There’s a new polymer contender in the effort to find replacements for expandable polystyrene packaging. David A. Schiraldi, chair of the chemistry department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio says that an ultra-light biodegradable foam plastic substitute can be made from the protein in milk and ordinary clay. The new substance could be used in furniture cushions, insulation, packaging, and other products, they report in Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal from the American Chemical Society.
Eighty percent of the protein in cow milk is a substance called casein, which is used in adhesives and paper coatings. But water can wash it away. To increase strength and hike resistance to water, the CWRU scientists blended in a small amount of clay and a reactive molecule called glyceraldehyde, which links casein’s protein molecules together.
The scientists freeze-dried the resulting mixture, removing the water to produce a spongy aerogel. Academics sometimes refer to this family of substances as “solid smoke.” To make the gossamer foam stronger, they cured it in an oven. Almost a third of the material breaks down within 30 days in the right environment, but it’s described as strong enough to have commercial applications.
Schiraldi is chief science officer of Aeroclay, which has been formed to commercialize the technology. “There is a real intent to commercialize this, and other aerogel products,” says Schiraldi. Aeroclay is based in Solon, OH.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science & Technology have designed a new nanoscale material that can transmit light faster than the 186,000 miles per second it usually takes to travel through air.
It has often been said that as California goes, so goes the nation. This spring, the state's wind power is setting energy generation records and solar energy generation is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is