Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Technique to Create Biodegradable Cellulose-based Plastic: Tuskegee Univ.

Currently, most bioplastics are produced using renewable biomass resources, such as vegetable fats, oils, and sweet potatoes, which readily decompose once they are buried in the ground. However, these materials lack the necessary strength and flexibility required to extend the life of plastics in the packaging and electronic industry.

New Discovery in Plastics:

To date, there have been limited successes in inventing new solvents to dissolve cellulose for commercialization usage. Also, the increase in toxicity associated with current dissolution techniques has made cellulose less attractive for use in the plastic industry. But, Tuskegee University researchers have discovered a new method that can be used to suspend tiny particles of cellulose in an organic solvent that is commonly used in the plastic industry. This technique could remove the current limitations and allow for the creation of a new kind of biodegradable cellulose-based plastic. This product can be used in the production of items ranging from packaging materials to plastic covers. 

Dr. Michael L. Curry, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, along with his second-year graduate student, Donald H. White, both work as members of and in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (Phase II), a multi-institutional partnership devoted to investigating the fundamental molecular mechanisms by which nanoparticles interact with biological systems. 


Taking full advantage of the new dispersion of cellulose technique, Curry and White experimented with the development of cellulose-based plastics using both biodegradable and non-biodegradable polymer matrices. Unlike earlier bio-based plastics, their cellulose-based plastics are flexible and show significant improvements in the storage modulus which demonstrates an increase in the rigidity and strength of the composite material. 

Curry stated that given that the global production of plastics will exceed 300 million tons annually in the near future and greater than 98 percent of it is made with crude oil and other fossil fuels, this new invention will not only help us to meet our Center’s goal of “using fundamental chemistry to enable the development of nanotechnology in a sustainable manner, for societal benefits,” but will also limit the amount of non-biodegradable plastics ending up in our land fields and oceans, and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by plastics that contribute to global climate change.

Source: Tuskegee University

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Breathing Facade Skin Made of Covestro’s Transparent Solid Polycarbonate Sheets

The idea behind the seminal Breathing Skins showroom is to use the outer envelope of buildings to variably adapt the indoor climate to the needs of the occupants. The project centers around a breathing facade skin using transparent solid sheets of the polycarbonate Makrolon®. This is modeled on a natural, organic skin. 
Covestro recently won the innovation award of the European Polycarbonate Sheet Extruders Organization (EPSE) for this development. It was the eighth time the organization had held the Best Polycarbonate Projects Competition to recognize outstanding applications with polycarbonate sheets. 
Controllable Permeability:
Tobias Becker’s proprietary development makes it possible to infinitely vary the permeability of facades and thus adapt the indoor climate to the user’s specific requirements. Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks and Maria Krautzberger, president of the German Federal Environment Agency, have now presented Tobias Becker with the Federal Ecodesign Award in the Young Talent category. 
The inspiration for developing a breathing facade skin comes from the idea of ventilating an interior via pore-like air ducts without creating a draft.
These ducts can be sealed pneumatically so as to be airtight by applying a small overpressure to the facade element. 
A low-energy compressor controls around 140 pneumatic “muscles” per square meter without any visible technology. 
Applying a small under pressure widens the reversible air ducts fitted between two perforated, transparent polycarbonate (PC) solid sheets of Makrolon® GP clear 099 polycarbonate from Covestro. 
The sandwich design weighs less than eleven kilograms per square meter. 
The showroom is a prototype for testing breathing skins facade technology and experiencing it at an emotional level. The organic-like facade skin and the soft, meandering form of the Breathing Skins showroom complement each other perfectly. Geometrically speaking, the facade is made up of six arcs with different radii. The solid sheets’ good thermoforming properties produced excellent results.
The facade is over ten meters long, has an area of 25 square meters and is split into several elements.
To reinforce the image of a continuous facade, the load-bearing parts of the sandwich facade elements are all made of solid polycarbonate sheets. 
The interior has an area of eight square meters and a clear height of 2.4 meters.
A wooden structure with edges 4.5 by 4.5 meters long marks the vertical limit of the interior. 
The ceiling panel rests on four round, recessed larch supports mounted outside the interior. 
The modular components are so small and light that each of them can be carried by two people. 

The more the pneumatic muscles dilate, the more the facade’s appearance changes. Permeability for light and air as well as see-through visibility can be modified locally and gradually. The concept is based on biomimetics, the basic idea of which is to observe nature closely and turn the findings into technical applications.

Breathing Skins Showroom:
The laminated birch surfaces make you want to touch them, and create a warm effect that provides an excellent contrast to the plastic facade.
More Than Just Transparent Glazing:
The showroom demonstrates that polycarbonate sheets can be used for more than just transparent glazing in architectural applications. Their mechanical properties and the fact that they are milled during the machining process enable easy integration of controllable elements such as the pneumatic muscles. Transparent facades of all building typologies thus become a tool for controlling energy management and interior climate.
Source: Covestro

RESINEX Adds Trinseo’s Biocompatible PS for Medical Devices to its Portfolio

RESINEX has recently added STYRON™ 2678 MED, a biocompatible polystyrene from Trinseo, to its portfolio of polymers. 

ISO Compliant Biocompatible PS:
This general purpose injection molding grade has undergone testing based on ISO 10993 standards and is suitable for use in approved medical applications. It combines the versatility of polystyrenes with the specifically high reliability of supply needed in this industry, and it meets extended demands in terms formulation lock, notification of change and lot traceability. 

Typical applications include clear rigid packaging, diagnostic components, petri dishes and housings for test kits.

Typical Applications of STYRON™ 2678 MED Include Transparent Parts for Medical Devices
Special Characteristics:
Beyond the general advantages of polystyrene, such as outstanding transparency, high stiffness, rigidity and heat resistance, STYRON™ 2678 MED also provides further special characteristics required for medical devices including chemical resistance to fight infection. The material can be sterilized by ethylene oxide (EtO) and shows very good radiation stability when subjected to gamma- or e-beam sterilization, even at high doses. STYRON™ 2678 MED may also be processed further with secondary operations such as solvent bonding, welding and laser marking, typical for medical devices.

Hence, STYRON™ 2678 MED opens new applications for polystyrenes, going beyond those of general purpose food grades.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PEEK-replacing Nano-reinforced Nylon Alloy by Foster for Medical Device

Foster Corporation has introduced Nanomed MAX® compounds for medical device components that require high strength, yet cannot use metals or traditional reinforced plastics. 
These compounds, based on an alloy of meta-xylene diamine polyamide (MX nylon), are United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI tested and suitable for reusable instruments or components that must withstand gamma, e-beam and ethylene oxide sterilization.

Need of Nano Reinforced Nylon Alloys:

Minimally invasive procedures are increasingly used throughout the healthcare industry. New procedures require instruments, fixtures and components that do not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT), fluoroscopy, and x-ray imaging. Metals are not suitable and plastics often require reinforcing additives, such as glass fiber, to provide sufficient strength for structural components. 

However, these traditional additives are too large for molding or extruding intricate device components with thin wall sections. Unreinforced, high strength plastic options, such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK), are often cost prohibitive.

Nanomed MAX Compounds:

Nanomed MAX compounds incorporate nanoclay particles into a high strength nylon alloy. 
These platelet-shaped particles, less than a nanometer thick and up to 1000 times greater in surface diameter, provide reinforcement at the molecular level. 
This enhances strength and rigidity of the polymer without hindering flow into thin sections.
Nanomed MAX compounds include less than 10% by weight nanoparticles resulting in 15% more tensile strength than unmodified PEEK, for approximately half the price.

Source: Foster Corporation

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Special free webinar offer for the polymer professionals

What: free online webinar
When: December 14th at 16:00 GMT
You are invited to join this informative and interactive webinar on December 14th with Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic. You will hear from the staff and students of the university and you can also submit your own questions!
Guarantee a promising career by specialising in Polymer Engineering at one of the most prestigious Universities in Czech Republic! Special attention is paid to both the life cycle of products and plastic waste recycling. Students are familiarized with new trends and innovations in the field of "green polymers" and sustainable development.
Are you ready to have a promising career by specialising in Polymer Engineering? Start by joining the free webinar taking place December 14th! 
Save your spot by registering for the webinar here: