SPE Industry Update
Oct. 24, 2012

Use of plastics in medical implants is soaring
Plastics Today
Visit the websites of some of the biggest and best known plastics companies and you may see a bold-faced announcement: "Our products are not for use in any human implantable applications." That's been the case for more than 15 years, since an explosion of malpractice lawsuits involving breast and temporomandibular joint implants. But times are changing, in part because of the very high prices that can be charged for implantable plastics and the growing market size.More

Designing water-soluble polymers for enhanced oil recovery
SPE Plastics Research Online
Water-soluble hydrophobically associating polymers are of interest for many industrial applications such as cosmetics, paints, drilling fluids and oil recovery, where they are used to increase viscosity in the aqueous phase. They contain segments that, above a certain polymer concentration in solution, tend to associate by intermolecular hydrophobic interaction to form large, reversible polymolecular networks.More

New method to enhance heat dissipation in microelectronics
SPE Plastics Research Online
Effective heat dissipation is vital for improving long-term reliability and avoiding premature failure in microelectronics. Elastomer thermal interface materials are key to this. They are typically made of silicone rubber reinforced with highly thermally conductive but electrically insulating ceramic fillers. Hexagonal boron nitride has high thermal conductivity and high electrical resistivity, which make it an ideal candidate for such a filler.More

Increased interest in implantable applications by polymer suppliers
Product Design & Development
Foster Corporation reports increased interest in implantable medical device applications by polymer suppliers. While risk mitigation remains a primary concern, increased acceptance and application of polymers by device manufacturers for temporary and permanent implants presents opportunities for growth for performance polymers.More

Increasing glycopolymer-based drug delivery success
CORDIS via PhysOrg
Glycopolymer technology is opening up a myriad of new opportunities for disease therapy. European research is investigating novel production strategies for polymers to bring about more efficient targeted drug delivery.More

Carbon nanotube composite material could replace carbon fiber
North Carolina State University via Gizmag
When people need a material that's strong yet lightweight, they usually look to carbon fiber. In the near future, however, they may instead choose to go with composite materials made from stretched carbon nanotubes. These materials could theoretically offer the same strength as carbon fiber at one-tenth the weight, or the same weight at 10 times the strength.More

Automated routine reveals dispersion and orientation of carbon nanotubes in polymer composites
Carbon nanotube/polymer composites offer a range of useful properties such as high strength, electrical and thermal conductivity and a low coefficient of thermal expansion, but these properties are strongly dependent on the spatial distribution and orientation of CNTs in the polymer matrix. Capturing this information would help developers to predict the properties of CNT/polymer composites more accurately, but it can be a difficult task.More

China plastics sector poised to capitalize on shale gas
Plastics News
China is likely to be the second place in the world, after North America, to tap shale gas reserves as a potential new low-cost feedstock for plastics, one prominent industry consultant believes. Unlike the United States, however, where announcements of new ethylene crackers tied to shale gas have come in rapid-fire fashion, Chinese companies have said very little.More

Analysis: US manufacturers turn to Russia, with love
American manufacturing companies are marching on Moscow. At a time when tepid growth at home, a slowing Chinese economy and recession in much of Western Europe is dogging Corporate America, Russia is getting newfound attention as a growth market for U.S. machinery, consumer goods and services. U.S. exports to Russia were up about 29 percent in the first eight months this year from a year ago, and are forecast to top $10 billion in 2012, up fivefold from a decade ago.More

Arburg: Production efficiency is key to the future
Plastics Today
Arburg, the machine manufacturer that helped put energy efficiency on the map, has now taken its initiative a step further with the introduction of an all-embracing theme of production efficiency. At the Fakuma show this year, this theme was the focus of all the exhibits on display at the company's booth.More

Spice up your 3-D prints with custom plastics
Plastic companies aren't generally thought of as "cool." They focus on being commodity processors that make a raw material that, at best, might spark the creativity of designers. A small U.K. operation called Faberdashery is trying to break free from that mold by creating and supplying custom plastics for owners of 3-D printers.More

US plastic bottle recycling rate holds steady at 28.9 percent
Waste Management World
U.S. consumers recycled an additional 45 million pounds of plastic in 2011 compared to the previous year, a rise of 1.7 percent to reach over 2.6 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the American Chemistry Council. The recycling rate for plastic bottles held steady, inching up 0.1 percent to reach 28.9 percent for the year.More