Image: Plant for the production of cars. On the right, several car models; Copyright: traimakivan

Borealis launches portfolio of circular plastomers and elastomers based on renewable feedstock


Borealis introduces the Bornewables™ line of Queo™, a range of plastomers and elastomers based on renewable feedstock. The introduction follows the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) of Borealis' production site for the Queo™ portfolio, in Geleen, the Netherlands.
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Image: smiling woman holding dental splint to camera; Copyright: Remidolove

Shape memory polymers: more efficient tooth correction thanks to TPU


The treatment of malocclusions can sometimes be lengthy and cost-intensive. A new corrective splint (aligner) is needed for each individual therapy step. So-called shape memory polymers can help not only to make the therapy more patient-friendly, but also to reduce material waste.
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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


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: Rubber shoe soles in different colors; Copyright: abraham_stokero

Covestro to build its largest TPU site in China


The company Covestro will build its largest Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU) site in Zhuhai, China. The TPU site will be built in three phases. The first phase will be completed in late 2025 and the final phase in 2033.
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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


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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Image: Set of arranged insoles prepared for shoe manufacturing on the table; Copyright: DegrooteStock

Orthopaedic insoles made of Elastollan® – more comfortable, sustainable and individual


Shoe insoles made of Elastollan®, BASF's thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), offer a high degree of individualization freedom. The production of shoe insoles in 3D printing enables smooth transitions between soft and hard structures.
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Image: Electronic three-dimensional plastic 3D printer in a laboratory ; Copyright: StudioPeace

Powered-up plastics


A research team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA has succeeded inadditively manufacture sensors and other electronic devices in a single operation. As part of this research, the conductivity of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) was tested to find out, for example, how best to incorporate electronic components.
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Image: Detail of a woman connecting her smart watch with laptop; Copyright: leungchopan

A flexible device that harvests thermal energy to power wearable electronics


Researchers at the University of Washington have developed the first flexible, wearable thermoelectric device capable of converting body heat into electricity. The researchers demonstrated that they can print these devices on stretchable textiles and curved surfaces. This will allow the devices to be applied to clothing and other objects in the future.
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Image: Student with glasses tries to control white robotic arm; Copyright: Pressmaster

Durable material for flexible artificial muscles


Materials scientists at UCLA and colleagues at the nonprofit research institute SRI International have developed an artificial muscle. These are equipped with PHDE actuators. UCLA research uses a "dry" process in which the films are layered with a blade and then cured with UV light so that the layers become uniform.
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Silicones: All-rounders for healthcare, electronics and climate protection


Baby pacifiers, plug seals, medical tubing – we encounter silicones in a wide variety of life situations. Why? They are flexible, water-repellent, heat- and chemical-resistant and even have electrical properties. In short, they are true all-rounders! WACKER, the German chemical group and K exhibitor from the very beginning, is considered a European pioneer in silicones.
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Image: Cutout of woman using cell phone and laptop ; Copyright: leungchopan

A stretchy display for shapable electronics


Zhenan Bao, a chemical engineer at Stanford University, and her research team have provided proof of principle for a stretchable, potentially reshapeable display using a method to fabricate an elastic light-emitting polymer with high luminosity.
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Soft polymers for human-robot interaction


Most people know robots either from science fiction films or from company production halls. There, they reliably perform their tasks. But: they are heavy and rigid – anyone who gets in the way of their fixed motion sequences is in the way. For this reason, robots need to be developed that have a softer surface and are thus better suited for interaction with humans.
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Soft robots: smart elastomers are making the robots of the future more touchy-feely


Imagine flexible surgical instruments that can twist and turn in all directions like miniature octopus arms, or how about large and powerful robot tentacles that can work closely and safely with human workers on production lines.
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