History of Plastics
Identify two companies and one product produced by each company that directly relate
to the NCT technical application your team has selected.
Porex, founded 45 years
ago, is an international corporation that has its global office in in Fairburn, Georgia; as well as manufacturing plants and offices
in Scotland, Malaysia, and Germany. Its porous products are have been used in healthcare,
industrial, and consumer applications. Porex is famous for the design characteristics
of its porous plastics: "an
intricate network of open-celled, omni-directional pores that offer exceptional
performance on and below the surface.
The professionals at Porex have expertise in "polymer science, process control and chemical, mechanical, industrial,
biological and research engineering." Their motto is to inspire, imagine,
Two of its divisions work in areas that directly relate to our product are porous
products and filtration. They have developed
tubular membrane modules with three distinctive pore sizes that have been
used in removing various impurities from water treatment systems. Similar, yet differently
purposed, is their sand bed filter support. The filter allows for years of service,
yet can be "backwashed" for cleaning and then returned to work.
United Marine International
UMI, is a company with the solution to marine pollution at the top of their priority
list. UMI, started in the late 1970's, is currently the
world's top producer
of trash skimmers for clean-up purposes. The first
application of their products was for
weed and branch clean-up
but after numerous customer suggestions and accumulating
resources they introduced a new line of skimmers in the 1980's with the sole purpose
of cleaning up trash
. Currently 70+ trash skimmers are being used
. The products produced by UMI have been showcased on
and have saved harbors
in cities such as Chicago,
, and even as far out as Hong Kong. Their largest TrashCat, the
12000 Series, is 16 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep and can store up to 12,000 pounds
or 700 cubic feet of debris.
Image courtesy of
Due to our project's emphasis on plastic pollution, we have included a third company
which consults on increasing the efficiency of processing and recycling plastics.
a consulting company with
offices in London and Australia
, specializes in the field of "design, optimization, processing and recycling of polymeric materials
a world where all plastics are biodegradable and are used responsibly to prevent
pollution in the world. This group is not just dreaming about this idea, but trying
their best to make it reality through the research of better ways to shrink the
impact made by plastic usage and creating environmentally-friendly innovations that
aid in efficient plastic manufacturing. Nextek strives to make other companies aware
of what is required in order for an ideal future where Earth's resources are still
abundant. Nextek's services
focus on: high performance recycling, sustainable packaging, and a Polymer expertise
used to improve global plastic designs daily. Progress has earned them multiple awards
ranging from: EDIE
Award for Environmental Excellence, The Plastics Industry Awards 2007 finalist spot,
and a Gold-'Best Use of Innovative Materials' at the Starpack Packaging Awards of
2007. Their current projects
include working on products
such as the development of a PET recycling plant for Closed Loop London and the
creation of a new FDA Food Grade PET Recycling Process. Nextek Limited's strong
zeal for pollution prevention is coupled with its desire to efficiently use raw
materials and increasingly scare resources
to create a better life for the people of this planet
Identify one professional association or trade organization associated with the
products your team identified.
description of its mission, and
number of people/companies involved.
Image courtesy of The Society of Naval Architects & Maine Engineers
The Society of Naval
Architects and Marine Engineers, SNAME, is a professional organization dealing
with hydrodynamics and other scientific areas dealing with the design and manufacturing
of ships and coastal installations.
SNAME was organized in
1893, to advance the art, science, and practice of naval architecture, shipbuilding
and marine engineering. For over a century members have included commercial and
governmental practitioners, students, and educators of naval architecture, shipbuilding,
and marine and ocean engineering.
Currently there are over 8500 members that contribute to SNAME and it's goal of
sharing and advancing the knowledge and know-how of marine engineering and naval
Their most recent convention
was held on October 21st-23rd, 2009, in Providence, Rhode Island. Altair Engineering
lead an session on Simulation Technologies to innovate, model, analyze, and optimize
marine and offshore structures. There was also panel seesions that discussed ocean alternative
unmanned and autonomous ships of the future. All of which relate to
aspects of how to transport, power, and maintain our artificial harbors.
Since our primary focus is on plastics and plastic pollution, we thought it appropriate
to also cite the following second organization.
Image courtesy of
The Society of the Plastics
The Society of the Plastics
Industry, SPI, is a non-profit management organization headquartered in
Washington D.C; representing the entire plastics industry from processers to raw
material suppliers. In total it consists of over
800 members, all of whom are directly connected to the plastics industry.
It has three
main objectives: (1) to serve as the spokesperson for the plastics industry,
(2) to promote and enhance the public image and accomplishments of the plastics
industry, and (3) to expedite growth and technology advancements for the plastics
SPI has put forth public policy statements regarding its
product stewardship, and
degradeable plastics. All of which match our project's goals.
These objectives are accomplished by
One of the society's most successful programs is the
resin identification code. The program places a symbol on all plastics around
the country, identifying resin content in plastics and facilitating the recycling
of plastic refuse. SPI also sponsors the
International Plastics Showcase, a large convention which showcases the
plastics industry and its advancements.
NPE2009 was held in Orlando, Florida, from June 22-26th.
- representing the industry before state and federal bodies
- establishing new programs which advance and serve the needs of the growing industry;
for example, the Bioplastics
- acting as an informational resource for its members
Propose and describe a new product or new process based on your team's NCT technical
is a stationary, yet portable, array of artificial
harbors whose purpose is to passively collect floating plastic and other debris
carried by the ocean's currents.
Image courtesy of Frank S.
Via the Internet, locate a company that might be able to manufacture your team's
proposed product. Send the company an e-mail asking that someone in the company
evaluate the product your team proposed. If your team is not able to obtain a response
to your inquiry, provide on your website an example of the e-mail request you sent
and the names of manufacturers to whom you sent the request.
During the months of January and February, we sent emails to six plastic companies
asking for their assistance. One company responded by saying that they did not have
the man power to dedicate time to our project. The other five companies did not
respond at all. Our email was sent to all of their listed online contact addresses. In
each request we highlighted one of their products with a link to their website as
well as a link to our product page and the following four questions:
- Could large sheets of porous plastic membranes be manufactured (not necessarily
now with your plant equipment, but conceivable)?
- Could a membrane be designed to have neutral buoyancy in ocean water (1023 g/cm^3)?
- Could a rigid, porous structure shaped like a wing be designed (regardless of size)?
- Could the wing have a gradient in pore size? No porosity at the leading edge; increase
porosity as the wing moves towards the opposite tip?
We emphasized in our request that we only needed an estimate based on their professional
expertise; not an actual protoype. In all fairness to these companies, we do not
wish to list them here. Instead we would like to think that there was an email filter
or an employee on vacation who did not process our message. The team was
extremely disappointed that we did not receive a positive response.
At the end of project, we received this phenomenal letter from our adviser Norton
Smith. Mr. Smith was a consulting engineer on Project Kaisei and designs collection
devices. In his email he stated that his role on Kaisei was, unfortunately, more often one of "trouble shooting the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that were habitually breaking down." Needless-to-say, the team cheered when they read his assessment of our product.