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02 | 2010

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Material Combinations

Material Combinations Bio Goes Functional Article contributed by Daniel Ganz, Market Manager Biopolymers, Sukano, Schindellegi, Switzerland Bioplastics are the plastic industry’s answer to the demand for ecologically responsible alternatives to petrochemical-based polymers. Yet, while enthusiasm for bio-based plastics is high, the decisive prerequisite for their broad acceptance still remains to be met: for long term market success bio plastics have to provide the same high performance in processing and in use as oil-based plastics. The innovative Sukano ® Bioconcentrates for film extrusion and Sukano ® Bioloy bioblends for injection moulding are new, highly attractive solutions for such a demanding task. And radically new: Sukano Bioloy is the first product to enable functional utilization of PLA not only in single-trip and packaging applications, but also in semi durable products, e.g. housings. Sukano Bioloy Compounds and Sukano Bioconcentrates Sukano’s Bioloy product line consists of PLA-based bioplastics grafted with Sukano technology. In this process the PLA polymer is enhanced by specific additives to ensure that it can be processed and used just like oil-based plastics in a broad range of applications. The advantages that this offers producers and users are most interesting: PLA Masterbatches for Flat Films and Cut Sheets In the long run, PLA generated from renewable resources is to replace oil-based plastics in film and sheet applications. To enable this, however, PLA’s thermal stability, impact resistance and destacking behaviour have to be further developed. With Sukano bioconcentrates, PLA properties can be ideally matched to the respective requirements of a broad variety of film and sheet applications. Sukano bioconcentrates are highly concentrated masterbatches based on biopolymer carriers. They are added in low percentages to biopolymers to achieve the desired properties. Masterbatch addition efficiently reduces the coefficient of friction and increases the material’s processability and denesting behaviour. At the same time, it enables controlled crystallisation to improve thermal resistance and UV content protection of the finished films. In addition to functional masterbatches Sukano also offers optical bioconcentrate-based masterbatches for optimizing the finished product’s visual appearance. These include pigments and soluble colorants, as well as white and black, incorporated into easy-to-process 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/10] Vol. 5

Material Combinations Product Name Characteristic ASTM 6866 Biobased Carbon Content EN13432 Compostable Density [g/cm 3 ] MFI g/10 min (190 °C/1.21 kg) Tensile Modulus [MPa] Tensile Strength [MPa] Elongation @ break [%] Charpy Impact unnotched 23 °C [kJ/m 2 ] HDT 0.45 MPa [°C] Appearance Applications Value SUKANO BIOLOY BIOLOY 002 NC001 BIOLOY 003 NC001 BIOLOY 004 NC001 BIOLOY 005 NC001 General purose grade High HDT grade High impact grade Very high impact grade 35 % 1.4 15 3’000 36 5 55 65 0 % 1.4 7 2’000 35 10 60 90 97 % * Exp. 1.25 30 3’200 50 5 30 55 70 % 1.4 20 3’000 35 14 70 50 Natural opaque Natural opaque Colorless transparent Natural opaque Caps & closures, E+E housings, sporting goods, engineering applications E+E housings, sporting goods, engineering applications, household ware Refrigerator and deep freezer, consumer goods Cosmetic & personal care, household, toys, decorative goods Better impact, higher stiffness, higher HDT compared to neat PLA Very high HDT, same as ABS Transparent, better impact compared to PS Excellent impact is similar to ABS or 5 x higher than neat PLA POLYMERS PLA ABS PP Standard polymer Standard polymer Standard polymer 100 % 1.25 26 3’500 59 2 18 55 0 % 1.05 n/a 2’350 41 5 119 89 0 % 0.9 n/a 2’400 33 118 97 82 Yellowish transparent Yellowish opaque Colorless transparent data based on single laboratory tests, natural color * confirmed by preliminary trials concentrates for transparent or opaque PLA applications. All Sukano bioconcentrates are fully compostable on an industrial scale and feature a biobased carbon content of up to 100%. Compounds for Injection Moulding For semi-durable injection moulding applications, e.g. housings, PLA has to feature good impact strength and durability. Sukano Bioloy polymer alloys (see table above) endow PLA with these features. Bioloy products are compounded to meet the requirements of producers and users. The patented Sukano Impact Modifier significantly increases impact strength and resistance of the finished material. Ensuring excellent processability of PLA was the main driving force behind Sukano’s development of Bioloy. All Sukano Bioloy products are supplied pre-dried in aluminium coated bags, thus eliminating the intermediate PLA drying step previously required in most PLA applications. Switching from oil-based to bio-based plastics entails numerous advantages. Not only will the environment benefit from the responsible utilization of its resources and from sustainable disposal concepts. End users, too, in their purchasing decisions, will increasingly opt for environmentally friendly products that contribute to reducing the CO 2 footprint. Nevertheless, many plastics manufacturers are still hesitant to use the new bioplastics as they are unsure how the new materials will behave on their existing equipment, and because the price of biopolymers is still higher than that of conventional oil-based plastics. Here are some interesting answers to these concerns: 1) Except for ‘bio’ everything remains the same - Thanks to Sukano Bioconcentrates PLA can be processed on the production lines just as conventional plastics. To ensure this the Sukano expert teams takes care that all products exactly meet requirements. 2) DIN 13432 / EN 14995 standards are met - This enables the material’s industrial disposal by composting and ensures its biodegradability. Appropriate labelling heightens awareness in the general public and generates an important added value for the product brand. 3) Customers can benefit from current funding programmes - Bioproducts are currently supported in most countries to reduce dependency upon oil resources and CO 2 emissions. In Germany, for example, biogenerated and biodegradable plastic products benefit from an exemption from the ‘Green Dot‘ licence fees to an amount of up to 1.30 Euros per kilogram of packaging material. This, to a considerable extent, compensates for the higher raw material cost. 4) Pioneers are opinion leaders - As a member of the European Bioplastics industry association Sukano is committed to supporting the broad distribution of bioplastics on a public and political level, too. Producers of plastic materials with bioproducts in their portfolio can contribute to generating the necessary ‘critical mass’ and build a decisive competitive edge. www.sukano.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/10] Vol. 5 21

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