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Carboglass are boosting composite capabilities in the Hutt


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Carboglass are boosting composite capabilities in the Hutt

Plastic composite moulder Carboglass has been busy hiring experienced workers. Company owner Viv Haar told me yesterday his firm is flat out building custom mouldings for a range of applications, including automotive and structural projects. Carboglass keeps itself at the forefront of composite technology, which is transforming a wide range of industries. Carboglass recently supplied mouldings for the Cable-Price building at the intersection of Gracefield and Bell Roads.

This week I've also seen encouraging signs that progress in composite and plastic materials will continue unabated.

Researchers at MIT report progress on carbon-nanotube-coated carbon fibre, a development that should lead to better laminates. The invention of ordinary carbon fibre has already made it possible to build things that would have been unimaginable only a few decades ago, such as the magnificent AC72 America's Cup catamarans.

Meanwhile, a group of US anbd Korean researchers report in this month's Nature Chemistry the small-scale production of a sulphur-rich polymer film with tunable thermomechanical properties. The material is electrochemically similiar to sulphur, so the researchers used their polymer film to make a lithium-sulphur (rechargeable) battery. The new material is a carbon-based polymer just like other plastic materials. Still, the research points to intriguing new possibilities.

Also this week, US company Novomer announced they have demonstrated commercial production of a plastic material made partly from carbon dioxide. I've written previously about making crude oil from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and of course, if you can make crude oil, you can make plastic. Novomer's process gets about half its raw material from crude oil. The rest is carbon dioxide. They've reduced the need for expensive crude oil. The carbon dioxide in this experiment came from the exhaust of a power station, because that's cheaper than direct air-capture.

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