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Bioplastics: Polylactide Aliphatic Copolymer Essay

530 words - 3 pages

Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable plastics made from synthetic biopolymers; its components are derived entirely or almost entirely from renewable raw materials. Biopolymers are an environmental friendly alternative to petroleum-based polymers (traditional plastics).Polylactide aliphatic copolymer is a synthetic biopolymer made from a mixture of lactide and aliphatic polyester. A copolymer is made from 2 or more different monomers. The monomer lactide is made from lactic acid (see fig2), which is a methyl-substituted glycolic acid that can be produced by the fermentation of corn, cheese, whey and other agricultural sources. Lactic acid is the biomass feedstock (organic matter produced by plants that can be used as a renewable fuel) of bioplastics (see fig1).Aliphatic ...view middle of the document...

CPLA is a thermoplastic and unlike aliphatic polyesters, it can be either a hard plastic (similar to polystyrene) or a soft flexible one (similar to polypropylene) depending on the amount of aliphatic polyester present in the mixture. Also CPLA has improved thermal properties, stable to heat up to 200 °C. CPLA can be processed into useful products with most conventional plastic processes. (eg blow moulding, injection moulding, extrusion, vacuum forming, fibre spinning)CPLA is transparent and odourless, possible applications of CPLA will include compost bags, cushioning materials, food wrapping materials, fishing nets, etc. Although CPLA has a high molecular weight and high melting point, it begins breaking down into a low-molecular weight polymer, in natural environments, after 5-6 months; Complete decomposition after 12 months. If incinerated, no toxic substances are generated. The heating value and carbon dioxide generated during combustion are lower, by almost half the level, of that generated by polyethylene or polystyrene.Currently virtually all plastics are made from non-renewable natural resources, such as oil, coal or natural gas, which will eventually become exhausted. The usage of plastics continues to grow, as with the problem of plastic waste management. The use of bioplastics such as CPLA addresses all these issues. The biomass feedstock used in the production of bioplastics is a renewable resource. Bioplastics are made from biopolymers, which are biodegradable, and do not substantially disturb the natural biochemical cycle on a human scale.BIBILIOGRAPHYhttp://cape.uwaterloo.ca/che100projects/biodegrade/sld006.htmhttp://www.designinsite.dk/htmsider/m0952.htmhttp://www.designinsite.dk/htmsider/m0953.htmhttp://www.cem.msu.edu/~smithmr/Lactide.htmhttp://www.serconline.org/biomassdefinition/faq.html

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