Saturday, April 30, 2011

Boston Utilizes Teijin's BIOFRONT™ Heat-resistant Bioplastic to Make Eco-friendly Eyeglasses

Teijin Limited has announced that eyeglass frames made of its BIOFRONT highly heat-resistant bioplastic will be used in the JAPONISM series of eyeglasses by Boston Club Co., Ltd., a Japan-based globally active eyeglass maker. The eyeglasses will be marketed by Boston Club and sold in its directly owned shops in Tokyo and other retail stores nationwide from mid May. Boston Club expects to sell 2,000 pairs of the environmentally friendly eyeglasses annually.

BIOFRONT, a type of bioplastic, is produced from plant-based feedstock. It has a melting point of at least 210° C, which is significantly higher than that of conventional polylactide (PLA) bioplastic. BIOFRONT also is highly resistant to bleaching and bacteria, has good hydrolytic stability and achieves semi-crystallization in just 20-25% of the time required by conventional PLA, making it an excellent choice for many molded-plastic applications.
In 2009, Teijin Limited and Teijin Chemicals Limited, in collaboration with Tanaka Foresight Inc., which manufactures and sells approximately 60% of all plastic eyeglass parts in Japan, successfully developed eyeglass frames made from BIOFRONT. BIOFRONT eyeglass frames are currently available in the Katherine E Hamnett line of ethically and environmentally sound fashion.
Acetate is commonly used for the plastic parts of eyeglasses, but contact with cosmetics or hair-styling products can bleach the material. Acetate also tends to warp under high heat, and in some cases it can cause skin rashes. PLA has been used for nose pads because its antibacterial properties help to prevent rashes, but conventional PLA has not been used for parts such as frames and temples because of insufficient heat resistance.

Specialty Insulation Foamed Tanks Maintain Low Temperature for LNG

In Gwangyang, Korea, pipes in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank terminal are now been insulated using specialty foam Basotect® from BASF for the first time. LNG gas needs to be stored and temporarily liquefied at low temperature, hence proper insulation of such pipes is very critical. The foam also protects pipes from high temperature conditions and provides flame retardancy too. Basotect's base material makes it flame-retardant and can be used at up to 240°C while retaining its properties over a wide temperature range. Basotect has an open-cell foam structure made from melamine resin, which is a thermoset polymer. This makes it lightweight foam (9g/l) due to which even heavy pipes can be easily moved if needed during inspection purposes and re-installed when through.

Injection-molded Cleaning Spray Bottle: Simple to Use - Complex in Structure

Replenish Bottling Founder Jason Foster developed 'Replenish', a household cleaning product. It is packaged in an intelligent and reusable spray bottle system which comprises of a two-part arrangement. Concentrate is stored in a reservoir of the pod that, when pushed, reaches the base of the bottle; here the unit of concentrate gets mixed with water. The delivery mechanism that connects the injection-molded bottle with injection blow-molded pod is more complex. The pod contains enough concentrate for four bottles of cleaner. The pods and bottle are made of Eastman Eastar™ copolyester.
Wowing industry with its smart functionality and pleasing aesthetics, the innovation has been declared as the finalist for the '2011 Edison Best New Product' Awards. Replenish also won the 'Alice Best New Product of 2010'.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Samsung Launches Eco-friendly Android Smartphone made Using Recycled Plastics

Sprint unveiled several progressive initiatives building on Sprint's environmental leadership in the wireless industry, including upcoming availability of the stylish Samsung Replenish™ from Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile). Samsung Replenish, an Android touch QWERTY smartphone enabled with Sprint ID, will be available on May 8 at the affordable price.
Sprint is waiving the $10 monthly premium data add-on charge for Samsung Replenish to make it easier for customers to make eco-friendly buying decisions. In addition, the Earth-friendly Samsung Restore™, first available from Sprint in 2010, will be offered to Virgin Mobile USA customers without an annual contract beginning on April 18.
"We want to make it as simple as we can for our customers to go green with a robust selection of products and competitive pricing," said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. "Samsung Replenish is as green as we could make it with more than 80 percent recyclable materials, housed in partially recycled plastics, energy efficient and built with fewer environmentally sensitive materials. As if this is not enough incentive, we are also lowering the monthly rate for this phone by $10 for new or existing customers so it pays for itself within just five months."
With four eco-friendly phones launched to date, Sprint has made available the most green devices and accessories of any U.S. wireless carrier. Marking another U.S. first, an optional solar charging battery cover will be available for Samsung Replenish. The solar battery cover and an Eco-cover made from Naturacell will be available for purchase on May 8.

Earth-friendly yet Powerful

Samsung Replenish, Sprint and Samsung Mobile's first eco-friendly Android smartphone boasting access to more than 150,000 apps in Android Market™, is partially built with recycled plastics and recyclable packaging making it the ideal choice for the environmentally conscious consumer who needs the latest technology. The phone will also be enabled with Sprint ID, which lets customers personalize their device instantly with eco-friendly focused apps and mobile content.
"We are excited to expand our portfolio of eco-friendly devices to now include the Samsung Replenish with Sprint, Samsung's first Android-powered eco-friendly phone, and the Samsung Restore with Virgin Mobile," said Dale Sohn, President of Samsung Telecommunications America. "Both the Replenish and Restore offer an impressive feature set with hardware made from recycled materials and eco-centric packaging, giving customers the option to have an eco-friendly phone without having to compromise features and functionality."
It has the following impressive eco-credentials:
  • Reduced environmentally sensitive materials (RoHS compliant, free of intentionally added polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), phthalates and beryllium)
  • Energy efficient, with a charger that meets the EC Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency of External Power Supplies, Version 4, as well as a visual alert for full charge
  • Casing includes 34.6 percent post-consumer recycled plastic content (the highest level in our eco-portfolio) and 82 percent of the device is made from recyclable materials
  • Fully recyclable packaging that incorporates 80 percent post-consumer waste material and uses soy inks
  • Includes a postage-paid envelope to recycle your old phone and promotes a virtual user guide available on the Sprint website
Sprint also recently announced the availability of the newest Sprint ID pack, the Green ID pack. This ID pack offers Sprint customers using select Android devices, including Samsung Replenish, the opportunity to personalize their phone with an unmatched eco-focused Android experience that provides mobile content to live green, shop green, recycle and more.
Sprint's new Green Sprint ID pack provides instant personalization in a single download with apps, widgets and mobile shortcuts on the user's device, and it features apps from eco-conscious favorites such as Green America and the National Audubon Society. Started recently owners of select Sprint devices, including Samsung Transform™, Samsung Epic™ 4G* and Samsung Galaxy Tab™, can load the Green ID pack onto their device. Samsung Replenish will offer the Green ID pack when it launches on May 8. Like all other Sprint ID packs, the Green ID pack is free to download with Sprint's Everything Data plan.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sainsbury Utilizes RPC Blackburn's Transparent PET Bottles for Storing Food Extracts

Sainsbury's has launched the latest additions to its successful Taste the Difference range premium flavourings in a custom 43.5ml PET bottle manufactured at RPC Containers Blackburn.

The bottle, produced for Food Innovation, is being used for a new range of premium food extracts for home baking and flavoring. Its impressive clear appearance highlights the vibrant colours of the contents. PET combines ease of use with safety it is lightweight and shatterproof, making it ideal for use in the kitchen.
Kevin Rushton, Senior Partner at Food Innovation, added "The excellent clarity of the bottle means these high-quality extracts are clearly identifiable on the shelf."
"We know there's a growing market for home baking products such as these, and consumers who buy the range are looking for quality. It was important, therefore, that the packaging from RPC matched that ethos."
Sainsbury's are the first to market with an own-label home baking extract using Madagascan vanilla. The range also includes Sicilian lemon and the first extract sourced from mentha piperita one of the highest quality mint plants grown in the US to go on sale in a UK supermarket.

PBT+PC Blend Adds Life to Exterior Truck Components

To protect exterior truck components from harsh environments, LANXESS has developed Pocan C 1202 blend of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polycarbonate (PC). It has been used on uncoated radiator grille of the FM series FMX construction truck. The PBT blend features UV stability and chemical resistance. Volvo Trucks Corporation fitted the model with a new front section, while the (180x35x4)cm radiator grille is produced by Germany-based Gerhardi Kunststofftechnik GmbH, a manufacturer of plastic components for vehicle interiors and exteriors in Europe. The relevant molds are cascaded; latching lugs and mounting domes are reproduced while excellent flow behavior causes negligible distortion. The company is also offering PBT blends that can be used in truck panels, moldings, wind deflectors, pillars, bumpers, etc.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Argentina will have natural gas for 509 years

The Department of Energy has confirmed that the South American country holds more natural gas trapped in shale rock than all of Europe does, a 774-trillion-cubic-feet (tcf) bounty that could transform the outlook for Western Hemisphere supply and that could be the third largest in the world. The production of this gas involves horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, unconventional techniques that revolutionized gas markets, opening up 100 years of new supplies.

While shale exploration in Argentina is still in its infancy and it is early to determine exactly how much gas can be tapped economically, the country's technically recoverable shale reserves would be worth over USD 3 trillion at today's U.S. futures markets prices, reported Reuters news agency.

"In the richest area of Argentina’s Neuquén Basin of, at least one third or half of the reserves could be economically viable based on current prices," explained the energy consulting firm Advanced Resources International, which prepared the DoE report.

It is worth adding that these reserves may encourage the momentum for further investments in the sector and also increase the volume of natural gas in Argentina. In this sense, it may guarantee the supply of fuel for different uses, including transportation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eden Encourages Commercial Application of Carbon Nanotubes & Nanofibers in Automotives & Electronics

Eden Energy Ltd has announced the wide applications of carbon nanotubes and nanofibers in various industries like electronics, automotives where they are mixed with rubber and plastics and used in manufacturing of vehicle tyres etc. Initially they encourage nano tubes and fibers utilisation in batteries followed by plastic and rubber industries where they improve the tensile strength and shelf life of rubber. Eden has also developed new pyrolysis technology along with university of Queensland which produces carbon nanotubes and nanofibers from natural gas and significant advantage of not producing carbon dioxide as an unwanted by-product.

First Sale of Eden's Nano-Carbon Fibers to a Battery Manufacturer for Commercial Application:

Eden Energy Ltd ("Eden") has made its first commercial sale of its carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) to an industrial battery manufacturer. The sale followed the testing by the battery manufacturer of the suitability of Eden's nano-carbon fibers in its batteries, which include a wide range of rechargeable industrial batteries including re-chargeable vehicle batteries. They advertise that a very small quantity of carbon nanotubes added to material in the battery, dramatically increases the storage capacity of the battery and significantly reduces the time taken to recharge the battery. Whilst the first sale was of only a relatively small quantity of carbon, it is nevertheless understood to be sufficient for possibly up to 1000 batteries, but most importantly is confirmation from the market of the commercial acceptability of Eden's carbon nano-products for electrical applications.

Initial Testing of Eden's Nano-Carbon Fibers in Rubber and Plastics to Begin:

Eden will commence testing at the Hythane Company's laboratory in Colorado, USA, the effects of mixing carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers with rubber and plastic. Published test results of trials by other research groups indicate that in the case of rubber, which is normally made with a base mixture of rubber (67wt%) and carbon black (33wt%), substitution of 5wt % of carbon nanotubes for the 33wt% carbon black, can increase the tensile strength of the rubber by up to 35% and the strain energy density by up to 37%, potentially resulting in lighter, longer life tyres. In the case of plastics, published test results of other researchers have shown that the addition of carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers to the plastic produces a significant increases in strength, and both electrical and thermal conductivity. 1wt% of multiwalled nanotubes, added to polyethylene increased its strain energy density by approximately 150% and its ductility by approximately 140%. In the case of carbon fibre strengthened epoxy composites, addition of 0.5wt% of multiwalled carbon nanotubes increased stiffness and strength by 10-15% and sheer strength by 25-30%.

Eden's New Pyrolysis Technology:

Eden's new Pyrolysis technology, developed by Eden and the University of Queensland, produces hydrogen and carbon nano-fibers or carbon nanotubes from natural gas (methane) and has the very significant advantage of not producing carbon dioxide as an unwanted by-product. In India, where Eden is planning to demonstrate its hydrogen enriched Hythane™ fuel in two bus trials later this year, establishing a market for a significant quantity of the nano-carbon products will not only enable production of large quantities of hydrogen but also a significant amount of valuable carbon nano-products.
Eden's pyrolysis process and catalyst production capability, is currently being scaled up at Hythane Company to a small scale commercial production level of up to 100 tonnes of carbon per year, and is planned to be completed by the end of 2011, which, if successful, will open the way to a commercial rollout in 2012, with initial deployment being planned for India.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ensinger’s Thermoplastic Carbon Fiber Composites Made Using Victrex’s PEEK Offers High Mechanical Strength

Ensinger recently launched a series of highly loaded thermoplastic carbon fiber composites. Components made of this composite material offer high mechanical strength alongside excellent heat distortion properties.
Stock shapes made using the new TECATEC product series comprise a thermoplastic matrix and a woven fabric of carbon fiber bundles. This combination ensures the achievement of significantly higher tensile and flexural strength compared to fiber reinforced extrudates. The lightweight materials also offer good chemical resistance and are radiolucent, making them ideally suited for external fixation devices and surgical instruments. 

TECATEC PEEK CW50 makes use of the matrix polymer VICTREX® PEEK™, which is compressed with laminated woven carbon fabric mats. A special coating on the fabric helps to reduce the number of faults. A carbon fiber fabric component of 50 per cent ensures extremely good torsional stiffness and minimal tendency to warp even after multiple sterilization cycles. These attributes make for a long service life of components.
This new material is an example of close co-operation between the Ensinger Group and Victrex Polymer Solutions. The two companies have agreed to work closely together on the development and marketing of new application fields for PEEK™ products.
The other composite material offered within the Ensinger portfolio is TECATEC PEKK CW60. This comprises a polyetherketoneketone matrix (PEKK), laminated with a 60 per cent carbon fiber fabric. The proprietary manufacturing process used achieves excellent fiber and matrix integration. Because of its high glass transition point (165 °C), PEKK is resistant to repeated steam sterilization cycles, while its enhanced carbon fiber component ensures even higher dimensional stability and stiffness. Medical technology is the single most important field of application for TECATEC products. Both materials are physiologically harmless (biocompatibility in accordance with ISO 10993-5) and corrosion resistant. In orthopaedic applications, radiolucent, low-warpage targeting fixtures made of carbon fiber composites are used for positioning fixing pins. The extreme strength of these composite materials also offers benefits when used in the manufacture of spreaders or in components for the external fixture of bone fractures.
TECATEC is available in plate thicknesses of 3 to 40 mm, with larger dimensions available on request.

PA6 ‘Fuel’-filling the Wish to Make Gasoline Engine Tanks Permeation-free

LANXESS is in process of developing a new blow-moldable, gasoline fuel-resistant polyamide 6 (PA6) grade for high-performance tanks. Used as a replacement to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and other metal-based tanks (such as aluminum, steel or multi-layer plastic composites), PA6 is compliant with EPA regulations and suppresses fuel permeation in blow-molded tanks effectively. Tanks made of multi-layer plastic composites contain a polar layer of ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) as a permeation barrier. Making these layers by means of co-extrusion blow molding process is a complex and costly task too. Steel and aluminum tanks do not give design freedom.
LANXESS experts are also looking for a possibility to make the new polyamide tank material which is resistant to E85 fuels too. PA6-based fuel tanks can find their application in motorcycles, cars, boats, combustion machines, mobile power generators, and more.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Carbon fibre suppliers are looking forward to recovery in the market.

Carbon fibre supplier SGL Group of Germany announced in its latest financial report in November that, despite a recent recovery in demand, the market for carbon fibre continues to face temporary overcapacities due to the numerous delays in new aircraft projects, delayed investments in wind energy, as well as declining demand in sports and consumer applications.
“This has resulted in an increased competitive environment with temporary negative impact on prices and volumes,” relates SGL. “The recent increase in demand, however, has led to prices stabilising, albeit at still unsatisfactory levels. Further price increases are necessary in 2011,” the report notes. The company also says that in recent months it has improved the structure of its precursor supply with the addition of two independent production sites.
Long delays in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner programme have contributed to the supply and demand imbalance. Boeing announced in January that it expects delivery of the first Dreamliner in the third quarter of this year. The 787 programme has been gradually returning individual aircraft to the flight test programme. Four have been subjected to extensive ground testing and a thorough review to ensure their readiness to return to flight, says Boeing.

Demand on upswing

Leading US carbon fibre supplier Zoltek, while reporting a loss in the first quarter, reports that sales for the quarter were up 14%, reflecting business with new customers, which offset soft demand from large wind energy customers.
“Worldwide, we are seeing the beginning of a strong resurgence in demand for carbon fibres from wind energy, our primary application area,” noted Zoltek Chairman and CEO Zsolt Rumy.
He reports that over the past two years, there has been a great deal of progress in wind energy in China, India and other countries as high-tech companies have moved in the direction of larger and more efficient wind turbines.
“Wind energy is continuing to go global and entering a new phase of rapid growth,” adds Rumy, noting that Zoltek produces the majority of commercial carbon fibres used in the super-long blades that power advanced wind turbines.
Toray Industries recently announced that it has decided to resume construction of a carbon fibre production facility in Japan in anticipation of a recovery in demand. The new plant is expected to go online in September 2012. Toray and its Korean subsidiary are also building a carbon fibre production plant in Korea to ensure a stable domestic supply there. It is expected to go online in 2013.
In January, Toray and Daimler AG announced a joint venture to manufacture and market carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) automotive parts. Toray has been working on design and moulding processes, while Daimler is taking responsibility for designing parts and developing technologies for joining of the parts, the companies announced. The result is said to be an innovative technology for mass production of CFRP parts with a significantly shorter moulding cycle. Toray is also heavily invested in aerospace, having signed a 16-year contract in 2006 worth at least US$6 billion to supply CFRP materials to Boeing’s Dreamliner programme.
Mitsubishi Rayon Company’s Carbon Fibres and Composite Materials business suffered a loss in 2010, but the company has decided to resume work on an additional carbon fibre plant, which will add annual capacity of 2700 tons. Construction had been suspended pending a recovery in demand. Last year the company formed a business alliance with SGL Group to produce precursors for the manufacture of carbon fibres and fabrics for the BMW Megacity vehicle.
US carbon fibre supplier Hexcel reported improved sales in its 4th quarter report, noting that a significant number of orders received in 2010 by its commercial aerospace and wind customers, provided a “much improved environment for our markets.” Chairman and CEO David Berges notes: “We are pleased with our 2010 results, especially since we started the year with a great deal of uncertainty about the direction of our core markets.” Hexcel expects sales to continue rising in 2011.
In Turkey, carbon fibre producer AKSA Akrilik Kimya has decided to increase the annual capacity of its existing line by 300 tons and to build a second line to add 1700 tons of capacity. In India, Kemrock Industries and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd recently announced plans to form a joint venture to develop and manufacture CFRP prepregs for aerospace and defence applications.