What is Plastics Engineering - And Why Should We Care?
Americans have a love-hate affair with plastic. We often look down on plastic imitations of natural products, yet we use plastic every day—and there are more than 10,000 kinds of plastic! This seminar focuses on the importance of plastics recycling and engineering for creating structural materials. We will discuss the development of recycled plastic lumber—an advancement that resulted in structural plastic lumber—and its infrastructure applications. Advanced materials research at Rutgers has resulted in patented and licensed recycled plastic blends used in railroad ties, pilings, I-beams, bridge substructure, and decking. The seminar culminates in a field trip to a vehicular bridge in New Jersey composed of a recycled plastic lumber blend or to a plant where recycled plastic lumber is manufactured.