TYPES OF BIOPLASTICS
Below are the bioplastics we offer and some of their main characteristics
Poly(lactic acid), Poly(lactide)
PLA is an aliphatic thermoplastic polyester produced from sugar or corn via a fermentation process that produces lactic acid as an intermediate. It is considered a promising alternative to petrochemical-derived polymers in a wide range of commodity and engineering applications. Of the bioplastics, it is the second most abundantly produced after starch blends.
PLA is one of the most widely used biopolymers in replacing fossil-fuel-based plastics on account of its good mechanical and processing properties. Its tensile strength and elastic modulus are comparable with those of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and polystyrene (PS).
However, PLA is inherently brittle, with less than 10% elongation at break and relatively low impact strength and a low glass transition temperature (Tg). However, many of these properties can be enhanced through blending.
PLA is currently predominantly used in packaging with increasing adoption in other areas such as electronics, textiles and consumer goods is growing.
PBS is an aliphatic thermoplastic polyester typically produced from petrochemical feedstock, but can also be produced from bio-based ones as well. Its starting materials are 1,4-butanediol and succinic acid.
PBS has good biodegradability and impact toughness, excellent processability, good elongation at break, and good heat resistance. The temperature of PBS materials ranges from 30 °C to 100 °C. It has low flexural strength and modulus and, as such, can be blended with PLA to optimise its properties.
PHAs can be defined as a family of intracellular biopolymers that are synthesised via various bacteria as intracellular carbon and energy storage granules. This family of biopolymers is produced by fermentation from natural resources, specifically, sugar or lipids. PHAs composed of hydroxyalkanoate (HA) units, arranged in a basic structure that is obtained through bacterial fermentation. PHAs are considered as opening doors for a sustainable future but are still in early stages of development and associated with high production costs.
PHAs general characteristics include water insolubility, relative resistance to hydrolytic degradation, biocompatibility and suitability for medical applications, as well as nontoxicity. Although PHAs are not water soluble, they are still degradable and biocompatible. In addition, PHAs are considered less sticky than other polymers once heated, and they sink in water which facilitates their anaerobic biodegradation in sediments.
Among the most commercialized and produced biopolymers, PHAs stand out as a tempting sustainable alternative. This is attributed to their ability to be transformed into water and carbon dioxide if oxygen is present. They can also be transformed into methane under anaerobic conditions, via microorganisms present in water and soil. Due to their biodegradable nature, PHAs are intended to replace synthetic non-degradable polymers for various applications, such as: packaging, fast food, medicine, biomedical, and agricultural applications. Moreover, the fact that they can be produced from renewable resources made them an excellent choice for short-term packaging.
Poly(butylene adipate- co-terephthalate)
PBAT is a thermoplastic elastomer, a random copolyester of adipic acid, 1,4-butanediol and terephthalic acid.
Whilst PBAT is biodegradable, it is not made from renewable resources and is thus not bio-based.