Cari Helberg: Study of the Issues in Plastic Injection Molding
Depending on the source, it’s expected that the world will run out of crude oil within the next 50 years. One of the products that will be greatly affected by this development is plastics. Currently, most of the thermoplastics on the market—including the wire management devices produced by a cable management company using injection molding—are made from the polymer PA66, also called nylon. The manufacture of raw PA66 is hazardous—several of the necessary ingredients are carcinogenic—and the product is already in short supply.
Industrial Technology and Management student Cari Helberg (BINTM/MITO ’19) suggests that bioplastics are an option to replace it. Bioplastics use readily available sugars from corn and beets and are biodegradable, given the right conditions. However, biodegradable parts on durable goods, like automobiles, may not be the right option.
Helberg's report explores the options available for future thermoplastic production using a cable management company as the project case study. INTM Adjunct Professor Myron Nicholson assisted on the project.