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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 (www.maropolymeron-line.com). 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 cornelrd@bee.net.www.4spe.org | OCTOBER 2011 | PLASTICS ENGINEERING | 9

New analysis techniques are beingdeveloped to take a look at structureon the nanoscale and to performtesting on new stronger materials.Also, analysis instruments oncefound only in the laboratory aremoving to the manufacturing plant. Polyolefin AnalysisPolymer Char specializes in instru-mentation for analysis of poly-olefins, which include polypropy-lenes and polyethylenes. Polyolefinsare among today's most used poly-mers. Despite their simple chem-istry, with only carbon and hydro-gen atoms, they still possess a com-plex microstructure. Polyolefinshave a strong chemical resistance.Thus they require high temperaturesto dissolve, which puts special chal-lenges on analytical separation tech-niques, explains BenjaminMonrabal, the R&D director atPolymer Char in Valencia, Spain."Even though polyolefins are sosimple and have been used foryears, there is still tremendous roomfor development," Monrabal says.For example, manufacturers arelooking to downgauge polyolefinparts to save money while maintain-ing performance of the final prod-10| PLASTICS ENGINEERING | OCTOBER 2011 | www.4spe.orgBy Nancy LamontagneKnowing all the characteristics of a plastic you're working with and how it willreact under various conditions is important for developing new materials or newproducts. Thorough testing and analysis can help determine how additives,weathering, or downgauging will affect the material or the final plastic part. If a failureoccurs, a scientific approach to analyzing the failure can provide a way to prevent theproblem in the future.