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Production of Hydrophobic Bioplastics using Silicon Dioxide

Karl Lenin Danganan

Angelo Bassig

Jumar Damiar

Argel Largado

Jasper Lorenzo Francisco

Joshua Adrianne Oasay

Denzel Umerez


Silicon dioxide (SiO2), also known as silica, is a chemical compound that comes in different forms and has a variety of uses. One form is silica gel, which is used as a desiccant in shoe boxes and bags to prevent rupturing, and to prevent molds in food products.

Silica is the main material in our project because it has water-repelling properties and our group planned to create hydrophobic bioplastics with these properties. The purpose of this study is to benefit people in many ways. One way is the protection for electronic gadgets from water. Another method is to speed up the cleaning of food containers. With the hydrophobic properties of our plastic, water has less contact with it making washing containers easier.

To test our plastics we produced for hydrophobic properties (or wetability), we used a testing method known as the drop contact method. Twelve pieces of 2cm x 2cm plastic samples were prepared – with 3 pieces per concentration. A graduated dropper was used to drop 1mL of water on each plastic sample over a dish. The amount of water on the dish shows how much water each plastic sample repels.

Our results show that as the concentration of the silicon dioxide increases, the water repelled decreases.


Background of the Study:

SiO2 is a substance used to produce modern plastics. The group came up with an idea of making use of the said substance to produce hydrophobic plastics which could be a big help in latest technology and practical activities in our daily lives. Through this, we could also expand the capability of the silicon dioxide which may be used also in different ways.

Research Hypothesis:

If silicon dioxide is added as a material in the production of plastics, then a more hydrophobic plastic will be produced.

Objectives of the Study

General Objective:

This study was conducted to test the effectiveness of silicon dioxide in producing hydrophobic plastics.

Specific Objectives:

Produce an inexpensive and durable hydrophobic bioplastic material.

Test the hydrophobicity of the bioplastic produced using the drop contact testing method.

Significance of the Study

The researchers chose the topic because of the advantages that could be given to us people not only in our homes but on other fields of industries by the product. Plastics are widely used all over the world; it is the main reason why the researchers would like to introduce new technology in the form of hydrophobic plastics. If the project would be successful, hydrophobic plastics would be a big help in cleaning surfaces of plastics. For instances, dusts on plastics could be easily washed away by pouring water into the surface of the plastic. Hydrophobic plastics could also be alternative casings to our gadgets and appliances. It could protect our modern technologies from water penetration. It would also bring advantages in storing food products in the refrigerator like meats and fishes. The product will also be a good container for soaps, toothbrushes, plates and other household materials.

Scope and Limitations

The research shall only focus in the ability of plastic to repel water.

Other characteristics of a plastic shall be maintained.

In the production of the plastic, silicon dioxide will be the only addition to the regular raw materials of the process.

Review of Related Literature

Repellant Plastics

GE accomplished this by modifying a material that’s a mainstay of its plastics business. And they took their inspiration from the leaves of the lotus plant, which is naturally super hydrophobic; microscopic inspection of lotus leaves reveals their nanocrystalline wax structure. The lotus leaf surface has cells 5-10 micrometers wide, on top of which are tiny wax crystals that are tens of nanometers wide. On a lotus leaf, water beads look almost like perfect spheres.

GE set out to mimic this pattern on the surface of its polycarbonate material, essentially by “roughening” the surface in a specific way. Tao Deng, materials scientist at GE, is tight-lipped about the process, but says it was done with a “chemical treatment of the surface.”GE succeeded with its prototype last summer, but only began discussing the advance in recent weeks. One of the significant downsides is that the process leaves the plastic opaque, not transparent. That means it would not work for plastic windows or clear food containers. But a clear version is not far off. “That’s coming,” Deng says.

Even getting the opaque versions into real products will take some time. GE estimates it will be at least five years before commercialization, once the manufacturing issues are resolved. Five years isn’t that much time, though – about how long it takes for all the ketchup to drip out of today’s plastic bottles.

Hydrophobic Glasses

BalcoNano stated that there are two categories of what is known in the market as “self-cleaning” glass. These two categories are: glass coated or applied with hydrophilic layer that uses photo catalytic decomposition, and glass coated or applied with a hydrophobic protective coating.

The microscopically rough surface of glass is what makes it hard to clean. Dirt, bacteria and other particles can get deep into the glasses that it cannot be removed with any cleaning material.

To solve this problem, we can make the surface of the glass very water repelling or hydrophobic. Applying a hydrophobic coating to the glass gives it a sort of shield. Dirt particles are picked up by water droplets due to the surface created by the hydrophobic coating. This form of glass works in a similar way to “Teflon” works on a frying pan. It produces a non-stick surface and water will run off of this surface quickly and not streak. The coating or applications of this type are silica based and create a nano-scale film that covers the microscopic valleys and peaks on the surface of glass. This type of self-clean coating prevents the contamination, dirt and grime from clinging onto the glass or fixing to the surface.

There are advantages and disadvantages of hydrophobic coated glass. An advantage is that everything that gets put on the glass can be easily removed with water. Dirt, graffiti, and paint can get washed off with just a splash or two. A disadvantage is that coatings may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and that application is not easy. Factory applied coatings, depending on the exact product, have a life span of 3 to 10 years in external conditions. Cost wise the hydrophobic coatings and applications are usually about half the cost of the hydrophilic type glasses.

Many industries and manufacturers commonly use silica powders alone or in combination with other ingredients. The mineral has moisture absorbing and thickening properties. These characteristics make silica useful in construction materials, cosmetics, and some foods.

Silica is one of the most common minerals on the planet. It is a component of sand and quartz along with other minerals. Manufacturers obtain natural silica by mining and grind the substance into granules or fine powders. Some companies make synthetic silica, but both types commonly start with silica sand. Both natural and synthetic silica powders are frequently found in non-food products.

Microscopic diatoms, which are hard-shelled skeletal remains of single celled plants, also contain silicon dioxide. These remains exist in salt and fresh water beds. These types of silica are frequently referred to as amorphous silica. They are frequently ground into granules or a fine powder, sometimes called silica flour. Diatomaceous earth silica may be used in food or non-food products.

Quartz powders or glass powders are silica sand heated to extreme temperatures and melted. Artisans and manufacturers mold and shape the molten material. When cooled, the substance becomes glass. Paints, plastics, polyvinyl chloride glue, and corrosive resistant coatings all contain silica powders. In some of these products, the silica acts as a thickening or hardening agent.

Some cleansers and detergents contain silica powders. The granulated mineral scrubs surfaces by means of mechanical abrasion. Silica detergents might be used for washing clothes, dishes, or be found in general powdered cleaners. Abrasive action is also desired in some toothpastes, which contain diatomaceous earth silica as one of the ingredients. When used in hand cleaners, the abrasive nature of silica may cause rashes or other skin irritations.

Silica cosmetics contain the silky translucent powder to absorb skin oils. The mineral is thought to be hypoallergenic and some believe the substance reduces the visibility of facial lines and wrinkles. Consumers may purchase silica powders and add the substance to lawns or soil to increase moisture retention. Some believe the powdered form also deters or eliminates insect pests, though inhaling the product may lead to serious lung inflammation or possibly cancer.

Food and pharmaceutical industries commonly use silica powders for the mineral’s ability to absorb up to 50% of its weight in moisture. Food grade, or the diatomaceous earth form of silica powders, is commonly used as an anti-caking agent in coffee creamers, powdered foods, and seasonings. The self-contained gel packs frequently found in medications and over-the-counter supplement bottles usually contain some form of silica.


Bioplastic isnotmade from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. Bioplastics come fromsustainable

Audit of Syphilis Screening in Pregnancy

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Table 1:Syphilis confirmatory test results for forty nine pregnant woman 18

Table 2:Syphilis screening results of eleven new-borns of positive syphilis mother 24

Table 3: Positive syphilis confirmatory test results for sixteen pregnant woman 30


Figure 1: The laboratory turnaround time of syphilis screening for mothers 28

Figure 2: The laboratory turnaround time of syphilis screening for new-borns 28


Table 1: Syphilis confirmatory test results for forty nine pregnant woman 18

Table 2: Syphilis screening results of eleven new-borns of positive syphilis mothers 24

Table 3: Positive syphilis confirmatory test results for sixteen pregnant woman 30


Figure 1: The laboratory turnaround time of syphilis screening for mothers

Figure 2: The laboratory turnaround time of syphilis screening for new-borns



A re-audit of syphilis screening in pregnancy was carried out to ensure that the improvements in laboratory and clinical aspects of management for the antenatalof pregnant women with positive syphilis screening and their new-born babies fully met were in accordance with the UK National Guidelines on the Management of Syphilis (Kingston et al., 2008) and the Guidelines for the Management of Syphilis in Pregnancy and the Neonatal Period (Stringer et al., 2013).


Patients’ data were collected via query of the three databases: Clinisys Labcentre, Telepath and EuroKing. The n the data were analysed using Microsoft Access 2013.


Samples from Forty nine49 pregnant woman with positive syphilis results serology were referred to a reference laboratory laboratory were sent to MRI for syphilis serological confirmatory testing. Sixteen pregnant woman with of these women were confirmed to have had had positive syphilis were identified. Ten pregnant woman were re-tested screened at least twice during their pregnancy and six pregnant woman were only screened tested once during pregnancy. Over-testing of for treponemal IgM were seen in nineteen patients[h1] with non-reactive RPR titre. Only eleven babies born to mothers with syphilis were followed-up with serial serological tests for syphilis. Only four new-borns were fully screened. Some of the new-borns were not tested with treponemal IgM due to sample insufficiency.


There were some improvements seen since the first audit which includes the changes of the confirmatory testing schedule in MRI, lower screening false positive rate, and increased follow-up of the new-borns. There were also things to improve in the management of syphilis in pregnancy and the new-borns of positive syphilis mothers. Treponemal IgM test should be performed only when the RPR test were reactive to prevent over-testing of patients. The test algorithm for screening of syphilis in new-borns should give priority to RPR test and treponemal IgM to prevent under-testing[h2]. In-house confirmatory testing should be considered to allow reduction of test turnaround time’s thereby aiding patient management.Improvements[h3] should be made in the management of syphilis in pregnancy and the new-borns of positive syphilis mothers. Treponemal IgM test should be performed only when the RPR test were reactive to prevent over-testing of patients. The test algorithm for screening of syphilis in new-borns should give priority to RPR test and treponemal IgM to prevent under-testing[h4].


1.1 Syphilis

Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by Treponema pallidum (T.pallidum) subspecies pallidum. The disease is transmitted from human to human, and humans are its only known natural host (Woods 2005). Epidemiologically, in the UK, cases of syphilis have increased in England since 1997 led by a series of outbreaks reported from Manchester, London and Brighton (Health Protection Agency 2009). Since 1999, diagnoses of infectious syphilis have been made in heterosexuals where the outbreaks are linked to sex work, students and young people. But, there was a changing pattern of infection between 1999 and 2008, when seventy three percent of new diagnoses of infectious syphilis were reported in men who have sex with men (Health Protection Agency 2009). The transmission is primarily by sexual activity (Zeltser