OIT Times: Emerging, Future Trends in Materials Use--"Not your father's industries"
March 22, 2001
This informative session provided insight into the technology trends that are shaping the future of four key industries. One speaker noted that these ren your fatherindustries because many IOFs have dramatically transformed themselves in recent years.
Glass. Bruce Jennings of Schott Glass Technologies noted that the future lies primarily with technology-driven applications, and less with the traditional, cost-driven commodity applications (e.g., soda bottles, eyeglasses). Specialty glass applications in telecommunications, computers, lighting, and other areas demand properties that only glass can deliver, and represent the direction of future industry growth.
Steel. Steve Denner of National Steel focused on the use of Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) in reducing the weight of today automobiles. Through a recent DOE partnership, the industry has used super-formable steels and micro-alloyed, high-strength steels to significantly reduce vehicle weights, and they are now building a steel automobile that meets the PNGV weight goal while delivering even greater safety.
Chemicals. Louis Glasgow of DuPont Co. explained that the Chemical polymers industry is using biotechnology to increase functionality, lower costs, and reduce environmental impacts. Today chemical engineers use multi-disciplinary methods and manipulate genetic material to identify energy-efficient production methods. For example, propanediol is being synthesized from one-celled organisms, and many polymers will be cost-effectively synthesized using non-food crops such as switchgrass.
Forest Products. According to Del Raymond of Weyerhaeuser, the Forest Products industry is also being transformed by biotechnology, which is leading to new materials. In addition, the industry is increasing use of recycled materials. A new sticky-removal process developed with OIT is helping to reduce recycling costs and environmental impacts.