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How computer modelling & 3D printing create fracture resistant composites – reports Stratasys and MIT researchers

Stanford Univ researchers make Jell-O-like conducting polymer hydrogels

Plastrec, a Quebec recycler unveils recycled PET production combining two plastics technologies

Korean scientists provide a different twist to the “Smart Window” technology

Researchers review how to characterize polymer nanocomposites by different microscopicy techniques

Sabic Innovative Plastics unveils its newly developed a clear flame retardant Polycarbonate copolymer

Can polymer reinforced aerogel make a space mission? University of Akron researchers think so!

How Collagen nanofibers could find use in Tissue Engineering

IKV researchers report thermoplastic/metal hybrid materials for Direct manufacturing electronic part

Japanese researchers are developing stereo-block type PLAs for high performance materials

ZogglesTM earns Invention of the year 2010 award and keeps the fog away

Teijin Techno Products claims to be world’s first mass producer of aramid nanofibers

Arkema unveils a range of "green" polymers for its textile market

Harvard University researchers design stretchable, transparent ionic conductors

Cima NanoTech flexes mussels with its non-Indium Tin Oxide, high performance transparent conductors

GM recycles oil soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico for its Chevrolet Volt under hood parts

Stratasys touts World’s first color multi-material 3D printer for rubber & plastics products

Austrian scientists claim to be the first to have developed an image sensor that is fully transparent

If you follow plastics electronics - follow Unidym’s innovative product lines

Advanced nanocomposite membrane technology of NanoH2O turns it to a Global clean technology company

Scientists from Sweden and USA showed electronics can truly be organic or say truly be plastics

US researchers develop shape memory polymer nanocomposites exhibiting fast actuation speed

Siver nanowire electrodes for flexible electronics

How blood can clot to heal a wound - Science reports

Braskem S.A. is leading the way to manufacture biobased polyethylene using catalytic dehydration

UCLA scientists showed how simple it could be to make conducting polymer thin films

Can polycarbonate be replaced with another polymer? Click chemistry might provide the answer!

A review on polymer/bioactive glass nanocomposites provides current trends in polymer research

A team of researchers demonstrate plastics and graphene can work together to make touch screen device a reality

Innovations in design come from plastics to win several 2009 International Design Excellence Awards

Yale scientists develop high performance thin film composite membrane

Work of North Carolina State Univ. researchers shows how to remove radioactive elements from drinking water

Green Composites - all you wanted to know about

Polymers can be used to package insulin into a pill for diabetes treatment reports Indian scientists

Nanoparticle coating prevents ice build up

Harvard Univ researchers show how soft robotics could navigate a difficult obstacle

University of Texas at Austin researchers show use of polymer membranes for fracking in shale gas

It is time to make “Perfect Plastic” reports UK researchers

Can Gas Jet process challenge electrospinning in producing polymeric nanofibers?

Stanford researchers use cheap plastics film to make safe lithium batteries

Researchers gather to discuss advances in organic photovoltaics (OPV)

A novel technique to manufacture continuous twisted yarn from aligned PAN nanofibers

Prof. Alan Heegers group demonstrated the potential of plastics solar cells

USA researchers develop all-polymer multilayer coating to retard fire and to suppress smoke

Plastics help design non-shatter pint glass to prevent pub attacks

A new microcellular injection molding process for polycarbonate using water

Block copolymers could create hard disks with 10 tera-bit-per-Square-inch:Researchers predict

MIT researchers develop first Solar Thermal Fuel storage platform in solid-state

Polymers help Addidas to launch lightest soccer boots and 2010 FIFA World cup match ball never seen before in the field

Are you an injection moulder, you may want to read the ultimate in mould cooling article

German researchers unveiled a green approach to electrospinning technique for making biodegradable nanofibres

Rice Univ (USA) researchers grew high quality graphene from polystyrene, cookies, grass, cockroach leg & dog feces

Caltech researchers show through telechelic polymers how to produce a safer and a cleaner fuel

Bio-succinic acid is becoming new green platform chemical for plastics

Non-toxic, liquid bandage from Chesson Labs of Durham, NC is ready for the healthcare market

Kyoto researchers are upbeat about cellulose nanofibers based composites for auto parts

Current trends and future prospects for flame retardants in polymeric materials

MIT researchers show how to draw Polyethylene as nanofibers and get a very high thermal conductivity

In Milan, art and science get together to showcase Vegetal, weather resistant designer chair

AMI unveils the North American Bioplastics technology agenda

Mannigton converts large stickers from 2010 winter games into commercial flooring

Researchers show stretchy battery for flexible and stretchable electronics

Strain Paint: an alternative to strain gauges

Can you “Cool Your Roof” - reports researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Self-healing plastics healing like human skin

3D systems introduces non-halogenated flame retardant for aircraft applications

Rutgers Univ researchers moves plastic electronics with graphene based PS thin films

UC Berkley researchers have developed paper thin e-skin that responds to touch

USA researchers report polymeric blood-resistant surgical glue that can repair minimally invasive heart defects

Oil-SAP, a novel development to clean-up oil spill & recovery from Penn State University, USA

Can polymer reinforced aerogel make a space mission? University of Akron researchers think so!

Can you “Cool Your Roof” - reports researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Current status in graphene based polymer nanocomposites – a review

Binder free multilayer graphene based polymer composite for high performance supercapacitor electrodes

Work of North Carolina State Univ. researchers shows how to remove radioactive elements from drinking water

French scientists tout first use of nano-structured assemblies that could revolutionize dentistry

Scientists from IBM and Stanford University are developing new plastics recycling process

Polymer helps to designing higher capacity Li-ion battery

Carbon3D, a Canadian company unveils a breakthrough technology for layerless 3D printing

Wax could be green too – touts GreenMantra Technolgies!

Battelle researchers are improving PLA for injection molding applications

Alberta scientists help to make Canada’s first bio-composite based electric vehicle body design

Singapore researchers touts corn starch can help solve body armour and protective sports padding

Will your windows generate power one day?

For the first time, IBM researchers showed 3D molecular structure could be observed

James Cropper Speciality Paper touts recycling of disposable coffee cups

MIT team aims to develop application specific surgical adhesives to seal tissues

NIST develops greener solution to challenge commercial fire retardants

Electric Glue: Another twist to make controlled polymer-surface adhesion

Are you interested in self-healing polymers – must read reviews

Norner touts major research project on polymers based on carbon dioxide

Austrian researcher reports new opportunities from Silicon oxide Nanofilms

Chinese researchers made a bendy polymer that could separate aromatics hydrocarbons from aliphatic

Can you 3D print yourself? TwinKinds of Germany shows just that!

Swedish researchers show highest reported charge capacities for all polymer paper-based battery

Practical Devices provide useful power from the body

Brazilian scientists are actively pursuing bioplastics research and innovation

New ambipolar polymer beats others: reports US researchers

Univ of Texas @ Austin scientists reported method to produce a large scale reduced graphene oxide

McMaster university (Canada) researchers developed flexible solar cell technology

Stanford university researchers detect mercury ions in sea water using organic polymer transistor sensor

MIT researchers develop first Solar Thermal Fuel storage platform in solid-state

How plastics helping revolutionize stretchable electronics applications – a review, not to be missed!

Researchers develop unique printable thin film supercapacitor using SWCNT

Something old... Something new.... produces an interesting marriage

US and South Korean researchers develop a printing technique to make high performance CNT transistors

Bayer uses PC film Makrofol? for it's new Innosec Fusion? technology to stop counterfeiting

Plastic Logic sees mass production of flexible display in 2008

World’s first all-plastic LED lamp comes from Japan

Japanese scientists report a unique, smart and self-healing polymer nanocomposite hydrogels

Umass, Amherst researchers find ways to hold 300 kilograms of weight using sticky tape

Canadian researchers claim world’s most efficient “inverted” OPV solar cells

Using biodegradable polymer, University of Basque country researcher report on bone regeneration

Princeton university researchers embedded piezoelectric material onto polymer as energy harvester

Polymer bank notes on the rise to avoid counterfeit paper currencies

Fluorinated Polymer Processing Aids: How a laboratory cleanout mistake created a family of polymers that is still growing even after 50 years

Mistakes in science often lead to inventions. Polymer science is no exception. Around 1961, a laboratory scientist processing fluoroelastomers and polyolefins on the same extrusion line, discovered that for some reason he was able to process the most difficult polyolefins obtaining good appearance at higher throughput rates.  An important patent was granted as a result of this work; the patent claimed the addition of small amounts of fluoropolymers (0.1 – 2.0 wt %) to polyolefins gave amazing processing benefits [1]. This is how fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers gained their fame as polymer processing aids (PPA).


Fluoropolymer – A Solution for the Most Extreme Weathering Conditions

figure_7_cabletiesPoly-vinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a thermoplastic fluropolymer is selected by architects worldwide because of its proven long-term weathering resistance in outdoor environments. Plastics that are not modified may become brittle or weak over time and/or lose their original attractive appearance. This paper looks at the weathering stability of Kynar® resin in a thin film geometry after 5 years exposure in South Florida.  Thin films are more sensitive to UV degradation than thicker specimens.    Unlike traditional thermoplastics, Kynar® resins do not need UV or thermal stabilizers.  This means that the stability seen in this test program is “built-in” to the backbone chemistry. Thus, their utility and performance in applications that require long-term outdoor protection is largely unrivaled.


My career in plastics

I have been retired from active business in the Plastics Industry for 5 years and now feel that this is a good time to look back and assess my career, to see if my course of action can be of any help to anyone else in the Industry

terry browitt  I have been very fortunate, but credit this fortune to many people who were my mentors through life, to being prepared to take risks and to being in the right place at the right time.

I was born and educated in England, before I immigrated to Canada where I have spent my whole working life. The Plastics Industry and Societies in Canada and in the United States provided opportunities that exposed me to great challenges and opportunity. The early 1960s was a great time to start working in plastics, since this was near the birth of the industry; new materials were being discovered every day and new applications for these were constantly being developed. Everywhere people were discovering exciting properties of plastic raw materials and realizing their potential in industries such as packaging, toys, automotive, building and sports. It is hard now to think of any of the industries using anything else but plastics in many applications. Soft drinks came in glass bottles, bread in wax coated paper and automobiles weighed considerably more than they do today and barely achieved 7 miles per gallon. Clay pipe was used for irrigation and ductile iron to carry water. The conversion to plastic materials made great changes to people's lives. Formulators and compounders met fascinating challenges as they worked furiously to come up with stronger, more suitable, less expensive alternatives to conventional materials.


Expanding the Impact of Polymeric-based 3D Printing Technologies

3dprinting_connex3_figure4Over the past two decades, additive manufacturing (AM) technology has become fully ingrained into pop culture, with  Do it Yourself (DIY) applications for the home, schools and other locations in addition to industrial applications  for the aerospace, automotive, and biomedical industries.  While AM can be used to fabricate objects from metals, polymers, and ceramics, polymeric materials are currently the most common.  ASTM Standard F2792-12a1 describes techniques that can convert polymeric materials into useful products: 1) sheet lamination; 2) material extrusion; 3) vat photopolymerization; 4) powder bed fusion (with polymers); 5) binder jetting; and 6) material jetting.  The automotive industry was an early adopter of 3D printing of polymeric materials, for example in the early 1990s a Japanese manufacturers2,3 used a commercialized vat photopolymerization process (widely known as stereolithography (SL)) to manufacture prototype door panels.  More recently, an extrusion-based AM system was used on the International Space Station (ISS)4.


21st Century Advanced Plastic Additive Solutions to Watch [Part II]

nanophase_figure9A lot has changed in the plastics additive segments in the last few years. The need for product differentiation is the primary driving force behind the wealth of new additives those are being incorporated in the plastics products.  These additives are tailor-made systems to meet ever changing applications of plastics. The plastics additives global market of $46.3 B by year end 2014 has been growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4.5% over the last five years. Property modifiers have the largest share of the market, worth an estimated $22.8B by year end 2014. New market development is growing rapidly in Asia and likely to do so in coming years.

In his final part of the article, Dr. Rosato reviews some of the latest developments in additives and describes how these additives nanotubes to glass fiber could change future of plastic products.


21st Century Advanced Plastic Additive Solutions to Watch [Part 1]

encapsulated_flavours Additives are crucial to plastics formulations. Specialty additives are one of the most dynamic segments of the plastics industry. A specialty additive insight that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly is a flash of inspiration. Knowledge or insight gained by looking into the future of polymer formulation is helpful. A sudden burst of insight about the future will produce a new and radically different way of using advanced plastic additive solutions that will open up hidden product development opportunities. Let’s tour eight key polymer additive segments and explore sixteen trends of the future!


A Perspective on Current Trends in 3D Printing Technology

3dprinting_anubis_figure1The present pace of technological advancement is fast and furious.  It is becoming harder than ever  to predict what will come next. When Stratasys announced1 that it had produced world’s first color multi-material 3D printer, the race for faster new product design began.  It has the ability to produce anything regardless of the complexity of the shape and color. Call it hype or not, the 3D printing technology is already in the spotlight and is undoubtedly an important fabrication technology (Figure: Gear wheel; Courtsey of Anubis3D).   The incredible range of potential consumer applications that this game changing technology is starting to provide has caught the eye of the general press, for example Stuart Dredge2 wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper that starts “from jet parts to unborn babies, icebergs to crime scenes, dolls to houses: how new technology is shaking up making things.”

This review article provides answers to the general questions that might occur to users of 3D printing technology, it points the reader to some of the excellent articles about various aspects of the topic, provides a glimpse of the current trends and discusses the limitations of the technology and their impact on its future prospects.


Inside the Box Creativity: A systematic method for yielding extraordinary innovation

drew_figure1   It’s easy to get comfortable using the same innovation methods over and over again. We convince ourselves the lackluster methods we’ve been using all along will continue to produce inventive products and services to fill the    organizational pipeline. But   what if there was a method of innovation that could systematically yield extraordinary innovation?


Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics - Part III

fr_3  In this third article about thermoplastics Flame Retardant (FR) trends, we will discuss unmet flame retardant needs. Like any other needs, opportunities for new flame retardants should be validated against commercial interests and regulatory requirements before resources are spent on meeting them.  With that caveat in mind, the discussion below reflects what this author believes to be some of the key problems to be resolved in the near future.  The article describes thermoplastic uses that require either unusual processing conditions or applications that result in the need for significant changes in the performance of flame retardant materials. The resulting changes in design may greatly shake up the thermoplastic flame retardant material market.


Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics – Part II

alex_figure2_1rightbottom   In the previous article, we discussed flame retardant (FR) regulations and how they might be expected to change. Nevertheless, the market is still strong for non-halogenated flame retardants. Therefore, the objective of this second part article is to summarize notable experimental results obtained with commercial Flame Retardants, and approaches that are likely to be important over the coming decade. New Flame Retardants chemistries and approaches will also be discussed.

Current Trends in Flame Retardants for Thermoplastics – Part I

fr_figure  Fire safety is crucial to our modern society. Flame retardants play an important role in the fire protection strategy.  In recent years, regulatory demands have put enormous pressure on developing environments friendly flame retardants for thermoplastics. The aim of this series of articles is to review new flame retardant technology and trends in their use with thermoplastics.  It describes advances in non-halogenated flame retardant technologies, new polymeric flame retardant additives, and advances in testing and fire risk evaluation.


Graphene-based Polymer Nanocomposites: The new Frontier

graphite figure_01         Here we go again. After intercalated compounds of graphite (1974), fullerenes (1985), and carbon nanotubes (1991), it is time for another allotrope of elemental carbon to be at the forefront of scientific curiosity (Boehm 2010). The allotrope is: “graphene”. By graphene, we mean the basal plane of graphite, a one atom thick two dimensional honeycomb layer of sp2 bonded carbon. Conversely, when many graphene layers are stacked regularly in three dimensions, graphite is created.


In the introductory chapter of the book, Graphite, Graphene, and Their Polymer Nanocomposites; editors have laid out their vision for this nascent and exciting area of research. They have also briefly described the contents of the each of the chapters and explained the logic that binds them into a compelling book. This allows the readers to derive the maximum benefit from the developing story of the most sought after carbonaceous nanomaterial, graphene. Clearly, there are a very large number of both challenges and opportunities in the area of graphene research. Plasticstrends is pleased to provide to its readers a revealing look at the contents of this book. 



The Evolution of Screw Design Technology for the Injection Molding Process – Part 2

tmw2 figure 1  Part 1 of this paper discussed the origins of the injection molding process and the development and use of the helical screw for conveying and melting polymers.

The plasticating unit used for melting and mixing on an injection moulding machine performs the same basic functions as the plasticating unit of an extruder. The difference lies in the fact that the screw moves backwards in injection moulding and thus the plasticating unit in an injection moulding machine can be considered to be a reciprocating extruder.

While screw design was considered to be important in extrusion, it was often considered to be less import in injection moulding. The major difference is that in a reciprocating system, the process is cyclic instead of continuous and the screw design plays a key role in maintaining cycle to cycle consistency for the resulting, molded plastic parts.

This second part of this paper discusses the use of barrier / mixing screw technology for the plasticating of polymers in the injection molding process from the early 1960’s to today’s sophisticated injection molding equipment.                                                          

The Evolution of screw design technology for the Injection Molding Process - Part 1

timw fig 1  The screw is the heart of an injection molding process. Over the past several decades, screw design for the injection molding process has played a vital role in delivering high quality and value added plastics parts. That’s where the story begins.

The origins of Injection Moulding

In 1868, John Wesley Hyatt invented a way to make billiard balls by injecting celluloid into a mold, perhaps in response to a request by billiard ball maker Phelan and Collander. By 1872, John and his brother Isaiah Hyatt patented the injection molding machine. This paper will discuss the evolution of the use of barrier / mixing screw technology in the injection molding process for the plasticating (melting and mixing) of polymers from early plunger machines to today’s sophisticated injection molding equipment. Although John and his brother Isaiah Hyatt patented the injection molding machine that was primitive yet it was quite suitable for their purposes. It contained a plunger to inject the plastic into a mold through a heated cylinder.


‘Plug-and-Play’ Weight Reduction Solution by Hollow Glass Microspheres

Fillers have been in use since the early days of plastics.  Today’s enormous growth of the polymer industry is due to the unique properties of fillers they impart to polymers.  Glass bubbles (low density hollow glass microspheres) as fillers have been incorporated into thermoset polymers for decades.  They are tiny hollow spheres and are virtually inert.  These glass bubbles are are compatible with most polymers.  Until recently, their use with thermoplastic polymers has been limited because of high rates of bubble breakage from the high shear forces to which they are exposed during such thermoplastic processing operations as extrusion compounding and injection molding.  At issue has been the strength of the glass microspheres.

3M have recently developed innovative glass bubbles which offer resistance to extremely high compressive and shear forces.  This allows compounders, thermoformers and injection molders to use them to achieve significant weight reductions without restoring to costly equipment modifications.  This article will showcase how plastics processors could exploit the advantages of these novel glass bubbles while improving the end-product properties.


Trends in Bio-renewable Thermoplastics Elastomers

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) have been traditionally compounded and manufactured from raw materials based on fossil fuels.  Current trends in marketplace abounds sustainability programs. TPEs are no exception to this trend.   In a recent editorial, the authors stated “Through research and application, sustainability can evolve from a catchphrase to a societal one”1. More than two decades ago the Brundtland Commission (formerly the World Commission on Environment and Development, WCED), deliberated sustainable development issue and gave a definition of sustainability:

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.1a


Current trends

GRAPHENE is the thinnest known material and has the highest intrinsic strength of any material ever measured. We are posting an article to describe some of the interesting research on graphene and graphene-based  polymer nanocomposites (GPNC) that is occuring. This article reviews how graphene is made, explain how single sheets can be dispersed in a polymer matrix to give plastics with interesting properties and where these works are being carried out.

May 05, 2009

Expressing the rationale for pursuing a green environment along with the movement toward pursuing the same has brought about terms such as peak oil, greenhouse gases, and sustainability. Are these terms indicative of an upsurge in green-chemistry research?  Indeed they are: the plastics research community is up and running in developing “green” polymers.  Manufacturing plastics from carbon dioxide, sugarcane, corn, and switch grass are in high gear.  Traditional petrochemical-resin companies such as Braskem and Dow are getting ready to produce bio-polyethylene while Solvay is focusing on “green” polyvinylchloride (PVC).  In fact, Braskem made bio-ethylene consisting of 100% renewable carbon and then polymerized into “green” polyethylene*.  And we can say the same about the list of growing bio-polymer related industry standards (including EN 13432, ASTM D6866, D6868, D7075, D7081, D5511, D5271). We see fibres and packaging products made from corn on the grocers' shelves.  Of course, there is science behind transforming a kernel of corn into lactic acid and into poly-lactide molecules (PLA).  Technically, however, to make PLA plastics as a viable and a cost-effective alternative to conventional plastics is another story.  This is our rationale for publishing Dr. Zuzanna Cygan’s work on PLA, a work that shows how scientists are tackling challenging processing issues to improve PLA properties.

* More on innovation and industrial trends of bio-plastics are available in the issue of Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part C: Polymer Reviews, volume 49, 2009.

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