New: scratch resistant Japanese art on bioplastic


NEC has announced a breakthrough in the scratch resistance of its "Urushi black" tone bioplastic.

mThe company developed its cellulose-based bioplastic in 2016 using unique technology for mixing additives to adjust the coloration and light reflectance of the material, yielding for the first time, the optical properties (low brightness, high glossiness, etc.) characteristic of traditional craft Japanese lacquerware.
The bioplastic was developed in collaboration with Dr. Yutaro Shimode, a renowned Japanese lacquerware artist, professor at Kyoto Sangyo University and a third-generation president of the Shimode makie-studio. Maki-e is a traditional Japanese craft in which a picture is drawn with a brush on the surface of lacquerware that is coated with lacquer, and then polished.

Maki-e style printing makes it possible to reproduce elaborate, three-dimensional maki-e drawn on the surface of lacquerware, on the bioplastic. For practical use, however, a high degree scratch resistance is needed.

NEC has now developed a compound technology of additives that prevents scratching, even after repeated rubbing with cloth or paper, yet that maintains the optical characteristics of "Urushi black." With this technology, one of the highest levels of scratch resistance has been achieved among plastics used for decorative purposes.
With the help of digital image processing based on elaborate, three-dimensional, first-class maki-e drawn by Dr. Shimode, in combination with optimised ink composition, colouring components, and printing conditions, NEC has succeeded in advanced maki-e style printing that enables near faithful reproduction of the actual works.

"In the future, NEC aims to collaborate with resin material manufacturers to promote the practical use of this material in durable products and luxury commodities that contribute to a decorative atmosphere and environmental friendliness," said Mr. Soichi Tsumura, General Manager, IoT Device Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation.


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