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Industry patents.

The patent is a legal document giving the holder a license to capitalize on his or her invention without competition for a few years. In exchange, the holder teaches us the basis of the invention. The patent is forward looking, representing a technical horizon.

High-Expansion Foam

U.S. Patent 7,119,149 (October 10, 2006), "High-Expansion Two-Component Structural Foam," Gregory A. Ferguson, Rajat K. Agarwal, and Vettithara C. Koshy (Henkel Kommanditgesellschaft AUF, Dusseldorf, Germany).

A two-component epoxy structural foam has been developed that expands to twice its original volume while maintaining good cell structure. Each component shows good storage stability and reacts to provide a cured material with exceptional compressive strength and modulus. The blowing agent produces a uniform foam free of the large voids common in two-part thermoset foams, even when forming very large masses. This requires a proper balance of viscosities during the curing process. The curing agent contains a mixture of polyamines, amidoamines, alcohols, and polyamine epoxides. The blowing agent consists of two thermally activated blowing agents, one activated by high temperatures and the other by low. The balanced mixtures are necessary for uniform cell structure free of large voids with improved compression strength and modulus.

Waterproofing Material

U.S. Patent 7,119,137 (October 10, 2006), "Moisture-Impervious Water-Swellable Clay-Containing 'Water-Stop' Composition," Jerald W. Darlington, Jr., and Natalie A. Dotlich (AMCOL International Corp., Arlington Heights, Illinois).

The waterproofing material described in this patent consists of a rubber filled with a water-swellable day. The material can be in the form of rod or rope depending on the application. The flexible cohesive mass consists of 10 to 90 wt% water-swellable layered filler; 1 to 30 wt% rubber; 8 to 65 wt% mixture of a polypropene/polybutene mixture and 0.1 to 20 wt% clay binder. The binder is a combination of an onium ion-liberating compound that is ionexchanged with platelet cations of the layered material and a coupling agent. The intercalation of the onium ions and subsequent intercalation of the polypropene/polybutene mixture and the elastomer such as butyl rubber result in a completely homogeneous dispersion of intercalated layered material and exfoliated platelets in the polypropene/polybutene mixture. The nanocomposite material can be sheared to exfoliate up to 100% of the platelet clusters into individual platelets. Preferably, more than 80 wt% of the layered material should be completely exfoliated into single platelet layers. Suitable coupling agents include mixtures of octyltriethoxysilane, methyltriethoxysilane, and methyltrimethoxysilane.

Walking on Water

U.S. Patent 7,121,910 (October 17, 2006), "Upright Human Floatation Apparatus and Propulsion Mechanism Therefor," Yoav Rosen (Wavewalk, Inc., West Newton, Massachusetts).

The "walking on water" device described here is based on a pair of buoyant wing-shaped floats with foot wells under the center of buoyancy of each float. Each buoyant float includes a flap with a leading edge and trailing edge. Each flap is articulated to move between a high-resistance orientation and a low-resistance orientation. Thus, when the person's weight is on the float, the flap is in the high-resistance position for the necessary friction. When the weight is lifted, the flap goes into the low-resistance position and the leg can easily move the float. Materials for the floats are standard marine materials including plastics and resin-impregnated fiberglass. The float has a smooth shell and may be hollow or filled with a low-density material such as polyurethane foam. Each float is sized to support the total weight of the intended user with a margin of safety.

Transparent Conductive Composites

U.S. Patent 7,122,132 (October 17, 2006), "Branched Vapor-Grown Carbon Fiber, Electrically Conductive Transparent Composition and Use Thereof," Toshio Morita, Hitoshi Inoue, and Ryuji Yamamoto (Showa Denko K.K., Tokyo, Japan).

Conductive plastics are typically filled with a conductive filler or fiber. These composites are generally opaque or, at best, translucent with an obvious cloudiness. Transparent conductive composites are based on very thin carbon fibers formed by chemical vapor deposition. These fibers are very small, with high electrical conductivity. The small size means that composites do not lose the resin transparency. An example is a branched vapor-grown hollow carbon fiber with an outer diameter of 0.5 micron or less and an aspect ratio of at least 10. These fibers are grown by spraying droplets of a solution with raw material and a metallic catalyst onto the reaction furnace wall. Doping with boron promotes very fine fibers with conductivities higher than those of conventional carbon fibers. The dispersivity of the fibers can be enhanced by fluorination. Loadings of 5 to 20 wt% are useful for transparent conductive coatings.

Osmium Tetroxide Storage

U.S. Patent 7,122,499 (October 17, 2006), "Osmium Oxide Carried by Hydrophilic Polymer," Shu Kobayashi (Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd., Osaka, Japan).

Aqueous solutions of "osmium tetroxide," or "osmic acid," are superior oxidizing agents for organic synthetic reactions. This material is also very toxic and dangerous to handle, with an offensive odor, even at extremely low concentrations. It has been found that osmium oxide carried by an aromatic polyolefin maintains its effect as an oxidizing agent even in a mixed solvent system. The osmium agent is encapsulated by dissolving a carrier in an organic solvent, then adding an osmium oxide, followed by stirring and reacting for a homogeneous solution. The solution is cooled and precipitated by adding a poor solvent to the solution, and then, filtrating and drying. The amount of carrier is adjusted so that the moles of aromatic rings are 5 to 100 times that of the osmium oxide. The osmium oxide is carried in the carrier or on its surface by an electronic interaction between a vacant orbit of an osmium atom of the osmium oxide and a pi-bond in an aromatic ring of the carrier. The osmium oxide carried by the carrier is not only useful as a catalyst for various reactions, but also stable for a long period--12 months or more--and, further, can maintain an activity even after repeated use because of superior durability and solvent resistance.

Polycarbonates for Optical Disks

U.S. Patent 7,122,614 (October 17, 2006), "Aromatic Polycarbonate Resins for Optical Disk Substrates," Munehiro Chosa (Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan).

During the injection molding of optical disks, flashing from the mold becomes floating dust and causes defects. Adding a mold-release agent into the polycarbonate resin reduces the flash and thus the possibility of such defects. Fatty acid monoglyceride in amounts of 0.015 to 0.05 phr and 0.05 to 0.3 wt% water are added to polycarbonate resins selected for high yields of optical disks. Stearic acid monoglyceride or behenic acid monoglyceride is the preferred mold-release agent. Without water, the stearic acid monoglyceride formed degraded products such as stearoyloxyethylene carbonate, stearic acid diglyceride, and stearic acid triglyceride. The aromatic polycarbonates have 30 mol% p-cumylphenoxy group and p-tertoctylphenoxy terminal groups with a viscosity average molecular weight of 10,000 to 20,000. The mixture is melt-extruded, pelletized, and injection-molded.

Detoxifying Agents

U.S. Patent 7,125,497 (October 24, 2006), "Reactive Formulations for a Neutralization of Toxic Industrial Chemicals," Mark D. Tucker and Rita G. Betty (Sandia Corp., Albuquerque, New Mexico).

Toxic chemicals must be neutralized in a safe and convenient fashion. Formulations have been developed for neutralizing malathion, hydrogen cyanide, sodium cyanide, butyl isocyanate, carbon disulfide, phosgene gas, capsaicin in commercial pepper spray, chlorine gas, anhydrous ammonia gas; hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, methyl bromide, boron trichloride, fluorine, tetraethyl pyrophosphate, phosphorous trichloride, arsine, and tungsten hexafluoride. These toxins can be neutralized by chemical oxidation, nucleophilic attack, chemical reduction, and buffering. Three formulations, developed for all these reactions, can be applied to a surface or body, dispersed into the air, or added to foams. Foams are used to deploy the reactive formulations over large areas. Cationic water-soluble polymers increase solution bulk viscosity, increasing foam stability. Examples include polyvinyl alcohol, guar gum, polydiallyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, polyacrylamide, glycerol, poly(ethylene oxide), and poly-ethoxylated glycerine.

Molding Shrinkage

U.S. Patent 7,125,513 (October 24, 2006), "Method and Device for Controlling the Shrink Behavior of Plastic Materials During Primary Shaping," Olaf Abels and Martin Rechtien (ZF Lemforder Metallwaren AG, Germany).

Ball-and-socket joints for automobiles consist of a bearing shell with a movable ball. The shells are formed by injecting plastics into a mold, the inner part of which is the ball. Uncontrollable shrinkage around the inner ball causes friction and makes lubrication difficult. This shrinkage can be controlled by partially fixing the resin to the outer mold during solidification. The outer mold may have a primer with high adhesiveness for the plastic as well as areas free from primer. Another approach uses profiles such as T-grooves. The liquefied plastic can then be injected into the cavity and attached to the outer mold. This controlled shrinkage releases the shell from the inner surface, reducing friction and permitting the addition of a lubricant.

Self-Healing Golf Ball

U.S. Patent 7,125,915 (October 24, 2006), "Lipid-Based Nanotubules for Controlled Release of Healing Agents in Golf Ball Layers," Kevin M. Harris and William B. Lacy (Acushnet Co., Fairhaven, Massachusetts).

The durability of golf balls can be improved by blending lipid-based nanotubules containing active agents into the ball materials. These nanotubules can be loaded with active agents such as UV absorbers, light stabilizers, bleaching agents, dyes, fluorophores, and healing agents. The agents are slowly released during the life of the golf ball. Nanotubules are formed by self-organization of polymerizable lipid-based molecules, such as diacetylinic phosphatidylcholine, when cooled from the melt. The inside diameter of the tubule must be 20 to 500 times the average diameter of the active agent. Crack-healing agents based on functionalized polycyclic organic compounds such as dicyclopentadiene can be similarly encapsulated. Polymerization, however, requires a catalyst to initiate polymerization and the healing. The catalyst, such as Grubb's catalyst, must be dispersed but separated from the encapsulated active monomer until polymerization is required. For crack healing, there should be between 100 and 200 nanotubules per cubic inch. Cracking ruptures some of the nanotubules, releasing monomer, which diffuses throughout the material and contacts the dispersed catalyst. The result is polymerization and crack healing, and an increased lifetime for the golf ball.

Roger D. Corneliussen is Professor Emeritus of Materials Engineering, Drexel University, in Philadelphia. He is editor of Maro Polymer Alerts and the Maro Polymer website ( He has been active in SPE since 1962 and has served on the board of the Philadelphia Section and as National 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 on the weekly selection process. To sample Maro Patent Alerts, email a request to cornelrd@bee, net.
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Author:Corneliussen, Roger
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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