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Anyone got experience inventing a new polymer/material? Material Science & Engineering

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MoreValue

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While building my product, the material solutions out there just aren’t good. Bad for the environment and pretty much industry chemical giants can’t even find a better way. All alternatives are pretty much inferior.

No solution in the marketplace? Well, looks like I gotta make it myself.

Anyone with a background in material science and polymer engineering tell me what I’m getting into? Not sure if you can self teach like most other things on the internet. Don’t want to go back to college for this...but willing to pay for a self teaching path.
 

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Creep

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I guess it depends how fancy you're gonna be about it.

You can cook up some stuff in your garage if thats all you need.
Otherwise you can try hiring a chemist or whatever field it is for a short-term project. Theres plenty of freelancers looking for work like this.
If you're going big scale, there is lots of work sourcing materials, building processing, hiring people to handle it, and of course testing.
Thats if you manage to make a good material at all.

If you're a good salesman you could convince an existing company to lead an R&D team for a while, if you got a good vision..
 
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MoreValue

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I guess it depends how fancy you're gonna be about it.

You can cook up some stuff in your garage if thats all you need.
Otherwise you can try hiring a chemist or whatever field it is for a short-term project. Theres plenty of freelancers looking for work like this.
If you're going big scale, there is lots of work sourcing materials, building processing, hiring people to handle it, and of course testing.
Thats if you manage to make a good material at all.

If you're a good salesman you could convince an existing company to lead an R&D team for a while, if you got a good vision..
Hm...I never thought there were freelancing chemists to be honest. I guess I always thought the whole freelancer thing was associated with tasks you can do with a computer. Graphic Designer, Programmer, Virtual Assistant, Digital Marketer, etc.

Would need to convince a chemist to experiment in my mom's basement...haha

I guess I always viewed this material science/engineering as another tier above the normal stuff you teach yourself. Such as the skills I listed above.

LOL, nice link. Why do people go to college anymore.
 

CaptainAmerica

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what outcome do you want? full production, or a starting point? there's probably a reason the big guys haven't done it yet, and that's that the market isn't big enough to make it profitable for them. It may be profitable for you, though.

I second the freelancer idea!

And, I'm intrigued. It's not my specialty, but I do want to know more!
 

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Hi Morevalue,

A long time ago I developed a product that I originally thought was So Simple!! Ha!
Anyways, there was a plastic component to it and I didn't have any chemist type of background either so thought plastic is plastic -right ? Oh, was I ever so very wrong!

Turns out that in every single industry there are so many variations of products and components that it will make you have a second look at virtually every single thing in the future. It's actually rather fascinating when you start to look at products in the store-any store, any product and think about all the components, materials and design involved to even get it into existence, and then add to that the manufacturing, the packaging, distribution, the sales and marketing. All this for even one product. Fascinating,

In the end of my plastic quest I ended up hiring a scientist I knew and that was a big help. He's since retired but recently have used this scientific freelancer site Hire freelance scientists and researchers at Kolabtree with good success.

If you're in the US, then there's also a wonderful resource you folks have ( I'm in Canada ) and we don't have this program; it's called SCORE, and is a volunteer program of business mentors/ advisors who are retired business people. There is an absolutely amazing wealth of knowledge there and you can specifically search for people with specific areas of expertise.

My suggestion would be don't spend the time and resources on material development- focus on the end result and don't get caught up in the process , which is what happened to me.

While the exact material you have in mind may not exist there is probably something already in existence that would work, and it may be used in an application or industry that you would never expect to look at.
 

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While the exact material you have in mind may not exist there is probably something already in existence that would work, and it may be used in an application or industry that you would never expect to look at.
Hiring a materials engineer as a consultant would be a cost effective way to find this.
 

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While the courses are solid, you can't learn materials engineering from a book. You have to actually engineer materials in a lab.

I worked along side polymer physicists at Emory U, their lab set ups were pretty basic.

Find some academic articles along the lines of what you want to do, check out the research equipment they used and then go hunting on ebay (yes, really).

They also discuss their methods, but they leave out quite a few details. Details you'll have to fill in by actually replicating their experiments.
 

Jon L

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I'm in software, so take this with a grain (or 12) of salt:

In the software world, there's a concept called the Minimum Viable Product. Its a cut-down version of what the entrepreneur eventually wants to build, but its good enough to get some sales.

In software, its much easier to add on to an existing product compared to the world of physical products. However, I wonder if you could do something to get by with what's currently out there vs creating your own from scratch? Is there a way to modify your design to use existing materials?

If your product is something like Gore-Tex jackets, then this idea wouldn't work. That material is kind of the whole point of the jacket. However, if you could get by with something else, maybe even if its a slightly different concept or market, you'd be able to get some traction and then build from there.

I really like the idea of hiring an engineer of some sort. This project doesn't sound like the kind of thing you can easily learn on the fly. Spending $2500 or whatever for an engineer to advise you would be money well spent.
 
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MoreValue

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While the courses are solid, you can't learn materials engineering from a book. You have to actually engineer materials in a lab.

I worked along side polymer physicists at Emory U, their lab set ups were pretty basic.

Find some academic articles along the lines of what you want to do, check out the research equipment they used and then go hunting on ebay (yes, really).

They also discuss their methods, but they leave out quite a few details. Details you'll have to fill in by actually replicating their experiments.
I am looking at some videos of these polymer labs and even if I had the cash, I ain’t got the room. They use things like negative pressure fume hood, microscopes, other testing equipment. Although, Beakers and other parts are cheap.
 

Roli

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LOL, nice link. Why do people go to college anymore.
Because this.

While the courses are solid, you can't learn materials engineering from a book. You have to actually engineer materials in a lab.

I worked along side polymer physicists at Emory U, their lab set ups were pretty basic.

Find some academic articles along the lines of what you want to do, check out the research equipment they used and then go hunting on ebay (yes, really).

They also discuss their methods, but they leave out quite a few details. Details you'll have to fill in by actually replicating their experiments.
 

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MoreValue

MoreValue

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Yeah, dang...gotta re-evaluate after these posts. Sunk costs are larger the more I research
 

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off topic-

excited for materials startups. last decade we saw software take off. i want to participate in hardware. that said, a lot hasnt been done yet OP, that's why there's no concrete directions
 
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MoreValue

MoreValue

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off topic-

excited for materials startups. last decade we saw software take off. i want to participate in hardware. that said, a lot hasnt been done yet OP, that's why there's no concrete directions
Yeah, software is easy to take off because it costs little to nothing in terms of cost. But with that benefit, a 10 year old kid is also your competitor.

Materials are very interesting and we need better materials because most are just unsustainable.

Electronic hardware?That is really interesting as well.

Not sure if we will see anything that take off as fast as software due to monetary constraints of other fields.
 

ygtrhos

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PhD mechanical engineer from Germany. Dropping my two cents.

I have a friend who has a PhD in nanochemistry. They are working on some material that converts heat to electrical voltage. (reversing 2nd law of thermodynamics, which is possible in nano-level)

What they want is to make a viable product that would generate a miliwatt per a certain volume of material so that they can sell the patent to BASF or Bayer.

It requires a real lab with significant investment. They invested a 6-digit sum into this project, which is going well.

I have very little to do with polymer world, however I do not think that would be less than this. You need process equipment (like hear treatment etc.) and testing machinery.

I can totally understand you and it really bugs me that classical engineering is so "out" these days because of software.

If you think I can help you, drop me a PN. Would be glad to help.
 
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MoreValue

MoreValue

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PhD mechanical engineer from Germany. Dropping my two cents.

I have a friend who has a PhD in nanochemistry. They are working on some material that converts heat to electrical voltage. (reversing 2nd law of thermodynamics, which is possible in nano-level)

What they want is to make a viable product that would generate a miliwatt per a certain volume of material so that they can sell the patent to BASF or Bayer.

It requires a real lab with significant investment. They invested a 6-digit sum into this project, which is going well.

I have very little to do with polymer world, however I do not think that would be less than this. You need process equipment (like hear treatment etc.) and testing machinery.

I can totally understand you and it really bugs me that classical engineering is so "out" these days because of software.

If you think I can help you, drop me a PN. Would be glad to help.
Super interesting, what I realize though is that these things can near take a lifetime to achieve. These technologies that require high knowledge and high income.

I gravitate towards these businesses, but looks like if I want to do this, I gotta borrow money. Years of unprofitability and grind through years of trial and error. This stuff makes software engineering look like a piece of cake. Correct me if I am wrong.

Was just reading on some guy that spent four decades working on fusion energy and might have something promising.

Did they do personal investment? Are we talking the Bayer that Siemens bought out?

Yeah I really think it is the monetary barrier that keeps classical engineering from being the thing.
 

CaptainAmerica

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I gravitate towards these businesses, but looks like if I want to do this, I gotta borrow money. Years of unprofitability and grind through years of trial and error. This stuff makes software engineering look like a piece of cake. Correct me if I am wrong.
Yes - and there's still plenty of attendant Fastlane businesses that surround the industry. I've run a micro business for 10 years that sells 25mu optical needles to yeast geneticists. It's just a matter of scale, which is what I'm doing now, so that $300/mo income has a couple of more zeros on it.
 

Solid Snake

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Yeah, software is easy to take off because it costs little to nothing in terms of cost. But with that benefit, a 10 year old kid is also your competitor.

Materials are very interesting and we need better materials because most are just unsustainable.

Electronic hardware?That is really interesting as well.

Not sure if we will see anything that take off as fast as software due to monetary constraints of other fields.

Im hoping 3d printing helps us in the process of a "boom". i think we also need to cut down a lot of the regs that prevent experimentations (sorry didnt mean to get political but i think its material)
 

DaRK9

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Check and see if you can find anyone on clarity.fm
 
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ygtrhos

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Super interesting, what I realize though is that these things can near take a lifetime to achieve. These technologies that require high knowledge and high income.

I gravitate towards these businesses, but looks like if I want to do this, I gotta borrow money. Years of unprofitability and grind through years of trial and error. This stuff makes software engineering look like a piece of cake. Correct me if I am wrong.

Was just reading on some guy that spent four decades working on fusion energy and might have something promising.

Did they do personal investment? Are we talking the Bayer that Siemens bought out?

Yeah I really think it is the monetary barrier that keeps classical engineering from being the thing.
Yes, we are talking about the Bayer that bought out Monsanto.

They have talked with BASF once, because it was closer to our place. We lived in Frankfurt and BASF is like 80 km away from us.

Bayer and BASF are both chemical giants like Dow or Exxon.
 

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sa_ill

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While building my product, the material solutions out there just aren’t good. Bad for the environment and pretty much industry chemical giants can’t even find a better way. All alternatives are pretty much inferior.

No solution in the marketplace? Well, looks like I gotta make it myself.

Anyone with a background in material science and polymer engineering tell me what I’m getting into? Not sure if you can self teach like most other things on the internet. Don’t want to go back to college for this...but willing to pay for a self teaching path.
I'm a Polymer Engineer. Worked neck deep in the materials and polymer industry right after I graduated, mostly with high-end polymers with special and rare properties, with top companies in the world. I'm talking polymers like PEEK, PFA, PTFE, FEP. I agree with you that most polymers are toxic to the environment. I definitely think there is a lot of scope in trying to invent materials. I feel that even after so many advancements in the field, there is still a long way we can go.

So, you've definitely chosen the right field.

But. When it comes to inventing polymers, it requires deep understanding that takes years and possibly decades to acquire. You need to understand how polymer chains work on a molecular level, how they bond, how they're structured, fundamentally. It takes years and years of research for scientists to understand minuscule aspects of material engineering.

Then, once you do have the understanding, it takes a lot of high end equipment to test and build and test and retest. Inventing materials isn't a short term thing. People dedicate their lives to it. And once you do invent the material, and it requires a special way of processing, then you'll have to get people to invest in machines to use your polymer. Everything can work out if you do invent a radical polymer that will change lives, processors will adopt quick, and your invention will feed your ten further generations.
 

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