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Chain Extenders Improve Processing of PLA Biopolymers

SpecialChem / Jul 4, 2008

As the number of environmentally conscious consumers continue to grow into a transformative global force, the market demand for biopolymers also continues to increase. This, in turn, puts pressure on materials suppliers and processors to find ways to increase productivity and quality of biopolymer products, while simultaneously reducing scrap and cutting costs. Biopolymers can be easy to extrude and mold, but they are naturally low in melt strength, and are prone to degradation during processing. Recently, certain additives called chain extenders have been used successfully to improve rheological properties, and it looks like this technology can be used to help these remarkable polymers reach their full potential. One of the biopolymers that is already widely being used for packaging applications as well as for durable products is PLA. However, one of the limitations of PLA is its processing instability. It is highly vulnerable to thermal, oxidative and hydrolytic degradation, all of which may occur during processing.

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