Researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. Researchers found that nanoparticles with PLA resulted in a transparent film that makes the material suitable for use in electronics.
As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have developed bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources. They report their development in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
In 2014, consumers around the world discarded about 42 million metric tons of e-waste, according to a report by the United Nations University. This poses an environmental and human threat because electronic products are made up of many components, some of which are toxic or non-degradable. To help address the issue, Xinlong Wang and colleagues sought to develop a degradable material that could be used for electronic substrates or insulators.
The researchers started with polylactic acid, or PLA, which is a bioplastic that can be derived from corn starch or other natural sources and is already used in the packaging, electronics and automotive industries. PLA by itself, however, is brittle and flammable, and doesn’t have the right electrical properties to be a good electronic substrate or insulator. But the researchers found that blending metal-organic framework nanoparticles with PLA resulted in a transparent film with the mechanical, electrical and flame retardant properties that make the material a promising candidate for use in electronics.
Russian dandelions have the potential to become an alternative, environmentally friendly raw material source, thereby helping to reduce dependency on traditionally produced natural rubber. Cultivation in Northern and Western Europe is possible, making transportation routes to the European production sites shorter. [more]
Italian levulinic acid producer GF Biochemicals and American Process Inc. (API), a bioprocess technology firm, have announced plans to jointly build a cellulosic biorefinery in the U.S. The refinery would be the world’s largest, with capacity to generate up to 200,000 metric tons per year of biobased products. [more]
Bolloré, family-owned French shrink film company that has pioneered the development of ultra-thin packaging, became the first manufacturer at the end of last year to announce the launch of an ultrathin packaging shrink film based on green polyethylene. [more]
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