At long last, new plastics for baby bottles, shopping bags, and much more

Sep 21, 2011

With most of the plastics that define modern life dating to the1930s-1960s, a new breed of these ubiquitous materials are starting to gain a foothold in products ranging from teapots to potato chip bags to plastic plant pots that biodegrade right in the soil. That's the topic of the covers story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN Senior Editor Alexander H. Tullo explains that a "golden age of polymers," spanning the late 1930s through the mid-1960s, engendered nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyester, and other that have replaced everything from silk to steel in everyday products. Those traditional plastics were so successful that they fostered development of an infrastructure with multi-million-ton-per-year production for plastic beverage bottles, for instance, and shopping bags.

With that success, manufacturers were reluctant to switch to new and untested plastics, and companies that tried to introduce innovative polymers faced an Everest-like-landscape of hurdles. The article describes how a new genre of plastics is overcoming those barriers. Among them is a new plastic with the crystal-clear clarity, toughness, resistance to heat, and other advantages needed to compete with polycarbonate. Made without the worrisome bisphenol A (BPA), it is replacing polycarbonate in baby bottles and beverage . Another new plastic has potential for fighting global warming, consisting of consisting of 40 per cent carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Explore further: New material steals oxygen from the air

More information: “Breaking in the New” pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8938cover.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DVDs and CD-ROMs that thwart global warming

Apr 08, 2008

Carbon dioxide removed from smokestack emissions in order to slow global warming in the future could become a valuable raw material for the production of DVDs, beverage bottles and other products made from ...

Canada to ban BPA baby bottles

Apr 18, 2008

Canada became the first country to declare the widely used chemical bisphenol A unsuitable for use in baby bottles and set a ban mechanism in motion Friday.

Recommended for you

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

1 hour ago

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical intermediate ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

2 hours ago

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

New material steals oxygen from the air

22 hours ago

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations. Just one spoon of the substance is enough to absorb all the ...

User comments : 0