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News Flash

For the first time, IBM researchers showed 3D molecular structure could be observed

Practical Devices provide useful power from the body

Strain Paint: an alternative to strain gauges

Polymer bank notes on the rise to avoid counterfeit paper currencies

Work of North Carolina State Univ. researchers shows how to remove radioactive elements from drinking water

Brazilian scientists are actively pursuing bioplastics research and innovation

Bayer uses PC film Makrofol? for it's new Innosec Fusion? technology to stop counterfeiting

US researchers develop shape memory polymer nanocomposites exhibiting fast actuation speed

How Collagen nanofibers could find use in Tissue Engineering

Block copolymers could create hard disks with 10 tera-bit-per-Square-inch:Researchers predict

Self-healing plastics healing like human skin

Polymers help Addidas to launch lightest soccer boots and 2010 FIFA World cup match ball never seen before in the field

Stanford university researchers detect mercury ions in sea water using organic polymer transistor sensor

UC Berkley researchers have developed paper thin e-skin that responds to touch

Harvard Univ researchers show how soft robotics could navigate a difficult obstacle

Can polymer reinforced aerogel make a space mission? University of Akron researchers think so!

Can Gas Jet process challenge electrospinning in producing polymeric nanofibers?

NIST develops greener solution to challenge commercial fire retardants

If you follow plastics electronics - follow Unidym’s innovative product lines

How computer modelling & 3D printing create fracture resistant composites – reports Stratasys and MIT researchers

USA researchers report polymeric blood-resistant surgical glue that can repair minimally invasive heart defects

Yale scientists develop high performance thin film composite membrane

Polymers can be used to package insulin into a pill for diabetes treatment reports Indian scientists

Univ of Texas @ Austin scientists reported method to produce a large scale reduced graphene oxide

Rutgers Univ researchers moves plastic electronics with graphene based PS thin films

Current status in graphene based polymer nanocomposites – a review

Green Composites - all you wanted to know about

Advanced nanocomposite membrane technology of NanoH2O turns it to a Global clean technology company

Nanoparticle coating prevents ice build up

James Cropper Speciality Paper touts recycling of disposable coffee cups

A novel technique to manufacture continuous twisted yarn from aligned PAN nanofibers

Harvard University researchers design stretchable, transparent ionic conductors

Are you an injection moulder, you may want to read the ultimate in mould cooling article

Can you “Cool Your Roof” - reports researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Singapore researchers touts corn starch can help solve body armour and protective sports padding

IKV researchers report thermoplastic/metal hybrid materials for Direct manufacturing electronic part

Non-toxic, liquid bandage from Chesson Labs of Durham, NC is ready for the healthcare market

Researchers review how to characterize polymer nanocomposites by different microscopicy techniques

UCLA scientists showed how simple it could be to make conducting polymer thin films

Chinese researchers made a bendy polymer that could separate aromatics hydrocarbons from aliphatic

MIT researchers show how to draw Polyethylene as nanofibers and get a very high thermal conductivity

Japanese scientists report a unique, smart and self-healing polymer nanocomposite hydrogels

Wax could be green too – touts GreenMantra Technolgies!

Can polymer reinforced aerogel make a space mission? University of Akron researchers think so!

3D systems introduces non-halogenated flame retardant for aircraft applications

Princeton university researchers embedded piezoelectric material onto polymer as energy harvester

MIT team aims to develop application specific surgical adhesives to seal tissues

MIT researchers develop first Solar Thermal Fuel storage platform in solid-state

Can you “Cool Your Roof” - reports researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Stanford researchers use cheap plastics film to make safe lithium batteries

Japanese researchers are developing stereo-block type PLAs for high performance materials

Stratasys touts World’s first color multi-material 3D printer for rubber & plastics products

A review on polymer/bioactive glass nanocomposites provides current trends in polymer research

GM recycles oil soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico for its Chevrolet Volt under hood parts

Caltech researchers show through telechelic polymers how to produce a safer and a cleaner fuel

Something old... Something new.... produces an interesting marriage

New ambipolar polymer beats others: reports US researchers

Plastic Logic sees mass production of flexible display in 2008

French scientists tout first use of nano-structured assemblies that could revolutionize dentistry

Siver nanowire electrodes for flexible electronics

Stanford Univ researchers make Jell-O-like conducting polymer hydrogels

University of Texas at Austin researchers show use of polymer membranes for fracking in shale gas

Innovations in design come from plastics to win several 2009 International Design Excellence Awards

Cima NanoTech flexes mussels with its non-Indium Tin Oxide, high performance transparent conductors

Plastics help design non-shatter pint glass to prevent pub attacks

German researchers unveiled a green approach to electrospinning technique for making biodegradable nanofibres

A new microcellular injection molding process for polycarbonate using water

Are you interested in self-healing polymers – must read reviews

US and South Korean researchers develop a printing technique to make high performance CNT transistors

Plastrec, a Quebec recycler unveils recycled PET production combining two plastics technologies

Scientists from Sweden and USA showed electronics can truly be organic or say truly be plastics

Canadian researchers claim world’s most efficient “inverted” OPV solar cells

Work of North Carolina State Univ. researchers shows how to remove radioactive elements from drinking water

Braskem S.A. is leading the way to manufacture biobased polyethylene using catalytic dehydration

Binder free multilayer graphene based polymer composite for high performance supercapacitor electrodes

Electric Glue: Another twist to make controlled polymer-surface adhesion

MIT researchers develop first Solar Thermal Fuel storage platform in solid-state

A team of researchers demonstrate plastics and graphene can work together to make touch screen device a reality

How blood can clot to heal a wound - Science reports

Bio-succinic acid is becoming new green platform chemical for plastics

Austrian scientists claim to be the first to have developed an image sensor that is fully transparent

Researchers gather to discuss advances in organic photovoltaics (OPV)

Umass, Amherst researchers find ways to hold 300 kilograms of weight using sticky tape

Rice Univ (USA) researchers grew high quality graphene from polystyrene, cookies, grass, cockroach leg & dog feces

Mannigton converts large stickers from 2010 winter games into commercial flooring

ZogglesTM earns Invention of the year 2010 award and keeps the fog away

Polymer helps to designing higher capacity Li-ion battery

Can polycarbonate be replaced with another polymer? Click chemistry might provide the answer!

Alberta scientists help to make Canada’s first bio-composite based electric vehicle body design

Oil-SAP, a novel development to clean-up oil spill & recovery from Penn State University, USA

Austrian researcher reports new opportunities from Silicon oxide Nanofilms

Using biodegradable polymer, University of Basque country researcher report on bone regeneration

Kyoto researchers are upbeat about cellulose nanofibers based composites for auto parts

World’s first all-plastic LED lamp comes from Japan

Korean scientists provide a different twist to the “Smart Window” technology

It is time to make “Perfect Plastic” reports UK researchers

USA researchers develop all-polymer multilayer coating to retard fire and to suppress smoke

Researchers show stretchy battery for flexible and stretchable electronics

How plastics helping revolutionize stretchable electronics applications – a review, not to be missed!

Swedish researchers show highest reported charge capacities for all polymer paper-based battery

Researchers develop unique printable thin film supercapacitor using SWCNT

McMaster university (Canada) researchers developed flexible solar cell technology

In Milan, art and science get together to showcase Vegetal, weather resistant designer chair

Current trends and future prospects for flame retardants in polymeric materials

Scientists from IBM and Stanford University are developing new plastics recycling process

Will your windows generate power one day?

Norner touts major research project on polymers based on carbon dioxide

Carbon3D, a Canadian company unveils a breakthrough technology for layerless 3D printing

Arkema unveils a range of "green" polymers for its textile market

AMI unveils the North American Bioplastics technology agenda

Prof. Alan Heegers group demonstrated the potential of plastics solar cells

Sabic Innovative Plastics unveils its newly developed a clear flame retardant Polycarbonate copolymer

Teijin Techno Products claims to be world’s first mass producer of aramid nanofibers

Battelle researchers are improving PLA for injection molding applications

Can you 3D print yourself? TwinKinds of Germany shows just that!

Plastic Facts


It was Wallace Hume Carothers whose pioneering research direction in DuPont Co. led to the invention of several linear plastics. Most of us may or may not know Carothers but we all know nylons and polyesters. An interesting piece of background about "Nylon" came from Renzo Marchetti's book, "The civilization of Plastics". Did you know that "Nylon" name was derived from the initials of the wives names of Carother's researchers: Nancy, Yvonne, Lonella, Olivia and Nina. So, it's not from NYork to LONdon.


Plastics utilize only 4% of the world's oil. In exchange, plastics help conserving fossil fuels for power and heat. Lightweight plastics give better fuel efficiency than heavier materials in cars. For example, Europe saves 12 million tonnes of oil per year in automotive sector using lightweight plastics. In reality, this is equivalent to 30 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
In building and construction industries, 50 kg. of plastics foams (used for insulation) can save almost 150 litres of heating fuel every year.


We are familiar with paper currencies in our everyday life. In Australia, bank notes of every denomination are made of plastics since May 1996. Plastic notes started their journey with a $10 commemorative bank note in 1988. Now, plastic (polypropylene) bank notes manufactured by Note Printing Australia, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, are in countries such as New Zealand, Thailand, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Brunei. Securency Pty Ltd., a joint venture between the Reserve Bank and UCB Films of Belgium, is supplying the plastic "Guardian TM" to Taiwan, Indonesia and Brazil. Slowly but surely, Australia is adding a new business segment in its export portfolio. Reports suggest that the plastic notes last four times longer than their paper counterparts. Further, they save approximately $20 millions annually in the production cost of Australia's bank notes.


The plastics industry is the 4th largest manufacturing industry in the USA, which employs over 1.3 million people. Only motor vehicles, electronic components and petroleum refining have more shipment value than plastics. There are more than 21, 000 plastics plants in USA. While European plastics industry employs 70,000 people. If plastics converters and machine manufacturers are included then the European employment number rises to 1.1 million that gives sales over 135 billion Euro dollar.
Extrusion process consumes 36 wt % of all plastics worldwide. Next is injection moulding (32 wt %) followed by blow moulding (10 wt %), calendering (8 wt %), coating (5 wt %), compression moulding (3 wt %), thermoforming (3 wt %) and others (3 wt %).

A drop of plastic keeps the thief away

Many stories have been written on plastics and their relationship with automobiles. Statistics have been published and of course, will continue to appear as long as automobiles and plastics govern our everyday life. Recently, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine (June 2001) noted that more than 50 million new automobiles are made every year adding to the 700 million vehicles that are already running on the world’s roads. Not surprisingly, 500 millions of them are in North America & Europe. According to American Plastics Council (APC), the average 1999 North American car weighed about 1450 kgs and had 117 kgs of plastic. However, this is expected to rise to about 142 kgs by 2009.

What is startling though is the rate of car theft. Report suggests (Newcastle Herald, Aug. 01, 2001) that car theft causes Australia almost AU$1 billion annually only behind Britain. In another news Perth Sunday Times (Aug. 05, 2001) added that almost 70 BMWs – 40 of them from Sydney – have been stolen in the past 18 months. DataDot Technology, a Sydney based company has come up with a unique technology using polymeric adhesive that would reduce the rate of car rebirthing. In turn, cutting the car insurance premium. Typically, over 10,000 microscopic droplets of polyester adhesive, “Datadots” will be sprayed all over car’s parts e.g., exhaust, panels, engine, suspension, seats, door trims, under hood components, dashboard etc. except on the body. Each “Datadots”, is about the size of a sand grain that will be inscribed with Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Only one such dot needs to be identified to prove theft. Adhesive dots are invisible to the naked eye and when cured, they are impervious to acids & solvents, petrol, diesel, road salts, water or abrasives. Microdata, the adhesive supplier used an ultra-violet trace, which will glow under a “black” light. Included also, a “rare earth DNA” to protect against counterfeiting. Obviously, BMW Australia group has become the first in the world to use this “Datadots” with all its new cars manufactured from September 2001. Now, Porsche, Tickford, Mitsubishi and Ford have joined BMW and HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) to fight automobile theft.


Plastic pipes versus other pipes

In today's market, plastic pipes are used in many areas such as in water, gas, sewer, and other industrial applications. In the European pipe market, plastic pipes rank first among other materials and globally plastic pipes are used at about 54% of the total pipes used. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) takes the lion's share at around 62% of the global market. Polyethylene (PE) has 33.5%, while polypropylene (PP) takes about 4.5%1.
Pipe demand in the U.S. is projected to grow 2.5% annually to 15.5 billion feet in 20072. It is not difficult to understand the projected demand. Every day in the US, 2.45 billion gallons of treated drinking water are reported as lost or unbilled, the majority of it lost to leaking pipes3. Obviously, water-pipe networks needs replacement. Europe is also facing similar situation due to its aged and leaking water-pipe networks. One can make pipes with different materials. But inherent structural characteristics of polymers make plastic pipes advantageous. The excellent service record, corrosion and leak free attributes, easy to join, require little or no maintenance coupled with continuously improved materials and technology that are providing plastic pipes clear-cut edge over traditional pipe materials. Recently, Utah State University (USU) researchers experimented with 6? (DR-18) PVC pressure pipes (AWWA C900). The pipes underwent 10 million cycles between 185 psi and 235 psi for 394 days without failing. While during the test period 6 pumps and 5 relief valves failed4. It is not surprising that the traditional materials are now competing with plastics pipes.

In Europe, 1.5 million tons of PVC were used in 2002 to make pipes5. Use of polyethylene and polypropylene is rising in specific application areas. For instance, 90% of the pipes used in natural gas main and service piping installations in US are made of polyethylene6. While pipe demand is growing, big opportunities are looming for plastic pipes.


1. M. Raynaud, Proceedings Plastics Pipes XII, Milan, Italy April 19-22, 2004
2. S. Rahman, Proceedings Plastics Pipes XII, Milan, Italy April 19-22, 2004
3. Plastics News, Oct 27, 2003
4. PVC Pipe News, 27 (1), Spring 2004
5. T. Hülsmann and R.E. Nowack, Proceedings Plastics Pipes XII, Milan, Italy April 19-22, 2004
6. K. Ryan, J. American Gas Association, July 2003



Sometime in 1967, Mr. McGuire told Benjamin Braddock, a freshman, "I just want to say one word to you - just one word - Plastics". Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin in the film "The Graduate" was unaware at that time that plastics not only could change his life but the life of many. DNA sequencing or throughput screening of new pharmaceutical candidate compounds for medicine are currently active research areas and plastic is now taking over silicon and glass in several biotechnological applications.

Bio-tech researchers call them micro-fluidic systems where tiny fluid reservoirs are connected as networks (capillary size channels) providing quick response, minimum cross-contamination, small reagent volumes etc. to the experimentalists. Why plastics? They are cheap, can be manufactured in large volumes, processing technologies are well-developed (injection, casting or embossing) and various plastics are compatible with biological & chemical reagents. In fact, ACLARA BioSciences has developed many application specific plastic cards (size of a credit card) whose micro-channels are tens to hundreds of mm in depth & in width and of course, follow complex circuit-like paths. Reagents are fed into these channels via reservoirs that take only a total volume of reagents of 0.2-15 ml/reservoir. To know, how plastic is helping researchers in micro-fabrication over glass and silicon, read reference below.

Analytical Chemistry, Feb. 01, 2002, Vol. 74, Issue 3, pp. 78A-86A


How "Scotch" got stuck to "tape" and became "Scotch tape" ?

You use it, I use it, and the world uses it; then why is 3M's popular transparent tape called "Scotch tape"?

In 1925, Richard Drew, a young researcher at the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) felt that he could help auto painters to make two-tone paint with clear dividing line. Without knowing that he was going to invent the first masking tape that would become a brand name for every household, Richard Drew made a 2-inch wide strip of paper tape coated on the back with a rubber-based adhesive. To reduce the cost, he coated the tape one-quarter inch wide only along the edges and not in the middle portion. He brought a prototype tape to the St. Paul auto painter. Unfortunately, the tape failed to hold onto the body and fell off. Out of frustration and annoyance, the painter said to Richard, "Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!"

Now you know how Scotch got stuck to tape to become "Scotch tape".