K 2010–a plastics trade fair– opened today in Dusseldorf Germany. Based on the amount of green clothing worn throughout the show, visitors may think they are in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. Green ties and shirts are very fashionable at this year’s giant K Fair. It seems almost every supplier here wants to show they are committed to “green” plastics technology.
Even Sabic, the giant Saudi Arabian petrochemicals company, announced at an opening press conference that it has begun a major sustainability initiative that may even include an expanded role for plastics made from renewable resources. Mohamed Al-Mady, CEO of SABIC, said the company has begun collaborations with universities to explore potential renewably sourced feedstocks. One project is expected to focus on algae at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a new technical university in Saudi Arabia. In another interesting development, officers at Sabic Innovative Polymers, which is based in Pittsfield, MA, say they are now verifying weight-saving and environmental claims with a third-party auditor called Green Order, which is based in New York City.
For example, Sabic has a new design for an all-plastic steering wheel on its stand (an industry first), which appears to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent compared to a wheel made with diecast magnesium, according to a Sabic official. That number will be tested and verified by Green Order. ”We are going to verify the environmental benefits of products in one of two ways,” Robert McKay, newly named sustainability manager at Sabic Innovative Plastics, said in an interview with Design News at K 2010. “Either they meet one or more widely recognized sustainability standards or their environmental benefits relative to incumbent technologies will be verified under the company’s new Sustainable Product Scorecard.”
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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