Biodegradable plastics and blends from renewable feedstocks


Nicholas J. Stam,, Department of Biological Sciences, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, NY 13066 and Arthur J. Stipanovic,, State U of New York College of Environmental Science & Forestry, 123 Jahn Laboratory, 1 Forestry Dr, Syracuse, NY 13210.
Biodegradable plastics are costly and, therefore, have limited cost-effective application in the consumer market. One option to increase the cost-effectiveness of these products is to blend the plastics with biodegradable filler polymers of lesser cost. The goal of this study was to blend xylan, a hemicellulose polymer and waste material from the paper-making industry, with biodegradable plastics, most specifically polylactide (PLA), a commercially available biodegradable plastic (corn-starch based). The thermal and physical properties of the blends were analyzed in order to determine whether or not the blends function as suitable substitutes for pure PLA, and/or whether the blend has valuable properties of its own. Preliminary data suggested that increasing the concentration of xylan up to 50% in a PLA blend results in a lowered glass transition temperature (~50 C to ~35 C). However, physical stability is somewhat compromised in such a highly concentrated blend, as evidenced by a decreased modulus.

CELL Poster Session
5:00 PM-7:00 PM, Sunday, March 22, 2009 Salt Palace Convention Center -- Hall 5, Poster

Division of Cellulose & Renewable Materials

The 237th ACS National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, March 22-26, 2009