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Industry patents.

The patent is a legal document giving the holder a license to capitalize on the invention without competition for a few years. In exchange, the holder teaches the basis of the invention.

Absorbs the Moisture

U.S. Patent 7,700,500 (April 20, 2010), "Durable Hydrophilic Treatment for a Biodegradable Polymeric Substrate," Joy Francine Jordan, Ali Yahiaoui, and Palani Raj Ramaswami Wallajapet (KimberlyClark Worldwide, Inc., Neenah, Wisconsin, USA).

Most plastics are hydrophobic. But the need exists for a biodegradable plastic with a stable hydrophilic surface. It should be wettable by water. Jordan et al. have developed a biodegradable aliphatic polyester made hydrophilic by a corona glow discharge. The material is durable, remaining hydrophilic even after extended storage periods such as three months. Alternatively, the material is made hydrophilic by a polysaccharide or a modified polysaccharide coating. Such materials are used in disposable absorbent products such as teabags, diapers, training pants, surgical gowns, surgical drapes, wipes, sutures, filters, tissue scaffolds, and products used in reconstructive surgery.

No Radiation, Please

U.S. Patent 7,700,681 (April 20, 2010), "Resonance Decoupling Device for Protecting a Human or Animal Body and Method of Protecting Against Electromagnetic Signals," Mari-Claude Bonnabaud (Marseille, France).

Low-level radiation from cell phones and computers may be a health hazard. Bonnabaud has developed a protective material based on decoupling external radiation from internal body radiation by resonance decoupling using suspended inorganic particles.

Decoupling is performed by modulating complexes of colloids over broad spectral zones such as those used by electronic devices. These active colloids are encapsulated in a matrix or capsule. These colloidal particles are nanometer micelles of CaNa, 2[Al.sub.5], [Si.sub.5][O.sub.20], CaNaMgFeAlTi, and SiAl materials. The active material consists of three or more different sets conditioned by radiation. This protective material can be used in clothing, furniture, equipment housings, and even jewelry.

Mixing by Ultrasound

U.S. Patent 7,703,698 (April 27, 2010), "Ultrasonic Liquid Treatment Chamber and Continuous Flow Mixing System," Robert Allen Janssen, Steve Roffers, Thomas David Ehlert, John Glen Ahles, Paul Warren Rasmussen, Patrick Sean McNichols, and Earl C. McCraw, Jr. (KimberlyClark Worldwide, Inc., Neenah, Wisconsin, USA).

Liquid agitation is important for mixing and dispersion. One particularly useful type of dynamic agitation is ultrasonic cavitation. This involves the formation, growth, and implosive collapse of bubbles caused by ultrasonic vibrations. Janssen et al. of KimberlyClark have developed an elongated chamber for continuous ultrasonic treating of a flowing liquid suspension. An elongated ultrasonic waveguide vibrates the flowing liquid based on agitating members in contact with an ultrasonic horn. Applications include breaking and dispersing agglomerates as well as inducing chemical reactions. The drive system is capable of operating the waveguide assembly from 20 to 40 kHz.

Deflashing by Ultrasound U.S. Patent 7,704,023 (April 27, 2010), "Automatic Deflashing RRIM," Patrick Chi-Tak Cheung and Paul Arthur Trudeau (Magna International Inc., Aurora, Ontario, Canada).

Reinforced reaction injection molding (RRIM) is used to mold large parts such as motor vehicle fascias. The process can produce a large amount of flash, which is difficult to remove. Cheung and Trudeau have developed an ultrasonic method for automated &flashing using a cutting tool attached to a robotic arm. A controller monitors the force applied to the fascia and moves the cutting tool along the contoured surface. The cutter is an ultrasonic knife operating at 40 kHz. An important feature is the fixture that holds the fascia; it consists of male and female grips along with suction cups.

Crackdown on Cracking

U.S. Patent 7,704,586 (April 27, 2010), "Plastic Molded Bodies Having Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Image Structures Produced Through Laser Subsurface Engraving," Klaus-Dieter Schubel, Jurgen Kreutz, Wilhelm Wolff, Gunther Ittmann, Thomas Hasskerl, Harald Hager, Ralf Richter, and Wolfgang Stuber (Degussa AG, Dusseldorf, Germany).

During laser subsurface engraving of transparent plastics, microcracks are produced that often result in uncontrolled cracking and weakening of the material. Schubel et al. of Degussa have developed transparent plastics in which two-dimensional or three-dimensional image structures can be produced with significantly improved imaging precision, using laser subsurface engraving, while avoiding uncontrolled cracking. Adding 0.0001 to 0.1 wt% of 1- to 500-nm metal oxides prevents such cracking. Three-dimensional images of extreme fineness and detail can be produced using laser subsurface engraving if both the plastic and metal oxides are transparent. Typical metal oxides include indium-tin oxide and antimony-tin oxide.

Jet Stream

U.S. Patent 7,708,918 (May 4, 2010), "Production Process of Plastic Parts by Reaction Injection Moulding and Related Head Device," Jose Carlos Brito Lopes, Ricardo Jorge Nogueira Dos Santos, Andre Fernando Tato Macedo Teixeira, and Mario Rui Pinto Ferreira Nunes Costa (University of Porto, Porto, Portugal).

The underlying mixing mechanisms of reaction injection molding are not well understood. Poor mixing conditions induce defects such as wet points, resulting from nonpolymerized fractions and other defects. Two distinct flow regimes coexist--a stationary flow with no mixing and a chaotic flow with mixing. Brito Lopes et al. have developed a mixing chamber that uses opposing jets to form a homogeneous mixture with no obstacles. Vortices affect the natural oscillation frequency of the jets. Jet oscillation, which is controlled through the dynamic pressure measurement upstream of the injectors, ensures the operation of the reactor at flow regimes associated with high mixing efficiency.

Tubing It

U.S. Patent 7,708,923 (May 4, 2010), "Process of Molding a Coupling for Interconnecting Tubes," Albert H. Helicke and Dennis M. Smith (Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., Aurora, Ohio, USA).

Removing a core from a complex mold cavity after processing remains a problem in injection molding. Helicke and Smith have developed a tubular coupling mold with removable core pins. The structure is a joint between primary and secondary tubes. The primary tube's core pin abuts the secondary tube's core pin. The assembled tubes and core pins are placed within a mold cavity and a thermoplastic material is injected, forming the coupling. The coupling and the interconnected tubes are removed from the mold cavity. The secondary core pin is removed through the secondary tube, and the primary core pin is removed through the primary tube. The coupling forms a smooth interconnection of the inner cross sections of the first and second tubes.

Spin Zone

U.S. Patent 7,708,930 (May 4, 2010), "Composite Material Reinforced With Nanofiber and Method of Manufacturing for the Same," Hak-Yong Kim (Industrial Cooperation Foundation Chonbuk National University, Jeonju-si, South Korea).

Generally, composites such as artificial leather with reinforcing nanofibers are formed by impregnating a nonwoven fabric with a matrix solution and then solidifying. Kim has developed a method for spinning a nanofiber-reinforced material by simultaneously electrospinning two components to form a solid material from two separate spinning nozzles.

One spins a nanofiber by spinning nanofiber forming dope; the other spins a matrix from a nonfiber forming spinning dope. Fiber arrangements are controlled during the spinning process.

Healing Touch

U.S. Patent 7,709,439 (May 4, 2010), "Biomaterials for Enhanced Healing," Michael N. Helmus, Robert Richard, and Melissa Dixon (Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc., Maple Grove, Minnesota, USA).

Wound healing requires coordinated responses by a variety of cells and regulation of degradative and regenerative steps. This complexity often results in slow, inappropriate healing, or no healing at all. Helmus et al. have developed a healing promoter based on a combination of a biocompatible polymer with bioactive polymers. The two are covalently bonded together by copolymerization or grafting. The biocompatible copolymer may contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic portions and may be a natural or synthetic polymer; the bioactive polymer is a protein and a polysaccharide. Candidate polysaccharide or proteoglycan subunits include aggrecan, agrin, bamacan, heparan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, keratan sulfate, versican, phosphocan, perlecan, hyaluronan, decorin, dermatan sulfate, biglycan, fibromodulin, alginate, polylactate, polyglycolic acid, starch, dextran, agarose, chitan, chitosan, and heparin. Preferably, the polysaccharide and proteoglycan subunits can sequester growth factors and enhance wound healing.

Roger D. Corneliussen is Professor Emeritus of Materials Engineering, Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is editor of Maro Polymer Alerts and the Maro Polymer website (www. He has been active in SPE since 1962 and has served on the Board of the Philadelphia Section and as SPE Councilor. For Maro Patent Alerts, he reviews all U.S. Patents weekly, makes links to the polymer-related patents, and sends the links daily to subscribers. These patent abstracts are based an the weekly selection process. To sample Maro Patent Alerts, email a request to cornelrd@bee, net.

The patents described here are selected on the basis of their novelty; selection does not affirm or imply the accuracy of a patent or its practical applicability.
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Author:Corneliussen, Roger
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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