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BIO-BASED POLYMERS | MATERIALS


Aiming for new heights in bio-based materials


Development of bio-based polymers with properties that come close to fossil- based plastics is allowing their use in more demanding applications. Peter Mapleston writes about new materials from producers


Polymer producers, compounders and processors around the world are having notable successes in obtaining increasingly impressive properties from thermoplastics made from renewable resources, referred to as bio-based plastics or bioplastics. Sometimes, the polymers used are just about identical to polymers made from fossil-based feedstocks – think polycarbonate for example. Sometimes they are extensions to existing polymer families, most notably polyamides. And sometimes they are polymers that never existed before – PLA and PHAs are the most notable examples, poly- mers that some people would have you believe are not plastics at all. But in all cases, suppliers and processors are pitching them at applications that require performance, not just that “green” tag. Arctic Biomaterials in Tampere, Finland,


produces high-performance bio-based and biodegradable compounds and composites. One unique feature of its ABMcomposite technology is proprietary high-strength degradable glass fibres (see Injection World March 2019). Ari Rosling, the company’s R&D director, says:


“These glass fibres start to slowly dissolve and degrade under moist conditions. The technology is well-known in the medical implant sector. The main ingredients are the same as in conventional window glass – only the proportions are different, which enables fibre production and the unique dissolution chemistry.” Arctic Biomaterials brought a new commercial-scale glass production facility


www.injectionworld.com


online in 2019 to meet needs in technical materials. The company is currently validating its degradable glass fibre-reinforced grades, which Rosling says have shown excellent cycle times combined with high strength, heat resistance and compostability. Arctic Biomaterials has already launched a new


product family, ArcBiox MFA-series, which consists of bio-based compounds using blends of various biopolymers filled with inorganic minerals. It says their environmental footprint is up to 80% lower than fossil-based ABS. According to R&D project manager Esa Hallinen, the MFA-series provides an excellent alternative for ABS and PP in such applications as cosmetics and personal care, kitchenware or industrial applications, such as semi-durable machine parts.


Main image: The Belightful Butterfly Feeder, injection moulded in ArcBiox A1008 from Arctic Biomaterials


� June 2021 | INJECTION WORLD 41


IMAGE: ARCTIC BIOMATERIALS


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