Worldwide, the problems associated with the production of large amounts of waste are recognised as some of the most serious to be faced currently. For example, 41% of 30.4 million tonne pa of plastics used in the EU are used for packaging, more than 75% en ds up in landfill. In the case of plastic waste the preferred solution, up to now, is recycling. Nevertheless, degradable materials can play an important role to reduce these waste disposal problems. Biodegradable polymers, such as poly(lactic acid), not a ble to replace environmentally unfriendly packaging because their physical properties are representative of brittle materials. The work contained in this programme is designed to address this problem by producing plasticizers, that are also biodegradable, that can be blended with PLA and extruded to produce flexible films. A recent project supported by the EU under the CRAFT programme have shown that such plasticizers can be engineered from block copolymers of poly(ethylene glycol), a flexible block, and po ly(lactic acid), compatible with the base polymer.The main objective of this project is to continue the exploitation of our new method developed to replace the tin catalyst for the synthesis of poly(lactic acid) homopolymer and poly(lactic acid)-co-poly(et hylene glycol) (PLA-PEG) copolymers using a non toxic potassium based catalyst.The new catalyst system will also be used for the synthesis of other aliphatic polyesters such as poly(caprolactone), poly(glycolic acid) and their different copolymers.Using th is safe catalyst system, the obtained polymers can be directed towards different applications:- As modifiers for PLA to enhance its physical properties for production of environment-friendly packaging such as films, bottles, trays etc. - The combination of their biodegradability and biocompatibility, the produced hompolymers and copolymers can be as biomaterials for different biomedical applications.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/industrial biotechnology/biomaterials/bioplastics/polylactic acid
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/polymer science
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/aliphatic compounds
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
Call for proposal
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