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Metabolix to Discuss Biobased PHA Uses for PLA Modification at ITR

Published on 2016-03-03. Author : SpecialChem

Metabolix PHA applications
Fig. 1: Metabolix to Exhibit
on the Benefits of PHA
Innovation Takes Root (ITR) takes place March 30 – April 1 in Orlando where Metabolix will be exhibiting on the benefits of a-PHA as a performance modifier for PLA. This bi-annual show is the must-attend event for companies working with PLA. With “innovation” as part of its name, ITR focuses on helping companies gain first-hand knowledge and insight into material features and functionality, discover new solutions, and network with a full spectrum of plastics industry experts.

At ITR, Metabolix’s team will engage with conference goers to learn about their applications and discuss the benefits of its innovative Mirel® specialty PHAs as performance modifiers for PLA. Its specialty PHAs are 100% biobased and preserve the compostability profile of PLA.

In particular, it will be showcasing the use of its amorphous PHAs (a-PHA) as performance modifiers for PLA in applications such as:

Sheet Extrusion and Thermoformed Packaging: The addition of a-PHA at low loading levels, <5%, can eliminate the brittle fracture associated with the edge trimming, conveying and cutting of extruded sheets and thermoformed parts. The addition of a-PHA increases the impact strength of the finished part and at loading levels up to 10% will increase toughness and ductility to such an extent that it prevents brittle failure and splintering under impact load. The production of clear parts is also still possible when PLA is modified with a-PHA.

Clear packaging film: PHA modified PLA film is both tough and ductile, creating a clear film that is suitable for a broad range of packaging applications. With just 5% shrinkage, the film can be heated and brought into intimate contact with the packaged container to increase packaging strength and provide a sharper cleaner image for printed graphics and messaging.

Fibers and Non-wovens: a-PHA modifiers bring significant softness to PLA fibers at low loading levels which produce a soft, silky feel in woven applications. a-PHA modifiers can also increase the strength of high flow non-woven PLA fibers. This is ideal for developing compostable single-use hygiene and personal care products such as wipes, and in medical products such as gauzes and surgical gowns and drapes.

3D printing filament: Improvements to the toughness/modulus balance can be achieved through blends with its Mirel a-PHA biopolymer and PLA for 3D printing filament. Use of its a-PHA enables extrusion of 3D printing filament with good quality and consistent thickness. The modified filament prints at the same speed and temperature profile as standard PLA with an improvement in layer to layer adhesion. The resulting parts will be softer and tougher than parts made with pure PLA allowing for prototyping of parts with properties more similar to actual production materials.

Injection Molded Applications: The addition of a-PHA to PLA enables the strength and toughness of injection molded products to be increased substantially to produce high biocontent parts. Physical properties can be further optimized by the addition of mineral fillers, where necessary. The addition of a-PHA can be applied to various molding geometries with different rheology and molding requirements.

About Metabolix

Metabolix, Inc. is a specialty materials company focused on delivering high- performance biopolymer solutions to customers in the plastics industry. Metabolix’s Mirel® biopolymers, which are derived from renewable resources, are a family of biobased performance additives and specialty resins based on PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Metabolix’s proprietary biotechnology platform enables the creation of specialty biopolymers for use in a broad range of applications such as construction and packaging materials, as well as industrial, consumer and personal care products.

Source: Metabolix
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