Biopolymers are a more sustainable, but equally effective, alternative to petrochemically derived polymers.
A biopolymer is a polymer comprised, at least in part, of building blocks called monomers, produced from renewable feedstocks such as corn, sugar beet and wheat. Biopolymers can be biodegradable and compostable; however, this is not always the case. The most common types of biopolymers include:
- Bio-based polyesters (such as PET, PLA, PBAT, PBS and PHA)
- Starch blends
- Bio-based polyamides
- Bio-based polyethylene
Bio-based raw materials can be used to create biopolymer versions of traditional polymers. The bio-based version can even be chemically identical to the petrochemical-based polymer. This means that the properties and performance of the polymer do not change whilst the percentage of renewable carbon that the polymer contains is increased.
Biopolymers may or may not be biodegradable or compostable, as is the case with conventional petrochemically derived polymers, therefore consideration needs to be given to dealing with plastic waste. Biopolymers are a good option for the Circular Plastics Economy (CPE), by using renewable carbon. Recycling is another option as this means plastics can be recovered and re-used instead of being sent to landfill or ending up in the environment.
Biopolymers are used in a variety of applications such as in food and beverage packaging, agricultural films, parts for electronics, automotive components, sporting goods and textiles.
Biopolymers and bioplastics are increasingly considered as substitutes for solely petrochemical-based polymers as fossil fuels become scarcer and consumer demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives increases.
Our offering for biopolymers
Product finderView our range for biopolymers
Biopolymers are still a relative recent technology, compared to traditional polymers such as polyolefins, so not all properties are fine-tuned which can create challenges during processing. This can cause issues during the manufacturing of films, sheets and in injection moulding. Problems with processing can lead to:
- Poor mould release
- Scratches and scuffs, reducing surface quality
- Reduced output rate
- Wear on equipment
- Increased energy consumption, leading to higher production costs
To overcome these issues, we offer a range of bio-based additives that can be used to improve processability and performance of biopolymers whilst maintaining an excellent sustainability profile. The types of additives we offer are:
- Mold release
- Pigment dispersion
- Slip & anti-block
- Torque release
Bio-based polyesters and polyamides are increasingly used in demanding applications such as components for electronics, transportation, and sporting goods. To ensure that they meet high performance requirements, these polymers need to be modified to improve mechanical properties. Modification in this way increases:
- Moisture resistance
Our up to 100% bio-based building block technology offers the opportunity to modify and improve the performance of biopolymer resins whilst at the same time increasing their bio-based content for a better environmental profile.
Enhancing performance in polyester films
Polyester films, used in applications such as protective films for electronics, must be able to withstand tough conditions.
Pripol distilled dimer acid building blocks bring the following benefits in polyester films:
- Excellent transparency
- Excellent impact and puncture resistance
- Chemical resistance
Reducing friction in PLA
A customer wanted to improve the processability of injection molded PLA parts. They found that by incorporating 0.5 % of a blend of Crodamide ER/BR at a 7:3 ratio, the following improvements were seen:
- Decreasing friction by up to 50%
- Improving mould release
- Improving packing density of molded parts
- Increasing scratch and scuff resistance
- Improving surface quality
- Improving pigment dispersion and melt flow during processing
The additive blend had no impact on colour, clarity and physical properties of the polymer.
Reducing static in PLA & PLA blends with Atmer 190
Atmer 190 is an internally incorporated additive for PLA and PLA blends, and provides medium term static protection by lowering the resistivity of the material. Addition levels range between 0.1 – 0.3% and have no impact on clarity or other mechanical properties.