A new "smart blending" process developed by Clemson University researchers could change the way plastics are made and improve their performance. Early results published in Augusts Polymer Engineering and Science have already drawn interest from European and United States plastics manufacturers.
Dave Zumbrunnen, who heads the Clemson research team, said smart blending could bring plastics production into the 21st century. "Most people would be surprised to learn that many plastics are not optimized for their intended use due to limitations of existing manufacturing equipment," he said. With a smart-blending machine, however, engineers can optimize the material for maximum effectiveness with only a few strokes on a computer keyboard.
Many plastics are mixtures of two or more plastics and additives. Smart blending arranges these plastics into functional internal shapes as small as 1/10,0000th the diameter of a hair.
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