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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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