Project

BPM - PLA - StIC


Project title:   Strain-induced crystallization of PLA and its application for production of PLA bottle (PLAsticBottle)

Project partners:

  • Constar
  • Croda
  • Desch Plantpak
  • Food & Biobased Research
  • FKuR Kunststoff
  • Purac
  • RedOrange Food
  • Synbra
  • TU Eindhoven

PLAstic Bottle: A better bottle made from renewable plastic A plastic bottle made completely of polylactic acid (PLA) is not yet suitable for carbonated soft drinks and juices. Fizzy drinks release carbon dioxide and juices only have a very limited shelf life, if the gas barrier is too low. In the PLAstic Bottle project, researchers are therefore working on a less permeable PLA plastic. The fact that PLA is permeable to gasses such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and vapour is due to the chemical structure and morphology of the PLA, researcher Denka Hristova-Bogaerds explains. ‘This is why we are trying to change the morphology.’ You can imagine the polylactic acid polymers as a plate of spaghetti. When you orient the spaghetti strands, they will form a pattern which ensures they form crystals more easily. How the patterns are formed depends on the length of the polymer chains, the temperature, the draw ratio and the draw direction. The aim is to reshape or reinforce PLA in such a way that it becomes more crystalline and thus reaches better barrier characteristics. The bottle does have to remain as transparent as possible. If you do not have the draw and crystallisation under control, you will not achieve the required characteristics; you might pull holes in the material for example. Researchers have created simulations of the production of a plastic bottle to allow the shaping of a PLA-plastic bottle to be studied in more detail. The researchers also use different types of PLA. Lactic acid has a D and an L shape. One hundred per cent L lactic acid (PLLA) is able to crystallise more and more quickly than PLA which also contains D isomers. The first prototype bottles have now been developed, Hristova-Bogaerds reports. ‘We are now improving the process and method in order to achieve a PLA bottle with a superior performance.’


Publications


Project title:   Strain-induced crystallization of PLA and its application for production of PLA bottle (PLAsticBottle)

Project partners:

  • Constar
  • Croda
  • Desch Plantpak
  • Food & Biobased Research
  • FKuR Kunststoff
  • Purac
  • RedOrange Food
  • Synbra
  • TU Eindhoven

PLAstic Bottle: A better bottle made from renewable plastic A plastic bottle made completely of polylactic acid (PLA) is not yet suitable for carbonated soft drinks and juices. Fizzy drinks release carbon dioxide and juices only have a very limited shelf life, if the gas barrier is too low. In the PLAstic Bottle project, researchers are therefore working on a less permeable PLA plastic. The fact that PLA is permeable to gasses such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and vapour is due to the chemical structure and morphology of the PLA, researcher Denka Hristova-Bogaerds explains. ‘This is why we are trying to change the morphology.’ You can imagine the polylactic acid polymers as a plate of spaghetti. When you orient the spaghetti strands, they will form a pattern which ensures they form crystals more easily. How the patterns are formed depends on the length of the polymer chains, the temperature, the draw ratio and the draw direction. The aim is to reshape or reinforce PLA in such a way that it becomes more crystalline and thus reaches better barrier characteristics. The bottle does have to remain as transparent as possible. If you do not have the draw and crystallisation under control, you will not achieve the required characteristics; you might pull holes in the material for example. Researchers have created simulations of the production of a plastic bottle to allow the shaping of a PLA-plastic bottle to be studied in more detail. The researchers also use different types of PLA. Lactic acid has a D and an L shape. One hundred per cent L lactic acid (PLLA) is able to crystallise more and more quickly than PLA which also contains D isomers. The first prototype bottles have now been developed, Hristova-Bogaerds reports. ‘We are now improving the process and method in order to achieve a PLA bottle with a superior performance.’


Publications