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Plastic

It is surely now but a matter of time before we are reporting on the completion of the first 3D-printed house, or at least something purported to be such a thing. Amsterdam-based DUS Architects is the latest company to show its hand, and has developed its own 3D printer, the KamerMaker (literally, RoomMaker), with the intention of 3D printing a house before the end of the year. Read More
London-based architecture team Softkill Design has entered the race to create the first 3D printed house. Unlike the first plans for 3D-printed houses that emerged at about this time last year, Softkill thinks that the future of 3D printed housing lies in prefabricated components rather than printing houses whole using vast uber-printers on site. By using plastics rather than sand or concrete, Softkill may just have hit upon a concept that actually feels... 3D printery. Read More
Over the past several years, a number of research institutes have been exploring the use of implants made from material with a scaffolding-like structure, as a means of regrowing bone at severe injury sites. Both MIT and Tufts University, for instance, have been working on collagen-based materials. Now, England’s University of Southampton has announced the development of a new type of bone-growing substance, made from plastic. Read More
As the ever-growing giant flotilla of floating refuse known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will show us, we shouldn't be putting plastic waste in our waterways. A new project, however, is aimed at helping the environment by doing so ... in a roundabout way of speaking. The participants plan on taking several artificial floating islands made from post-consumer plastic, planting papyrus on them, and then using them to help rebuild the ecosystem of Africa’s Lake Naivasha. Read More
Although optical drives in consumer notebooks are becoming less common nowadays and we are storing more and more of our digital information on hard drives instead of optical discs, CD/DVD players are still a mainstay of desktop computers and business laptops and new systems often come bundled with discs containing all sorts of never-to-be-used software. With the help of its Laboratories Division, Fujitsu has developed a new recycling system to make new front panels for notebook computers from all the discarded CDs and DVDs collected, sorted and recycled by its five recycling centers across Japan. Read More
You may have heard about the huge floating islands of garbage swirling around in the middle of the Earth's oceans. Much of that waterlogged rubbish is made up of plastic and, like Electrolux with its concept vacuum cleaners, U.K.-based Studio Swine and Kieren Jones are looking to put that waste to good use. As part of an ambitious project, they’ve come up with a system to collect plastic debris and convert it into furniture. Read More
Many plastic items consist of both blow-molded and injection-molded components that have been welded together. Not only does this require multiple machines and production steps, but the parts may also fail at the weld points. Spanish research center ASCAMM’s new EBIT technology, however, combines the two plastic injection techniques in one process, to efficiently create weld-free parts. Read More
Thanks to research currently being conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, our unwanted plastic bags may one day be recycled into carbon fiber. Not only that, but the properties of the fibers themselves could be fine-tuned, allowing different types of carbon fiber to be created for specific applications. Read More

Gizmag regulars will be well-used to the idea of self-healing materials, and even materials that repair themselves when exposed to light; but a new plastic demonstrated to the American Chemical Society on Monday purports to be the first self-healing material to incorporate a damage-reporting mechanism, almost akin to the bleeding of human skin. Read More

Imagine a pair of rubber gloves whose surface texture could be altered on demand to provide more grip for climbing. Or maybe gloves with "fingerprints" that can be changed in the blink of an eye. They are just a couple of the many potential applications envisioned by researchers at Duke University for a process they have developed that allows the texture of plastics to be changed at will. Read More
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