Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eastman's Tritan™ Copolyester Offers Tough, BPA-free Alternative to PC in Tea Tumblers

Innovative housewares brand finum®, known for its patented tea and coffee filters and pots, has launched its first multifunctional tumbler, Traveler Zita™, for perfect leaf tea making while travelling. Riensch & Held GmbH & Co.KG selected Eastman Tritan™ copolyester for both the Tea Control™ Kit and the double-wall tumbler, due to its clarity, dishwasher proof durability and because it is Bisphenol A (BPA)-free.

"We needed a polymer material which resists the temperature changes that occur during tea brewing," says Christian J. Justus, finum® Managing Partner, Riensch & Held. "It also had to be unaffected by dishwashing, be taste-free, easy to clean, and tough enough to withstand rough usage and still look appealing."
"We found that Eastman Tritan™ copolyester easily meets all these parameters. It's also BPA-free, and has been evaluated and received food contact clearances from the European Commission and United States Food and Drug Administration,. We have already used it for our popular series of tea makers Tea Control™, so when we designed the Traveler Zita™, it was an obvious choice for this tumbler too.

"By using leaf tea, Traveler Zita™ is the 'green' alternative to tea bags with their inherent packaging waste."
The new finum® Traveler Zita™ comprises a 0.3l / 10fl.oz double-wall tumbler and its Tea Control™ Kit, both made of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Available in three translucent colors, apple green, ruby red and anthracite, the lid resembles a tea cup for easy drinking while the tumbler is closed. The insulated walls of the tumbler make it suitable for hot and cold drinks and the new Corkmec™ seals the spout while on the move.

The ingenious design of the removable Tea Control™ Kit allows the tea lover to insert loose tea leaves of his choice, then add boiling water and let it brew to perfection. By closing the lid the tea leaves are trapped within the tumbler's Tea Control™ mechanism, thereby slowing down the brewing process and keeping the tea as tasty and warm as possible.
For a refill, just re-open Traveler Zita™ and add more boiling water. The Tea Control™ Kit also keeps the leaves together for easy disposal (in a 'green' recycling bin, naturally).
Ascan Wendt, Product Manager of finum®, was impressed by Eastman Chemical Company's exhaustive testing of Tritan™ copolyester. The tests demonstrated its resistance to heating and cooling, as well as kitchen conditions and detergents including multiple washing and drying cycles in commercial and domestic dishwashers. In these tests, Tritan™ showed continued resistance to hazing and stress cracking, and excellent retention of toughness and shatter-proof characteristics.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TU/e Researchers Succeed in Creating Plastic that Emits Light When Pulled

Scientists at TU/e for the first time succeeded in creating a plastic that emits light when pulled. The researchers can make the plastic emit red, yellow, blue and green light. The results were published online in Nature Chemistry this week.

The researchers incorporate an additional element in the plastic molecules, a molecular ring called dioxetane. When the plastic is pulled hard enough, the ring breaks open and emits light.The plastic only gives light as long as it is pulled. When the plastic is completely torn apart, a flash of light is seen because a lot of molecular rings break at the same time.

Tensile strength:The research has mainly been driven by fundamental scientific questions. The researchers were looking for possibilities of mechanical forces to unlock new types of chemistry, says Professor of Supramolecular Polymer Chemistry Rint Sijbesma.However, he does see a very suitable application of the invention. The transmitted light makes it possible to very accurately see where, when and how polymers break. In this way the collapse behavior of polymers can be studied in detail.

Luminous rods are different:The principle is quite different, by the way, from that of the luminous rods that are used at concerts, et cetera. When these rods are bent and broken inside, two liquids mix, creating a new chemical substance. This material starts to fall apart spontaneously, at the same time emitting light.

Friday, June 8, 2012

DSM's TeXtreme® Carbon Fabric with Turane Resins Finds Application in Olympic Rowing Boat

DSM has been working with the Dutch Olympic Team, applying their material expertise in order to make the best rowing boat possible for the London Olympics 2012. To achieve this they turned to TeXtreme® Spread Tow Fabrics as the choice of carbon reinforcement. The result is a faster boat as a direct consequence of reduced weight and increased stiffness.

Edwin Hendriks, Project Manager Building, Infrastructure and Sport at DSM comments: "To improve the performance of the Dutch Olympic rowing boat, we used TeXtreme® carbon fabric in combination with DSM's styrene-free Turane resins. The interaction between these two is exceptionally strong. This resulted in an increased rigidity (25% more stiffness) and a lower weight of the boat, allowing for a different construction that increased the stiffness even more. The new boat deforms less in the water at every powerful stroke of the rowers, and as such can better maintain its speed."
In the months leading up to London 2012, DSM applied their expertise in materials on improving the boats for the Dutch rowing teams. DSM cooperated with the Dutch Rowing Federation and the Olympic Team Netherlands in developing this special eight man rowing boat "Olympic eight".

Clearly one of the key elements of any rowing race is having the best boat, it is a vital component for any crew with ambitions. Building on their experience from previous Olympic innovations such as the 470-class sailing boat for Beijing 2008, DSM partnered with German boat builder Empacher. By using each other's strengths together with the unique mechanical properties of TeXtreme®, they developed the best boat possible.
Using DSMs Turane resins, one important goal was to improve the stiffness of the boat, making it better equipped to handle the rigors of a race. By combining it with TeXtreme® Spread Tow carbon fiber fabrics the stiffness of the hull has been increased up to 25%, reducing the energy loss of each stroke and thus increasing the speed.
The increased stiffness reduces the amount of energy that gets lost due to deformation of the hull, a common issue in the sport as the boats are not fully capable of withstanding the enormous amount of force unleashed by the crew during every single stroke. Reducing the deformation of the hull means that the crew can better build up and maintain speed.

Gucci Launches Eco-friendly, Sustainable Soles Made of Biodegradable Plastics

Gucci is pleased to announce the launch of Sustainable Soles, a special edition of eco-friendly women's and men's shoes designed by Creative Director Frida Giannini and part of the Prefall 2012 Collection. This new project conveys the House's mission to interpret in a responsible way the modern consumer's desire for sustainable fashion products, all the while maintaining the balance between the timeless values of style and utmost quality with an ever-growing green vision.

The Sustainable Soles include the Marola Green ballerinas for her and the California Green sneakers for him, both realized in bio-plastic — a biodegradable material in compost used as an alternative to petrochemical plastic.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Use of Lightweight Plastics in EVs Will Drive Penetration Rates & Growth, Forecasts Frost & Sullivan

With the electric vehicle (EV) production set to grow at a CAGR of over 80 per cent until 2017, plastics used in these vehicles will also see a tremendous growth. The need to increase EV mile range, paralleled by the inherent advantages of plastics — particularly that of lightweight — will drive penetration rates.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of Plastics in the Electric Vehicles Market in Europe and North America, finds that the market earned revenues of $ 0.5 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $ 73 million in 2017. The research covers power train plastics, battery casing plastics, thermal management system materials and wire and cable plastic materials.

As the electric vehicles market takes off, it is set to have a positive ripple effect on the uptake of plastics.
"Plastics for EVs are driven by light weighting trends which, in turn, are fuelled by the need to improve EV mile range," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Shree Vidhyaa Karunanidhi. "EVs are typically characterized by huge batteries which add to the overall weight of the vehicle and affect the mile range. To compensate for the battery weight, metals are increasingly being substituted by plastic."
Important structural components such as gears and motors are made of metal. Strength and crash-resistance requirements indicate that metals will remain the preferred material for these applications. However, plastics have huge potential in some of the minor, non-moving components such as energy recovery devices, cooling pipes, pumps, fans, casing materials.

The current level of penetration of plastics in these components varies. In the case of cooling pipes and fans, plastics are preferred, whereas for other components such as energy recovery devices (pedal and pump) and casing materials, plastics have low to moderate penetration. The inherent features of plastics are, nonetheless, set to push their rapid growth rate in these segments.
"The reduced scope for plastics in EVs in comparison to conventional, gasoline-fuelled vehicles poses a major restraint to market prospects," cautions Shree Vidhyaa. "EU end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling legislation, which entails the use of recyclable materials, poses another challenge to market participants."
Although thermoplastics used in these cars are recyclable, automotive shredders are typically made up of different type of plastics. These need to be sorted out before they are recyclable.
Therefore, on the one hand there is a need to lightweight cars to improve the mile range in EVs. On the other hand, ELV recycling legislation requires the OEMs to use recyclable materials.
"This issue can be solved if OEMs work with tier-1 suppliers to develop recycling technologies," advises Shree Vidhyaa. "This will ensure sustainable use of plastics in the long-term."
Strategic Analysis of Plastics in the Electric Vehicles Market in Europe and North America is part of the Chemicals & Materials Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Supply Chain Analysis of the Automotive Carbon Fiber Composites Market and Prevalent Substitution Trends within Materials and Chemicals in Automotive Light weighting. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.