What’s Next: Materials
Tomorrow’s materials will be cleaner and greener than today’s: long-lasting biopolymers, LEDs in unexpected places, and products that give new meaning to the adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Andrew Dent, vice president of library and materials research for Material ConneXion, has the details.
“Newly developed biopolymers that tout compostability have had a rocky start due to concerns about contam-ination of the recycling stream and lower performance compared to their petrochemical counterparts. However, numerous large plastics manufac-turers have been adding bio-based raw materials into existing durable plastics such as nylons and elastomers. Because there is negligible change in performance when this renewable resource is substituted for oil, they can be immed-iately incorporated into existing products with no development period.” —A.D.
“We have seen prototypes for trans-parent windowlike sheets that illuminate when powered up, and the use of LEDS on clear plastic films. Although we are still some way off from completely transparent phones and computers, we will start to see informational displays on windows and other clear surfaces that intrude on our vision only when necessary.” —A.D.
“There is currently way too much valuable material heading to landfills.
As basic raw materials become more expensive—and they will—we are going to start mining landfills for their valuable metals and minerals.” —A.D.
What’s Next: The 1-5-10 Issue