Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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New biofiller for thermoplastic composites

BiocompositesBiofillersESTECHNatural fillersThermoplastics

Introduction

Due to the environmental problems generated by traditional plastics, polymeric materials from renewable and / or biodegradable sources (bioplastics) are increasingly of interest. However bioplastics are very expensive, rare in the market and the feedstock required is in competition with food sources,  and are therefore not an efficient solution. In light of this, our bio-filler was created to help the plastic industry overcome these challenges, by providing them with a new, greener, high performance and cost-effective material from renewable sources.

Technical features

The patented filler comes from a renewable wine waste called “lees”. It can be dried and ground and used as a low-cost natural filler for polymer matrices, especially biodegradable and bio-based ones. The filler is mixed into the molten state and the output product (semi-finished) can be sold and / or subsequently processed to obtain the finished product. The composite material obtained with the patented filler has improved mechanical properties (increased stiffness and creep resistance), has a lower carbon footprint and it can biodegrade better and faster. Furthermore, the final cost of these composite materials is also significantly lower than one of neat polymers, especially in the case of bio-based and biodegradable biopolymers, and therefore these sustainable materials could be adopted in a large scale by many companies.

This biofiller has been successfully tested with: Polyethylene (LD and HDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), Polyammide 11 (PA 11), Poly(lactic acid) (PLA), Poly(butylene succinate) (PBS), Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephtalate) (PBAT), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and thermoplastic starchs (TPS).

Possible Applications

  • Rigid and flexible packaging: films, bottles, containers, etc.;
  • Disposable packaging: cutleries, dishes, etc.;
  • Agriculture: biodegradable wires, mulch films and flowerpots;
  • Consumer’s goods: personal care, toys, sunglasses, etc.;
  • Food packaging: coffee capsules, wine closures, etc.;

Advantages

  • Low cost, not hazardous and not food competitive;
  • Fully or highly bio-based, abundantly and annually available;
  • Technologically pre-treatable;
  • Compatible with most polymeric materials;
  • Reinforcing: improves thermo-mechanical properties;
  • Increases the biodegradation’s rate.