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March 01, 2005

6,855,771
Process for making block polymers or copolymers from isotactic polypropylene
February 15, 2005
Grant Doney and Keith Salsmand
This is not a particularly new technology, but I find it interesting in that an extruder can be used as a high shear reactor.  In this case polypropylene is mixed with a free radical generator and degraded.  Unsaturated monomers and or unsaturated polymers are added to form the block copolymers.  Control is always an issue but, this approach seems straightforward, expecially if one is using unsaturated polymers.  The release of smelling monomers into the atmosphere is never a good move. (RDC)

February 24, 2005

Nanocomposites - The New Frontier

6,855,749
Polymer nanocomposite implants with enhanced transparency and mechanical properties for administration within humans or animals
February 15, 2005; Tapesh Yadav and Clayton Kostelecky or NanoProducts Corporation of Longmont, CO USA.

Today's patent is from  one of the newer companies around, founded in 1994 based on nanotechnology. Tapesh Yadav did his thesis work on nanoparticles and has founded his business on this technology.  So far they have an array of nanopartiocles for sale and have been involved in more than 250 compositions.  They can produce product on the order of 100.  The train has not only left the station, it is moving at a good clip.
This patent deals with transparent implants with nanofillers with a wide range of compositions.  These materials are useful for drug delivery, biomed devices  or dental implants.  --- even tooth fillings. (RDC)

February 23, 2005

Going to the Dentist

Whenever, I hear a talk on nanocomposites, someone invariably asks, "What good is this stuff ? or Where are the Applications?"  Ususally the answer is that they are coming.  Well here is an application you can sink your teeth into.   
U.S Patent # 6,855,197
Tooth Cavity Restoration with Nanocomposite of Epoxy Resin and Nanoparticles
February 15, 2005
Wei-Fang Su, Shih0Pos Sun and Min Chen (National Taiwan University)
A tooth filling consist of a nanocomposite consisting of an epoxy resin, nano-oxide particles, a photoinitiator and a photosensitizer.  The principle advantage is low shrinkage.
Low shrinkage seems a very desirable quality it many other applications.  Yes --- nanocomposites aren't just coming! they are here. (RDC)
 

February 19, 2005

Wraps for Buildings

During the last couple of years, a developer  has been restoring an old house on therir development.  He has enclosed the whole building in a polymeric bag, presumably to preserve the building.  There have been an artist now and then doing this for some articst effect, but this is the first time I have seen this for a practical purpose.  Now there is a patent which does the same thing.

6,851,224Enveloping element for a building
February 8, 2005
Lehnert; Stefan (Bremen, DE)
Foiltec Verarbeitung von Folien und Textilien GmbH
(DE)

Buildings are covered using a fixed  support apparatus and a film pillow with two outer film layers, enclosing a gastight hollow space containing a gas such as air.  A thermal insulating insulaor is in the fastening section of the film pillow reducing heat losses.
I wonder how one gets in and out of the building.  I would like to see this used in a 50 to 100 story building.  Better yet, I would like to have the contract to provide the film pillow.  Any takers?  (RDC)

Magnets

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Magnetic materials have always intrigued me besides being useful for attaching things to refrigerators doors.  Magnetic fillers gives an opportunity for control in a materials subject to an off and on switch.  Control is a good thing and enables us to give free rein to our creativity.
6,849,195 Composites with large magnetostriction  February 1, 2005 Basheer; Rafil A. (Rochester Hills, MI); Morelli; Donald T. (White Lake, MI) Delphi Technologies, Inc. (Troy, MI)

Magnetostrictive composites may show large magnetostrictions for 2-50 vol. % magnetostrictive particles in a resin matrix. Such a matrix consists of a thermosetting resin, an amine curing agent, fumed silica and a flexibilizing agent. The magnetostrictive particles are aligned in the direction of their magnetic easy axes by a magnetic field before or during curing.  An epoxy-Terfenol composite is formed by mixing an epoxy resin, fumed silica, a cycloaliphatic amine curing agent, and a flexibilizing agent with Terfenol particles and curing the mixture in the presence of a magnetic field. Highly metal-filled epoxy resins are generally rigid but brittle materials and may be subject to failure even under mild conditions. However, the magnetostrictive effects depend in part on the matrix elasticity. Therefore, lower loadings may be possible Terfenol/epoxy composites, show large magnetostrictions at lower volume filling fractions of Terfenol due to the softness of epoxy.There is thus a need to provide a less rigid magnetostrictive composite having large magnetostrictive properties and good mechanical properties, such that the material can be used in aggressive environments, such as automotive applications and the like.

How would you like to use such a material?  (RDC)

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February 09, 2005

A biodegradable container.

During the past few years, we have heard much about biodegradable materials and how they are going to save the world from our selves and our preoccupation with stuff. All journeys start with a single, small step and there seem two few of those in this area. This seems like such a good start that it deserves mention.

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In this application a container with a hole is filled with bait and dragged along in the water. The bait is gradually discharged and the biodegradable container and biodegradable line is cut loose to degrade and disappear without long lasting effects on the fish or environment.There are a variety of well-known, biodegradable materials from which the subject container can be prepared including polyvinyl alcohol resins ("PVA"); polyethylene oxide resins ("PEO"); methyl cellulose; hydroxyl propyl cellulose; polysaccharides (i.e., starches); including any naturally-occurring or synthetic processed biodegradable materials or the like. The material may disappear in times from two hours to two months. Well nothing is perfect and this is better then months or years.

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6,848,210
Biodegradable chum container

February 05, 2005

Patents --- Window to the Future

Patents --- The window to the future

The patent is special. It is a legal document giving the inventor a license to capitalize on his invention without competition in exchange for teaching us the-art.  In spite of the legalese, teaching happens with details not found in other literature.

Patents are forward looking. The holder is staking out a bit of the future for himself. Each document is a rising star on the technical horizon. It is a glimpse into the future. Perhaps it isn’t the same as your neighborhood fortune teller, but it is close.

For years I have been scouring the latest patents for those on plastics and, on the side, looking into the future. I see a dynamic, vital panorama as exciting as any thriller. I especially look for inventions that could dramatically change our technology. Often an early patent, as with so many first tries, may not go anywhere. But by the following year or the year after, someone will take the idea and run with it.

I plan to comment on a patent that strikes my fancy during my routine Patent Reviews.  I hope readers will respond and perhaps show how the ideas are already in action. I just finished a set of 100 patent links collectied from those published 1/25/2005. The one that intrigued me the most was:
 6,846,449
Method of producing an electrically charged film

[This is a patent link.  If you click on it you will go to the text version on the US Patent website.  By clicking on the images you will get the verbatim copy. I consider these patents an extremely powerful resource --- and they are free. ]

Martin; Frederick H.
, Porchia; Jose and Grissmeyer; Julie M.
S. C. Johnson Home Storage, Inc. (Racine, WI)
"A method of producing an electrically charged film includes the steps of forming a molten thermoplastic material into a web, electrically charging the web while the web is at a temperature substantially at or above a solidification temperature thereof, cooling the web below the solidification temperature thereof after charging and winding the web into individual rolls immediately following the cooling step."

I have long felt that using electrical technology to modify and manipulate materials is very underveloped.  This putting permanent charges in a material is not particularly new but should lead to many interesting effects.  My furnance filter supposedly is charged and used to effectively remove dust.  The house does seem cleaner but who knows. 

This week I came across a weird patent which claims solve many problems of the world, such as reducing tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons and on and on.  See for yourself ---

6,845,919
Apparatus for disturbing and removing electrons and protons from the atmosphere

Maybe there is hope for society yet.

Roger D. Corneliussen

 




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