New process upcycles plastic waste into a more valuable adhesive

via News Atlas

A team at UC Berkeley has developed a process that turns plastic waste into something more valuable – an adhesive. Based on an engineered catalyst, the inspiration was to find ways to “upcycle” plastics by putting them to new uses while preserving the properties that made them attractive in the first place.

Plastic waste is one of the modern world’s biggest environmental concerns, but plastics are notoriously unattractive to recycling companies. Unlike corrugated cardboard, glass, or scrap metal, plastics are very difficult to reuse and doing so makes the end product less valuable than the original plastic – which isn’t very valuable to begin with.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/science/waste-plastic-polyethylene-adhesive/

Welsh government backs project to turn waste plastic into carbon nanotubes

via Circular

The Welsh government is backing a cutting-edge science project at Swansea University that changes waste plastics into highly valuable compounds for the energy industries.

The government is to invest in a plastics upscaling project which has the potential to create highly-skilled jobs in Wales, the university says.

Scientists are extracting carbon atoms found in waste plastics and turning them into a nanotube format that can be used for the transmission of electricity.

Read the full story here: https://www.circularonline.co.uk/news/welsh-government-backs-project-to-turn-waste-plastic-into-carbon-nanotubes/

Research Turns Plastic Waste into Biodegradable Silk

via Plastics Today

Solutions to big problems can spring from little things. In research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, a microorganism that digests common petroleum-based plastic waste and yields a biodegradable plastic alternative represents a new solution to an on-going problem.

With the support of a substantial new National Science Foundation grant of $500,000 for the project, a team of engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will explore this potentially transformative idea entitled Microbial Upcycling of Petrochemical Polymer Waste into High Value Protein-Based Polymers for a Circular Economy.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticstoday.com/materials-research/research-turns-plastic-waste-biodegradable-silk

National Science Foundation Awards Grant to Rensselaer Polytechnic for Research into New Plastic

via Plastics Today

With the support of a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, chemical engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, aim to develop a new polymer that can replace polystyrene (PS). While PS is inexpensive and easy to make, it is difficult to break down into its original components for re-use through a process called depolymerization. Founded in 1824, Rensselaer is America’s first technological research university.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticstoday.com/materials/national-science-foundation-awards-grant-rensselaer-polytechnic-research-new-plastic/21414866763275

Polystyrene ball-stick model with 11 countable monomers. PakpongICCH444 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

SCIENTISTS TURN ‘TRASH TO TREASURE’ BY MAKING ULTRA-STRONG GRAPHENE FROM COAL, PLASTIC AND FOOD WASTE

via Newsweek

Taking place inside a custom-designed reactor, the environmentally-friendly new process produces one of the strongest materials known to humankind from materials such as coal, plastics and food waste, according to a team of researchers from Rice University in Texas.On-Demand Hydrogen Cells Could Start Era of ‘Green and Sustainable Energy’READ MORE

Experts said the key is temperature and timing, and the results could potentially revolutionize how the world manages several wasteful materials.

Read the full story here: https://www.newsweek.com/rice-university-scientists-produce-graphene-coal-plastic-food-waste-1484576

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste?

via National Geographic

TEN THOUSAND HOT dogs, 20,000 pounds of shrimp, 8,000 pounds of short ribs—and that’s only a portion of the food that will be made by the 2,500-strong culinary staff flying into Miami this weekend to prepare snacks for one of the nation’s biggest game days.

Super Bowl 54, this year played in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, will see the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers. Nearly 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year, in bars, at house parties, and for a lucky few, in the stadium, where tickets start at $4,000.

Read the full story here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/01/super-bowl-54-zero-waste-miami/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/01/super-bowl-54-zero-waste-miami/

Washing laundry on a delicate cycle releases more plastic microfibres into the ocean

via ScienceFocus.com

Researchers have found it is the volume of water used which is the key factor in plucking the tiny plastic particles from man-made material. Read the full story here: https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/washing-laundry-on-a-delicate-cycle-releases-more-plastic-microfibres-into-the-ocean/

Why polymer solar cells deserve their place in the sun

via EurekAlert

Polymer solar cells may lag behind traditional silicon solar cells in longevity and efficiency, but could ultimately power autonomous remote sensors and wearable technology.

Unlike traditional silicon solar cells, organic polymer solar cells (PSCs) may never cover the hillsides of a megawatt solar farm. But, these lightweight, flexible cells show potential to provide solar power to remote microwatt sensors, wearable technology and the Wi-Fi-connected appliances constituting the “internet of things.”

Read the full story here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/aiop-wps021618.php

Material gradients could strengthen polymer components

via Phys.org

Combining flexible and stiff materials has bestowed bamboo with a strength-to-weight ratio that rivals steel. Gradually transitioning from a soft to hard substance allows the squishy squid to slice up prey with rigid, scissor-like beaks.

With the help of a new  co-developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, these two evolution-honed principles could eventually enable engineers to double or triple the strength of polymer-based components.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-material-gradients-polymer-components.html#jCp

Winter Olympics: Could Plastic “Ice” Help Overcome Bias toward Colder Countries?

via Scientific American

Scientists and sports enthusiasts alike have long been looking to level this frigid playing field via the development of plastics that can serve as synthetic ice to line backyard hockey and ice-skating rinks. But the type of polymer needed to coat a sloping two-kilometer track—one that can accommodate sleds traveling in excess of 125 kilometers per hour—has proved much more elusive. “Any synthetic track needs to offer a similar sliding and driving experience to ice and not create any concerns about athlete safety,” says Jan-Anders Månsson, director of Purdue University’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center and a professor in materials and chemical engineering. “It also needs to be both durable and cost-effective.” Read the full story here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/winter-olympics-could-plastic-ldquo-ice-rdquo-help-overcome-bias-toward-colder-countries/

File:Olympic rings without rims.svg

 

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