Researcher working on Plastic as strong & Durable as Steel
JNN 12 June 2012 JERUSALEM : A scientist at Tel Aviv University (TAU) is developing breeds of plastic that would help the environment, paradoxically, by being useable as a replacement for steel and similar metals.
Prof. Moshe Kol of TAU’s School of Chemistry believes that industrial plastics used in cars and manufacturing, produced with tensile strength and durability equivalent to steel would lessen both the tremendous amounts of plastic disposed of daily worldwide, and be simpler and more economical to produce.
The school said that by 2020 some 200 million tons of plastics will be consumed annually.
Kol thinks that were polypropylene, rather than steel used in automotive parts, cars would be lighter overall and use less fuel, the school said in a statement, as well as using more affordable and simpler to produce raw materials.
Prof. Kol’s team say they’ve come up with the strongest-ever version of an industrial plastic using a new polymer catalyst, which creates a stronger polymer chain, making for a plastic with a higher melting point and greater strength and durability.
“Everyone is using the same building blocks, so the key is to use different machinery,” he explained, noting that their catalyst produced a plastic with the highest melting point to date.
Kol also suggests that such a studier plastic used in water pipes would require less maintenance and save water, since more traditional copper piping rusts and springs leaks over time, and concrete is heavy and difficult to change.
“Plastic pipes require far fewer raw materials, weighing ten times less than steel and a hundred times less than cement. Reduced leaking means more efficient water use and better water quality,” Kol said.