GRAPHENE is the thinnest known material and has the highest intrinsic strength of any material ever measured. We are posting an article to describe some of the interesting research on graphene and graphene-based  polymer nanocomposites (GPNC) that is occuring. This article reviews how graphene is made, explain how single sheets can be dispersed in a polymer matrix to give plastics with interesting properties and where these works are being carried out.

May 05, 2009

Expressing the rationale for pursuing a green environment along with the movement toward pursuing the same has brought about terms such as peak oil, greenhouse gases, and sustainability. Are these terms indicative of an upsurge in green-chemistry research?  Indeed they are: the plastics research community is up and running in developing “green” polymers.  Manufacturing plastics from carbon dioxide, sugarcane, corn, and switch grass are in high gear.  Traditional petrochemical-resin companies such as Braskem and Dow are getting ready to produce bio-polyethylene while Solvay is focusing on “green” polyvinylchloride (PVC).  In fact, Braskem made bio-ethylene consisting of 100% renewable carbon and then polymerized into “green” polyethylene*.  And we can say the same about the list of growing bio-polymer related industry standards (including EN 13432, ASTM D6866, D6868, D7075, D7081, D5511, D5271). We see fibres and packaging products made from corn on the grocers' shelves.  Of course, there is science behind transforming a kernel of corn into lactic acid and into poly-lactide molecules (PLA).  Technically, however, to make PLA plastics as a viable and a cost-effective alternative to conventional plastics is another story.  This is our rationale for publishing Dr. Zuzanna Cygan’s work on PLA, a work that shows how scientists are tackling challenging processing issues to improve PLA properties.

* More on innovation and industrial trends of bio-plastics are available in the issue of Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part C: Polymer Reviews, volume 49, 2009.

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