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Issue 06/2015

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  • Bioplastics
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  • Plastics
  • Biodegradable
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Films/Flexibles/Bags A

Films/Flexibles/Bags A big step forward in PBAT polymerization When China-based advanced plastics material producer Jinhui Zhaolong, decided several years ago to expand into biodegradable polymer technology, the company was mainly motivated by the realization that a more sustainable approach was needed toward industrial development. Since that time, the company has successfully established its PBAT operations and has taken strides to promote the biodegradable industry in China and worldwide. Three years ago, Jinhui Zhaolong launched Ecoworld as its PBAT brand. Continuing its development work, today Ecoworld PBAT has earned all the necessary biodegradable and compostable certificates, and has also gained recognition from the industry. PBAT, an important and versatile biodegradable plastic, is the main raw material for biodegradable plastic film production, and is widely used in packaging and agriculture. As a result of rising public awareness of pollution and other environmental problems rises, combined with the desire for a higher standard of life, many actions are being taken around the world to fight white pollution. The biodegradable market is growing at rapidly; a large-scaled synthetic technology industrial is expected to be important and critical with challenges. Unlike other polymers, such as PET or PE, many unpredictable problems can occur throughout the PBAT industrialization process, such as with the catalytic system, polymerization technology, production installation and processing parameters, etc.. Over the past three years, Jinhui Zhaolong has thoroughly trialed and evaluated its process in order to to perfectly match up all these factors. Among these, the most challenging area in the PBAT polymerization process proved to be choosing the right catalyst. Various catalysts in the polymerization process have different reaction rates. Metal catalysts are well known and generally preferred, but finding a high active, selective and dispersed metal catalyst is still one of the greatest challenges. After hundreds of lab and pilot tests, the R&D team of Jinhui Zhaolong has developed a brand new catalyst system, which can perfectly fit into its 20,000 tonnes/a polymerization production process. From the above experiences, Jinhui Zhaolong has concluded that the homodispersity of the catalyst during polymerization is the key to maintaining PBAT consistency. Many new findings were discovered during the process, among which the fact that microstructure and size are the most influential factors in the preparation of catalysts. Microstructure can increase the available surface area by a factor of 1,000 or more, which leads to a uniform dispersion of the catalytic active center in the prepolymer melt. Nano sized catalysts are more efficient, but the size of catalytic particles is relative to the production system. In most cases, 10~900 nanometers is a reasonable size range. Also, the influence of the catalyst on the crystallization rate should be noted, which is based on the content of nucleating catalyst particles. The newest Ecoworld PBAT features a tensile strength of 18~20 MPa, and an elongation at break of 650 %. Researchers hope that this improvement in the mechanical properties will offer possibilities for expanding the application range of PBAT. In the future, Jinhui Zhaolong will not only target PBAT’s traditional film applications but will also try to convert PBAT into high-performance, durable, biodegradable plastics, which are designed to be used for a longer period. Jinhui Zhaolong will continue to promote the biodegradable industry and to work towards a better environment. MT 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/15] Vol. 10

Polylactic Acid Uhde Inventa-Fischer has expanded its product portfolio to include the innovative stateof-the-art PLAneo ® process. The feedstock for our PLA process is lactic acid, which can be produced from local agricultural products containing starch or sugar. The application range of PLA is similar to that of polymers based on fossil resources as its physical properties can be tailored to meet packaging, textile and other requirements. Think. Invest. Earn. Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH Holzhauser Strasse 157–159 13509 Berlin Germany Tel. +49 30 43 567 5 Fax +49 30 43 567 699 Uhde Inventa-Fischer AG Via Innovativa 31 7013 Domat/Ems Switzerland Tel. +41 81 632 63 11 Fax +41 81 632 74 03 marketing@uhde-inventa-fi www.uhde-inventa-fi Uhde Inventa-Fischer

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