References: The engineer magazinehttp://www.theengineer.co.uk/production-engineering/news/model-will-enable-development-of-plastics-with-specific-uses/1010464.article
Date: 30 /septiembre /2011
Researchers at Leeds University and Durham University claim they have solved a long-standing problem that could change the wayplastics are made.
The breakthrough, based on new mathematical models, will allow experts to create plastics with specific uses and properties. The plastics will also be easier to recycle than currentversions.
‘Normally, people make a plastic and then see if it works. We have come up with a model that predicts how the stiffening will turn out,’ Dr Chinmay Das, a researcher at the School ofPhysics and Astronomy at Leeds University, told The Engineer.
‘If you want a particular kind of behaviour, normally people use trial and error to see which polymer works best. This is costly and bad forthe environment.’
Another researcher on the project, Dr Daniel Read, from the School of Mathematics at Leeds University, said: ‘Up until now, nobody has been able to make a continuous link from thechemistry of plastics to the flow properties they possess by considering the individual molecules involved.
‘This new method could save the manufacturing industry time, energy and money. Up until now,the industry has developed plastics and then found a use for them,’ he continued.
‘Biopolymers are an area that our new methodology could be applied to, as companies continue to look beyond fossilfuels when making plastics. We hope that the code we’ve developed will enable scientists to home in on particular chemistries to develop these biopolymers,’ Read explained.
Peter Tillin, theengineering manager at Plastribution, added: ‘In theory, if you plot a recipe book and you say you want this plastic to possess these properties, then it would make life a lot easier. The thing is, I’d say...