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New Thermally Formable 100% Bio-based Material to Replace Fossil-based Plastics: VTT

Published on 2018-07-10. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Green and Bioplastics    

First Model Product - A Designer Chair
First Model Product - A Designer Chair
VTT has developed a thermally formable, biodegradable material, which is 100% bio-based. Its suitability for applications such as furniture makes it an attractive alternative to wood and biocomposite materials available in the market, not only because of its biodegradability but also due to its formability and coloring properties.

Biocomposites Replacing Fossil-based Plastics

Biocomposites made from entirely bio-based raw materials can be used to replace fossil raw material derived plastics, which have traditionally been used in industrial applications. Being thermoformable, the material is well suited for various manufacturing processes and products.

Lisa Wikström, Research Team Leader from VTT, said:
"All the goals we set were achieved: the material is 100% bio-based, cellulose fibers account for a significant proportion, it looks good and it has excellent performance characteristics."

Fully Biodegradable

  • At the end of their life-cycle, products made from this material can be re-used, composted, or burned to generate energy without any fossil-based carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Because the material degrades into carbon dioxide and water due to microbial actions, it will not exacerbate the global microplastic problem.

Lisa Wikström concluded:
"New bio-based, thermally formable materials and composites are a promising alternative for the plastic products market. However, a big breakthrough is yet to come. A major shift requires cooperation between material and process developers as well as designers."

First Model Product - A Designer Chair

The first model product is a designer chair manufactured as a joint effort between VTT, Plastec Finland and KO-HO Industrial design. The chair, manufactured using traditional compounding and injection molding technologies, is made from wood-based cellulose fibers, renewable and industrially compostable, thermoformable polylactide, and bio-based additives.

VTT developed the material in the ACEL research program funded by Clic Innovations Ltd., and the proof of concept stage was carried out with Plastec Finland, an injection molding company.

Source: VTT
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