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Foam is the much higher

Foam is the much higher for Ecovio samples (i.e. both Ecovio and Ecovio-talc). Thus as seen in cell size, compatibilization had positive effect on the cell morphology of the foamed materials, i.e., increasing the cell density. This is in agreement with the published literature [36]. Effects on Volume Expansion Ratio (VER) Volume expansion ratio denotes the amount of volume that has proportionately expanded as a result of foaming. Figure 2 presents the volume expansion ratio with respect to temperature. The addition of talc has decreased the VERs of PLA and non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blend. This is due to increase in stiffness and strength of the polymer melt. For Ecovio, the addition of talc had no significant effect on VER. While comparing the non-filled and talc filled compatibilized and non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blends, it can be inferred that non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blends possesses higher VER in comparison to compatibilized blends. Thus, compatibilization had a negative effect on the VER which could be due to increase in the melt strength of the compatibilized blends [37]. Effects on Open Cell Content (OCC) The open cell content illustrates the interconnectivity between various cells. A highly open cell structured foam can be used in numerous industrial applications such as filters, separation membranes, diapers, tissue engineering etc. Figure 3 shows the variation of open cell content (OCC) with temperature. In general, the open cell content is governed by cell wall thickness [37]. As per the cell opening strategies discussed in [37], higher cell density, higher expansion ratios, creating structural inhomogeneity by using polymer blends or adding cross-linker and using a secondary blowing agent, all decrease the cell wall thickness thereby increasing the OCC. Some of them work in conjunction with the other. With the addition of talc, the OCC decreased for PLA and noncompatibilized PLA/PBAT blend which might be attributed to an increase in stiffness and strength of the talc filled samples. For Ecovio, the OCC increased with the addition of talc. Thus, talc had a varying effect on the OCC of PLA and its blends (compatibilized and non-compatibilized). In the analysis of OCC for compatibilized and non-compatibilized blends, it can be inferred that compatibilization has reduced the OCC significantly among non-filled blends but increased the OCC slightly among talc filled blends. Further investigation is required to study the varied effects of compatibilization on the OCC of blends. In summary, biodegradable PLA/PBAT foams have been successfully produced using CO 2 as a blowing agent. Two types of blends systems have been investigated, compatibilized and non-compatibilized. The effects of talc and compatibilization have been studied on different foam properties such as cell morphology, volume expansion, and open cell content. The financial support from National Science Foundation (CMMI-0734881) is gratefully acknowledged. References 1 D.W. Grijpma, G.J. Zonderwan, A.J. Pennings, Polym. Bull. 25 (1991) 327-333. 2 R.H. Wehrenberg, Mater. Eng. 94 (1981) 63-66. 3 M. Hiljanen-Vainio, T. Karjalainen, J.V. Seppala, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 59 (1996) 1281-1288. 4 M. Hiljanen-Vainio, P.A. Orava, J.V. Seppala, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 34 (1999) 39-46. 5 B. Buchholz, J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Med. 4 (1993) 381-388. 6 A. Nakayama, N. Kawasaki, I. Arvanitoyannis, J. Iyoda, N. Yamamoto, Polymer. 36 (1995) 1295-1301. 7 L. Jiang, M.P. Wolcott, J. Zhang, Biomacromolecules. 7 (2006) 199-207. 8 S. Aslan, L. Calandrelli, P. Laurienzo, M. Malinconico, C. Migliaresi, J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Med. 35 (2000) 1615-1622. 9 M. Hiljanen-Vainio, P. Varpomaa, J.V. Seppala, P. Tormala, Macromol. 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Foam Jim Fogarty, a foam industry veteran, and his sons Dave, Bill, and Matthew, are the owners of Plastic Engineering Associates Licensing, Inc.(‘PEAL‘), a company which specializes in licensing high technology foam feed screws & processing know-how for the extrusion of foamed polymers such as polystyrene, polyethylene and polylactic acid. “A familiar refrain we hear when we ask our potential customers about their interest in extruding biodegradable & compostable foam food trays is ‘we don’t see it in our marketplace’; We are very fortunate to have a father that has worked exclusively in the foam polystyrene industry as a chemical engineer for nearly 50 years. Jim was a first hand witness to the markets movement away from pulp and toward foam containers.” states Bill Fogarty, the company’s Vice President. Jim Fogarty offers his perspective: “For me, the market parallels are quite similar to what I saw in the transition of the market from pulp to foam trays. Back in the early 1960’s, the pulp guys said ‘polystyrene foam will never make it’ and ‘polystyrene foam is too difficult to make.’ More often than not, we would hear ‘polystyrene foam is too expensive’ and ‘we don’t see it in our market’. It’s incredible how similar it is to today’s objections to biopolymer foam,” “None of the pulp container manufacturers are in the foam container business today. The pulp guys never saw it coming. Every one of them watched as their market shrunk and eventually they lost it all to polystyrene foam. Today, the market is transitioning from petroleum based resins to sustainable, renewable biopolymer resins like NatureWorks’ Ingeo. And if you are a foam food packaging company, and you wait to get into the biopolymer foam game, it may very well be too late for you. Your market won’t wait for you to catch up to the competition,” “Ideally, any foamed biopolymer food or meat tray should have the same cost as a polystyrene tray, the same appearance, and the same performance characteristics. With respect to the performance and appearance characteristics, at least with regard to cold case foam applications, we are identical to polystyrene foam and in some ways, better than polystyrene foam. NatureWorks tells us that at US a barrel oil, their Ingeo resin is cost competitive with polystyrene. For my money, I’m betting on oil being more expensive tomorrow than it is today and today’s oil price is in the US to 90 range.” Fogarty stated. “When an industry veteran like Jim speaks about the foam market, we pay attention. Jim has truly done it all in the foam industry, from manufacturing, applied Research and Development, consulting, equipment design, inventing, polymerization, green-field foam plants, you name it and Jim has done it. And with 50 years of experience, he’s seen it all, too. We know he is spot on about the inevitability of biopolymers in the foam industry” states Bill Fogarty. A Foam Veteran‘s View on Biopolymer Foam European Plastic Packaging Conference 2011 Düsseldorf, May 9 -10, 2011, prior to Interpack sustainable economical organized by bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6 39

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