ANTEC 2017 was held on 8-10th May 2017 at Anaheim in California, USA. The Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) is the annual global flagship conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). This year the conference was attended by more than 1500 attendees and in excess of 500 technical papers were presented.
Nabeen Dulal, a PhD student at RMIT University in Melbourne, had the opportunity to present a paper at this conference on his current research at RMIT, titled: “Analysis of surface properties of PE caps and closures with Erucamide”. His research is focused on a project in collaboration with Coca-Cola Amatil. Nabeen also presented a poster session at the conference on behalf of his RMIT colleague, Firoozeh Pourjavaheri, on “Design and characterisation of keratin composites”. This story is an edited version of his experience in attending the conference.
The conference covered a broad range of subjects in polymers and plastics stretching from purely scientific aspects of materials to applications such as flexible electronics, artificial hearts, and components manufactured from composite materials. The conference also covered subjects such as sustainability, recycling, biodegradable plastics and the circular economy. Nabeen had a special interest in the technical sessions which included subjects such as extrusion science, bioplastics in its broadest sense, improvements in materials and plastic additives.
Nabeen told us that attending a vast variety of subjects and themes related to polymers and plastics provided him with a much broader perspective. He specifically mentioned that attending discussions on barrier and sealing properties of flexible plastic packaging were very much relevant to his interest in food safety and integrity of products.
By giving the poster session, it presented an opportunity to meet personally with many professionals and students from a wide variety of disciplines in the plastic industry. The experience was particularly challenging, because of their critical observations and questions; their recommendations were a welcome element of the session and highly appreciated.
Nabeen said: “The experience was really valuable for me because of the many new professional contacts gained. The presentation of my paper to a broader audience in plenum has boosted my confidence in scientific communication. The highlight for me was when I was personally approached by one of the American professors whose research I had extensively quoted in the paper presented.”
SPE also provided an opportunity to discuss improvements for the conference. Nabeen would like to see more participation by industry and government and better coverage of product safety.
Nabeen mentioned: “I would like to thank RMIT University, Coca-Cola Amatil and the local Australia-New Zealand Section of the SPE for their support. Overall, I am delighted and grateful to have been a part of the conference.”