PolyOne, a leading specialty compounder, launched a line of biopolymer compounds at this week’s National Plastics Exposition in Chicago. Patent-pending Resound compounds will be formulated with a minimum of 30 percent bio-derived content, and as much as 70 percent, Dr. Cecil C. Chappelow, vice president of innovation for PolyOne, told Design News in an interview. The biobased polymers that maybe used include PLA, PHB, PHBV as well as biopolyesters. Dr. Chappelow said he could not disclose the traditional plastics that PolyOne is studying. One logical candidate, however, is polycarbonate. Resound grades feature heat resistance (HDT) up to 120C (248F) and impact resistance up to 53 J/m (12 ft-lb/in). PolyOne’s goal is to develop bio compounds that will meet or exceed performance requirements for durable applications such as computer laptops, cell phones and auto components. Dr. Chappelow said the new compounds will process as well as traditional compounds.
PolyOne has developed a large portfolio of bioproducts, ranging from special colorants to thermoplastic elastomers. PolyOne is even working on a bio-based plasticizer that could replace phthalates in construction applications. The goal is to develop drop-in replacements that are competitive on a performance and total cost basis. Meanwhile, PolyOne retains a strong commitment to vinyl compounds. At a press conference today, PolyOne showed a PVC appliance part with a metallic appearance. The pre-colored part represented a significant savings over a painted part.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.