Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Sharebot SnowWhite is a professional 3D printer with DLS (Direct Laser Sintering)
technology: a fast, easy to use working tool dedicated to professionals who test
and develop new materials or to people who need to create functioning mechanical

Sharebot SnowWhite has a laser of 2.200 mm/s which allows to print at a printing
speed of 35 mm/h. The printer uses different thermoplastic powders like PA12 or PA11:
all the printing setting can be set and modified through the touch screen display,
where the printer also shows all the parameters during the printing process.

The printer can be the perfect laboratory tool to test new powders because it can
start working with just 300g of material; it’s also possibile to recover all the unused
powders. The machine can start printing in just few minutes and it has a low energy
consumption while the powder doesn’t suffer any thermic stress.

Sharebot SnowWhite is the Sharebot DLS (Direct Laser Sintering) professional 3D printer based on laser sintering technology which consists in the sinterization of thermoplastic powders realized by a laser, layer by layer. The main advantages of the laser sintering technology compared to other technologies are: the possibility to create objects of any desired shape, without using supports; the mechanical and thermal resistance of the realized objects; the possibility to use again the left-over materials.
The printer with its CO2 laser allows to use a wide range of professional thermoplastic powder, such as PA 12, PA 11 and TPU, which give specific properties to the realized objects. To handle particular requests, it is also possible to use charged powders which contain particles of other materials such as glass, carbon or aluminum, giving different physical, mechanical and visual properties to the final objects. SnowWhite has the aim to bring the advantages of the sintering process to the small and medium business and to technical laboratories not only in an economic, easy and efficient way, but also keeping a professional and high quality result.
It is a printer which allows the user to “print in a click” because after a material is profiled, the printing process is completely automatic and the results are fully reproducible. Compared to other printers based on the same technology, the first start lasts 10 minutes, which means that the time from the loading powder to the creation of the first layer is about 10 minutes.
The printer medium consumption is less then 1,5 Watt/h and all the left-over powder can be used again in the next printing process. The printer requires only 300 ml of powder to start working and the building speed can reach 25 mm/h.

Technical Details:

SIZE 500 x 500 x 800 mm
PRINTING AREA 100 x 100 x 100 mm
Z RESOLUTION 50 micron
XY RESOLUTION 100 micron
LASER CO2 – 14 Watt
SPEED (Z-axis) 35 mm/h
SCAN SPEED Fino a 3500 mm/s

Wooden boats with high-performance core materials

Van Dam Custom Boats mixes classic wooden boat designs and highly evolved engineering.
Van Dam Custom Boats:
In 2017, Van Dam Custom Boats celebrated 40 years of craftsmanship. This family business was founded in Michigan by married couple Steve and Jean Van Dam. Trained as a wooden boat builder in the early 1970’s, Steve is one of those on board early in the use of epoxy as a part of wooden boatbuilding in North America. The company is still using the finest materials and the latest in technology when designing and manufacturing its hand-crafted boats. A vessel from Van Dam Custom Boats is always the only one of its kind.
Classic design with superior engineering:
When classic wooden boat designs are incorporated with highly evolved engineering, the finished product is strong and beautiful. A naval architect in his own right and son of founders Steve and Jean, Ben notes that the company has never intended to build a production model and looks past the fact that there are cheaper, faster and less structurally sound methods of building boats. 
High-performance core materials :
The cold molded process used at Van Dam Custom Boats affords owners a strong, lightweight vessel that is watertight and impervious to rot or cracking from swelling. Van Dam boats are built so that the raw wood never has to interact with, or react to, the element of water.
“We build a variety of sizes and types of cold molded wooden boats and have had a relationship with Diab for over 10 years”, says Steve Van Dam. “When we have had an application requiring a structural core, our go-to product has been Diab’s Divinycell core material. We have used this product between wooden skins, and also with carbon fiber or glass fiber in certain applications.”
Sunray – a motor yacht made of mahogany and core material
The construction of the stunning 50' Motor Yacht Sunray, designed by Michel Berryer of Van Dam Custom Boats, began during the fall of 2015. Classically styled with a nod to vintage 1960’s watercraft, Sunray sports a beam of 13' 6". The boat will be built from mahogany with a displacement of 35,000 lbs. A core material is used in key areas such as the cabin and wheel house, allowing for a lighter boat that still has a beautiful wooden finish.
“For Sunray, we will be using the HM80”, says Ben Van Dam, “primarily for insulation in the Florida sun but also as a structural component between wood skins in the cabin sides and top.”
A 450 gallon fuel tank feeds two Cummins 8.3 L-600 HP diesel engines that give Sunray a speed of more than 35 knots. Sunray is full of custom details such as inlaid with SS Mahogany trim and a double wide helm seat. It is also equipped with a complete Garmin navigation package, including two big screen displays and autopilot, a Seakeeper 6 gyro stabilizer, a full galley with state-of-the-art appliances. It features plenty of fresh water tankage for a hot shower in the beautifully detailed head compartment and underwater lighting for that night time swim off her teak swim platform.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Toho Tenax Incorporates Carbon Fiber & CNT for New Shock-resistant Hybrid Prepreg

Toho Tenax has announced that it has developed a new high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg that incorporates carbon fiber developed by Toho Tenax for aerospace applications and specialized carbon nanotubes (CNT).

Intermediate Material for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics


  • A prepreg is a carbon fiber sheet pre-impregnated with matrix resin and used as an intermediate material for carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP).
  • Toho Tenax’s new hybrid prepreg has been adopted by Mizuno Corporation in a new golf club shaft that weighs nearly 30% less than conventional shafts of the same thickness.
  • The high-tensile prepreg enables the shaft to bend suitably as the ball is impacted and then cuts the shock of impact by more than 10% to reduce club movement on the follow-through swing.
  • The surface of the CNT is specially treated and its structural elements disperse equally when Toho Tenax’s carbon fiber is impregnated with matrix resin containing the CNT.
  • The hybrid combination of carbon fiber and CNT realizes a superior CFRP that offers improved tensile strength and shock resistance. 
  • The CFRP also is extra durable because the carbon fiber and matrix resin do not peel away from each other thanks to the CNT’s balanced dispersion.

Solutions for Diverse Global Businesses

The Teijin Group is accelerating its development of its new high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg for high-end applications in the sports, leisure and aircraft fields, where weight reduction and high functionality are especially critical. Teijin also is strengthening its capabilities to provide solutions for diverse global businesses, from upstream to downstream.

Since CFRP is used in fields ranging from aircraft and automobiles to infrastructure and leisure, its prescribed properties must differ widely depending on the application. To address these specific demands, Teijin is developing technology for various combinations of carbon fiber and matrix resin and for specific processing needs.

Carbon fiber sheet and matrix resin, however, tend to peel away from each other when molded CFRP products are subjected to strong impact, leading to decreased strength and tension. Technologies have been pursued to better integrate carbon fiber and CNT, but until now the cohesiveness of CNT elements had prevented them from dispersing equally in the matrix resin, resulting in prepregs of unstable quality.

Source: Teijin

Sunday, February 4, 2018

New Renewable Way of Producing FDCA, a Biomass-derived Plastic Precursor

UW–Madison researchers have developed an economical way of producing a critical plastic precursor called FDCA which could improve the economics of making plastic from biomass.

Creating Plastics from Biomass

  • Using a plant-derived solvent called GVL (g-valerolactone) researchers have developed an economical and high-yielding way of producing furan dicarboxylic acid, or FDCA. 
  • One of twelve chemicals that the U.S. Department of Energy calls critical to forging a “green” chemical industry, FDCA is a necessary precursor to a renewable plastic called PEF (polyethylene furanoate) as well as to a number of polyesters and polyurethanes.

    Process for FDCA Production

  • Motagamwala and colleagues’ new process begins with fructose, which they convert in a two-step process to FDCA in a solvent system composed of one part GVL and one part water. 
  • The end result is a high yield of FDCA that easily separates from the solvent as a white powder upon cooling.
  • The system doesn’t require costly mineral acids for catalysis, doesn’t produce waste salts, and you can separate out the FDCA crystals from the solvent by simply cooling the reaction system.

As the bio-based substitute for PET (polyethylene terephthalate), its widely used, petroleum-derived counterpart, PEF is rich in potential. PET currently has a market demand of close to 1.5 billion tons per year, and Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, H.J. Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble have all committed to developing a sustainably sourced, 100 percent plant-based PET for their bottles, packaging, apparel and footwear. PEF’s potential to break into that sizeable market, however, has thus far been hampered by the high cost of producing FDCA.

Until now, FDCA has had a very low solubility in practically any solvent you make it in,” says Ali Hussain Motagamwala, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering and co-author of the study. “You have to use a lot of solvent to get a small amount of FDCA, and you end up with high separation costs and undesirable waste products.”

Using the GVL solvent solves most of the problems with the production of FDCA,” says Motagamwala. “Sugars and FDCA are both highly soluble in this solvent, you get high yields, and you can easily separate and recycle the solvent.

The team’s techno-economic analysis suggests that the process could currently produce FDCA at a minimum selling price of $1,490 per ton. With improvements, including lowering the cost of feedstock and reducing the reaction time, the price could reach $1,310 per ton, which would make their FDCA cost-competitive with some fossil fuel-derived plastic precursors.

We think this is the streamlined and inexpensive approach to making FDCA that many people in the plastics industry have been waiting for,” says Dumesic. “Our hope is that this research opens the door even further to cost-competitive renewable plastics.”

Source: UW–Madison

Monday, January 29, 2018

Aquafil and Genomatica Partner for Sustainable Caprolactam Production

 Aquafil and Genomatica have announced a multiyear agreement to create sustainable caprolactam, a key ingredient to producing 100 percent sustainable nylon. The collaboration aims to develop a commercially-advantageous bioprocess (Genomatica’s GENO CPL™ process) to make caprolactam using plant-based renewable ingredients, rather than the crude oil-derived materials traditionally used by the nylon industry.




Enabling More Sustainable Nylon Products

  • Used in a variety of nylon-based products including carpets and apparel, caprolactam has a worldwide market of over five million tons per year. 
  • Genomatica’s GENO CPL™ process aims to provide an environmentally-friendly way to make caprolactam with better economics, including for smaller-scale plants. 
  • It will enable licensees and their customers to differentiate themselves by offering a more sustainable bio-based product whose performance will be fully comparable with nylon made from crude oil-derived caprolactam
  • This will not require any machine or process adjustments by the nylon supply chain. Genomatica is the licensor of the GENO CPL™ process.

GENO CPL™ Process

  • Genomatica’s process to make biobased caprolactam aims to let Aquafil and others make more sustainable nylon apparel, carpets and fibers. 
  • A large number of brands choose ECONYL® as the sustainable ingredient for their product. 
  • GENO CPL™ process eliminates the significant amount of by-products common to most crude oil-derived caprolactam production, and will allow producers to diversify their sources in terms of raw material.

Opportunities for Chemical Producers, Product Makers and Brands

Genomatica invites other leaders in the nylon value chain to join its bio-nylon program – and Aquafil encourages further collaboration with supply chain partners. By joining the program, companies ranging from chemical producers and product makers to agriculture companies and major brands can engage, influence priorities and gain access to Genomatica’s technologies and supply of bio-based chemicals.

Supporting Quotes

As proven by the success of ECONYL®, consumers and manufacturers look forward to opportunities to play an active role in the circular economy. We aim to be a leader of sustainability for nylon, and we are excited by the opportunity to be the first to bring the benefits of this new technology to our customers, which is perfectly in line with our commitment to creating sustainable products,” said Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman and CEO of Aquafil. “Genomatica brings the technology, innovation and track record to help us achieve this.”

Visionary companies like Aquafil are delighting customers and gaining market share through more sustainable products,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “This is another example of Genomatica applying the power of biology to rethink how widely-used chemicals can be made a better way. Just as we’ve surpassed key milestones for our commercial GENO BDO process and were named winner of the ICIS Innovation Award for our new naturally sourced butylene glycol, we now aim to bring biotechnology innovation to enable better nylon products.”

Source: Genomatica

Monday, January 22, 2018

Versarien to establish graphene manufacturing centre in Shandong, China

Versarien, the British advanced materials engineering group, has announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to establish a graphene manufacturing centre in China.

The non-binding LOI has been entered into by Versarien together with the Shandong Institute of Industrial Technology Fund, Jinan Qing Na Material Technology Co Ltd and Jinan Innovation Zone Administrative Committee with the view to establishing the "China-UK Jinan Graphene Industrial Park" in the Jinan Innovation Zone, Shandong Province, China. The Jinan Innovation Zone, established as a national hi-tech zone in 1991, currently has ten industrial parks with businesses including software, intelligent manufacturing and life sciences.

The LOI envisages as a first stage the establishment of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility to produce and sell Versarien's proprietary Nanene few layer graphene nano-platelets. Versarien will provide its intellectual property (IP) on a licensed basis together with production know how, whilst the other joint venture partners will provide the factory and funding for plant and equipment.
The second stage objective is the establishment of the first Chinese graphene industrial park, the "Jinan Graphene Valley" including a graphene research institute with funding coming from the joint venture partners. The total project cost is anticipated to be in the region of CNY 500 million (approximately £55 million).

It is the Company's intention to form a wholly owned Hong Kong company which will become one of the joint venture partners, whilst ensuring the strongest protection of its IP. 

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "It is intended that this facility will form the centre of the "Jinan Graphene Valley" and pave the way to Versarien establishing a world class base in the Asian region. We have been afforded great support from the Chinese government and we are working with all parties to deliver this facility in record time and to capture the excitement and support for our Nanene product in China.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Researchers Detect Benzyl Butyl Phthalate in Avocado Seed Husks

Scientists report that avocado seed husks yielded benzyl butyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to promote flexibility in numerous synthetic products.

Trash-to-Treasure Transformation

The least appreciated part of an avocado could soon undergo a trash-to-treasure transformation. In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists report that avocado seed husks, which are usually discarded along with the seed, are hidden gold mines packed with a previously unrecognized plethora of chemical compounds. They say these compounds could eventually be used to treat a host of debilitating diseases, as well as to enhance the allure of cosmetics, perfumes and other consumer goods.

Seed Husks - Potential Source of Chemicals

It could very well be that avocado seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions,” says Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D. “Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.”

Extraction of Avocado Oil

  • In all, nearly 5 million tons of avocados are produced worldwide annually. Americans consume almost 1.9 billion pounds each year, according to the Hass Avocado Board.
  • In most cases, the “meat,” or flesh, is eaten and the seed is tossed in the trash.
  • Some edible oil manufacturers extract avocado oil from the seeds, but they remove the husk surrounding the seed and discard it before processing. 

Bandyopadhyay and his students Valerie Cano, Orlando Castillo, Daniel Villicana and Thomas Eubanks at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley sought to find out more about what manufacturers are really throwing away when they discard these seed husks.

Finding Seed Husk Wax

  • The researchers ground about 300 dried avocado seed husks into 21 ounces of powder. 
  • After additional processing, the powder yielded about three teaspoons of seed husk oil and slightly more than an ounce of seed husk wax.
  • Using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis, the research team found 116 compounds in the oil and 16 in the wax. 
  • Many of these compounds do not appear to be found in the seeds themselves.

Among the Constituents in the Oil was:

  • Behenyl alcohol (also known as docosanol)
  • Heptacosane, which might inhibit the growth of tumor cells; and dodecanoic acid, which increases high density lipoprotein (known as HDL) and, as a result, could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Benzyl Butyl Phthalate Discovered

In the wax, the researchers detected benzyl butyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to promote flexibility in numerous synthetic products; bis(2-butoxyethyl) phthalate, which is used in cosmetics; and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), which is a food additive.

Source: American Chemical Society