Monday, August 29, 2011

Toyota Selects DuPont™ Sorona® EP Polymer for Designing its Hybrid Vehicle's Interior Parts

Toyota's new hybrid vehicle(Prius alpha), features automotive interiors made of DuPont™ Sorona® EP polymer, a high-performance, renewably sourced thermoplastic resin. Sorona® EP was selected for this precisely engineered, functional component for its heat resistance, durability and ability to maintain great appearance.

Developed in close collaboration with DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha (DKK), Toyota Motor Corporation, Kojima Press Industry Co., Ltd. and Howa Plastics Co., Ltd., the parts made from Sorona® EP polymers are used on the instrument-panel air-conditioning system outlet and contribute to the advanced interior design while also reducing the environmental footprint.
Tadayuki Koyama DuPont Performance Polymers (DPP) Account Manager for Toyota, credited the global DPP team's research and development collaborations, as well as support from technical, supply chain and operations for success in achieving the commercialization of this first automotive application of Sorona® EP polymers.
"Automakers are extremely interested in renewably sourced polymers that perform as well or better than their petroleum-based counterparts," said Marsha Craig, Global Business Manager for renewably sourced DPP products. "Adopted by a leading automaker such as Toyota is a significant milestone, as it supports the value of the product and is likely to encourage more automakers to follow suit."
Sorona® EP polymers contain between 20% and 37% renewably sourced material (by weight) derived from plant sugar. Working with Toyota, the team was able to confirm that performance and molding characteristics of Sorona® EP in this application are similar or better to petroleum-based high-performance PBT (polybutylene terephthalate). Sorona® EP also helps reduce both carbon dioxide emissions and the use of petrochemicals used to produce use the PBT that is typically used for conventional auto interior parts. Sorona® EP also offers lower warpage and improved surface appearance, compared to PBT, to help streamline the manufacturing process.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Illinois Researchers Develop Plastic Skin Patch with Electrical Activity for Wide Applications

Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo. Led by John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois, the researchers described their novel skin-mounted electronics.

The circuit bends, wrinkles and stretches with the mechanical properties of skin. The researchers demonstrated their concept through a diverse array of electronic components mounted on a thin, rubbery substrate, including sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors, wireless antennas, and conductive coils and solar cells for power.
"We threw everything in our bag of tricks onto that platform, and then added a few other new ideas on top of those, to show that we could make it work," said Rogers, a Professor of materials science and engineering, of chemistry, of mechanical science and engineering, of bioengineering and of electrical and computer engineering. He also is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and with the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at U. of I. The patches are initially mounted on a thin sheet of water-soluble plastic, and then laminated to the skin with water just like applying a temporary tattoo. Alternately, the electronic components can be applied directly to a temporary tattoo itself, providing concealment for the electronics.
"We think this could be an important conceptual advance in wearable electronics, to achieve something that is almost unnoticeable to the wearer," said U. of I. Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Todd Coleman, who co-led the multi-disciplinary team. "The technology can connect you to the physical world and the cyberworld in a very natural way that feels very comfortable."
Skin-mounted electronics have many biomedical applications, including EEG and EMG sensors to monitor nerve and muscle activity. One major advantage of skin-like circuits is that they don't require conductive gel, tape, skin-penetrating pins or bulky wires, which can be uncomfortable for the user and limit coupling efficiency. They are much more comfortable and less cumbersome than traditional electrodes and give the wearers complete freedom of movement.
"If we want to understand brain function in a natural environment, that's completely incompatible with EEG studies in a laboratory," said Coleman, now a professor at the University of California at Diego. "The best way to do this is to record neural signals in natural settings, with devices that are invisible to the user."
Monitoring in a natural environment during normal activity is especially beneficial for continuous monitoring of health and wellness, cognitive state or behavioral patterns during sleep. In addition to gathering data, skin-mounted electronics could provide the wearers with added capabilities. For example, patients with muscular or neurological disorders, such as ALS, could use them to communicate or to interface with computers. The researchers found that, when applied to the skin of the throat, the sensors could distinguish muscle movement for simple speech. The researchers have even used the electronic patches to control a video game, demonstrating the potential for human-computer interfacing.
Rogers' group is well known for its innovative stretchable, flexible devices, but creating devices that could comfortably contort with the skin required a new fabrication paradigm.
"Our previous stretchable electronic devices are not well-matched to the mechano physiology of the skin," Rogers said. "In particular, the skin is extremely soft, by comparison, and its surface can be rough, with significant microscopic texture. These features demanded different kinds of approaches and design principles."
Rogers collaborated with Northwestern University Engineering Professor Yonggang Huang and his group to tackle the difficult mechanics and materials questions. The team developed a device geometry they call filamentary serpentine, in which the circuits for the various devices are fabricated as tiny, squiggled wires. When mounted on thin, soft rubber sheets, the wavy, snakelike shape allows them to bend, twist, scrunch and stretch while maintaining functionality.
"The blurring of electronics and biology is really the key point here," Huang said. "All established forms of electronics are hard, rigid. Biology is soft, elastic. It's two different worlds. This is a way to truly integrate them." The researchers used simple adaptations of techniques used in the semiconductor industry, so the patches are easily scalable and manufacturable. The device company mc10, which Rogers co-founded, already is working to commercialize certain versions of the technology.
Next, the researchers are working to integrate the various devices mounted on the platform so that they work together as a system, rather than individually functioning devices, and to add Wi-Fi capability.
"The vision is to exploit these concepts in systems that have self-contained, integrated functionality, perhaps ultimately working in a therapeutic fashion with closed feedback control based on integrated sensors, in a coordinated manner with the body itself," Rogers said.

Thin-wall PP Pack Featuring EVOH Barrier Technology for Maximum Shelf Life

RPC Bramlage, specializing in injection molding process, has introduced a thin wall (0.4mm) multilayer polypropylene (PP) pack which exhibit shelf life of between one to two years for food products. With simultaneous injection of skin and center layers, the barrier technology thus achieved gives critical control of the EVOH barrier layer to oxygen and water vapor. The company claims that this technology is a low-cost alternative to glass and tin formats.

These food packs can be sterilized, pasteurized and heat-sealed to keep product fresh for a longer time. The packs come in various sizes and design and feature exceptional excellent clarity for in-mould labeling for maximum shelf appeal.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Permabond launches high temperature epoxy adhesive

Permabond ET5401 has been developed to bond a wide variety of engineering materials, such as composites, thermoplastics, metals and ceramic materials. Permabond believes this product will be ideal for the composites bonding industry, the transportation market and automotive industries.

Traditionally, standard two-component epoxy adhesives (resin and hardener) can only resist temperatures of up to around 80°C before they soften, resulting in joint failure, reports Permabond. The new Permabond ET5401 epoxy adhesive can successfully survive 140°C continuously, and maintain its performance characteristics.

The adhesive can be exposed to temperatures higher than this (such as those experienced in a paint stoving oven) for short periods, providing the adhesive is not overly stressed, Permabond notes.
Permabond ET5401 is a toughened product which is ideal for bonding dissimilar materials (such as metal to composite) where differential thermal expansion and contraction could be an issue. It is also ideal for applications where good impact and vibration resistance is important.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Large Cured-in-Place Pipes with 40% Less Thickness

While expansion work of San Diego International Airport, Insituform’s iPlus® cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology, using Vipel® 102NA resin from AOC, helped reducing time and cost of the overall process.
The airport put a terminal over a 96-inch diameter concrete sewer pipeline, but the 25ft underground pipe was not designed for the structural loads that were most likely to emerge as part of the new project. The critical part was to maintain the wall thickness of the new liner under 1.26 inches such that the upgraded pipe’s flow rate could handle present and forthcoming projected volumes. To give appropriate strength to the liners, slip-lining could have added nearly 12-in while the conventional CIPP, an additional 2.07-in.
As an alternative, Insituform Technologies® installed a customized 518-m long fiber-reinforced iPlus® Composite liner, which comprised of carbon fibers. The pipes thus made are strong enough to withstand the new structural loads while keeping wall thickness less than 40 percent as compared to conventional CIPP.

Battelle Researchers Develop Soyabean-based Superabsorbent Polymers for Diapers

Anyone who's had a baby knows how fast diapers can pile up. Battelle scientists have developed a chemistry to make diapers and other absorbent products friendlier to the environment with the aim of making them cost competitive. The next step is to commercialize this new, green innovation a thoughtful idea that uses soybean meal to replace a third of the petroleum products currently found in such items.
Diapers and other materials that absorb liquids are effective because of hydrogels, which are known to scientists as superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) petroleum-based acrylic acid materials that can absorb hundreds of times their weights in liquid.
For several years, scientists at Battelle have been hard at work creating this soy-based replacement technology with funding provided by the United Soybean Board (USB) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). Battelle's association with these organizations has led to other recent breakthroughs in soy research, such as flexible foams for bedding and furniture, toner for printers, lubricants, coatings, plasticizers and many other products that partially replace petroleum-based components.
Soybeans are about 20 percent oil, 70 percent soybean meal and eight percent hulls. Soybean meal is mainly used for animal feed and is the part Battelle scientists use to convert to the SAP.
The idea is to use soy meal to replace 33 percent of the acrylic acid-based SAPs, keeping the same absorption rate 200 to 300 times its own weight and, perhaps most importantly, maintaining a comparable price point. "We believe that everyone wants to be environmentally friendly, but they want products that perform exactly the same as their oil-based counterparts without costing more," said Marty Toomajian, President of Battelle's Energy, Environment and Material Sciences Global Business. "That is what we are trying to do with this new innovation. The aim is to replace a portion of the petroleum-based product with a sustainable one and work to make it cost effective."
The market for SAPs today is about 1.6 million tons per year, with personal care items making up the vast majority diapers account for 83 percent of that market. Even a modest penetration of the market could mean a large replacement of oil-based products with a renewable, sustainable replacement, reducing the need for dependence on foreign oil while helping American farmers.
These farmers are aided in such efforts by what is known as the soybean checkoff program, which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is a is a dedicated effort to collect 0.5 percent of the market price of soybeans. These funds are then distributed to the USB on a national level and organizations such as the OSC on a state level. The purpose of these organizations is to use that funding for domestic and international marketing and commercialization, production research, consumer education and research in new uses or products from soybeans. "Soy products have proven their potential to provide economical green solutions for many industries," said Bob Haselwood, USB New Uses Committee Chair. "The checkoff is proud to partner with the Ohio Soybean Council to make investments like this in soy-based replacement technology."
Another use for the hydrogels applies to agriculture. In arid climates, the hydrogel could be added to soil to help hold moisture for plants to use. Hydrogels also can be used to coat seeds that have been planted, helping them absorb water and then use it when there's a lack of rain, extending the longevity and effectiveness of the seeds.
"The Ohio Soybean Council has worked with Battelle for more than 15 years to learn how to use soybeans to replace petroleum in commercial products," said Allen Armstrong, Chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council. "Soy hydrogels can replace a significant portion of petroleum-based products and provide profit opportunities for farmers as well as develop new economies for Ohio and the United States."