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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Researchers develop a stretchable, thermal conductive rubber material

PITTSBURGH, US: Carnegie Mellon University researchers Carmel Majidi and Jonathan Malen have developed a thermally conductive rubber material that represents a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The new material, nicknamed “thubber,” is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity and elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue that can stretch over six times its initial length.
“Our combination of high thermal conductivity and elasticity is especially critical for rapid heat dissipation in applications such as wearable computing and soft robotics, which require mechanical compliance and stretchable functionality,” said Majidi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.
Applications could extend to industries like athletic wear and sports medicine—think of lighted clothing for runners and heated garments for injury therapy. Advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation are other areas where stretchable electronic material could have an impact.
“Until now, high power devices have had to be affixed to rigid, inflexible mounts that were the only technology able to dissipate heat efficiently," said Malen, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "Now, we can create stretchable mounts for LED lights or computer processors that enable high performance without overheating in applications that demand flexibility, such as light up fabrics and iPads that fold into your wallet."
The key ingredient in “thubber” is a suspension of non-toxic, liquid metal microdroplets. The liquid state allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature. When the rubber is pre-stretched, the droplets form elongated pathways that are efficient for heat travel. Despite the amount of metal, the material is also electrically insulating.
To demonstrate these findings, the team mounted a LED light onto a strip of the material to create a safety lamp worn around a jogger’s leg. The thubber dissipated the heat from the LED, which would have otherwise burned the jogger. The researchers also created a soft robotic fish that swims with a thubber tail, without using conventional motors or gears. 
“As the field of flexible electronics grows, there will be a greater need for materials like ours,” said Majidi. “We could also see it used in highly reconfigurable devices that use thermal actuators to undergo shape changes.”
Majidi and Malen acknowledge the efforts of lead authors Michael Bartlett, Navid Kazem, and Matthew Powell-Palm in performing this multidisciplinary work.
They also acknowledge funding from the Air Force, NASA, and the Army Research Office.
© Carnegie Mellon University News 
Read More: Researchers develop a stretchable, thermal conductive rubber material

Breakthrough in producing renewable car tires from trees, grasses

MINNEAPOLIS/ST PAUL, US: A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota (UMN), has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses in a process that could shift the tire production industry toward using renewable resources found right in our backyards.
Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they are predominately made from fossil fuels. The car tires produced from biomass that includes trees and grasses would be identical to existing car tires with the same chemical makeup, colour, shape, and performance.
The technology has been patented by the UMN and is available for licensing through the UMN Office of Technology Commercialization.
The new study is published in the journal ACS Catalysis.
Authors of the study, include researchers from the UMN, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Center for Sustainable Polymers, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded centre at the UMN.
“Our team created a new chemical process to make isoprene, the key molecule in car tires, from natural products like trees, grasses, or corn. This research could have a major impact on the multi-billion-dollar automobile tires industry,” said Paul Dauenhauer, a UMN associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science and lead researcher of the study.
“Collaboration was really the key to this research taking biomass all the way to isoprene. This collaboration and synergy among researchers with different approaches and skills are really what we are trying to promote within the NSF Centers for Chemical Innovation Program,” said Carol Bessel, the deputy director of the chemistry division at NSF, which funds the Center for Sustainable Polymers.
Currently, isoprene is produced by thermally breaking apart molecules in petroleum that are similar to gasoline in a process called “cracking.” The isoprene is then separated out of hundreds of products and purified. In the final step, the isoprene is reacted with itself into long chains to make a solid polymer that is the major component in car tires.
Biomass-derived isoprene has been a major initiative of tire companies for the past decade, with most of the effort focused on fermentation technology (similar to ethanol production). However, renewable isoprene has proven a difficult molecule to generate from microbes, and efforts to make it by an entirely biological process have not been successful.
Funded by NSF, researchers from the Center for Sustainable Polymers have focused on a new process that begins with sugars derived from biomass including grasses, trees and corn. They found that a three-step process is optimised when it is “hybridised,” meaning it combines biological fermentation using microbes with conventional catalytic refining that is similar to petroleum refining technology.
The first step of the new process is microbial fermentation of sugars, such as glucose, derived from biomass to an intermediate, called itaconic acid. In the second step, itaconic acid is reacted with hydrogen to a chemical called methyl-THF (tetrahydrofuran). This step was optimised when the research team identified a unique metal-metal combination that served as a highly efficient catalyst.
The process technology breakthrough came in the third step to dehydrate methyl-THF to isoprene. Using a catalyst recently discovered at the UMN called P-SPP (Phosphorous Self-Pillared Pentasil), the team was able to demonstrate a catalytic efficiency as high as 90 percent with most of the catalytic product being isoprene. By combining all three steps into a process, isoprene can be renewably sourced from biomass.
“The performance of the new P-containing zeolite catalysts such as S-PPP was surprising. This new class of solid acid catalysts exhibits dramatically improved catalytic efficiency and is the reason renewable isoprene is possible,” said Dauenhauer.
“Economically bio-sourced isoprene has the potential to expand domestic production of car tires by using renewable, readily available resources instead of fossil fuels,” said Frank Bates, a world-renowned polymer expert and UMN Regents professor of chemical engineering and materials science. “This discovery could also impact many other technologically advanced rubber-based products.”
In addition to Professor Dauenhauer, researchers who were part of the study from the UMN were professors Michael Tsapatsis and Kechun Zhang, postdoctoral researchers Omar Abdelrahman, Dae Sung Park, Charles Spanjers and Limin Ren, and current student Katherine Vinter. University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Wei Fan and student Hong Je Cho were also part of the research team.
The invention of renewable tire technology is part of a larger mission of the Center for Sustainable Polymers, an NSF-funded Center for Chemical Innovation led by the University of Minnesota. Initiated in 2009, the CSP has focused on transforming how plastics are made and unmade through innovative research.
Researchers aim to design, prepare and implement polymers derived from renewable resources for a wide range of advanced applications.
© University of Minnesota News
Read More: Breakthrough in producing renewable car tires from trees, grasses

Arlanxeo to unveil new SSBR functional technologies

MAASTRICHT, NETHERLANDS: Arlanxeo said that it will unveil its latest products and functionalization technologies designed to reinforce tire performance.
Arlanxeo’s tire & speciality rubbers (TSR) business will introduce two new commercialised solution styrene-butadiene rubbers (SSBR) featuring 1st and 2nd generation functionalization technologies respectively: Buna FX 3234A-2 and Buna FX 5000.
Arlanxeo TSR unit offers a broad portfolio of versatile rubbers primarily for applications in tire production. They are used in, for example, the inner liners (the airtight layers) of tires as well as for the thread, side walls and other tire components.
New solution SSBR
Buna FX 3234A-2 is a high styrene SSBR featuring functional groups designed to interact with silica fillers in order to reduce rolling resistance in passenger tire treads. The product contains 37.5 phr of TDAE oil and is designed particularly for high-performance summer tires.
Buna FX 5000 is a high vinyl SSBR featuring Arlanxeo´s 2nd generation functionalization technology also designed to interact with silica fillers to boost fuel economy thanks to its rolling resistance reduction. This product contains just 7 phr TDAE oil extension, which offers the compounder the chance to optimise rolling resistance further through reduction of filler loadings.
The product can also be considered for all season tires because of the reduction in dynamic stiffness at low temperatures due to the reduced Payne effect encouraged by the improved polymer to filler interactions.
© Chemical Toady News
Read More: Arlanxeo to unveil new SSBR functional technologies

Axalta unveils new mobile colour matching app for powder coaters

PHILADELPHIA, US: Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA) has announced the launch of a new, innovative colour matching mobile app, available on iOS and Android platforms. Axalta’s Axs free colour matching app offers powder coating professionals a constellation of colours in the palm of their hand.
The free tool allows users to scan any surface and easily match it to an Alesta stock powder coating hue which increases productivity by eliminating the wait for a sample powder or colour chip delivery. The app also gives users the option to request additional information such as product codes, chemistry details, or the opportunity to order colour chips delivered directly to them.
“Our new and exciting colour matching app provides the powder coating industry with a quick and simple way to scan a colour and select the best Axalta match. The technology embedded in Axs will save customers time and provide quicker and easier colour selections,” said Kristen Boyd, Axalta’s marketing manager for powder products.
© Chemical Today News
Read More: Axalta unveils new mobile colour matching app for powder coaters

Do not eat less, eat right!

One of the changes taking place in the food & beverage (F&B) industry is that people have become more health conscious. They are not eating less but are simply eating right! More focus is being given to consuming natural ingredients in food. This has given rise to ‘clean-labels’ in the F&B industry, which is scouting for unexplored natural ingredients that can replace synthetic flavours.
Demand for natural flavours is not just seen in packaged food but also in confectionery, soft drinks and oral care products.
Other than fruits and vegetables, floral flavours are also joining the bandwagon. So, the next time you wish to drink a cocktail it might as well be blueberry hibiscus, orange blossom vanilla or raspberry lavender. Catch up on the latest trends and changes in the F&B industry as we explore what food additives have to offer in our ‘Sector View.’
Exploring more around food, the ‘Academic R&D’ section takes it a step further. Research is going on to develop new raw materials for meatballs and falafel from mealworms and crickets.
While insect products are already on sale in some European countries, the European Union (EU) legislation will change in the coming years, and the farming of insects and their processing for consumption will become a potential business activity in Europe, say the researchers.
Also for this month, we look at opportunities and challenges in Europe in our ‘International Focus.’ Read all about the different segments as heads of associations such as Verband der Chemischen Industrie eV (VCI), Euro Chlor and PlasticsEurope give their views related to the industry.
Getting into a niche and specific segment, we launch our ‘Coatings Special’ supplement this month. With two issues annually, watch out for the next ‘Coatings Special’ supplement in August. To know more, have a look at the digital version of the website and the app. To request the print copy, do write to us.
Whether you want to give us a break, bouquet or brickbats, write to editorial@worldofchemicals.com

By Shivani Mody,
Editor In Chief.

© Chemical Today Magazine
Read More: Do not eat less, eat right!

AkzoNobel’s new bio-steam facility reduces CO2 emissions by 100,000 tonnes

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: The Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp has officially opened a new bio-steam facility at a chemical park at Delfzijl, Netherlands.
AkzoNobel NV, Eneco and Groningen Seaports have jointly invested around €40 million in the project. This facility will supply steam from biomass to the chemical park– primarily for AkzoNobel’s speciality chemicals site.
This marks an important investment in terms of making the chemical industry in the north-east of the Netherlands more future-proof.
Eneco, an energy company has converted its biomass plant into a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which provides both electricity and steam from renewable biomass. The steam is transported via a pipeline constructed by Groningen Seaports.
The conversion has increased the efficiency of the Netherlands’ largest biomass plant – the same amount of biomass now produces twice as much renewable energy. The transition from fossil fuels to sustainably-produced steam means an additional 10 percent of AkzoNobel’s energy consumption in the Netherlands now comes from renewable sources, resulting in a reduction of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Around 10 percent of total Dutch chemical production comes from Delfzijl and the industry is a major employer in the region. The project is further improving the long-term competitiveness of the cluster of chemical companies at the site.
Eneco’s biomass plant processes around 300,000 tonnes of timber each year scrapped from demolition projects and waste to produce sustainable electricity and steam. AkzoNobel was already a significant consumer of electricity produced by the plant.
Groningen Seaports has built the required infrastructure to bring the steam to the chemical park, including the steam piping, which is also accessible to third parties. This makes the site more attractive for (future) factories, which will need steam for their production and supports the sustainable development of regional industries.
Eneco has entered into a 12-year contract with AkzoNobel for the supply of bio-steam. In addition, AkzoNobel will invest in the required infrastructure at the chemical park, offering continuity in the provision of a vital utility for other chemical companies at the location.
"The North of the Netherlands is leading the way in the transition to sustainable energy. The Northern provinces and municipalities were the first to have a plan for implementing the Dutch Energy Agreement. The chemical park in Delfzijl is underlining these ambitions by switching to sustainably produced steam. By doing this, the parties involved are not only investing in energy reduction and lower CO2 emissions, they are also contributing to the regional economy by enabling the sustainable growth of the chemical cluster,” said Minister Kamp.
© Worldofchemicals News
Read More: AkzoNobel’s new bio-steam facility reduces CO2 emissions by 100,000 tonnes

Chandra Asri supplies polypropylene resins for Toyota

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Polypropylene impact copolymer resins which are produced by PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk, Indonesia's largest integrated petrochemical company, meets the specifications defined by PT Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN) to be used as raw material for the manufacturing of car components for Toyota Vios and Yaris.
This success is a major breakthrough for Indonesia petrochemical industry in entering the automotive component sector that applies international standards which have been supplied by other countries.
In addition to a new marketing field that will continue to increase along with the development of the automotive industry, this breakthrough will support the efforts of the Republic of Indonesia government to strengthen the national industrial structure because this mutually beneficial cooperation between the company and TMMIN also improves the performance of compounding and molding industry in the country, namely PT Hexa Indonesia who adds additives and coloring in resins and PT Sugity who mould the resins into automotive components.
Besides Toyota Vios and Yaris, the company also plans to supply the models for Fortuner and Kijang Innova as well as other cars of LCGC Toyota. Currently, other brands which have used the company's polypropylene impact copolymer are LCGC Daihatsu and Honda cars and motorcycles.
Finally, the import substitution for these resins and car components can save the country's foreign exchange.
© Worldofchemicals News 
Read More: Chandra Asri supplies polypropylene resins for Toyota

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