Biobased plasticizer boosts PLA’s flexibility; additive increases heat deflection by 50°C

Biopolymer technology company Lapol recently published an update on its continuing work to augment the mechanical properties of polylactic acid- (PLA) based bioplastics.

Collaborating with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), Lapol says it has developed a bio-based plasticizer that will increase elongation in a bioplastics, while maintaining clarity and modulus or stiffness.

Since the polymerization of Lapol uses like polymers and is miscible with PLA, it obviates the need for compatibilizers. The company says its bioplasticizer is typically mixed into a bioplastic at loading levels of 5-10%, compared to similar petroleum-based plasticizers, which require loading up to 20% in a PLA, for example. In addition to the bioplasticizer, Lapol says its Lapol HDT (heat-deflection temperature) additive, which can boost the HDT of PLA by 50°C, will soon be available as a masterbatch. 

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