1. Milea Kammer
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5393
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Sara Beasley
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5397
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Alex Bruce
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5308
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Kristy Crews
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5341
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Michael Johnston
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5355
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Michael McCoy
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5419
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Gamini Mendis
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5449
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Shane Peng
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5352
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Vertonica Powell-Rose
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5448
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Eldon Triggs
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/3507
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University
  1. Aditya Vedantam
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5414
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Purdue University

Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • May 21, 2013 | 01:15 a.m.

    Great job!

    I was wondering how or when you foresee these technologies being implemented into our society? What are the barriers for this to happen?

  • Icon for: Milea Kammer

    Milea Kammer

    Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 02:33 p.m.

    If consumers or manufacturers were to bear the full cost of disposal of their electronics, implementation would be easy to argue for. Right now, costs are externalized to other countries when we ship our e-waste to them. It is these other countries who bear the full health and environmental cost of the electronics, like high levels of lead in drinking water and the bioaccumulation of brominated flame retardants in humans, plants, and animals.

    Requiring a consumer to dispose or recycle their electronics properly (like the US requires for products like batteries and car oil) would incentivize manufacturers to implement alternative sustainable technologies to reduce the price of their product.

    Many consumers may not be aware of these environmental impacts of the electronic products they use, and therefore is not a primary consideration when purchasing a new device. If consumers demanded more sustainable products, manufacturers would jump at the chance to incorporate these technologies in order to gain an advantage in the market. This barrier would be reduced if these technologies could be incorporated in such a way that does not affect the performance or cost of the final product.

    Profitability is another barrier to consider. Ensuring profitable recycling is important for manufacturers, who face significant costs to collect and dispose used product and might lose money on recycling a discarded product that that has low intrinsic value. Industries will welcome initiatives that suggest alternative materials that are sustainable yet cost-effective, reverse channels for collection and that fairly distribute recycling costs among all partners and consumers who demand products that do not harm the environment. Making recycling a profitable and environmentally friendly activity can happen when manufacturers, recyclers and consumers, all work together and take a holistic approach

  • Icon for: Mary Albert

    Mary Albert

    Judge
    May 21, 2013 | 02:31 p.m.

    This is a great concept! What are the economics of the situation – would making the components in these fashions be economically feasible?

  • Icon for: Alex Bruce

    Alex Bruce

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 06:32 p.m.

    Most of these projects are designed with “drop-in” utility in mind in order to make them more economically viable. I am working with clay as an alternative flame retardant, and what I am exploring is guided mainly by science but also informed by what my advisors & I think is economically feasible for the industry to adapt right now.

    We don’t know with certainty if our alternatives would be economically feasible because they’re still very much in the R&D phase, but we are working to make real solutions that are likely to be economically as well as environmentally sustainable.

  • Icon for: Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 06:55 p.m.

    It depends on how the technology implemented. For instance, my work in tougher, self-healing polymers would reduce material consumption compared to traditional materials, therefore driving down manufacturing cost. This is desirable to manufactures who want to minimize cost and remains economically feasible provided the added cost for those modifications is lower than the savings gained by purchasing less material. With the chemistries I am working with, early results indicate this would be an economically feasible to implement.

  • May 21, 2013 | 05:30 p.m.

    Nicely done! In you opinion, which of these technologies represents the lowest hanging fruit, i.e. the easiest one to implement? Also, which technology would have the largest impact, regardless of how long it would take to implement?

  • Icon for: Milea Kammer

    Milea Kammer

    Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 07:03 p.m.

    As individuals, I think we all believe that our alternatives are low hanging fruit. I will let my group members defend their pieces of the puzzle.
    Personally, I am working with silver coated copper nanoparticles as a lead-free solder alternative and this system has already been validated as a viable “drop-in” replacement for traditional solder pastes by evaluating its ability to be manufactured into a paste (incorporating with flux) and the ability to be printed using current screen printing technology. However, other details such as mechanical and electrical properties of system performance have not yet been fully investigated. This alternative will also reduce energy consumption during manufacturing as well as material costs for the solder used.

  • Icon for: Kristy Crews

    Kristy Crews

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 07:11 p.m.

    Of course everyone feels as though their idea would be best or we wouldn’t be doing the research and wouldn’t have to include all of our work in this project. Although my project is not the one that would end the age old problem of toxicity like others may be trying to resolve, I do feel as though incorporating nanocellulose as a bio source would be easiest to implement. The computer casing is the beginning to the end of our electronic waste problem. If we could make the casings biodegradable or recyclable that would be the perfect start. My project focuses on materials that are already being used but incorporates something better in order to reduce the excess use of petroleum based materials while allowing them to also be more bio friendly. If the casing degraded there would be less materials sitting in landfills and would allow for easier separation of other computer components.

  • Icon for: Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 07:20 p.m.

    In my opinion, I don’t consider my work on self-healing polymers to be a ‘low-hanging’ fruit as implementation requires replacing an industry standard used in casings and many other plastic components. The material would have to demonstrate its effectiveness as an alternative that: is cost effective to the manufacturer, meets performance expectation of the consumer, and is sustainable. I feel projects that involve substitution or ‘drop-in’ replacement would be easier to implement.

    The technology with the largest impact is also very difficult to address as, in my opinion, you could argue any of the work we are doing would have a monumental impact on economic, environmental, and societal aspects. For example, reducing the plastic consumption would have a large impact on economic considerations, but reducing toxicity of leaded solders, or brominated flame retardants may offer greater benefits to the environment. Quantifying or ranking these effects between projects I think is very difficult to make, but each offers a benefit towards a more sustainable future.

  • May 21, 2013 | 10:07 p.m.

    A lot of really good ideas and projects related to a very important problem. The focus with the exception of the lead-free solder project appears to be focused on the plastics, epoxies and resins used in the circuit boards and finding biodegradable (and renewable) substitutes. This is a very laudable goal. But how much do these components contribute to the environmental problems compared with the other electronic waste streams found in computers, TVs, etc?

  • Icon for: Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 11:07 p.m.

    This is a very good question. While I cannot speak for the environmental effects of many of the hazardous components in electronics, there are a lot of environmental concerns that requires reforming plastic consumption practices for sustainable manufacturing. Since plastic components do not degrade in any reasonable timeframe, options for end of life of these components are landfill, incineration or recycling. Recycling is the least common method, roughly 10% of post consumers plastics are recycled, due to the complexity involved. The practice of recycling plastic components from e-scrap is difficult due to the need to separate the multitude of different polymer chemistries, additives, and plasticizers as well as the separation of plastic from other hazardous materials in electronics. While there are some recyclers who have made a business in doing this, a majority of the scrap ends up in landfills. So reducing the plastic consumption and developing new polymers that degrade in an environmentally responsible way would help this issue dramatically. Additionally, since very little plastic is recycling, the process of drilling and refining oil in order to produce new plastic components creates environmental hazards as well. By creating a new generation of sustainable polymers, we could reduce the amount of waste plastics that end up in landfills and reduce energy consumption in the fabrication of these materials.

  • Icon for: Eldon Triggs

    Eldon Triggs

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2013 | 08:47 a.m.

    Regarding the replacement and / or augmentation of the current epoxy and polyester resins, the development of bio-based polyester resins and novel initiators reduce or eliminate synthetic monomers such as styrene and vinyl toluene and allow the components to become fully renewable. When composted or landfilled, they do not leach out toxic metal compounds curing compounds such as cobalt or boron or toxic flame retardants such as bromine. We have been working on plant oil based alternatives which behave as current synthetic polyester resins and with the use of novel nitroxide mediated initiators, we are able to control the curing process which brings the energy requirement for curing below 100 degrees Celsius. The jute fabric reinforcement cloth has been well documented as a biodegradable and renewable fiber and shows great promise as a replacement for E-glass reinforcement in low to medium strength applications. There is testing underway with regards to the composting and UV / seawater degradation of these materials. We are developing components which perform as well as current components but degrade when discarded and not leave toxic compounds in the soil and water supply.

  • Icon for: Peter Pfromm

    Peter Pfromm

    Judge
    May 21, 2013 | 11:09 p.m.

    What is an actual application for the modified fibers for which data is given on your poster? How does the change in mechanical properties of your fibers impact the competitiveness (technical and economical) of your modified fibers? How are you determining the economics of the many ideas presented?

  • Icon for: Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 11:48 p.m.

    (On behalf of Vertonica Powell, co-presenter): The main point of modifying the fibers is to remove the natural components of the fibers that cause de-lamination of the natural composite. Lignin, pectin and hemi-cellulose are component of the fiber structure that is needed to absorb moisture to keep the plant alive. Unfortunately, these are the components require removal because they weaken the mechanical properties of the fiber. Successful removal of these items promotes mechanical properties similar to glass fiber composites.

  • Icon for: Alex Bruce

    Alex Bruce

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2013 | 05:02 p.m.

    These fibers can also be used in a lot of potential applications like reinforcement for computer casings, printed circuit boards, etc. Please see Eldon’s comment above to Dr. McDonald’s question as it also helps to answer some of your questions.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion
  • Icon for: Milea Kammer

    Milea Kammer

    Presenter
    May 20, 2013 | 10:19 p.m.

    We are looking forward to comments and questions. Please don’t hesitate to post with any questions about details. As a group that wanted to represent such a large number of active students we have lots of room for discussions!!!

  • Small default profile

    Nellie Henry

    Guest
    May 24, 2013 | 12:02 a.m.

    I vote for Milea Kammer’s project.

  • Small default profile

    Carolyn Johnston

    Guest
    May 22, 2013 | 12:14 a.m.

    great presentation!

  • Icon for: Alex Bruce

    Alex Bruce

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2013 | 08:34 a.m.

    Thank you! We hope that you will be able to talk with your family & friends about this very important issue.

  • Small default profile

    Barbara Coalition

    Guest
    May 23, 2013 | 11:58 a.m.

    You have a great list of very important and relevant research topics. For those working on developing alternative, non-toxic materials, what would be the impact on the recyclability of the products if they were to use those bio-based materials?

  • Icon for: Alex Bruce

    Alex Bruce

    Co-Presenter
    May 23, 2013 | 12:19 p.m.

    This answer really depends on if the biobased materials are biodegradable or not.

    Biodegradable bio-based materials
    If they biodegrade, then the materials are inherently not recyclable because they will be broken down too much to reuse.

    Non-biodegradable bio-based materials
    If the polymers are non-biodegradable produced from bio feedstocks (instead of petroleum feedstocks), then they do have the potential for recycling that other kinds of plastics do and would not change the recyclability of the product very much.

    With that being said, most of the plastics used in electronic products are simply burned and not recycled at all. They burn the polymer in order to recover the more valuable metals present in things like printed circuit boards. If instead the plastic was able to biodegrade quickly, perhaps burning would not have to take place to recycle the valuable metals in electronics.

  • Small default profile

    Lynda Callahan

    Guest
    May 23, 2013 | 04:09 p.m.

    A lot of hard work is evident!

  • Icon for: Alex Bruce

    Alex Bruce

    Co-Presenter
    May 24, 2013 | 12:14 p.m.

    Thank you Lynda! We hope to be able to make a difference.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.