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Highlights from “Creating a Better World by Design” Conference

SpecialChem / Nov 1, 2010

The “A Better World by Design (ABWxD)” conference was recently held on the campuses of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The conference was attended by 1,000 designers, engineers, and industry representatives who are interested in cleaner manufacturing with products that have less impact on the environment. The globally recognized Professor Seth Stem of RISD Industrial Design led a natural fiber composites workshop (BASF, Ahlstrom, Bast Fibers, Hooper Associates, Indyco, and PlastiSource) with a standing room only audience of 100+ participants. Acrodur® is BASF’s zero-emission acrylic thermoset resin for fibers and particles. It is a new class of resin that has been used to form a highly loaded, natural-fiber kenaf prepreg material that has been compression molded into an inner lower door panel by Dräxlmaier Group for for BMW’s 7 Series luxury sedan. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab researchers, backed by General Motors Corporation (GMC), have constructed a light weight prototype electric CityCar that could be economically mass produced, for rental by commuters and urban dwellers through a shared use business model. Design and Business Panel participants discussed how TenCate will use 3M's Matrix Resin for the manufacture of customized prepregs for a variety of composites applications. The “Biological Influences on Design” workshop highlighted novel emerging technologies like wool bricks. The “Green Building Certifications” panel drew participant attention to Vijaya Yellamraju's recently published book, "LEED-New Construction Project Management.” Design for the environment keyed to life cycle analysis and the evolution of design were hot topics.

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