Biodegradable Plastics from Strengthened Polylactic Acid
Polylactic acid is a renewable polymer used for creating biodegradable plastics. Unfortunately, polylactic acid has limited applications due to its brittleness when compared to petroleum-derived plastics.
A process developed at the University of Minnesota can strengthen polylactic acid using less added material(as little as 1 wt% of non-polyactic acid material as opposed to 2-3 wt% for commercial additives) by creating a co-polymer. This added strength expands the potential polylatic acid applications to replacement of high impact polystyrene and packaging.
A renewable replacement for high impact polystyrene can be used in products manufactured with injection molding such as toys and product casing. Currently, high impact polystyrene is not biodegradable and is derived from petroleum. The strengthened polylactic acid would be derived from domestically-produced renewable resources.
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FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF STRENGTHENED POLYLACTIC ACID
- Can be used to create renewable, biodegradable plastic as a replacement for high impact polystyrene
- Uses as little as 1wt% non-polyactic acid material to toughen polylactide compared with 2-3 wt% needed for commercial additives