Polymer Library

Bioplastics - March 2017

This month we're focusing on Bioplastics.

Petrochemical feedstocks are increasingly being replaced with bio-based alternatives. Demand for products made from renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly raw materials is rising and will increase substantially in the future. According to a recent Smithers Rapra Market Report, global demand for bioplastics will grow at a rate of around 19% year-on-year in volume terms across the period 2016-2021.

The need to keep up-to-date with the latest technical and key business developments has never been more pertinent. So why not read some of the latest literature in this area? There is a selection of abstracts from the Polymer Library on this subject below.


These abstracts were highlighted in the March Newsletter and found in the Polymer Library.

Click on the 7-digit accession numbers to find out about ordering a copyright-cleared full text copy of the items shown.

1251237 - Nucleating agent-containing P(LLA-mb-BSA) multi-block copolymers with balanced mechanical properties
In order to obtain high performance bioplastics and thermoplastic elastomers, P(LLA-mb-BSA) multi-block copolymers containing 30 wt % and 70 wt % soft segment (PLBSA30 and PLBSA70 for short) were synthesised via chain extension and coupling of poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate) (PBSA) prepolymers in the presence of 1% nucleating agent (NA). They were characterised with proton nuclear magnetic resonance (^1H NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarising optical microscopy (POM), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and tensile and impact test. The relatively high molecular weights of (Mn 8200 g/mol and 3100 g/mol for PLLA and PBSA, respectively) the polyester sequences are helpful to improve the PLLA crystallisation and the flexibility of the PBSA soft segment. Nucleation effect further accelerates the crystallisation of PLLA segment. The synergistic effect of these factors results in good balance between stiffness and toughness. PLBSA30s containing 1% zinc citrate (ZnCC) or talc behave as ultra-tough bioplastics with ultrahigh impact strength over 50 kJ/m^2 and excellent tensile properties. PLBSA70 containing 1% ZnCC possesses elongation at break of 600% and retains high modulus (56 MPa) and strength (16 MPa) and therefore behaves as an excellent thermoplastic elastomer. The excellent and balanced properties would extend the end applications of these PLLA-based materials. (41 ref)
Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 134, No.18, 2017, paper 44777, pp.9, ISSN: 0021-8995, DOI: 10.1002/app.44777
Binshuang Wu; Xiaoqing Zeng Linbo Wu; Bo-Geng Li

1248940 - Surface and degradation properties of thermoplastic blends from albumin and zein-based plastics
The use of traditional petroleum-based thermoplastics in food packaging applications pose an environmental hazard, as their lack of biodegradability creates waste that environmental systems are unable to cope with. To address this issue, the investigation of surface, biodegradation, and water solubility properties of the albumin and zein thermoplastic blends plasticised with glycerol and mixed with varying amounts of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is conducted. When subjected to soil burial, albumin as a bioplastic completely biodegrades within two months, while a zein-based bioplastic is more resilient to attacks from microbes within the soil (4.34% of intial mass remains). If albumin and zein proteins are used in the production of thermoplastics in tandem with LDPE, it could be possible to produce a plastic that will naturally biodegrade over time, decreasing the environmental impact of the use of thermoplastics in medical and food packaging applications. (34 ref)
Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 134, No.13, 2017, paper 4646, pp.10, ISSN: 0021-8995, DOI: 10.1002/app.44646
Jones A; Suraj Sharma

1248100 - Fair PC mouse
The complexity of the production chain and the problems which have to be solved to fabricate a simple PC mouse are far greater than meet the eye. This is particularly the case when designing a mouse according to 'fair' requirements, as is the aim of non-profit organisation Nager IT, an association focussed on encouraging humane working conditions at electronics manufacturers by developing socially and environmentally sustainable electronics. Now, a junior research team at the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover, Germany, working in close collaboration with Nager IT, has developed a biobased material for a fair computer mouse.
Bioplastics Magazine, 11, No.6, Nov.-Dec. 2016, p.24-27, ISSN: 1862-5258
University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover; Nager IT

1248105 - Bioplastic from flue gas and green electricity
Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are working on an efficient and inexpensive method to produce bioplastics. In the BioElectroPlast project they use microorganisms that produce polyhydroxybutyric acid from flue gas, air and renewable energy. In addition, the project is aimed at using the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as an inexpensive and generally available raw material in the chain of values added and at applying renewable energy. For this purpose, the scientists use a relatively new technology, called microbial electrosynthesis. The process has been optimised such that the microorganisms are supplied with more energy for the production of molecules of higher complexity. As biocatalyst, the researchers use a newly isolated microorganism that permanently regenerates itself. Flue gas is applied as CO2 source.
Bioplastics Magazine, 11, No.6, Nov.-Dec. 2016, p.40, ISSN: 1862-5258
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

1247678 - Wacker presents new Vinnex additives for enhanced bioplastics (OPEN ACCESS - FREE ACCESS TO FULL TEXT)
It is explained that bioplastics, in particular biopolyester, are highly promising, sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based products. Munich-based chemical group Wacker is launching novel polyvinyl-acetate-based grades of additive intended for these bioplastic compounds. New "Vinnex" additives are reported to make the production of highly transparent, biodegradable films and injection moulded products made of PLA (polylactic acid) and/or PBS (polybutylene succinate) better and easier. Full information is set out in this detailed press release.
Press Release, Wacker Chemie AG, 28 June 2016
Wacker Chemie AG

1245610 - Biodegradable plastic production from fruit waste material and its sustainable use for green applications (OPEN ACCESS - FREE ACCESS TO FULL TEXT)
Polyhydroxy alkonoates (PHAs) or Polyhydroxy butyrates (PHBs) are the bioplastics, they can replace a number of traditional plastics which are currently made up of petrochemicals. The PHAs or PHBs obtained through biological origin assures the same commercial properties with the advantage of being completely natural biodegradable. Same way bioplastics prepared using the fruit waste will also serve as potential alternatives to the conventional plastic materials. The present research work with emphasis on synthesis of bioplastic material by using fruit waste mainly banana peel. The polymer produced using the banana peel blended with the glycerol could help in the formation of plastic having the characteristic features of pliability, user friendliness and strength, other tests like solubility and swelling studies were conducted to ensure commercial properties of these bioplastic materials, characterisation of synthesised product was carried out by FTIR and XRD analysis, confirms the polymer is bioplastic. One of most significant result obtained during the research is degradation tractability of the developed product. There were plenty of reports on bioplastic synthesis using banana peel, however, there are less reports on tractability biodegradation, thus produced biodegradation tractable plastic could play vital role in the market for the sustainable use and commercial value added product development. 20 Refs.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Allied Sciences, 5, No.4, 2016, p.56-66, ISSN: 2277-3657, DOI:
Yaradoddi J; Patil V; Ganachari S; Banapurmath N; Hunashyal A; Shettar A


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