Elisa Guzman Teipel, SPE finalist

Elisa is a founder and Research Engineer for Whole Tree Inc. She is an active member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. After completing a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University, she received her Masters degree at Baylor University with an emphasis on materials and polymeric-composites and materials. Elisa helped to create new polymeric composites to help people around the world while reducing environmental impact. As a graduate student she focused her engineering research on technology commercialisation and entrepreneurship. In 2008 Elisa's team won in the Top 10 Engineering Showcase for the National Collegiate Investors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), followed by I-show Engineering Innovation, Top 10 finalist at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering annual meeting.

With over seven years' experience of consulting and deploying appropriate technology, Elisa has a passion for technology development and using engineering to help others. Elisa has been a Research Assistant for The Earth Institute and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University and at the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State University. Outside of her work, Elisa enjoys spending time with her family, travelling the world, helping and learning from others.

 

Polymeric composites reinforced with natural fillers from agricultural waste: WTI CSP technology

Whole Tree Inc is a triple bottom-line company (centered around people, the planet and creating a profitable business) that utilises renewable resources to create innovative composite materials by substituting natural renewable materials for non-renewable synthetic materials. The feasibility of utilising renewable resources and their waste as reinforcement and/or filler in polyethylene and polypropylene to enhance stiffness and strength and/or reduce costs for applications will be presented. Additionally, by adding natural fillers, the aesthetics of these polyolefins can be enhanced. Powders and fibres that are derived from renewable resources or agricultural waste have mechanical and physical properties that make them attractive candidates to reinforce polymeric composites, reducing the cost and sometimes enhancing performance. Applications in automotive materials, building construction materials, and consumer products will be included. Preliminary results will be presented on the use of natural fillers in polypropylene and polyethylene, with increases in stiffness of up to 80% observed.

 

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