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industryPATENTSBY ROGER CORNELIUSSENSounds ExoticU.S. Patent 7,858,055 (December28, 2010), "Moisture SensitiveAuxetic Material," WanDuk Lee,SangSoo Lee, CholWoh Koh, and JinHeo (Kimberly-Clark Worldwide,Inc., Neenah, Wisconsin, USA).Auxetic materials have a negativePoisson's ratio, meaning that undertensile stress, the area perpendicularto the tensile axis increases ratherthan decreases. Applications havebeen limited because of productiondifficulties. Lee et al of Kimberly-Clark have developed a material thatis auxetic when exposed to moistureand external forces. This materialconsists of a stiff, moisture-activatedshrinking filament wrapped in a helixaround a rubber core. When exposedto moisture, the helical fiber shrinksby 20% or more. This shrinkagepulls the rubber, forming pores andresulting in an overall auxetic behav-ior. The fiber can be a modified cel-lulose or a polyvinyl alcohol fiberand the rubber can be natural rubber,silicone, or polyurethane.Some NerveU.S. Patent 7,858,142 (December28, 2010), "Laminin-ModifiedConduit for Nerve Regeneration andMethods of Manufacturing theConduit and Regenerating NervesUsing the Conduit," Henrich Cheng,Yi-Cheng Huang, Pei-The Chang,and Yi-You Huang (Taipei, Taiwan).Nerve regeneration is complex, andmature neurons do not replicate orundergo cell division. Cheng et alhave developed a laminin-modifiedhollow tube for nerve regeneration.Laminin is an extracellular matrixprotein for Schwann cell adhesion,critical for nerve regeneration. Ametal wire is inserted into a chitosansolution and cooled in a liquid nitro-gen trap. After freezing; the encapsu-lated wire is removed, heated by anelectric current, and then pulled out,leaving a hollow tube. The solvent isthen removed by freeze-drying andthe tube is treated with a plasma gas.The tube with the activated surface isthen soaked with a laminin solutionand seeded with Schwann cells. Thistreated tube is filled with abiodegradable polymer and attachedto the severed neuron ends. The tubeis long enough so that the exposedneuron ends stay in the tube withoutsuturing.Another Use for Horseradish!U.S. Patent 7,858,386 (December28, 2010), "Method of ControllingQuantum Dot Photoluminescenceand Other Intrinsic PropertiesThrough Biological Specificity," IgorL. Medintz, Hedi M. Mattoussi,Moungi G. Bawendi, J. MatthewMauro, George P. Anderson, andThomas Pons (U.S. Navy,Washington, D.C., USA).Biological applications of lumines-cent colloidal semiconductornanoparticles or quantum dotsrequire better controls. Medintz et alhave developed a method to controlquantum dot photoluminescence bya protein, such as a polyhistidinemetal complex or horseradish peroxi-dase. This control can include theluminescence magnitude as well ason-and-off switching resulting fromcharge transfer to the quantum dotnanocrystal (ionization) throughredox interactions. In one example, ahorseradish peroxidase is able to con-trol the light impinging on the quan-tum dot through its conversion ofluminor in the presence of a perox-ide, which releases light. Proteasesterminated with a polyhistidine canalso control quantum dot lumines-cence. Although the exact ionizationand neutralization process is not yetunderstood, its effect is dramatic. Acharged dot does not emit light.Breakdown RequiredU.S. Patent 7,862,691 (January 4,2011), "Decomposition Method ofWaste Plastics and Organics," TatsuoKitamura, Yoshihide Kitamura, andItsushi Kashimoto (Kusatsu ElectricCo., Ltd., Shiga, Japan).The need exists for cost-effectiveand efficient local disposal of infec-tious medical waste. This waste mayinclude plastics, which can also gen-erate corrosive and reactive gases dur-ing pyrolysis. Safe and convenientdisposal methods for hospitals andclinics must not require large-scaleequipment and processes. Kitamuraet al of Kusatsu Electric havedevel-oped such a disposal method bypyrolysis with titanium oxide cata-lysts at 420°C to 560°C, followed bylime neutralization. To be effective,the amount of waste must be smallcompared with the amount of titani-um oxide particles. Three to 40 kgper hour of materials can beprocessed per 100 kg of titaniumoxide. Materials generating HCl, HF,and sulfur compounds can be safelyand quickly neutralized by a lime-6| PLASTICS ENGINEERING | OCTOBER 2011 | www.4spe.orgContinued on page 8 ??

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