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Bio-based and biodegradable: PHAs as a sustainable alternative

Bio-based and biodegradable: PHAs as a sustainable alternative


To open more and more polymer systems based on Polytives’ platform technology, development, trials and sometimes adaptations at molecular level are required. Polytives would like to take these steps, especially for sustainable polymers, to offer an answer to the constantly growing demand. Polymer additives are also a game changer when it comes to processing (previously) unusual materials.

So-called PHAs and what they are all about

The group of polyhydroxyalkanoates, known as PHAs for short, are not yet particularly widespread and are therefore not necessarily the best-known group of polymers. They are sustainable biopolyesters that can be obtained naturally – for example from bacteria. The fact that they can be processed thermoplastically makes them highly interesting for plastics processors who are looking for sustainable alternatives to meet customer needs.

To be able to offer a sustainable alternative for certain applications that is also permanently available in good quality, it is worth taking a look at the area of so-called biopolymers. As already described, PHAs are a group of materials that are attracting more and more interest. Because they are biobased, biodegradable and biocompatible, they combine a whole range of added values in terms of sustainable alternatives.

Why are PHAs not yet in widespread use?

Although polyhydroxyalkanoates have thermoplastic properties, the processing windows for users have so far been so narrow that it is unfortunately difficult to talk about simple implementation in existing processes. This is now set to change.

There is only a temperature difference of around 25°C between the melting point and the first signs of decomposition. This, coupled with the brittleness that occurs in the process even before decomposition, is currently usually a knock-out criterion when selecting materials. The shearing during processing and its additional negative effect on the material do the rest. But what could a solution look like to make sustainable materials more usable for plastics processors?

With the help of the Thüringer Institut für Textil- und Kunststoff-Forschung e.V., several PHA types are to be optimized with the available and possibly adapted bFI additives from Polytives. Their effect in the polymer matrix will be closely monitored and documented so that important conclusions can be drawn for the best possible process control.


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