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I always find it astonishing to see of what flight of fancy or nose-dives the human mind is capable. The following two examples of the extreme ends of this spectrum have occupied my mind in the last few days.
In the “Materia” newsletter*, which I very much appreciate, I read about what I consider to be a very smart invention by Ann Makosinski. She is a 19-year-old student and, despite her young years, a highly prized inventor. Her eDrink lets you charge a phone while chatting over a cup of hot coffee. It looks like a regular stainless steel coffee mug. But by adding a hot fluid and a cord to plug a USB into the base of the mug you can instantly charge your phone. The eDrink utilises simple thermoelectric materials (Peltier tiles) to convert heat from hot drinks to produce electricity. The device provides a maximum boost of 0.36 Wh. This is sufficient to extend the battery life of a smartphone by 10 to 30 minutes. The “hollow flashlight”, also developed by her, is based on a similar principle: It is a light source that requires only body heat as a source of energy, and Makosinski wants to make this technology freely available in developing countries.
This is really smart: A young woman who works like Gyro Gearloose with a fresh spirit, immense talent and impressive ingenuity to make the world a bit better.
“Making the world a bit better” was probably also the concern of some resourceful Wolfsburg automotive managers, who once decided to “clean” the emission values of their diesel vehicles with software. Ok, I guess, they perhaps didn’t mean your and my world. In view of the disturbingly blatant megalomania of this action, we simply have to assume that the involved persons live in their own world and have drifted off in their hubris. (Unfortunately, a premium tyre with the very best grip does not help with such a loss of traction.) Even more painful than the actual fraud is the catastrophic handling of the crisis, which up to date has been characterised by simple silence or cynical verbal acrobatics.
This is really stupid: A team of highly educated engineers who, with astonishing audacity, indulge in colossal fantasies of omnipotence while working hard on sawing of the branch on which they sit while taking all of us, their service providers and suppliers, with them. As expected, but no less appalling, other carmakers have recently been targeted by US investigators because of suspected manipulation of their emission values. However, let’s hope they will not take after the Wolfsburgers in terms of crisis management and dealing with the public.
*Materia is a network in the area of innovative materials, based in The Netherlands. Read the full story of Ann Makosinski’s eDrink here https://materia.nl/article/charge-phone-cup-hot-coffee/
Growth by SUV dominance, positive economic developments, and Trump effects
The growth of the auto industry continues in 2017, but is less driven by innovation than by positive economic developments. This year, China will continue to be the main driver of the global automotive business. While growth is to be expected in the USA due to Trump effects, the development in Europe is somewhat more subdued due to factors such as dieselgate and other technological uncertainties.
In this present work rubber composites based on bromobutyl rubber (BIIR) and ionic liquid (IL) integrated graphene nanoplatelets (GnP) have been prepared by a melt mixing technique. The IL helps to delaminate the GnP particles in the rubber matrix. The elastomeric material thus obtained shows a considerable improvement of gas barrier properties. Addition of 5 phr GnP reduces the gas transmission rate by about ~64 %. The transmission electron microscopy shows a better dispersion of the GnP sheets in the BIIR-GnP-IL as compared to BIIR-GnP. The wide angle x-ray scattering experiment indicates a presence of a lower number of stacked GnP sheets in the BIIR-GnP composite.
BrüggemannChemical has developed a new range of vulcanization activators with its ZnO Pro series. The products allow the direct substitution of conventional thermal zinc oxide without the need to modify the formulation or make compromises on performance. ZnO Pro is suitable for the entire range of applications of sulfur-vulcanizable rubber, from technical parts and consumer goods to tires. The following article reviews the replacement of conventional thermal zinc oxide, like ZnO Red Seal, by three newly developed ZnO Pro types in SBR and CR.
Enabling recycling loops for used passenger car tires is a challenge and an opportunity: The challenge lies in the presence of SBR as the main elastomer in this type of tires, which makes this material difficult to reclaim due to the tendency of the elastomer chain fragments to re-combine. The opportunity lies in the wide availability of the material and in the fact that passenger car tires form a huge potential market for recycled rubber. The general problem of reclaiming rubber is the fact that besides crosslinks also polymer chains are broken in this process, and this influences the properties and reduces the quality of the recycled material. An efficient devulcanization is needed in order to achieve a high-quality recycled rubber. Within this study, recycling of sulfur-cured SBR in a thermal de-vulcanization process is investigated in order to elaborate the correlation between the process conditions and the ratio of polymer chain to crosslink scission. The temperature range for the de-vulcanization is varied from 180 °C to 300 °C, and the treatments are done in air and in a nitrogen atmosphere. Depending on the parameters used, the sol fraction increases as expected, and crosslink density first decreases, but increases again above a temperature threshold of 220 °C. The reason for this increase in crosslink density is a complicated intra-molecular rearrangement of chain fragments due to uncontrolled degradation and oxidation effects. Preventing oxidation during thermal treatment reduces the degree of rearrangement and results in significantly
improved SBR devulcanizate properties.
This paper gives an overview on analytical methods for investigating polymers and fibres. Besides methods of thermal analysis such as DSC, TMDSC, TGA, and DMA also physical measurement techniques such as wide-angle X-ray diffraction, rheometry and pycnometry as well as a chemical testing procedure – the Karl Fischer titration – are described. Furthermore, optical investigations such as electron microscopy are presented.
Elastomers are often degraded when exposed to air or high humidity for extended time periods (years to decades). Lifetime estimates normally involve extrapolating accelerated aging results made at higher than ambient environments. Several potential problems associated with such studies are reviewed and experimental/theoretical methods to address them are provided. The importance of verifying time-temperature superposition of degradation data is emphasized as evidence that the overall nature of the degradation process remains unchanged versus acceleration temperature. The confounding effects that occur when diffusion-limited oxidation (DLO) contributes under accelerated conditions are described and it is shown that the DLO magnitude can be modeled by measurements or estimates of oxygen permeability coefficients (POx) and oxygen consumption rates (f). POx and f measurements can be influenced by DLO and it is demonstrated how confident values can be derived. Additionally, several experimental profiling techniques that screen for DLO effects are discussed. Values of f taken from high temperature to temperatures approaching ambient can be used to more confidently extrapolate accelerated aging results for air-aged materials and many studies now show that Arrhenius extrapolations bend to lower activation energies as aging temperatures are lowered. Best approaches for accelerated aging extrapolations of humidity-exposed materials are also offered. Part 1 covers the time-temperature superposition approach (chapter 2) and diffusion-limited oxidation (DLO) complications (chapter 3).
When the rubber of automobile tires becomes brittle, the driver’s safety is on the line. Aging processes, which are caused by oxygen or heat, change the properties of the vulcanizates. Rubbers generally are subject to such changes that occur in the course of time and can lead to partial or complete destruction. Possible consequences are depolymerization, fatigue, brittleness, cracks, and even disintegration. Antioxidants and antiozonants counteract these processes.
The first “Nanoaugmented Materials Industry Summit” was organised by OCSiAl from 14 – 16 November 2016 in Novosibirsk, Russia, at one of the world’s largest production facilities for single wall carbon nanotubes. The three-day event brought together leading players from all over the world, who are already implementing nanotechnologies in their production processes. The summit attracted more than 180 participants from 27 countries, including amongst others representatives from Lanxess Rhein Chemie Additives, PolyStick, Büfa, Union Chemical, BAK Battery, and Mahindra.
Focus on intelligent manufacturing, high-tech materials, and green solutions
Chinaplas 2017 will be held from 16 – 19 May 2017 in Guangzhou in Southern China.
Adsale, the organiser, says that the 31st edition of Asia’s No. 1 and world’s No. 2 plastics and rubber trade fair, will have a show with a technology-oriented focus on the key topics of “Intelligent Manufacturing”, “High-tech Materials”, and “Green Solutions”. This matches up well with the key development directions of the plastics processing industry set under China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, including developing multi-functional, high-tech materials and additives, accelerating the market share of high-end products, speed up research and development of plastics equipment as well as green, energy saving and high efficiency new processing technologies. Chinaplas 2017 is expected to attract over 3,300 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions and more than 140,000 visitors on 250,000 m2 of exhibition area.