Efficient, Profitable Plastics Extrusion Begins with Materials Knowledge

via Plastics Today

All plastics have additives — some obvious, some invisible

First of all, no plastic is 100% pure when it goes into the extruder. All of them have additives — some are obvious, like colorants, and some are invisible, like light stabilizers that keep the Sun’s ultraviolet rays from breaking the molecules and discoloring or weakening the plastic.

HMM — how much matters — is my favorite acronym. I squirm when I hear the words “in it,” as in “it has sugar in it” or “there’s BPA in it.” I want to scream, “How much is in it?” but usually I don’t. Often the speaker wants/needs to avoid dealing with the actual amount. Additives are prime examples: We can’t know a compound is adequately protected from sunlight degradation (UV) without knowing what the additive is, how uniformly it’s mixed, and how much of it is in it.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticstoday.com/extrusion-film-sheet/efficient-profitable-plastics-extrusion-begins-materials-knowledge

Stanford pediatric arbovirologist Desiree LaBeaud’s quest to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases led to an unlikely culprit: plastic trash

LaBeaud’s quest to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases led to an unlikely culprit: plastic trash

via Stanford Report

In 2021, Stanford pediatrician and arbovirologist Desiree LaBeaud and her colleagues launched the nonprofit organization HERI-Kenya to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in Kenya by cleaning up the plastic waste where the insect breed.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a global havoc-wreaker, responsible for debilitating and deadly illnesses ranging from dengue fever to chikungunya and Zika virus. With a prodigious ability to multiply and a growing range extending from Africa and South America to much of Asia and many parts of the United States, it infects an estimated 400 million people annually.

plastic scrap
photo credit: Julia Joppien


No vaccines or therapeutics are available for these illnesses, so targeting the insect’s breeding grounds is critical to saving lives.

That’s why, in 2015, one of the first things Desiree LaBeaud did upon joining the Stanford Department of Pediatrics was apply for a Bechtel Faculty Scholar Award. She wanted to use the funds to teach Kenyan school children and community members about the mosquito breeding grounds around their homes. She had been studying mosquito-borne illness in Kenya for over a decade as a pediatric arbovirologist, a specialist who studies diseases caused by blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes and ticks. She saw that dengue fever was sickening many Kenyan children due to a lack of awareness about its cause and how to prevent it.

Read the full story here: https://news.stanford.edu/report/2022/02/09/investigating-mosquito-borne-diseases-led-unlikely-culprit-plastic-trash/

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

via The Guardian

plastic scrap
Photo by Catherine Sheila on Pexels.com

Beaches littered with plastic bottles and wrappers. Marine turtles, their stomachs filled with fragments of plasticPlastic fishing nets dumped at sea where they can throttle unsuspecting animals. And far out in the Pacific Ocean, an expanse of water more than twice the size of France littered with plastic waste weighing at least 79,000 tonnes.

The plastic pollution problem is distressingly familiar, but many organisations are working to reduce it. Alongside familiar solutions such as recycling, a surprising ally has emerged: micro-organisms. A handful of microbes have evolved the ability to “eat” certain plastics, breaking them down into their component molecules. These tiny organisms could soon play a key role in reducing plastic waste and building a greener economy.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/05/how-super-enzymes-that-eat-plastics-could-curb-our-waste-problem

New lightweight material is stronger than steel

New lightweight material is stronger than steel​

via MIT News

The new substance is the result of a feat thought to be impossible: polymerizing a material in two dimensions.

Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities.

The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had believed it was impossible to induce polymers to form 2D sheets.

Read the full story here: https://news.mit.edu/2022/polymer-lightweight-material-2d-0202