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Photo: a girl in a raincoat with braces stands in nature under a scattered jet of water and laughs; Copyright: envato

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A brief history of the raincoat

16.07.2024

When the rain is pouring down from the sky, put on your raincoat and get out into the fresh air. Dry feet, figuratively speaking, thanks to the British chemist Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), who knew how to use the water-repellent advantages of polymer materials effectively and profitably in the clothing industry.
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Image: Sorting belt with plastic bottles. Two employees can be seen out of focus in the background; Copyright: envato

Sustainability thanks to the circular economy

26.06.2024

How does the circular economy work? Focus on sustainable practices and environmental benefits.
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Image: a hand with a small plastic spatula placed under the artificial eye of a patient; Copyright: Max Tactic - stock.adobe.com

3D printing: manufacturing eye prostheses from plastic

12.06.2024

Plastic eye prostheses: Lightweight, robust and natural in appearance - and now available via 3D printing. Find out more here!
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Image: 3 men in hard hats press the symbolic start button in a solemn ceremony; Copyright: BASF

World's First Electrically Heated Steam Cracking Furnace

27.05.2024

BASF, SABIC, and Linde have inaugurated the world's first large-scale electrically heated steam cracking furnace at BASF's Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. This demonstration plant, which consumes 6 megawatts of renewable electrical energy, is designed to test the technology's potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 90% compared to conventional steam crackers.
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Image: Hands crocheting a yellow round circle with a crochet hook; Copyright: envato

Machine crochet for textiles and components

23.05.2024

When it comes to crocheting, many people think of a leisure hobby. However, this technique can be used to manufacture impressive products such as components made from fiber composites. In an interview with K-Mag, Jan Lukas Storck from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences explains how a newly developed crochet machine works and how it contributes to automation.
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Image: Interior of a possible Hyperloop pod; Copyright: THL

High-performance adhesive for the transportation systems of the future

08.05.2024

When you sit on a train, you probably rarely realize how much technology and expertise from a wide range of industries has gone into its creation. The materials used are diverse. The various elements are joined together into a whole by welding, screwing, riveting, bolting and now, increasingly, gluing. New adhesives are opening up many possibilities in design and performance improvements.
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Image: Coating a cotton yarn with PHA using a coating nozzle; Copyright: DITF

Biopolymer coating for textiles – protective bacteria

03.05.2024

It defies wind and weather and protects us from a wide range of environmental influences: Functional clothing. Special coatings are responsible for this. Polyacrylates or polyurethanes, which are based on crude oil and therefore a finite resource, are often used for this purpose. The DITF are therefore researching alternatives from renewable sources – including polymers from bacteria.
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Image: Detail of the new stretching machine; Copyright: LyondellBasell

Stretching Machine for Masterbatch Development

26.04.2024

LyondellBasell, a prominent player in the chemical industry, has recently integrated the state-of-the-art KARO® 5.0 laboratory stretching machine from Brückner Maschinenbau into its research and development facilities in Ohio. This strategic enhancement is set to significantly advance the company's ability to develop and test masterbatch solutions tailored for various oriented film applications.
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Image: Close-up of a black photovoltaic module; Copyright: envato

Recycling photovoltaic modules

23.04.2024

"Don't lose it, reuse it!" is not just the exclamation of a puppy from a well-known animated children's series when he creates new objects from supposed garbage. Rather, it shows how important the topic of ‘recycling’ has become in general.
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Image: PFAS graphic; Copyright: Francesco Scatena - stock.adobe.com

Fluoroplastics in focus

23.02.2024

The debate about fluoroplastics and their environmental impact is reaching new heights. While environmentalists are calling for a ban on PFAS (perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds), industry associations are warning of the far-reaching consequences for numerous areas of application. A look at the arguments and challenges.
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Image: Granulate of lignin-reinforced PLA, behind it an object made from the material; Copyright: KraussMaffei

Innovative bioplastic from KraussMaffei and Synergy Horizon

02.02.2024

KraussMaffei and Synergy Horizon have jointly developed a new type of bio-based reinforced thermoplastic that prioritises functionality and sustainability.
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Image: Symbolic representation of the decomposition of a PET bottle (left), which is broken down into its basic building blocks by suitable enzymes; Copyright: HZB/Frank Lennartz, Gert Weber

Boosting PET recycling with higher standards for laboratory experiments

12.01.2024

In a study, Gert Weber, Uwe Bornscheuer and Alain Marty have identified standards for laboratory experiments with enzymes for PET recycling. It emphasizes difficulties in upscaling and highlights the promising enzyme LCC-ICCG, which converts 98% of PET in 24 hours, is economically more efficient and proposes new standards for laboratory research on PET recycling.
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Image: Black and white detail of two open hands. The left hand holds snippets, while the right hand holds small beads; Copyright: Coperion GmbH

Coperion Recycling Innovation Center is Up and Running

05.01.2024

Coperion has opened its Recycling Innovation Center, providing a high-tech test facility for comprehensive testing of plastics recycling processes. The center complements Herbold Meckesheim's technical center and enables customers to simulate the entire recycling process and test technologies before making an investment.
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Image: Plastic pole; Copyright: Talon Technology

From chaos to creation: How composites transform unsorted plastic waste into useful products

05.12.2023

Geoff Germon has not only recognized the problem of plastic waste in Fiji, but also wants to help the locals tackle this problem and build a sustainable business at the same time. His approach starts with a simple plastic pole.
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Photo: Blue-gray water treatment plant from above; Copyright: perutskyy

LANXESS expands its range for PFAS removal from water

01.12.2023

LANXESS is presenting its new anion exchange resin Lewatit MonoPlus TP 109, which can be used for the efficient removal of contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from water. In addition to Lewatit MonoPlus TP 109, the company is also presenting other selective resins that can also be used in combination for pre- and fine cleaning.
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Image: Three open snack bags; Copyright: Dominik Benke

From snack bag to cooling technology: The rebirth of aluminum-plastic laminates

08.11.2023

Thanks to aluminum-plastic laminates, our favorite snacks stay as crisp as we love them. But what if the shiny insides of snack bags hold much greater potential – one that goes far beyond accompanying a movie night? Passive cooling technology could benefit from upcycling these chip bags, says a research team from the University of Bayreuth.
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Image: Productivity is key: 120 x molds in 20 minutes = 10 seconds per mold; Copyright: Nexa3D

Wilson Sporting Goods using 3D printing to accelerate the injection molding process

03.11.2023

Wilson Sporting Goods uses 3D printing to accelerate the injection molding process of baseball bats. This includes bats made from aluminum, polymer composite and thermoplastics. Components such as knobs, end caps and the interface between the handle and shaft are typically injection molded from engineering resins.
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Image: Train; Copyright: rawf8

Recyclable, repairable and robust: New epoxy resin for the circular economy

02.11.2023

Epoxy resins are used in combination with glass or carbon fibres to make components for aircraft, cars, trains, ships and more. Empa researchers have now developed the first fire-resistant epoxy resin-based plastic that is recyclable.
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Image: 3D printer additively manufacturing a plastic structure; Copyright: leungchopan

From the 3D printer to the dishwasher: researchers develop biodegradable support material

27.09.2023

In the world of additive manufacturing, innovations are constantly revolutionising the possibilities. Despite the progress, there is one major challenge: the need for support structures. They prevent material layers from sagging – but removing them after printing can have environmentally damaging consequences. In the AquaLoes project, the IKT is tackling this challenge.
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Image: Hands holding purple biodegradable plastic polymer granules; Copyright: ArseniiPalivoda

Bayreuth researcher develops high-performance digital system for tailoring polymers

01.09.2023

Prof. Dr. Christopher Kuenneth at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, together with research partners in Atlanta, has developed a digital system that filters out those materials best suited for targeted applications from among some 100 million theoretically possible polymers. The system, called polyBERT, treats the chemical structure of polymers like a chemical language.
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Image: Recycled thermoplastic carbon fiber reinforced UD tape reflected on the tray against a gray background; Copyright: Fraunhofer IPT

Unwinding in high quality: Continuously detached and recycled thermoplastic carbon fiber tapes with a new recycling approach

17.08.2023

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a recycling process to recover used fiber composite material from pressure tanks and use it for new lightweight products. The process preserves over 90 percent of the materials' mechanical properties. This contributes to the sustainable production of thermoplastic fiber composite products.
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Image: A stool is printed at K 2022 with the help of ADAM software; Copyright: IKV/Fröls

Digital meets material: a software transforms additive manufacturing

17.08.2023

ADAM could redefine plastics manufacturing. A big claim, but not without reason: Behind the acronym ADAM is a software called "Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing" that caused a real stir at K 2022. The impressive result of this software in action? A high-performance screw extruder controlled by an agile jointed-arm robot.
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Image: Prof. Dr. Manfred Renner; Copyright: Fraunhofer UMSICHT

"There is no one and only solution for recycling"

25.07.2023

The future of circular economy in the plastics industry is a complex mixture of mechanical and chemical recycling. Prof. Dr. Manfred Renner, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), describes these technologies as indispensable components of the life cycle of plastics.
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Image: Various nuts and seeds in transparent plastic packaging in a carton; Copyright: Olena_Mykhaylova

Collaboration project shows: multi-layer packaging can be separated and recycled on an industrial scale

08.06.2023

A Collaboration project involving BASF, Krones, SÜDPACK, and TOMRA gives proof of concept for closed recycling loop for PET-based multi-layer packaging.
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Image: A rotor blade is transported by truck on the road; Copyright: Covestro

Renewable energies: Bringing wind power forward with PU resins

26.05.2023

At Covestro's Wind Technology Center, research is being conducted into making wind technology more efficient. To do this, a close look is taken at wind turbines – where are opportunities to use special materials that drive renewable energy? The big goal behind it: Climate neutrality and a circular economy.
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Image: PhD student Svenja Pohl with a coloured solar concentrator; Copyright: Oliver Dietze

Luminescent solar collectors: Silicone makes power generation more flexible and colourful

22.05.2023

Plastics contribute to climate protection. As fibre-reinforced plastics for wind turbines or films for solar cells, they already play an important role in power generation from renewable energies. But the conventional solutions are not equally suitable for every area of application. This is where a new type of material comes into play that was developed at Saarland University.
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Image: sun and clouds in the sky; Copyright: joaquincorbalan

Solar-powered system converts plastic and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels

13.04.2023

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a system that can convert plastic waste and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels and other valuable products – using energy from the sun alone. In the system, two waste streams are simultaneously converted into two chemical products.
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Image: Worker spraying polyurethane foam to insulate a wooden frame house; Copyright: anatoliy_gleb

Degradation of Plastic Waste using newly Developed Biocatalysts

13.03.2023

A research team from the University of Greifswald, together with scientists from Covestro AG, has identified enzymes capable of degrading polyurethanes and polyvinyl alcohol. The research helps to establish a sustainable and environmentally-friendly process to recycle these polymers.
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Image: Close-up of a plastic fibre-reinforced profile; Copyright: A+ Composites

Performance meets circularity: fibre-reinforced plastics become recyclable

27.01.2023

Recycled plastics are often less efficient than new plastics. But they can be upgraded - namely by using fibre composites. In turn, they make the plastics difficult to recycle. The All-Polymer project shows how both are possible: high-performance materials and a closed cycle.
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Image: Scientist wearing VR goggles and two blue gloves to stay in digital metaverse cyberspace ; Copyright: Rimidolove

The VR glove from the 3D printer

26.12.2022

In a project called "Manufhaptics", researchers at Empa, together with EPFL and ETH Zurich, want to develop a VR glove that will make virtual worlds tangible. The VR glove is to be created using a 3D printing process and will have three different actuators.
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Photo: Workers check garbage in recycling plant; Copyright: cavanimages

Researchers find a new method for recycling polystyrene

11.10.2022

A research team led by Guoliang "Greg" Liu implemented the goal of making the current main method for recycling polystyrene profitable. By exposing the material to ultraviolet light and adding a chemical catalyst this method creates diphenylmethane (DPM), which has a high economic value. This new recycling method would create an incentive for polystyrene to be collected and recycled.
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Image: Athlete looking at her smartphone in the park while resting after an outdoor workout. Right: yoga mat; Copyright: DaniDG_

Smart textiles sense how their users are moving

22.08.2022

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology develop a comfortable, form-fitting fabric that recognizes its wearer's activities, like walking, running, and jumping. Through the process of thermoforming, the researchers were able to significantly improve the precision of pressure sensors woven into multilayer knitted textiles, which they call 3DKnITS.
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Clear plastics recycling using high-purity sorting and separation technologies

13.06.2022

The COVID-19 pandemic put acrylic (transparent) shields, better known as "sneeze guards," in high demand in their role as protective barriers. However, they pose a major challenge for recycling companies at the end of the product life cycle since the different plastics must be separated and sorted to maintain purity and facilitate reuse.
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Image: Plastic bags and utensils on the beach; Copyright: davidpereiras

New method to convert plastic trash into clean hydrogen fuel

23.05.2022

To convert plastic waste into hydrogen, researchers at the Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a new method. The new method is based on pyrolysis, a high-temperature chemical process. The project is also investigating the potential of other new technologies for decentralized waste management.
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Breakthrough in separating plastic waste

21.02.2022

With a new technology it is possible to analyse and categorise the type of plastic by using a hyperspectral camera in the infrared area and machine learning. The technology makes it possible to separate plastics based on a purer chemical composition than is possible today, and this opens up for completely new opportunities to recycle plastics.
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Image: old carpets in a yard; Copyright: PantherMedia / a_oldman

Polypropylene recycling from carpet waste

07.06.2021

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality.
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