Office for Technology Commercialization

Biodegradable Polylactic Acid Plastic is Strengthened with Co-polymer

Technology #z09084

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Strengthened Polylactic Acid has Better Stretching Properties.Strengthened Polylactide  Viewed Through Transmission Electron MicrographNon-Polylactic Acid Co-Polymer is Grafted Onto Polylactic Acid
Marc A Hillmyer, PhD
Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering
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Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Files and Attachments
Biodegradable Plastic Term Sheet [PDF]

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.

MN-IP Try and Buy
  • Trial fee is $5,000 for a six month license
  • $30,000 conversion fee (TRY to BUY)
  • No patent costs
  • Royalty rate of 3% (2% for MN company)
  • Royalty free for first $1M in sales

** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. **


  • 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