FKuR and Corbion partner to develop heat resistant PLA compounds

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  • Development of heat resistant PLA for food & non-food applications
  • Part of the project: reduction of cycle time during injection moulding
  • One of the first commercial applications: thermoformed food trays

The bioplastic specialist FKuR Kunststoff GmbH and Corbion Purac have joined forces to develop PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) compounds for both heat resistant and GMO-free applications. The two companies are targeting new bioplastic compounds for applications which include both food and non-food packaging, as well as several durable products e.g. toys and office supplies. In particular, Corbion Purac and FKuR will be working to develop those applications where high temperature resistance is required, which, until now, could not work with many standard bioplastics.

Historically, PLA´s greatest challenge has been withstanding higher temperatures. In ambient conditions during the summer, for example, unmodified PLA´s can experience difficulty maintaining dimensional stability in higher temperatures. In addition to heat resistant compounds, an additional focus is the optimization of mechanical properties to increase the range of applications, and to adapt the polymers to run on existing processing equipment. A part of the development project was also to reduce the cycle time of PLA, particularly during injection moulding.

After the initial highly promising trials in October 2013, FKuR has begun systematic testing using PLA based on lactides from Corbion Purac in its formulations. One of the first commercial applications resulting from this development work is a heat resistant thermoformed food tray, produced from Bio-Flex F 6611 by Plastisud (Italy).

Corbion Purac’s lactide monomers are sourced from GMO free, renewable feedstocks such as sugarcane, and form the basis for high performance Poly Lactic Acid bioplastics (PLA). The resulting homopolymers have already been proven to withstand boiling water, and can now boast performance characteristics to rival their oil-based counterparts. As a result, PLA can replace oil-based plastics and alleviate our dependency on fossil fuels.

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