Kickstart: Do all those plastic barriers actually help stop the spread of COVID?

Clear acrylic, PMMA and other Plastic panels put in place to separate desks, workstations, lunch rooms and retail counters have certainly been in high demand since the start of the pandemic.But do they actually help to fight the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases? A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher says there’s no proof that they do.”We spent a lot of time and money focused on hygiene theater,” Joseph Allen, an indoor-air researcher, told Bloomberg. “The danger is that we didn’t deploy the resources to address the real threat, which was airborne transmission — both real dollars but also time and attention.”Instead, masks and improved air filtration systems did much of the work needed to keep people safe before vaccinations were widely available. You can at our sister paper Crain’s New York Business.Trinseo of Berwyn, Pa., just completed its acquisition of Colombes, France-based Arkema SA’s business — which includes the Plexiglas brand in the Americas — and has said it will invest in products and technologies in its manufacturing and research and development operations.But , the companies noted that any growth in Plexiglas sales linked to the pandemic was offset by a drop in auto production. That means that even if companies back off on installing sheets based on the Harvard study, there are still plenty of other sales opportunities. Back when we went to trade shows, you may have seen Local Motors 3D printing a car body. Or perhaps you’ve spotted an , which is also 3D printed by Local Motors.The printing process called large-format additive manufacturing, or LFAM, makes it easy to tweak a car’s design.But LFAM leaves a lot of scrap. Now to find how to recycle that material.A joint study based on Sabic’s LNP Thermocomp reinforced compound used reclaimed material, ground it and reprocessed into pellets. The work showed that material can be reused in LFAM or other processes including injection molding and extrusion, the companies said.”As adoption of large-format additive manufacturing accelerates, it is essential to find sustainable alternatives to landfilling large, printed parts,” said Walter Thompson, senior applications development engineer for Sabic, in a news release. “Our study showed great potential for reusing these materials and marks a first step in supporting reuse within the value chain.”And while we’re on the subject of cars and 3D printing, you’ve probably heard something about , which will sell for under $20,000, making it the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker’s most affordable vehicle.But the truck has a 3D printing trick up its sleeve.In the rear passenger compartment, there’s a slot called the Ford Integrated Tether System that will accommodate a variety of accessory items. Or, if buyers are interested, they will be able to access a computer file they can use to 3D print their own accessory and put it into place.”Ford is working to publish the slot geometry so people can 3D print DIY solutions to further fit their lifestyle,” the company said in a news release.Want an extra cup holder, one big enough to hold a 50-ounce Big Gulp? Just print it. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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