Mirel bioplastic performs well as a film when annealed for two to three seconds after processing. New data on the PHB polymer was presented at the opening of the Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) of the Society of Plastics Engineers in Boston today by Ray Krishnaswamy of Metabolix, the technology startup behind Mirel. Annealing relaxes stresses in noncrystalline chain segments, dramatically improving tear properties. Annealing equipment that could be used commercially includes IR heaters, embossing stations, or annealing roll stands. “We could build this for you for $1,000,” said to a large audience at the Fundamentals & Fellows Forum. Future research opportunities for bioplastics include controlling the rate of biodegradtion, controlling crystallization, improving thermal stability, exploring blends, and education.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.