A week ago, we told you about attempts to improve the recycleability of plastics, and here's another bit of progress to report. It's common to reinforce plastic components with glass fibers (or in other cases, mineral powder such as talc), but this process makes it difficult to reclaim the material at a later date. A UK group has produced a polypropylene (PP) material that is reinforced with fibers of, well, more polypropylene. The material, referred to as a "self-reinforced polymer" provides an improvement in strength and dimensional control (PP is commonly refered to as "polywarpylene"), and presents no additional recycling hassle. Probably the best part of the story is that the group got to try out the material out by molding a couple of components for a Lotus Elise. Gee, guys, how'd you get that one by the accountants? I've gotten shot down pretty hard everytime I've tried to get an interesting car for R&D projects.
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