PT Blog

Scientists at Houston-based Rice University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have discovered that laser-induced graphene (LIG) is a highly effective antifouling material, and when electrified, a bacteria zapper.

Rice University’s Jamed Tour developed LIG—a spongy version of graphene (the single-atom layer of carbon atoms)—three years ago by partially burning through an inexpensive polyimide sheet with a laser, which turned the surface into a lattice of interconnected graphene sheets.

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I reported recently on my visit to the brand-new headquarters of Farrel Pomini in Ansonia, Conn., for the grand opening of the facility in April. The grand opening event included presentations summarizing the latest technical developments in Continuous Mixers and Compact Processors:

• As reported previously, the company is actively investigating new opportunities in compounding biopolymers such as PLA. Farrel Pomini equipment is seen as appropriate because of its “gentle” treatment such sensitive polymers, with low shear and short residence times.

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Earlier this month, Teknor Apex announced the recasting of its former Nylon Div. as the new Engineering Thermoplastics (ETP) Div. The move is linked to the company’s March 2016, acquisition of German custom compounder Plastic-Technologie-Service (PTS). I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Roberts, v.p. in charge of the new ETP who clarified some details on the initial product launch in North America.

The ETP unit will globalize a wide range of engineering thermoplastics technologies developed in Europe, which were previously not widely available in the Americas or Asia. Founded in 1986, PTS has a portfolio of more than 700 commercial ETP products based on nine major technological platforms and resins. Included are a variety of nylons, PBT, PC, PC/ABS, other blends, TPEs, and TPVs.

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On May 18, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation in partnership with leading global innovation firm NineSigma announced the launch of the Circular Materials Challenge to make all plastic packaging recyclable. Solution providers are competing for up to $1 million in grants to be shared equally by up to five winners.

Winners of the challenge will also have access to The New Plastics Economy Innovation Accelerator—a 12-month program that offers exclusive connections with industry experts, commercial guidance, feedback on user and scalability requirements, advice on performance expectations, and entry to innovation labs for testing and development. (Read more about The New Plastics Economy report released by The Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation and World Economic Forum earlier this year).

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Take a look at the cover story of PT’s upcoming June issue in which this editor took a stab at summarizing recent innovations in thermoplastics for automotive. A daunting task, since there are so many potential applications for thermoplastics, whether in a car’s interior, under its hood, and a good deal of what’s visible on the exterior. Not to mention innumerable plastic components that don’t you don’t see in the powertrain, chassis, and elsewhere.

We asked materials suppliers that have been among the leaders in the development of automotive applications to weigh in on what they see as the areas of an automobile experiencing the most dramatic developments in thermoplastic materials offerings.

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