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We have all heard about the movement ‘Fridays for Future’ – school students skipping school, demonstrating each Friday for a future without climate change and as they say “March now or swim later!” They are fighting for a right to live in a world without further global temperature rise and its subsequent catastrophic consequences.
The students want us, the older generation, to panic now, and to do something quick and radical about this issue. They want governments to do their job and act, rather than go round in circles. But should they really rely on politicians of our generation to fix the situation?
Recent events do not encourage this trust. Be it the US government and last winter’s month-long budget stalemate and shutdown due to disagreement on ‘Trump’s Wall’, or the U.K.’s catastrophe in slow-motion called Brexit that we are witnessing at the moment.
Politicians apparently imagine any deadline can be extended indefinitely with only limited risk. Is this wise for climate change or are the students right to panic now?
Politicians clearly do not understand the principle of a hysteresis. Change may be slow at the moment, but may accelerate with cascading effects. It won’t be easy to return to the present climate, if we miss this deadline.
But are any of us good about deadlines? In the immortal words of the late Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Let’s impress our kids and not whoosh on this one.
JEC World 2019, the leading trade show that brings together all the key players of the composites industry and their representatives, took place from 12 – 14 March 2019 in the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center in France. The show welcomed more than 1,300 exhibitors from every continent, counted more than 43,500 visitors from 112 countries and offered three intense days of innovation, networking and knowledge sharing.
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a versatile building material providing acoustic and thermal insulation that can be applied to a range of surfaces and irregular shapes on site. According to a recent report published by ialconsultants, global SPF production in 2018 exceeded 600,000 t, with most being produced in the USA and China, which together accounted for more than 60 % of the total global SPF output. However, the SPF market is stagnating in China but it continues to expand strongly in the USA.
The German AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe – has published its annual market report for glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP). In 2018, the European GRP market is expected to grow again by around 2 % to an estimated total of 1.141 million t. The GRP sector is recording its sixth consecutive year of growth. Germany remains the largest GRP/composites manufacturer in Europe with a total production volume of 229,000 t although growth here is slightly lower than the trend for the overall European market. Thermoplastics are once again growing faster than the market as a whole.
IAL Consultants has published the fifth edition of its report on the markets for aliphatic and aromatic polyester polyols. The new two-volume study updates the information included in IAL’s previous study published in 2015. The report contains data on the consumption of both aliphatic and aromatic polyester polyols in 2018 and forecast consumption for 2023 split by the three major geographic regions (Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific).
Amaplast has completed its year-end balance sheet for 2018, incorporating foreign trade data from ISTAT (Italian Institute of Statistics), about the Italian market of machinery, equipment and moulds for plastics and rubber.
European Bioplastics (EUBP) has presented its annual market data update on the global bioplastics industry. “The global market for bioplastics is predicted to grow by roughly 25 % over the next five years“, said Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics. “This trend is possible thanks to the increasing demand for sustainable products by both consumers and brands alike, stronger policy support for the bioeconomy, and the continuous efforts of the bioplastics industry to develop innovative materials with improved properties and new functionalities.”
PU Magazine International had the chance to talk to Doug Kramer, Chief Executive Officer and President of Icynene-Lapolla about his company and the reasons behind the recent mergers and acquisitions in the spray polyurethane foam industry.
In the coming years, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare intends to list TDI as a poisonous or deleterious substance under the poisonous and deleterious substance control law in Japan. In Japan usually TDI/MDI blend (T/M) systems have been used as raw materials for PU mold flexible foam, but this has changed now. Because of its low viscosity, high concentration of isocyanate groups and low functionality compared to polymeric MDI, T/M blends contribute to low density and high mechanical properties of flexible PU foam. However, it also has certain drawbacks such as hazardous working conditions because of its high vapor pressure, low durability due to low functionality and poor riding comfort resulting from large urea domain formation. In contrast to that, it has been proven that the urethane-modified MDI base system could overcome these disadvantages that were found in our previous paper presented at CPI 2014, even though the density reduction is still a priority issue to be solved. On the basis of this context, the novel all-MDI seat backrest system, which exhibits less than 40 kg/m3 core density, has been investigated with our modified isocyanate technologies. Here, the newly modified MDI system, which provides a wide process range for low density foam, high durability and excellent surface softness, will be introduced. We will further demonstrate that newly developed polyol and catalyst systems exhibit low VOC emission and better foam properties in the seat backrest systems.
Automotive OEMs continue to place ever more stringent requirements on polyurethane manufactures, in terms of foam emissions, quality and cost, intensified by global programs and regionally specific challenges. In order to improve cabin air quality, enhanced pressure is being placed on VOCs, FOG emissions and odour. Additionally, requirements now commonly also include specifications for vinyl/polycarbonate staining and other parameters, whilst at the same time, foam quality and processability must not be negatively impacted. This places a number of difficult challenges on foam producers and the requirements they must seek from additives. Following the integration of the Dabco and Polycat brands into the portfolio, Evonik now offers the broadest selection of additives (catalysts, surfactants, performance additives and release agents) to the polyurethane industry. This paper will explore the challenges currently being faced by the automotive market and new solutions to meet them.
Polymer-based foams are ubiquitous in civilian and military applications for impact mitigation. The quest for polymeric materials with superior physical and mechanical properties continues since foams inherit a portion of the properties of the base materials. Polyurea is an elastomeric thermoset with wide-spread applications in protective coatings and, recently, in impact mitigation. The objective of this research is to fabricate, characterize and mechanically test a novel polyurea foam. The fabrication process is performed at room temperature in the absence of blowing agents and in a non-vacuum environment. Two different density variations of polyurea foam were manufactured; namely 227.3 ± 4.5 kg/m3 and 355.8 ± 18.6 kg/m3. Our novel polyurea foam bridges the gap between open and closed cell polymeric foams. Scanning electron microscope micrographs showed that the spherical, semi-closed cell structure has microscale large perforations on the surface of the cell due to the interactions between adjacent expanding cell walls resulting from the generation of CO2 gas. Additionally, small holes were found to form and concentrate along the bottom portion of the cells. The manufacturing process was also found to promote the nucleation and deposition of polyurea microspheres on the walls, adding a reinforcement phase while overcoming the fundamental interfacial issue between the matrix and reinforcement due to both phases being made of the same material. The semi-closed cells eliminated the effect of face stretching, and thus reduced the overall rigidity of the foam. This reduction is offset by the entrapped closed-cells on the edges. Standard quasi-static compression testing was performed up to densification strain on a 1 kN load frame. The stress-strain curves were then used to calculate the basic mechanical properties as well as to predict the dynamic behavior of the foams. Concurrently, the dynamic impact mitigation properties were evaluated using a dart impact tester, by dropping the impactor head from a height of ~1 m. The predictions from the quasi-static testing and the results from the dynamic impact testing were found to be in good agreement. The performance of the newly fabricated foam was compared to an industry-leading counterpart and was found to outperform in almost all metrics. A prominent application of the new foam is sporting equipment to guard athletes against impact loadings.