Next Generation Polymer Composites

A future of diminishing petroleum resources will contrast starkly with our generous oil-based diet today. A nonrenewable resource with limited reserves accessible with today’s technology and facing accelerated global demand, oil will continue to become more expensive in the long-term—it’s simply a question of how much and when. Oil shortages will not only affect the cost of fuel, but also that of plastic, the ubiquitous modern material derived almost exclusively from petroleum-based feedstock. Plastic has become such a significant substance in our lives that it is hard to imagine its disappearance.

This project anticipates three general responses to a reduction in virgin petroleum-based plastic: 1) enhanced recycling streams for existing plastics; 2) the increased development of bioplastics, which are derived from renewable resources; and 3) design-focused material optimization.

“Recaptured/Smart Proxy.” Panasonic Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, 2010. Development of new recycled plastic and biocomposite material samples for environmentally-responsible electronic device casings; collaborated with Design Neuob and Trinity, Tokyo.