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packed bed. If needed, the productcan be further oxidized after neutral-ization. Titanium oxide granuleswith specific surface areas from 35 to50 m2/g can decompose the wasteplastic at a high efficiency.Another Green PolymerU.S. Patent 7,863,356 (January 4,2011), "Resin Composition andMolded Article," Yuuichirou Tanaka(Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, Tokyo,Japan).As materials companies seek to pro-duce "green" resins derived fromplants instead of petroleum, candi-date materials such as polylactic acidare being developed, but often theseproducts lack one or more importantproperties. Polyethylene furandicar-boxylate is a plant-derived resin withexcellent heat resistance comparedwith polylactic acid. For optimumresults, it needs to crystallize, butsuitable nucleating agents have notbeen available. Tanaka has developeda polyethylene furandicarboxylatewith a high crystallization rate andexcellent heat resistance using aneffective new thiol nucleating agent,pyrimidine thiol.Even TougherU.S. Patent 7,863,379 (January 4,2011), "Impact Modification ofThermoplastics WithEthylene/Alpha-OlefinInterpolymers," Mridula Kapur,Mehmet Demirors, Shaofu Wu,Yunwa W. Cheung, Pradeep Jain, andDavid W. Fuchs (Dow GlobalTechnologies Inc., Midland,Michigan, USA).There continues to be a need foradvanced, cost-effective impact modi-fiers for polyolefins, such aspolypropylene and HDPE, thatimprove impact performance at roomtemperature or below. Kapur et al ofDow have developed toughened poly-olefins using an ethylene multiblockcopolymer impact modifier. Ethyleneand alpha-olefins such as 1-octene arecopolymerized to form multiblockcopolymers. Unlike the comparablerandom copolymers, these copoly-mers have melting points independ-ent of density. The ethylene contentof these multiblock copolymers is atleast 50 mole%. These copolymersare produced by a mixture of catalystsand chain-shuttling agents. The com-positions are easily molded and areuseful for automotive fascia andhousehold articles.Wear Goggles!U.S. Patent 7,863,402 (January 4,2011), "Organic Superacids,Polymers Derived From OrganicSuperacids, and Methods of Makingand Using the Same," TenneilleWeston Capehart, Gail Capehart,Gerhard Maier, Claude Spino,Thomas J. Chapaton, Markus Gross,and Armand Soldera (GM GlobalTechnology Operations, Inc., Detroit,Michigan, USA).Proton conductivity is necessary infuel-cell membranes. These protonexchange membranes usually containan organic superacid. (A "superacid"has an acidity greater than that of100% sulfuric acid.) Capehart et al ofGeneral Motors have developed aproton exchange fuel-cell membranefrom a polymerizable organicsuperacid such as sulfonic acid, car-boxylic acid, or phosphonic acid.These organic super diacids are poly-merized to form hydrophilic polymerblocks linked with hydrophobic seg-ments. One superacid used is phe-noxathiin-4,6-disulfonic acid 10,10-dioxide."Sinteresting"U.S. Patent 7,863,410 (January 4,2011), "Sintering UltrahighMolecular Weight Polyethylene," PaulSmith, Jeroen Visjager, and TheoTervoort (Smith & NephewOrthopaedics AG, Rotkreuz,Switzerland).Well known for its chemical resist-ance, low coefficient of friction, hightoughness, and wear resistance, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene(UHMWPE) has found numerousapplications in demanding environ-ments such as those found in thechemical and mining industries, andin mechanical engineering, medicalimplants, and textiles. However, asthis resin does not form a flowablemelt, it is difficult to process underany conditions. Even at prolongedheating at 200°C, the initial powdermorphology is often retained, leadingto abrasive wear and failure. Smith etal have produced a sinterableUHMWPE resin by copolymerizing1 to 4 wt% of a comonomer such aspropylene or octene with ethylene. Inaddition, the resin is partially disen-tangled by swelling with supercriticalhexane or octane until it contains 60to 90 wt% swelling agent, and then itis quickly dried. The powder is thenmolded and compacted below thecrystalline melting temperature. Aftercompaction, the material is heated8| PLASTICS ENGINEERING | OCTOBER 2011 | www.4spe.orgindustryPATENTSCONTINUED

above the melting temperature to complete the sinter-ing process and then, finally, cooled.BulletproofU.S. Patent 7,866,249 (January 11, 2011), "Methodof Manufacture of Pultruded Non-Metallic Damage-Tolerant Hard Ballistic Laminate," Benjamin V.Booher (Techdyne, LLC, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA).Vehicle ballistic protection is usually heavy and dif-ficult to produce. It is desirable to have lightweightand effective armor that is readily installed and, ifdamaged, replaced at a reasonable cost. Booher ofTechdyne has developed a lightweight and highlyeffective armor consisting of pultruded fiber compos-ites. The encased armor is formed in various shapes toconform to the protected structure. Suitable ther-mosetting matrix polymers include crosslinked poly-ethylene or polypropylene, phenolics, epoxides, poly-esters, and silicones. Reinforcing fiber yarns andstrands may be made of glass, ceramic, graphite, orsilica. This protection is generally three times moreeffective, on a weight basis, than steel plate.Shocked Back to HealthU.S. Patent 7,867,178 (January 11, 2011), "Apparatusfor Generating Shock Waves With Piezoelectric FibersIntegrated in a Composite," Erwin Simnacher(Sanuwave, Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia, USA),Shock waves can be useful in human and veterinarymedicine. One medical use is lithotripsy (using shockwaves to destroy kidney stones). They can also inducebone growth and treat painful orthopedic conditions.Specific geometric forms of shock-wave generators arerequired for precision application. Simnacher ofSanuwave has developed a formable generator usingpiezoelectric fibers in a polymeric matrix. Thepiezofibers are arranged and integrated in a compositeand connected to a control unit. The piezofibers arearranged in the composite so their lengthwise direc-tion is the shock wave's propagation direction. Thesefibers are in contact with a common conductive mate-rial for controlled excitation.Roger D. Corneliussen is Professor Emeritus of MaterialsEngineering, Drexel University, in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, USA. He is editor of Maro Polymer Alertsand the Maro Polymer website ( He has been active in SPE since 1962 and hasserved on the Board of the Philadelphia Section and asSPE Councilor. For Maro Patent Alerts, he reviews allU.S. Patents weekly, makes links to the polymer-relatedpatents, and sends the links daily to subscribers. Thesepatent abstracts are based on the weekly selection process.To sample Maro Patent Alerts, email a request to | OCTOBER 2011 | PLASTICS ENGINEERING | 9