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Broad-Based Emerging Trends in Smart Polymers
By Don Rosato
In the past century, polymers served elementary functions, such as being structural, insulative or optical. In the new millennium, polymers are increasingly intelligent and capable of adapting to their environment. Two early examples of smart polymers and their applications are eyeglass lenses that darken in sunlight and shrink wrap. An ever-increasing spectrum of smart polymers is being developed to satisfy a growing range of applications in automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer, industrial and other market sectors.
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Predicting the Electrical Properties of Conductive Composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Electrically conductive composites (ECCs) are multiphase materials, designed with an electrically insulating polymeric matrix (continuous phase) and electrically conductive filler particles (disperse phase). The resulting material combines electrical conductivity with the mechanical and physical properties of polymers (e.g., corrosion resistance, low density, and flexibility). Due to these features, ECCs find wide applicability in the electronics industry as antistatic layers, electromagnetic shielding, vapor detectors, and mechanical sensors.
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Date Event More Information
February 22-25 2015 SPE International Polyolefins Conference Information
February 23-25 SPE ACE Conference 2015 Information
March 23-25 ANTEC Orlando at NPE2015 Information
May 5 Auto EPCON 2015 Information
May 14 Extrusion Minitech Information

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    Metal or Plastic?
    Plastics Engineering
    To save weight and meet modern fuel efficiency standards, automotive engineers have learned to substitute plastic materials for metal wherever possible. Even beyond weight savings, versatile plastics offer numerous manufacturing efficiencies. Compared with machining or die casting, rapid, cost-saving material processing methods such as short cycle-time injection molding allow high-volume production, often with no secondary steps.
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    Rigid PVC Competes with PC in Medical
    Plastics News
    Teknor Apex Co. claims its new rigid PVC compounds can replace polycarbonate in clear medical components. The company says its Apex SCR compounds are suited to connectors and check valves and similar components. It says the new vinyls show comparable strength, rigidity and high clarity while reducing or eliminating stress cracking that can occur at interfaces between polycarbonate and flexible PVC components such as tubing.
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      Paul N. Gardner Company, Incorporated

    Distributors, producers and designers of physical testing instruments for the paint, coating and related industries, such as automotive, aerospace, specialty chemical, petroleum, plastics, pharmaceutical and food. We provide quality control instruments used in laboratory and field for testing and measurement.

    Non-Stick Coating Keeps bacteria off Medical Implants
    Experts from Harvard University have developed a powerful new non-stick material that could help prevent infections by keeping bacteria from building up on medical implants. Citing National Institutes of Health statistics, the researchers claim that over 80 percent of all human microbial infections are caused by bacteria that accumulate and form biofilms – adhesive colonies that help bacteria survive but threaten the health of their human hosts.
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    Novamont Wins Bioplastics Court Battle
    Plastics in Packaging
    The Court of Milan has ruled in favor of Italian biotech firm Novamont in its legal case against Kromabatch Srl, over the latter's distribution of information claiming that traditional plastics with added d2w could be considered "biodegradable" or "oxo-biodegradable" according to standard UNI EN 13432. Kromabatch is a distributor of oxo-biodegradable plastics additive d2w in Italy.
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    PET Bottle Resin, Recycled PE Prices Drop
    Plastics News
    Reductions in North American prices for PET bottle resin and all grades of recycled polyethylene are being shown on this week’s Plastics News resin pricing chart. Prices for nylon 6 and 6/6 also are being corrected to show recent price reductions, as well as a non-market price reduction to previous prices shown by PN.
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    Water Content by Karl Fischer

    Monitoring the water content of raw materials is crucial as it can help eliminate side reactions during production and ensure a consistent final product. You can perform measurements down to a few ppm with One Click™ Water Determination from METTLER TOLEDO.
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    Sensors for Every Measurement Task

    Kistler’s uniquely combined p-T sensor Types 6188A…, 6189A…, and 6190CA… are robust and maintenance-free. Capable of measuring the smallest pressure variations and/or temperature changes, they provide precise measurement solutions. Kistler is the only company to offer combination p-T sensors in three sizes: 1 mm, 2.5 mm, and 4 mm.

    Robot Orders up 25 Percent in 2014 for Plastics Industry
    European Plastics News
    The North American robot market is red hot, according to a report of 2014 statistics from the Robotic Industries Association. The strong automotive industry was the main driver of growth, as robot orders skyrocketed 45 percent from 2013 levels. But other sectors also saw double-digit growth rates — including the plastics industry, as it prepares for the largest U.S. trade show, NPE 2015, 23-27 March in Orlando, Florida.
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    Mixing Plant Waste and Plastic to Obtain Building Materials
    The emerging company PLASTINOVA has intertwined the science of chemical engineering and technology to recycle all kinds of useless plastics and tequila agave bagasse similar to wood, with greater resistance. The material is used as formwork in the construction industry or in the manufacture of benches, tables and chairs. Generally, the falsework used to build roofs, arches or similar structures is made of wood or aluminum. However, this new technology aims to mimic both materials in terms of physical properties while reducing the cost and recycling organic and inorganic waste.
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    Report Projects Solar Energy Production to Surge in US
    A recently released study projects solar energy costs will be able to compete with those of traditional electricity generation in most states within the next 15 years. The report from Scottish energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie — titled, "Is solar the next shale?" — asks whether solar-generated electricity is set to experience a boom similar to the dramatic expansion of U.S. oil and natural gas production in recent years.
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    Tigerflex Voltbuster Hoses for High Static Applications
    Kuriyama Tigerflex Voltbusterfood grade, material handling hoses; specifically designed for high static applications such as the transfer of powders, pellets and other granular materials.
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    Hyundai's Concept Truck would Use Plastics to Compete
    Plastics News
    A sedan’s trunk won’t fit an antique dresser, but a crowded city parking lane won’t fit a pickup. That’s the dilemma Hyundai Motor Co. would like to solve with the crossover truck concept it’s calling the Santa Cruz. Unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the vehicle was designed as a truck for city dwellers, fitting a separated, composite-surfaced cargo bed and seating for five within dimensions similar to a small crossover utility vehicle.
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    Researchers Create Broad Color Palette of Electrochromic Polymers
    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with support from BASF, have developed a broad color palette of electrochromic polymer materials that can be used for tinting windows, sunglasses and other such applications that are dependent upon an electric current for producing color changes.
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    Soldiers could have their Bones Copied and 3-D Printed in Case of Injury
    The Telegraph
    Soldiers could be scanned before they enter the battlefield and a virtual "twin" kept online so that new bones could be 3-D printed when they get injured, scientists have suggested. Experts at the University of Nevada are in discussion with the U.S. military to create records of "virtual" soldiers which could be referred to by army surgeons.
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    Shape-Memory Polymer can Repeatedly Switch Shapes without External Forces
    Nanowerk News
    Although most materials slightly expand when heated, there is a new class of rubber-like material that not only self-stretches upon cooling; it reverts back to its original shape when heated, all without physical manipulation. The findings were recently published in the journal ACS Macro Letters. The material is like a shape-memory polymer because it can be switched between two different shapes.
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    Fast Heat's NEW CableXChecker™ Hot Runner Cable Testing System Ensures Proper Connectivity

    The CableXChecker is an easy-to-use diagnostic tool for your hot runner cables and connectors. Configurated for both heater and thermocouple and custom built to your specific wiring diagram, this must-have unit tests for continuity and identifies where shorts and miswired zones are located in ONE minute.
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    3-D Measures Up
    Plastics Engineering
    With locations in Detroit, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, Jesse Garant and Associates Metrology Center (JG&A) sees NPE3D as "a great opportunity to educate the plastic market on what industrial CT scanning is and how our services can benefit most companies in the plastic industry," notes marketing manager Spiro Spiliadis. "As parts and assemblies continue to become more and more complex, we will exhibit our industrial CT scanning services as a value-added method for inspecting and validating molded and 3-D-printed parts and/or assemblies."
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    Canadian Team Uses 3-D Printer to Make Artificial Legs for Ugandans
    CBC News
    Canadian researchers and a 3-D printer are making medical history in Uganda. The Canadian team from the University of Toronto recently helped a young Ugandan woman walk with the world’s first functional 3D-printed prosthetic leg socket, the critical customized element that is the main component of an artificial limb.
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    Anti-Counterfeit Polymers Work like Fingerprints
    When it comes to tagging items to prove their authenticity, the goal is to stay ahead of counterfeit technology. The best tags are unique, complex, easy to read, and difficult to reproduce. One naturally-occurring authentication "tag" is fingerprints, which are difficult to replicate, but are easy to read. Wook Park and Sunghoon Kwon from Seoul National University developed a process for making anti-counterfeit tags from wrinkled silica polymers that is based on the way fingerprints are used for identification.
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    Color and Appearance Control for Plastics

    The Datacolor 45G, 45/0 handheld spectrophotometer with class leading repeatability, provides simultaneous control of both color appearance and gloss for plastics.
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    MECO’s EP Type-3, for dryers, extruder-compounders, and reactors where solvents and other chemicals are present. Where extensive thermal shaft growth and/or pressure-vacuum cycles are present.

    How Cutting Oil out of Plastics could Save Planet
    Produced by everything from cattle and swamps to humans, methane is the second biggest contributor to the world's greenhouse gas emissions after carbon dioxide. The United States Environmental Protection Agency describes the comparative effect of methane on climate change as being "pound for pound … over 20 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year period." But what if methane could be turned into something that's useful and in constant demand? At California based Newlight Technologies, they think they've found the answer.
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    Court Battle Reveals a Shift in Debate Over Plastic Safety
    The new standard may be "EA-free," which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen. At least that's the suggestion of a recent legal battle between a chemical company and an academic scientist with business interests in the plastics industry. The proceedings offer a glimpse of the struggle for the hearts and minds of consumers concerned about the safety of plastics.
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    Biodegradable Doesn't Mean Plastic Items Disappear
    Plastics Today
    It would appear from the results of the lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission against ECM BioFilms that the argument still rages over what the term biodegradable means. Does it mean that the plastic materials termed biodegradable will magically disappear when left out in the environment? Then there's the question of how long it will take for these plastics to actually biodegrade in the environment.
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    Graphene Structures Created with 3-D Printing
    Super-strong, super-light, durable-yet-flexible two-dimensional material graphene is often hailed as the wonder material of the future. Able to conduct both heat and electricity with great efficiency, its potential for use in electronics manufacturing is enormous — OLEDs, batteries, transistors and photovoltaic cells are just a few in a long list of ways in which the material may be used. As you can probably imagine, combining this with 3-D printing is sort of a manufacturing holy grail. In 2014, it was achieved for the first time by a team of researchers in Korea, who managed to 3-D print graphene nanowires.
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    Productivity Improvements for Milliken Customers
    Newly launched Hyperform® HPN 210 M nucleating agent for injection-molded high-density polyethylene improves productivity in material handling applications due to shorter cooling times. MORE

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        Out-of-Autoclave Here to Stay for High-Quality Composites (By Aldo Crugnola, Nick Schott and Don Rosato)
    These 3-D Printed Bricks Cool Rooms Without Air Conditioning (Fast Company)
    The Fascinating Bit of the US Labor Productivity Numbers: Where the Manufacturing Jobs have Gone (Forbes)
    A New Approach to Reinforcing Nylon 6 Nanocomposites (SPE Plastics Research Online)
    These New Plastics will Change the World (Red Orbit)

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    Disclaimer: The SPE Industry Update is a digest of the most important news selected for the Society of Plastics Engineers from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs. Neither MultiBriefs nor the Society of Plastics Engineers is responsible for opinions or statements of facts expressed in the articles referenced in SPE Industry Update. Advertising appearing in SPE Industry Update is not to be taken as an endorsement, expressed or implied, of the respective company's processes, products or services represented in the ad.

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