07/09/2021They have been our constant companions for more than a year though they technically have a limited lifespan: medical-grade face masks. Surgical masks are single-use devices and should be properly disposed of after use. That's a pity, because it means large amounts of valuable feedstock for new material are thrown away after only a short period of time, thus preventing recycling in the process.
03/09/2021Plastics sustainability has come a long way in recent years thanks in large part to scientific advances. But even as plastics become more and more environmentally friendly, the world continues to be polluted as many industries rely on them for their widely used products.
24/08/2021We live in fast-paced times. This is reflected in consumer preferences. In addition, climate change is creating a rapidly changing regulatory landscape for chemical and materials companies. They have to adapt quickly. But the thorough research, development and commercialization of new materials can be lengthy. Artificial intelligence can speed up this process.
23/08/2021A research team led by Prof. Dr. Michael Sommer and PD Dr. Michael Walter has succeeded in constructing a new dye molecule from the area of so-called mechanophores.
23/08/2021To synthesize plastic, small monomer molecules need to be strung together like beads in a necklace, creating long polymer chains. However, not all plastics – or their polymers – are created equal. The longer and stronger the polymer, the more durable the material. Cornell researchers took a middling monomer and, by using a special catalyst, they created a tougher polymer that can form long chains.
16/08/2021Plastics offer many benefits to society and are widely used in our daily life. However, the production, processing and disposal of plastics are simply not sustainable, and pose a major global threat to the environment and human health. Eco-friendly processing of reusable and recyclable plastics derived from plant-based raw materials would be an ideal solution.
10/08/2021Most people know robots either from science fiction films or from company production halls. There, they reliably perform their tasks. But: they are heavy and rigid – anyone who gets in the way of their fixed motion sequences is in the way. For this reason, robots need to be developed that have a softer surface and are thus better suited for interaction with humans.
09/08/2021Due to the global efforts to meet sustainability standards, many countries are currently looking to replace concrete with wood in buildings. France, for example, will require that all new public buildings will be made from at least 50 percent wood or other sustainable materials starting in 2022.
09/08/2021A mechanical and aerospace engineering professor at The University of Texas at Arlington is developing advanced helmets to ensure that members of the military are as protected as possible from blasts and other types of attacks.
03/08/2021As consumers and corporations alike become more environmentally conscious, the chemical industry is working to find solutions to the plastic waste crisis. One idea is to use biodegradable polymers known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as replacements for traditional plastic packaging and other materials.
03/08/2021Carbon dioxide is one of the main drivers of climate change – which means that we need to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions in the future. Fraunhofer researchers are highlighting a possible way to lower these emissions: They use the greenhouse gas as a raw material, for instance to produce plastics.
20/07/20213D printing can be used to produce versatile, individual shapes. This type of extrusion process is therefore not only popular in the plastics industry – it is also suitable for medical technology applications. Only the right polymers have to be found first.
01/07/2021In the scope of a future-oriented collaboration in the field of industrial production, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is cooperating with the VSB – Technical University of Ostrava (VSB-TUO). The partners research and develop the potential offered by energy management technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent production in industry.
17/06/2021"Do Right. Do Good. Do Well." Stated goal of Aegis Packaging is to protect our environment – and they do it with their recyclable packaging. The high-barrier coating is designed to keep oxygen and contaminants out of the food packaged with them, thus increasing their shelf life. The Singapore-based company is rethinking plastic packaging in the direction of a circular economy.
15/06/2021An international research team led by members from the Technical University of Munich, the Deutsches Museum, Munich, and the Swedish Linköping University has developed a method to manufacture two-dimensional polymers with the thickness of a single molecule. The polymers are formed on a surface by the action of light. The discovery paves the way to new ultrathin and functional materials.
14/06/2021In general, plastics are processed at way over a hundred degrees Celsius. Enzymes, by contrast, cannot usually withstand these high temperatures. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IAP have managed to reconcile these contradictions: They are able to embed enzymes in plastics without the enzymes losing their activity in the process. The potentials this creates are enormous.
09/06/2021Instructions for the production of artificial cow horn. Almost 500 years old is the recipe for the production of artificial horn and thus currently the oldest known German recipe for plastic.
07/06/2021Swiss drivers wear out countless tires. Instead of incinerating them, they could be reused locally: The asphalt of various countries has long contained rubber from used tires. Empa and its partners from industry are adopting this idea for potential applications in Switzerland.
07/06/2021A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality.
27/05/2021Today, the kitchen stays cold: if you don't feel like cooking, you simply have something delivered. However, the meals often come in disposable packaging that only has a short lifespan. This bothered the founders of VYTAL, who developed a deposit-free reusable system. They prove that plastic and sustainability are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
24/05/2021As lightweight construction materials, fiber-reinforced polymers have the potential to improve the ecological footprint of ships. If the fibers and plastic matrix are based on renewable raw materials, the ecological footprint can be further reduced. Integrating these materials as structural components is not state of the art and requires new concepts in shipbuilding.
24/05/2021A research team from the Skoltech Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials (CDMM) studied the effects of processing additives – aluminum hydroxide and zinc stearate – on the polymerization kinetics of thermosets used in pultrusion.
11/05/2021Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics. University of California scientists have now invented a way to make these compostable plastics break down more easily, with just heat and water, within a few weeks, solving a problem that has flummoxed the plastics industry and environmentalists.
10/05/202123 percent of global energy consumption can be attributed to friction losses. In the case of plastics, reduced friction can also reduce microplastics in the environment. With the development of microcapsules filled with liquid lubricants for plastics, the Potsdam Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and the Plastics Center SKZ in Würzburg are supporting these goals.
16/02/2021People climb and scale the steepest mountain walls and swing themselves up to dizzying heights, usually trusting that a plastic product will save their lives in the event of a fall. This polymer saviour celebrates its birthday: On 16 February 1937, the US chemical company Du Pont applied for a patent for the versatile and resilient synthetic fibre "nylon".
21/12/2020Restrictions have been imposed to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Wearing a mouth and nose mask is part of this, as is avoiding and reducing social contact and maintaining safe distances up to more far-reaching quarantine measures. Where it is difficult to keep a distance, plastics fulfil a key barrier and protective function.
27/11/2020In the 1966 science fiction film "The Fantastic Voyage", scientists have their submarine shrunk and injected into the body of another researcher. Truly a fiction, at least as far as shrinking people is concerned. It's a different story with machines. Here, science is making promising progress.
24/07/2020Researchers of the Universities of Stuttgart and Adelaide in cooperation with medical research centers in Australia developed a special microoptical tool with a thickness of only 125 microns. This enables endoscopic examimations within blood vessels whose diameter is smaller than 0.5 mm and helps detecting plaques or thrombs to reduce the danger of a stroke or a heart attack.
19/06/2020A research group led by Simone Fabiano at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, has created an organic material with superb conductivity that doesn't need to be doped. They have achieved this by mixing two polymers with different properties.
25/05/2020Water pipes are vital for functioning urbanizations. The problem: mending leaks means, first of all, exposing hidden pipes on a large scale, so that the damaged section can be found and repaired. The CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) principle is an attractive alternative. What is involved here is simply the coating of entire sections of pipe with plastic or, more precisely, epoxy resin from the inside.
22/05/2020Wearing a fase mask can significantly reduce the range of viruses that are coughed up. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the university in Edinburgh, Scotland. Nevertheless, the mask does not protect against infection per se. An Israeli company has now developed an additive wih an antiviral effect that can be applied to the mask.
19/02/2020A team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a tool to monitor changes in widely used composite materials known as fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs), which can be found in everything from aerospace and infrastructure to wind turbines. The new tool, integrated into these materials, can help measure the damage that occurs as they age.
04/02/2020Wearable biosensors that non-invasively monitor health and fitness are growing in popularity among adults. But adapting this technology for use with babies is difficult because the devices are often bulky or have rigid surfaces that could harm infants' delicate skin. Now researchers say they have developed a pacifier-based biosensor that tracks real-time glucose levels in saliva.
30/06/2019Ivy Ross is the Vice President of Design for Hardware at Google
30/06/2019Interview with Sean Carney, Chief Design Officer of Philips. Leading a team of more than 400 designers, he has created empathic and data-connected solutions with added value for millions of users – medical professionals and their patients.
30/06/2019Interview with Alastair Curtis, chief design officer at Logitech, where he is responsible for the designs of all business teams and brands.