Materials World October 2019

What’s the burning issue? Several readers have written to us in regards
to how we view and subsequently manage plastic waste in the UK.
On the surface, plastic is seen as a scourge, and its versatility and value is often overshadowed by difficulties arising from poor end-of-life planning.

Now, the national situation is changing, piling more pressure on to the problem – the UK can no longer export large volumes of refuse abroad so must find another means of disposal, recycling rates are variably but generally dropping, and there is a long way to go to reach the national target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Is incinerating plastic the answer? We take a look at some of the key statistics and hear opposing viewpoints on the debate of energy from waste on page 30.

Also in energy, we examine the ways in which Australia is diversifying its energy mix to balance cross-state power supplies and prevent further mass electricity blackouts. Read more on page 26. And we learn about a project producing carbon-neutral hydrogen fuel, report on rare earths, and look at the material requirements for building fusion reactors as well as the practical considerations of extending
the operating lifetimes of nuclear power plants.

In technology, we find out how a robotised laser deposition technique can improve industrial use of additive manufacturing to minimise waste, and run down the many methods of testing technical textiles.

Ceri Jones, Editor

News this issue:

Making artificial colour-changing skin

Synthetic 2D materials without bulk analogues

A coating improves the lifetime for lithium batteries

Bristleworm chemistries inspires new materials

Dyeing stone for decorative interiors

How graphene deters mosquitoes

Controversy over UK shale

Patent of the month – Creep strain measurement

Support a new technical community

Hunterson B reopening approved after graphite cracks assessed

Repellent polymer coating launched for solar surfaces

An insight into the International Rubber Conference

Pulsating laser welding technique joins ceramics

Diversity Challenge celebrating contributions to STEMM

Conducting heat with polymers

Trifol turns plastic waste into waxes

Engineers ask the government for policy change

Features this issue:

Material Marvels: Insight into the lives and scientific inventions of innovators for Black History Month

Australia’s energy sources

Energy from waste debate

Fusion materials

ETH Zurich produces hydrocarbons with solar mini-refinery

Materials help extend UK nuclear site life

Rare earths in plentiful supply

Laser directed energy deposition process

Fred Starr recollects – the romance of brickmaking

Spotlight: How to verify the functionality of parenteral drug auto-injector devices

Spotlight: How to… find, classify and identify microparticles