Piyush Thakre, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Dow, Inc.
BIOGRAPHYPiyush Thakre is currently working at Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics as a Scientist in Health & Hygiene Technical Services and Development team. His focus area of research and application development is in nonwoven fabrics and backsheets. In the past, Piyush worked at the Materials Engineering Center (MEC) within Core R&D’s Materials Science & Engineering (MS&E) Organization. Piyush has been the MEC focal point in Texas working closely with the P&SP and the PU business in application development and testing area. Piyush was responsible for setting up the first MEC application testing and development lab at the Texas Dow Innovation Center. He has worked closely with several Dow businesses, such as, Dow Water (TEQUATICTM), Dow Solar (POWERHOUSETM 2.0), Dow Elastomers (INTUNETM), Dow Packaging (PacXpertTM, INNATETM, OPULUXTM, INNATETM) and Dow Polyurethanes. He has also worked with the New Business Development team for the Packaging and Specialty Plastics business working on BIOLOGIQ, PACXQUEEZETM, and RECLOSETM/SEALUTIONTM platforms. Piyush has authored more than 20 external journal publications, 5 books and holds seven patents/patent applications.
Prior to joining Dow, Piyush worked at the Beckman Institute, UIUC on autonomous materials for 3 years after earning his Ph.D. in Materials Science/ Aerospace Engineering from Texas A & M University. Piyush currently serves as the chair of the Applications technical committee, and past-chair of Composites, Hybrids and Multifunctional Materials at the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). In this role, he is responsible for organizing the SEM’s annual international symposium and is the editor of the Springer volume for SEM proceedings for this technical division. Piyush also serves on the advisory committee for the Gordon conference on Multifunctional Materials and Structures. Piyush also serves on Dow site diversity leadership team, inclusion & diversity core team, and on the steering committee of Texas new researcher organization.
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Introducing Polyethylene based Wipes
Wipes is one of the fastest growing market segments for nonwovens. Smithers report in 2019 placed the current market size at 3B lbs with 6.1% CAGR. The wipes market has been sub-segmented into consumer and industrial segments, with majority share (~80%) for consumer segment. The consumer wipes have been further sub-segmented into baby wipes, personal wipes and homecare wipes with almost equal market size. The most widely used polymeric materials in wipes are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP), along with an increasing amount of biobased renewable contents such as wood pulp and cellulosic fibers. Traditionally polyethylene (PE) has not been used in wipes. This presentation will focus on the challenges and propose method to introduce polyethylene based nonwoven substrates for the wipes application and provides a performance comparison with incumbent wipes.
Dow polyethylene resins were used in a melt extrusion process to produce wipe substrates which were subsequently treated using specific surfactants to create wet wipes. The non-woven wipe substrates were tested for key material properties such as tensile and abrasion, and application properties such as liquid and dirt pick-up to compare the performance of the polyethylene wipe substrates to the traditional wipe substrates made from PET, PP and cellulose fibers. The basis weight of PE based wipes was kept at an average basis weight of incumbent wipes. The tensile strength and abrasion/fuzz performance of PE based wipes showed equivalent or better performance than branded products. The PE based wipes also provides value propositions such as soft feel, potentially lower CO2 footprint and option for recyclability. There are added cost benefits from simpler supply chain and reduced amount of raw materials.
The goal of this presentation is to highlight the key performance metrics of polyethylene in wipes with prospective cost savings and sustainability implications.