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Plastic

Space

SpaceShipTwo to be fueled by thermoset plastic similar to nylon

As the still-to-be-announced date of the first commercial flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo approaches, more and more of the technology involved is getting nailed down. A case in point is the company's announcement that it has decided which fuel will be used in the first passenger-carrying flights of the suborbital spacecraft. The solid fuel grains that will fuel the world’s largest operational hybrid rocket will be a thermoset plastic similar to nylon.Read More

Science

Regenerating plastic is better on the "hole"

Dropping your mobile phone can ruin your whole day as you look down at the spiderweb of cracks surrounding a small hole in the once-pristine plastic case. Now imagine watching as those cracks and that hole seal up by themselves, leaving behind a completely healed case. That may sound like science fiction, but it may not be for long with a team of researchers at the University of Illinois having developed a new system that doesn't just repair minor cracks in plastic, but regenerates to heal large holes.Read More

Electronics

Move over 3Doodler – here comes the SwissPen

You may recall that earlier this year, WobbleWorks made quite a splash on Kickstarter, raising over US$2 million for its 3Doodler. Surprising as it sounds though, there may actually now be some competition in the handheld 3D printer market. Swiss 3D Print recently revealed its own device, called the SwissPen, that sketches wire sculptures in mid-air using heated plastic filaments.Read More

Environment

WaterBean purifies tap water to reduce plastic bottle waste

It's a given that recycling waste products is a good thing. It's certainly better than sending our trash to landfill where it will sit rotting (or not, in the case of non-biodegradable waste) for decades to come. However, even better than recycling is to not create the waste in the first place. Bottled water is now big business, and more popular than ever before, but bottled water guzzles energy and creates waste that really doesn't need to be created. WaterBean offers one possible solution to the problem.Read More

3D Printing

6-meter tall KamerMaker to 3D print Amsterdam house by year's end

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

3D Printing

Softkill's intricate 3D printed ProtoHouse is all about the plastic

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

Medical

Plastic used to replace and regrow bone

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

Environment

Plastic islands being used to restore African lake

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

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