Image: Silhouette of the legs of a firefighter fighting the flames; Copyright: ABBPhoto

BASF and THOR GmbH fight fire together

03/08/2022

To improve plastic compounds and meet stringent fire safety requirements, BASF and THOR GmbH are using their joint expertise in flame retardants. The focus is on developing alternatives to halogen-containing additives.
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A guide to sustainable plastics

27/07/2022

As a designer, plastics and sustainability can be difficult to navigate. There are so many parameters to consider – from the origin and environmental footprint of raw materials to the durability and quality of specific materials and maximising the chances of recovery and recycling at the end of life of plastics products.
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Functional plastics – designing for circularity

27/07/2022

Few, if any, materials can compete with plastics in terms of adaptability and versatility – many different material properties can be derived from the same basic chemistry, meaning that complex product assemblies can be made with a single type of plastic.
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Fly me to the moon: how plastics contribute to radiation protection in space

26/07/2022

When it comes to the use of plastics in space, you probably first think of spacesuits or lightweight components. But there is another application: radiation protection. Space radiation is a risk to humans that should not be underestimated. The MARE experiment aims to determine this risk in order to develop protective measures for future space flights.
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Image: Close up of male hand holding black plastic polymer granules; Copyright: FabrikaPhoto

Photosynthesis-inspired process makes commodity chemicals

18/07/2022

A Northwestern University research team used a new method to convert acetylene to ethylene, a widely used, highly valuable chemical that is an important component of plastics. They use a process similar to photosynthesis that is much less expensive and less energy intensive.
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Image: Leverkusen Wind Technology Center; Copyright: Covestro

Fresh impulses for wind energy

11/07/2022

Covestro is researching material solutions for sustainable energy generation at its new Wind Technology Center. They are focusing on the optimization and new development of PUR resins in collaboration with customers.
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Image: male hands use smartphone. Left: laptop; Copyright: stevanovicigor

Solvay extends its sustainable polymer offering for smart devices and wearables

21/06/2022

Solvay launched the Kalix® 10000 series, a partially bio-based material made with renewable feedstock from non-food competing sources, is produced with 100% renewable electricity.
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Image: Power transformer substation. In the background: sunshine; Copyright: chuyu2014

Durostone CR permits higher loads and more compact transformer designs

06/06/2022

Röchling Industrial has developed a new glass fiber-reinforced plastic Durostone® CR. "CR" stands for Compact & Resilient. Compared to conventional fiber-reinforced composites, Durostone® CR has a high dielectric strength and a high partial discharge insertion stress.
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Image: Man in overalls is painting a car; Copyright: twenty20photos

BASF and BMW Group rely on renewable raw materials for automotive coatings

06/06/2022

The BMW Group is the first automotive manufacturer to use OEM coatings from BASF that are certified according to the biomass balance process. By using new sustainable product variants, around 40% CO2 can be avoided for clear coat and dip coating.
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Image: Printing original products with a 3D printer; Copyright: twenty20photos

Intelligent software for 3D printing optimises properties of plastic components

06/06/2022

Researchers at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern have developed intelligent software that can adjust parameters such as temperature and printing speed during printing.
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Silicones: All-rounders for healthcare, electronics and climate protection

27/05/2022

Baby pacifiers, plug seals, medical tubing – we encounter silicones in a wide variety of life situations. Why? They are flexible, water-repellent, heat- and chemical-resistant and even have electrical properties. In short, they are true all-rounders! WACKER, the German chemical group and K exhibitor from the very beginning, is considered a European pioneer in silicones.
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Photo: Airplane on the asphalt; Copyright: Rawpixel

New cutting-edge thermoplastic materials for the aerospace sector

23/05/2022

In the HITCOMP project (High Temperature Characterization and Modelling of Thermoplastic Composites), thermoplastic materials were investigated in the aerospace sector. The researchers concluded that thermoplastic-based components are more efficient than thermosetting plastic composites in terms of their thermal properties.
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Made up out of thin air

19/05/2022

Innovations always emerge from something existing, something tried and tested. Approaching them in terms of their content requires a look at the fundamentals. This is also true for the question of how carbon dioxide (CO2) from exhaust gases can be used for the production of plastics.
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Brave new world – how design makes the plastics industry more sustainable

29/04/2022

When the first plastic was developed 150 years ago, it was a miracle for people at the time. Around 1950, the material contributed significantly to the economic miracle of the post-war period. Today, in view of the climate crisis, little is left of this image. In its exhibition "Plastic. Remaking Our World", the Vitra Design Museum wants to show how plastic can contribute to solving problems.
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Photo: Sorting plastic bottles ; Copyright: AnnaStills

New enzyme discovery is another leap towards beating plastic waste

25/04/2022

Scientists have characterized an enzyme that has the ability to degrade terephthalate (TPA), one of the chemical building blocks of the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used to make disposable beverage bottles, for example.
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Image: Cutout of woman using cell phone and laptop ; Copyright: leungchopan

A stretchy display for shapable electronics

25/04/2022

Zhenan Bao, a chemical engineer at Stanford University, and her research team have provided proof of principle for a stretchable, potentially reshapeable display using a method to fabricate an elastic light-emitting polymer with high luminosity.
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Safely above the clouds – plastics in aviation

13/04/2022

Around 10,000 m altitude, speeds of almost 1,000 km/h, outside temperatures as low as -60°C. One of the reasons why we as airline passengers don't notice any of this is because of plastics. These are not only mechanically and chemically resistant, but also lightweight. And lighter aircraft cause fewer CO2 emissions, which is of great importance for achieving climate targets.
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Image: Lab instruments against blue background ; Copyright: ktsimage

A previously unknown bacterial enzyme makes new type of biodegradable polymer

12/04/2022

Researchers have identified a bacterial enzyme that can produce a new type of polysaccharide similar to the biopolymer chitin. The new molecule could be useful for drug delivery, tissue engineering and other biomedical applications. It is also biodegradable.
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Image: Fruit and vegetables in plastic bags and packaging ; Copyright: duskbabe

Edible, biodegradable, anti-microbial plastic boasts higher tensile strength than petroleum-based plastic

12/04/2022

A research team at São Paulo State University (UNESP) made their bioplastic from type B bovine gelatin. Besides nanoclay the material is produced from clay and a nanoemulsion of black pepper essential oil.
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Image: Woman sorting different waste and holding orange plastic cap in hand. ; Copyright: korneevamaha

With KREYENBORG's new technology, odor-contaminated post-consumer plastics get "second life"

11/04/2022

In order to remove odorous substances migrated in plastic waste and to obtain high-quality plastic recyclates, KREYENBORG has developed the new IR-FRESH® technology. In several steps the process can be used for regrind as well as for granulates.
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Image: SWISS Boeing 777-300ER flying in the sky ; Copyright: SWISS International Air Lines

SWISS equips entire Boeing long-haul fleet with AeroSHARK

11/04/2022

Twelve Boeing 777-300ERs will gradually be fitted by SWISS with the riblet films developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF. The reduced frictional resistance makes the sub-fleet more economical and lower in emissions, thus reducing the environmental footprint.
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Image: Detail of trees in grass, bark is in the foreground ; Copyright: PantherMedia / weruskak

New plant-derived composite is tough as bone and hard as aluminum

04/04/2022

MIT researchers has engineered a composite made mostly from cellulose nanocrystals mixed with a bit of synthetic polymer. The material could pave the way for sustainable plastics.
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WorldStar Award 2022 for school milk packaging made from 100% rPET

24/03/2022

A project for circular economy by Austria's school milk producers and the three Upper Austrian companies PET-MAN, Greiner Packaging, and Starlinger viscotec has received the WorldStar Award from the World Packaging Organization. Schools are supplied with dairy products in rPET cups that are recycled after use.
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Massel innovates with liquid stock range in SIG-Carton Packs with SIGNATUR FULL BARRIER packaging material

09/03/2022

SIG's SIGNATURE FULL BARRIER packaging material is made from renewable, forest-based materials and responsible sources. The small amount of polymers used is certified. The Australian company Massel is now launching products in these SIG-Carton Packs.
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Creating sustainable material from waste

01/03/2022

University of Delaware researchers demonstrated that it is possible to efficiently turn industrially processed lignin into high-performance plastics, such as bio-based 3D-printing resins, and valuable chemicals. The research team replaced methanol, a traditional solvent used in lignin deconstruction, with glycerin so the process could be done at normal atmospheric pressure.
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That smells nice: GRAFE adds fragrance to plastics

23/02/2022

It’s instantly recognizable, even with your eyes closed: that unmistakable “new car smell”. Granted, it’s not necessarily a scent everyone loves, prompting many to reach for alternative air fresheners. But what if you could avoid unpleasant odors right at the factory source - and not just when it comes to cars, but other products as well?
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Recyclability by Design – Electronics integrated in plastic becomes more sustainable

20/01/2022

The aim of the project ReIn-E project is to develop designs and sustainable materials to enable the recycling of the components.
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AlgX: from green algae to green plastic

18/01/2022

With AlgX, the French industrial project Eranova has developed a product that responds to two global problems: Plastic pollution and algae pollution. It is a technology patented in 30 countries that allows the production of bio-based, recyclable, biodegradable and compostable plastics from green algae in the spirit of upcycling.
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Polymer discovery gives 3D-printed sand super strength

10/01/2022

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed a novel polymer to bind and strengthen silica sand for binder jet additive manufacturing, a 3D-printing method used by industries for prototyping and part production.
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Plant from plastics?

03/01/2022

Plastics have taken the world by storm over the last century, finding applications in virtually every aspect of our lives. However, the rise of these synthetic polymers, which form the basis of plastics, has contributed to many serious environmental issues. The worst of these is the excessive use of petrochemical compounds and the disposal of non-biodegradable materials without recycling.
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Made to degrade

03/01/2022

There's a lot of plastic in the ocean. Much of it comes from the single-use items that we're all familiar with, such as food wrappers and microbeads that inadvertently wind up in the sea. But a growing amount is coming from plastics that are actually made to be used in marine environments, such as instrumentation used for an emerging ocean "Internet of Things."
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Reducing plastic pollution by adding RNA-inspired 'breaking points'

20/12/2021

Once plastic products are used and discarded, they can linger in oceans and harming sea life. One potential solution, a biodegradable polymer called polylactide (PLA), has so far not fully lived up to its promise, showing little sign of breakdown once in seawater. In a new study, researchers set out to address this issue by incorporating RNA-inspired breaking points to the polymer.
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Microfliers: Polymers on a mission for the environment

10/12/2021

They are the size of a grain of sand and resemble trundling maple seeds: the flying microchips that researchers at Northwestern University have now developed. In the future, they should make it possible to monitor air pollution or airborne diseases. Polymers play a fundamental role in this. John Rogers tells us more in an interview with K-MAG.
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Special concrete additive made in Costa Rica

29/11/2021

The Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC) in Costa Rica aims to turn plastic waste into a valuable resource for the construction industry.
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Elastic polymer that is both stiff and tough, resolves long-standing quandary

22/11/2021

Polymer science has made possible rubber tires, Teflon and Kevlar, plastic water bottles, nylon jackets among many other ubiquitous features of daily life.
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Scientists develop films with tunable elongation and fracture for various uses

08/11/2021

Elastomers, or elastic polymers, materials with high elasticity, are widely used for applications in industries, such as automotive, manufacturing, and oil and gas.
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Water meets cellulose: Environmentally friendly plastic made from hydroplastic polymers

27/10/2021

Researchers at the University of Göttingen have developed a new method to create environmentally friendly bioplastics from renewable raw materials.
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Fraunhofer IGB

Greenhouse gases headed for sustainability: How CO2 is turning into plastic

22/10/2021

Carbon dioxide is driving climate change. To combat it, emissions must be reduced. Fraunhofer researchers have developed an approach to use the climate gas as a raw material for plastics.
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Image: Roads are lifelines. © pexels-markus-spiske-967072

The road to the future? New ways with used plastics

30/09/2021

Viewing used plastic not as waste but as a material can reduce the problem of littered oceans. One promising approach is its use in road construction.
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Microplastics from recyclable plastics on the rise

15/09/2021

Recyclable plastic has been recorded on popular beaches and urban watercourses in Adelaide, South Australia – highlighting the need for more efforts to remove and reuse all plastics from waste streams, particularly in urban areas.
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New method developed to solve plastics sustainability problem

03/09/2021

Plastics 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.
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Material development: getting there faster with co-pilot AI

24/08/2021

General conditions for chemical and materials companies are changing rapidly. But the thorough research, development and commercialization of new materials can be lengthy. AI can accelerate this process.
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Visualizing stress in plastics

23/08/2021

A 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.
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Polymer enables tougher recyclable thermoplastics

23/08/2021

To 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.
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Eco-friendly plastic from cellulose and water

16/08/2021

Plastics 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.
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Bio-based coating for wood better than traditional synthetic options

09/08/2021

Due 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.
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3D printing of multilayered materials for smart helmets

09/08/2021

A 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.
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Carbon dioxide as a raw material for plastics and other products

03/08/2021

Carbon 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.
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Can biodegradable polymers live up to the hype?

03/08/2021

As 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.
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Röchling BioBoom: bioplastics make cars greener

27/07/2021

Alongside many other industries, the automotive sector is also moving in the green direction. Electromobility is booming. However, plastics produced from non-renewable raw materials such as petroleum are also installed in e-cars. Röchling Automotive has recognized the need for bioplastics that meet the high requirements for automotive applications – and has developed BioBoom.
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'Plugging in' to produce environmentally friendly bioplastics

26/07/2021

Bioplastics – biodegradable plastics made from biological substances rather than petroleum – can be created in a more economical and environmentally friendly way from the byproducts of corn stubble, grasses and mesquite agricultural production, according to a new study by a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.
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Soft robots: smart elastomers are making the robots of the future more touchy-feely

19/07/2021

Imagine flexible surgical instruments that can twist and turn in all directions like miniature octopus arms, or how about large and powerful robot tentacles that can work closely and safely with human workers on production lines.
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Image: An example of a replacement for single-use plastic in consumer products, produced by mimicking the properties of spider silk, one of the strongest materials; Copyright: Xampla

Vegan spider silk provides sustainable alternative to single-use plastics

05/07/2021

Researchers have created a plant-based, sustainable, scalable material that could replace single-use plastics in many consumer products.
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Image: plastic granules and fir branches; Copyright: Woodly Ltd.

Woodly Ltd. has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding

15/06/2021

Woodly Ltd., Finnish developer of wood based plastic, has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding for the commercialisation and internationalisation of their product innovation.
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Grass replaces plastic in take-away food packaging

01/06/2021

Soon, packaging for take-away foods might be completely based on local, sustainable materials instead of fossil-based products. In a new research project, a packaging solution based on upcycled grass fibres is being developed.
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New technology converts waste plastics to jet fuel in an hour

01/06/2021

Catalytic process to efficiently convert polyethylene to jet fuel and high-value lubricants
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Cleaning up the polluted edge of the world: Lindner and Comberplast recycle fishing nets

31/05/2021

Presented at K 2019 in Düsseldorf and now used to clean up the edge of the world: Lindner Recyclingtech’s Micromat 1500. Circular economy pioneer Comberplast has been using the machine to successfully shred old fishing nets and ropes collected from the coast of Patagonia.
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Fire-resistant and bio-based fiber-reinforced composites for structural lightweight design in ships

24/05/2021

As 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.
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New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

11/05/2021

Most 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.
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Plastic components with longer service life

10/05/2021

23 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.
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Earth Day 2021: plastics industry vs. climate change

16/04/2021

April 22 is Earth Day. "Restore Our Earth" is the international motto of the action day in 2021. The plastics industry in particular can and must do its part to end environmental pollution and restore the earth to health. Since it was founded over 50 years ago, Earth Day has grown to become a worldwide environmental action day in around 200 countries.
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New biodegradable polyurethane foams are developed from wheat straw

01/04/2021

Every year around 734 million tons of wheat straw are produced worldwide, a large amount of waste, which is cheap and has had no well-defined use until now. Recently, research groups at the University of Córdoba have been able to give a new use to this agricultural excess material, by using it as the foundation in order to manufacture polyurethane foams.
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Graphic: Intestinal bacteria

Sustainable nylon production made possible by bacteria discovery

24/08/2020

Nylon manufacture could be revolutionised by the discovery that bacteria can make a key chemical involved in the process, without emitting harmful greenhouse gases.
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Polymere ink of the future in printed electronics

19/06/2020

A 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.
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Antiviral and antimicrobial additive developed for face masks

22/05/2020

Wearing 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.
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Carbon Inc.’s Continuous Liquid Interface Production™, © Carbon Inc.

A look at the shifting trends in additive manufacturing

22/05/2020

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Plastics make the mannequins’ world go round!

22/05/2020

Display mannequin manufacturers have not only been creative in terms of design. Resource-saving operations have also ranked very high on their agendas for years. There has been in-depth research in developing materials and processes and plastics continue to play a leading role.
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Better drinking water thanks to plastics

20/05/2020

Around 2.2 billion people do not have an access to clean drinking water, although two thirds of the earth is covered with water. However, more than 97 percent of it is inedible salt water. So drinking water is a very rare commodity on earth. However, drinking water can be obtained from salt water. Polymeres could help.
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Water replaces toxins: Green production of plastics

21/04/2020

Although organic plastics are not harmful to the environment themselves, toxic substances are often used during their synthesis. TU Wien shows - there is another way.
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Close-up foil

Looking for new packaging materials

25/03/2020

In a joint research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS and the technical film producer POLIFILM Extrusion GmbH, are working to engineer biopolymer-based films for food packaging. In this project, the specialists relied on chitosan coatings to increase the resistance of food to microbiological impacts.
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"Harvesting" body heat more efficiently with superrubber

12/02/2020

North Carolina State University engineers have demonstrated a flexible device that harvests the heat energy from the human body to monitor health. The device is more efficient than other flexible harvesters that use body heat as the sole energy source.
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Unique polymer fibers: Light, strong, and tough

19/12/2019

Strong and tough yet as light as a feather -- materials with this exceptional combination of properties are urgently needed in many industrial sectors and in medicine, as well as being of great interest for scientific research. A research team from the University of Bayreuth has developed polymer fibers with precisely these properties.
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