PhD defence

Multiscale investigation and characterization of nanoparticle reinforced plastics - toward a circular plastics economy

PhD candidate Ivanne Colijn
Promotor CGPH (Karin) Schroen
Organisation Wageningen University, Food Process Engineering

Fri 20 January 2023 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Omnia
Room Auditorium


The use and production of fossil-based plastics are problematic. Bioplastics are often proposed as alternatives but their properties are often not good enough for their intended application. We added nanoparticles to bioplastics, creating so-called ‘nanocomposites’, with improved properties such as strength and permeability. In essence, nanoparticles have the tendency to cluster together into big particles, whereas a nice distribution throughout the material is required for optimal material properties. Ultimately, we used chitin nanocrystals from a waste product of the fish industry, modified them when needed, and added them to the bioplastic ‘polylactic acid’ (PLA). We found that this improves their distribution inside the bioplastic, and overall the properties of the plastic as a whole. We showed that there are genuine opportunities for the materials that we made within our research because stakeholders have different ideas about the use of plastics inside a circular economy concept.