Apropos K

Technological progress would be inconceivable without modern materials and there is no doubt at all that plastics are among the most versatile materials that exist. It is impossible to imagine the world as we know it without plastics. The “Topic of the Month” highlights issues of particular interest, focussing on plastics in everyday life – including special case studies – and providing historical background information, with in-depth descriptions that are understandable to non-experts too.

Overview: Apropos K

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Jack of all trades: Plastic sensors detect disease markers in breath


A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building's air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices.
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Schoolbag made from recycled plastic sheds light on poverty


A backpack made entirely from recycled plastic and that helps you do your homework? Yes, you read that correctly. A South African start-up has developed a bag made entirely from recycled plastic with a solar charging lamp.
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Flexible, organic and biodegradable: Researchers develop new wave of electronics


A new polymer-based semiconductor developed by Stanford researchers is as flexible as skin and easily degradable. It could have diverse medical and environmental applications, without adding to the mounting pile of global electronic waste.
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Apropos K: life and death of Wallace Hume Carothers, the inventor of nylon and the discoverer of neoprene


He would be included in any list of the names of significant polymer chemistry scientists: Wallace Hume Carothers, the discoverer of neoprene and the inventor of nylon. Wallace Hume Carothers was born in Burlington in the US state of Iowa on 27. April 1896 as the oldest of four children.
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Paint electronic circuits: New hybrid inks for printed, flexible electronics without sintering


Scientists at INM have developed a new type of hybrid inks which allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen.
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No "sailor's yarn": Ridding the oceans of plastics by turning the waste into valuable fuel


Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world's oceans. Now, a Ph.D. organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor. They envision the technology could someday be implemented globally on land and possibly placed on boats to ...
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Pesticides on the fruit bowl? Just touch it with your finger to find out – wearing special rubber gloves ...


There are good reasons why people wear rubber gloves – when there will be contact with dirt or blood or when corrosive or toxic substances need to be handled. If experienced experts know what kind of a substance they are dealing with or what poison is involved, they are in a position to take suitable protective measures. However, if this information is not available, well, ...
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Pioneer and father of polymer research


Completed his doctorate at 22, appointed professor at 26, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry at 72 - an impressive career: Hermann Staudinger, the father of polymer chemistry, was born exactly 136 years ago.
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How cool is this: artistic presentation of rubber


Visual artists need materials to carry out their profession: painters need canvas, while sculptors need wood or stone. Blake McFarland needs rubber – in the form of car tyres, because McFarland is a tyre artist, who makes deceptively genuine sculptures that look real and are so impressive that the US tyre manufacturer Goodyear decided to commission Blake McFarland for a ...
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Car tyres made from food waste – sounds incredible, but it isn’t


Millions of tonnes of egg shells and tomato skins are left over all round the world every year – most of them attributable to industrial processing operations. Up to now, these shells and skins have been disposed of as waste. Scientists from Ohio State University in the USA wondered whether it was not possible to make something better than waste out of these natural materials. The answer is ...
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