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Injection Moulding in concentrations of up to 30%. Talc was found to be a particularly good fit, as it significantly increases both the elastic modulus (a measure of rigidity) and impact strength at concentrations of up to 20% (see Fig. 3a/b). Thanks to this effect, manufacturers can now achieve property profiles comparable to those of a number of standard plastics [3]. The effect on processing was found to be similar: thanks to Vinnex, PLA/PBS polymer blends can easily be processed using traditional injection molding, thermoforming or extrusion equipment. And because Vinnex effectively suppresses recrystallization while improving melt strength, the polymer blend can be thermoformed to yield stable, three-dimensional structures. Thermoforming Opens the Door to Mass Markets With the aid of a series of prototypes, Wacker developers have now been able to demonstrate that blends of PLA and PBS can be thermoformed to create containers suitable for hot filling applications (see Fig. 4), opening up mass markets for products such as coffee cups and soup containers. Future consumer behavior may provide an additional tailwind as well: a recent study conducted by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan showed that food products represent the primary area where consumers demand biodegradable packaging. This requires food-contact approval for use in foods from the EU and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which have already approved selected Vinnex grades. For PBS, food-grade approval in the US is still pending from the FDA, but this is expected in 2015 at the latest. Conclusion: Modular System for a Broad Range of Applications Polymers based on renewable resources may represent a sustainable alternative to petrochemicals. Until now, however, the properties and processing characteristics of pure biopolymers have often failed to match those of standard thermoplastics. Thanks to the Vinnex binder system, polymers based on renewable raw materials can now be processed just like conventional thermoplastics. The system improves the physical properties of the bioplastics and also makes the materials compatible with each other – the use of Vinnex for optimizing polymer blends is not limited to just the PLA/PBS system, after all. Quite the contrary: a variety of Vinnex grades can be combined with one or more biopolyesters and fillers. This modular concept makes it possible to combine polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) with cellulose acetate (CA) or starch to create polymer blends that, depending on their composition and Vinnex content, exhibit better impact strength, melt strength and flexibility than conventional biopolymers. Vinnex thus opens up an expanding range of applications for bioplastics. For example, the new blends can be processed into food packaging materials, brochures, office supplies and promotional items, parts for electronic appliances or self-degradable gardening and agricultural containers. Fig. 4: Thermoformed parts made of PBS/PLA blends with Vinnex (right) and without Vinnex (left) Karl Weber Wacker Chemie AG References: [1] Li Shen, Juliane Haufe, Martin K. Patel: Product overview and market projection of emerging biobased plastics. PRO-BIP 2009, Final Report, June 2009. [2] McCarthy et. al, United States Patent 5,883,199 (Mar. 16, 1999). [3] Bhatia, A, Gupta, R, Bhattacharya, S, and Choi, H 2007, “Compatibilty of biodegradable poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) blends for packaging applications,” Korea-Australia Rheology Journal, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 125-131. [4] Pfaadt, Marcus, Tangelder, Robert, European Patent EP 2 334 734 B1 of October 14, 2009. 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/14] Vol. 9

Show Review The booth of NatureWorks (Photo: Adsale) Chinaplas 2014 - Review CHINAPLAS 2014, Asia’s largest plastics and rubber fair was running its 28th edition in Shanghai on 23-26 April, setting a number of new records. The exhibition attracted 130,370 visitors during the 4-day show, up 14.26% as compared with last year in Guangzhou. It also sets a new record since its debut in 1983. With the exhibition becoming increasingly international, the number of overseas visitors soars by 19.73% to 36,841 which accounts for 28.26% of total visitors. They are coming from 143 countries and regions mainly from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, etc. The number of domestic visitors maintains a strong figure of 93,529 with an increment of 12.24%. Besides, CHINAPLAS also marks the new records in terms of exhibition scale and number of exhibitors participated. This year, over 3,000 exhibitors from 39 countries and regions participated in the show, of which over 400 are new to the show. In addition to occupying all 17 exhibition halls in Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC), 13 additional outdoor halls and 6 exhibition suites were also set up at the Central Square of SNIEC to cope with the ever increasing number of exhibitors, resulting in a total exhibition area over 220,000 sqm for this year. In a special Bioplastics Zone in hall N3 again more than 30 companies were listed in the show catalogue to present their products and services in terms of biobased and/or biodegradable plastics. In contrast to previous years the number of companies offering traditional PE or PP filled with starch, straw or bamboo, as well as oxo-degradable additives and compounds was significantly smaller. On the contrary, it could be noticed, that the Chinese companies (suppliers as well as visitors/buyers) do no longer focus just on the biodegradability, but consider the biobased origin of raw materials as increasingly important. Suppliers of PBAT for example are looking for biobased 1,4-BDO … In addition to the Chinaplas Preview published in the last issue, you can find a few more highlights here. As a first time exhibitor at Chinaplas 2014, Reverdia (a JV between DSM and Roquette) demonstrated the benefits of Biosuccinium sustainable succinic acid with 100% bio-based content and lower environmental footprint. The company highlighted the value of partnership with the Chinese plastics industry. Biosuccinium enables the production of a biobased PBS (polybutylene succinate), a biodegradable polymer that can be used as a single polymer or in compounds for both durable and biodegradable applications. Other applications include polyols for polyurethanes, coating and composite resins and phthalate-free plasticizers. End products include footwear, packaging, paints and many more. Hydal Biotech is the first and only industrial technology for production of biopolymers in the world which uses waste, used cooking oil, as a source and doesn’t exhaust raw materials from the food chain. It also exhibits highest productivity and yield of the polymer thanks to patented know-how and used resources. Hydal Biotech is a Czech-Chinese Joint Venture founded by two partners that reached significant synergic effects. Its founders are Nafigate Corporation and Jiangsu Clean Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. Czech Company Nafigate Corporation, specialized in the transfer of high-tech technologies, has introduced its unique Hydal biotechnology to the Chinese market. Nafigate has partnered on this project with China-based Suzhou Cleanet, a company that collects and processes waste cooking oil at an increasing number of locations in China. Shanghai Disoxidation Enterprise Development Co., Ltd., introduced a UV-stabilized grade of their PBAT based BSR 09 material. Thus it is now perfectly suited for mulch film applications. Tests run in northern part of China showed very positive results. BSR 09 has been successfully produced since 2010, and acquired certificates of EN13432, ASTM D6400 and AS4736.MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/13] Vol. 8 17

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