online
The use of clay is known to enhance the flame-retardant properties of plastics. Recently, the synergistic effect between flame retardant (FR) and clay has attracted much attention, and the effect has been found in systems that combine one of several FR agents and modified clay. However, not all FRs and clay have these effects in all plastics. For example, when we used a polymer known as PDSPB and organoclay as a combined FR, we found a notable effect in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin, but only negligible synergy in polystyrene.More

Enhanced orientation in water-assisted injection-molded parts
SPE Plastics Research Online
In recent years, an innovative polymer-processing technology known as water-assisted injection molding has attracted attention not only for academic reasons but also for its industrial applications (e.g., ducts, handles, and clutch pedals). Compared with conventional injection molding and gas-assisted injection molding, WAIM has many advantages due to the higher cooling capacity and incompressibility of water. More

SPI applauds free-trade agreements
Packaging Digest
The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted overwhelmingly with bipartisan support for three separate bills implementing free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association says the legislation that will boost the economy, spur job creation and provide a more level playing field for U.S. manufacturers.More

US plastics recyclers reach record volume
Plastics News
U.S. plastics recycling continued to recover in 2010, reaching a record volume in addition to a small uptick in the bottle recycling rate. A total of 2.579 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2010, a 5 percent increase from 2009. The National Association for PET Container Resources in Sonoma, Calif., released its recycling data for PET bottles separately.More

Australia honors profs for groundbreaking research
The Sydney Morning Herald
A CSIRO fellow who migrated to Australia from Italy as a teenager without a word of English, and an organic chemist who started his working life in a paint factory at the age of 16 were jointly awarded the $300,000 Prime Minister's Prize for Science. The two Melburnians, Ezio Rizzardo and David Solomon, are credited with changing the way plastics and polymers are used, which has led to the development of an entirely new area of science.More

Study: US missing out on energy from trash, plastics
While recycling and energy recovery from plastics is on the rise, about 86 percent of used plastics are still sent to landfills. It's a big waste considering its energy potential, according to the 33-page report, "Energy and Economic Value of Non-recycled Plastics and Municipal Solid Wastes that are Currently Landfilled in Fifty States."More

PET container recycling rate up to 29 percent for 2010
Business Wire via MarketWatch
The National Association for PET Container Resources, The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, and the PET Resin Association announced the release of the "2010 Report on Post Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity" and a 2010 PET container recycling rate of 29 percent. This is the seventh straight year that the United States' recycling rate has increased. Total PET collected for recycling was also highest to date, as was the use of recycled PET in end-use applications, at over 1.5 and 1 billion pounds, respectively.More

Gulf plastics production — set to soar 46 percent annually
Khaleej Times
Annual plastics production of the Gulf countries is set to soar about 46 percent to 155 million tons by 2015, compared to 105 million tons in 2010, according to a study commissioned by Expo Centre Sharjah. The demand pushed by emerging markets is set to stimulate average annual global requirements for plastics by more than five percent, and oil-producing countries of the region are well positioned to grab a bigger share of the market, according to the study.More

Plastic consumption may grow at healthy rate in India
Money Control
Plastic consumption in India is expected to grow at a healthy rate on the back of growing substitution, expanding middle income group and new applications. Despite being an industry dominated by unorganized players (70 percent of the industry size), the organized players over the last few years have outpaced them in terms of growth through constant innovation and regular introduction of niche products.More

DuPont Packaging wants you to know your true costs
Plastics Today
DuPont Packaging announced the launch of the first in a series of online modeling tools to help brand owners and packaging converters evaluate the total cost of flexible packaging that relies on sealing solutions to help protect the contents. DuPont SaVE (Sealant Value Estimator) calculates the total value in use of sealant alternatives, taking into consideration gains from productivity and losses due to inefficiencies and waste from packaging failures that result from ineffective sealants.More

Plastics boost range of electric cars
Plastics Today
The need to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions is driving the development of alternative drive systems for vehicles. One example is electric mobility, which makes it possible to eliminate the use of fossil fuels all together. One challenge here, though, is the still short range of electric vehicles. The key to solving this challenge lies primarily in even lighter weight automobile construction according to Bayer MaterialScience.More

Advance in new PET barrier system
European Plastics News
APPE, the packaging division of La Seda de Barcelona, has launched a new barrier system for PET bottles at the World Juice Conference in Madrid. The new ActivSeal system is an oxygen scavenger with a catalyst in the bottle wall and a hydrogen activator in the closure, which work in combination to prevent oxygen reaching the drink and reduce vitamin C loss.More

Wind to overtake aerospace as biggest advanced composites user by 2020
Reinforced Plastics
The wind energy market is set to overtake aerospace as the largest user of advanced composite materials, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the market by 2020, according to Lux Research. The overall market for advanced composites – which comprises composites based on carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes and graphene – will more than triple to $25.8 billion by 2020, according to the Lux Research report Carbon Fibre and Beyond: The $26 Billion World of Advanced Composites.More

OriginOil to issue licenses for algae know-how
U.S.-based OriginOil, which has developed ways to harvest algae so it can be used as biomass, will issue licenses for its technology enabling biofuel and chemicals producers to cut carbon emissions, the chief executive said. Riggs Eckelberry said that OriginOil plans to offer a licensing system for its technology to extract water from algae — a key step in algae processing which allows their use in the production of biofuels, plastics or fertilizers.More

Los Angeles moves toward shopping bag ban
Contra Costa Times
Los Angeles would join a growing list of cities banning plastic and paper shopping bags under a measure approved the Board of Public Works over the objections of industry leaders. The board voted 4-0 in favor of the ban, which would require an environmental study and the approval of the City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If all goes according to plan, the ban would take effect next year. More