Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

£2.5million in EPSRC grants enables Queen’s University Belfast to help reduce plastics waste problem

15.02.2007
Helping solve the ongoing environmental problem of plastics waste by reducing raw material usage and improving polymer performance will be one of the major benefits of two new research investigations being carried out on polymer nanocomposites at Queen’s University Belfast following the awarding of two grants totalling £2.5million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Tiny molecules strung in long repeating chains, polymers in the natural world have been around since the beginning of time and today industrial polymers have a range of applications that far exceed that of any other class of material available including use as packaging materials, adhesives, coatings and electronic, biomedical and optical devices.

The new grants will enable the Polymer Cluster in The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s and their partners, (The University of Oxford, The University of Bradford, Danone, Smith and Nephew, Innovia Films, JGP Perrite and Boran-Mopack), to further their work on an exciting new family of materials entitled nanocomposites, in which particles with nanoscale dimensions (a nanometer = 1 millionth of a millimetre), are dispersed in the polymer. Offering a dramatic improvement in material performance, with significant increases in mechanical and gas barrier properties, the use of nanocomposites can result in the client getting a more effective product. Improved performance also allows products to be manufactured with less material leading to reductions in raw material, processing energy and product transportation costs.

In addition to focussing on the processing route by which the nanoparticle-polymer mixture is formed into a final product and applying this knowledge to the development of proof of concept applications for industry and academia alike, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones and her colleagues will also be using complex computer aided numerical modelling to predict the behaviour of materials under conditions that might otherwise be to difficult or costly to replicate, enabling manufacturers to exploit such materials to the full.

Explaining further about the eventual industrial applications for the outcomes of the research, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones said: “Due to their properties and ease of processing into complex shapes, polymers are amongst the most important materials available to us today. The Polmers Industry currently contributes over £18 billion per annum to the UK economy and the arrival of nanocomposites in recent years has opened up a whole new window for product development.

“These substantial grants from the EPSRC will enable us to achieve a fundamental understanding of the influence of processing on the properties of the final product, and thus how to design and process nanocomposites more effectively. This in turn will offer us the possibility to significantly reduce the amount of polymer needed for a particular application and therefore help reduce the environmental burden due to plastics waste.”

Further information on work ongoing in the Polymers Cluster in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s can be found at www.me.qub.ac.uk

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.me.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>