Bio polymers Processing and Products

This session presents two main aspects of biopolymers; processing and product, The recent advance in converting natural polymers such as starch, protein, and cellulose for melt processing is briefly reviewed. The technical challenges for using natural polymers for thermoplastic applications and recent innovation in extrusion plasticization of starch enabling rapid expansion of starch for high valued polymer applications are summarized. Synthetic biopolyesters including polylactic acid (PLA), terpolymer of terephthalic acid, adipic acid, and butandiol (Ecoflex polymer), and polybutylene succinate (PBS) are also briefly reviewed and provided with a special focus on inherent properties relevant to fiber and nonwoven applications. Technical approaches are discussed to enable high performance biopolyester melt spun webs. The effects on crystallization kinetics of heterogeneous nucleation with various nucleating agents are explored by using Avrami model. Process modifications are discussed including heated quench and heated fiber draw to maximize fibrous web crystallinity. Some biopolymers such as starch, protein, algae, and spunbond PLA are selected for anaerobic biodegradation in order to understand how they behave in the waste disposal environment. The results indicate that starch can achieve a complete biodegradation within about one month timeframe, whereas protein and algae can achieve 62 to 70% biodegradation. PLA biodegradation in anaerobic conditions is highly affected by degrading temperatures relative to its glass transition temperature.

  • Thermoplastic applications
  • extrusion plasticization
  • crystallization kinetics
  • crystallinity
  • biodegradation

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