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Issue 02/2015

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  • Packaging
  • Biobased
  • Bioplastics
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  • Biodegradable
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  • Films
  • Renewable

Polyurethanes /

Polyurethanes / Elastomers Bio-based PolyTHF BASF has announced that it is now offering bio-based Polytetrahydrofuran 1000 (PolyTHF 1000) for the first time. The company is providing this intermediate to selected partners for testing various applications in a large scale. PolyTHF is a hygroscopic polymer made up of linear diols with a backbone of repeating tetramethylene units, which are connected by ether linkages. The chains are capped with primary hydroxyl units and are produced by polymerizing tetrahydrofuran. It is a white solid that melts into a clear, colorless liquid when heated to between -15 and 30 °C, depending on its molecular weight. PolyTHF is especially beneficial when used as a building block for soft segment elastomers such as polyurethanes, copolyetheresters and co-polyetheramides. Its hydroxyl groups react with other functional groups such as organic acids or isocyanates. The most significant reactions are polyaddition and polycondensation. “The bio-based PolyTHF 1000 is identical in quality to the petrochemical-based product,” said Andrej Brejc, Director Renewable Diols from BASF’s Intermediates division. “The opportunity to expand the range of products and applications made from renewable raw materials allows us and our partners to further explore the long-term market acceptance of this innovative technology.” PolyTHF is derived from 1,4 butanediol (BDO), which BASF has produced under license from Genomatica. BASF began production of 1,4-butanediol based on renewable feedstock using Genomatica’s patented one-step fermentation process, based on sugars. BASF is the world’s leading provider of PolyTHF. It is primarily used to make elastic spandex fibers for a large variety of textiles, including underwear, outerwear, sportswear and swimsuits. PolyTHF 1000 is mainly applied as a chemical building block for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is used to make for example parts of ski boots and skates, shoe soles and instrument panel skin for automotive applications as well as hoses, films and cable sheathing. It is also used as a component of thermoplastic polyetheresters and polyetheramides. Other applications include cast elastomers, which are used, for example, for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates. KL O n OH 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10

Polyurethanes / Elastomers Biobased TPE to create innovative new products In 2011 Green Dot (Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, USA) introduced Terratek Flex, the first biodegradable, thermoplastic elastomer available in the North American market. Terratek Flex is partially derived from biobased materials (starch) and offers a range of physical attributes comparable to engineering grade thermoplastic elastomers. Terratek Flex is strong and pliable with an exquisite soft touch. The material characteristics provide excellent performance in fabrication and can be used with existing manufacturing equipment in the majority of plastic processing applications including, injection molding, profile extrusion, sheet extrusion, thermoforming and lamination. Terratek Flex also offers superior printing and scenting compared to petroleum based TPE’s. The Terratek Flex family of resins is available in injection molding and extrusion grades and can be modified to help meet customer’s needs for hardness and flexibility. It can be used to create softer, flexible parts, in over-molding, or to modify the impact properties and flexibility of other biopolymers such as PLA or PBS. Green Dot’s initial product success was a compostable phone case for the iPhone. Green Dot designed and manufactured the case and shipped over 100,000 units, placing the new material directly in the hands of consumers. The company has also worked with Fort Collins, Colorado toy maker, BeginAgain Toys to produce several products. Scented Scoops is an imaginative ice cream play set with ice cream scoops made using Terratek Flex with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry scents. BeginAgain has also used the material in several teething toys. Terratek Flex has been tested by NSF International Laboratories and found to be free from phthalates, BPA, lead and cadmium. Green Dot recently showcased synthetic leather made from Terratek Flex at the NPE 2015 plastics expo held in Orlando, Florida in March (see photos). Green Dot synthetic leather is breathable and strong and is made without solvents, adhesives or harmful discharge to water. Garments and accessories made from the synthetic leather were featured in the ‘Zero Waste’ fashion show during the expo’s opening ceremonies. Additional tote bags and backpacks made by New York designer Catherine were also displayed in Green Dot’s booth at the show. Green Dot is currently working with top tier companies in athletic footwear, upholstery, and accessories who are using the synthetic leather to create new products to meet the growing consumer demand for more sustainable goods. Garment for Green Dot created by Siobhan Mulhern, Savannah College of Art and Design (photo:NPE) bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10 23

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