Photokina 2014 highlights

Plastic

Israeli industrial design student Dror Peleg has created a colorful bike that's made up of...

If Israeli industrial design student Dror Peleg had been around in the late 1950s, I feel sure that his Frii plastic bike concept would have found its way into Mosanto's House of the Future. Over 50 years later, that vision of a world of plastic has also given rise to some serious disposal issues and grave environmental concerns. Frii proposes to be part of the solution, not the problem. Made from recycled plastic, the city cycling concept would be manufactured locally for local use. Components would be injection molded into modular shapes that snap together to form a strong, lightweight and very colorful single-speed bike for quick trips through the city streets.  Read More

Don't eat that fish - the blue color of the indicator film indicates that it's spoiled (Ph...

When it comes to buying packaged meat and fish, consumers usually just have to go by the “best before” label to know that it hasn’t begun to spoil. Needless to say, the dates on those labels are just estimates and certainly won’t tell you if the product has sat through a lengthy power failure, or been left out of the cooler for several hours. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies in Munich, however, have developed an inexpensive plastic film that will change color in the presence of rotten foods.  Read More

The MuCell technology inspired by the Aero bar will first appear in Ford vehicle engine co...

We’ve seen the world’s first Formula 3 car running on a fuel derived from waste chocolate, and now engineers at Ford have turned to the tasty treat for inspiration to produce lighter plastic parts for Ford’s vehicles. Plastic parts have traditionally been a difficult area to save weight without sacrificing strength and durability, but by looking to the Aero chocolate bar they have produced a lighter plastic by introducing gas bubbles into the plastic as it is molded. The result is a microscopic honeycomb structure that Ford says saves weight by reducing the amount of plastic used without compromising the integrity of the part.  Read More

PepsiCo says it has developed the world's first 100 percent plant-based PET bottle

Mountain Dew’s green bottles could become even “greener” with an announcement from PepsiCo claiming it has developed the world’s first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. The bottle not only offers a significantly reduced carbon footprint compared to petroleum-based PET, but is also 100 percent recyclable.  Read More

The Eco Can is a reusable drink container that is 100 percent biodegradable

While Mother Nature would definitely applaud your use of reusable beverage containers instead of merely recyclable ones (or worst yet, disposable ones), there are some situations in which you don’t want to be toting that coffee flask you bought at Starbucks. When you’re out hiking or biking, for instance, it would be nice to have something that stays sealed when dumped into a bag, and that’s compact enough that it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Really, what would fit the bill nicely is a canned drink, but that’s in a reusable container ... enter the Eco Can. Not only is it reusable, but when the time comes, it’s also 100 percent biodegradable.  Read More

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam have developed a range of new thermoset resins...

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam have developed a process for making fully biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous thermoset resins from readily available, low-cost plant materials. This new range of plastics could be used for panels such as MDF in the construction industry and replace polyurethane and polystyrene packaging ... all without increasing cost or production times.  Read More

Ultimate VCI Protection bags are plastic bags which are said to keep steel tools stored in...

Fishermen, sailors, and other people who take to the sea will know how quickly and easily steel tools begin to rust in a marine environment. One method of dealing with the problem involves spraying the tools with oil before storage, then wiping them off before use. New Jersey-based company Leland Limited, however, is now offering what it describes as a simpler, more eco-friendly alternative: plastic tool-storage bags that prevent rust.  Read More

An organic single-crystal transistor made out of rubrene (red crystal) (Image: Rutgers Uni...

Silicon-based solar cells, by far the most prevalent type of solar cell available today, might provide clean, green energy but they are bulky, rigid and expensive to produce. Organic (carbon-based) semiconductors are seen as a promising way to enable flexible, lightweight solar cells that would also be much cheaper to produce as they could be “printed” in large plastic sheets at room temperature. New research from physicists at Rutgers University has strengthened hopes that solar cells based on organic semiconductors may one day overtake silicon solar cells in cost and performance, thereby increasing the practicality of solar-generated electricity as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.  Read More

Pellets of Solegear's 100 percent natural, non-toxic, biodegradable Polysole plastic

The 2010 North American Frost and Sullivan Award* for New Product Innovation of the Year has been awarded to Canadian company Solegear, for its 100 percent biobased Polysole plastic. According to Solegear, although many of today’s biopolymers come from a natural feedstock, they are compounded using synthetic additives. Polysole, however, utilizes proprietary additives that are entirely natural and organic. The non-toxic plastic is claimed to have high impact and tensile strength, and can be efficiently processed using conventional techniques such as extrusion, blow molding and injection molding. Its biodegradation point can also reportedly be tweaked, so it can maintain its molecular integrity until product-specific compost conditions are met.  Read More

NEC has developed a new bioplastic from non-edible cellulose and cardanol that's said to b...

NEC has announced the development of a new biomass-based plastic produced by bonding non-edible cellulose with cardanol, a primary component of cashew nut shells. The new bioplastic is said to achieve a level of durability that makes it suitable for use in electronic equipment and boasts a high plant composition ratio of more than 70 per cent.  Read More

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