Everything under control: degradation of plastics in the environment

Newsletter 01/2020

Additive systems for biobased plastic such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polybutylene succinate (PBS) optimize service life and recyclability, but also steer controlled degradation in the environment. First investigations in the CCPE laboratories show that new additives stabilise PLA plastics and extend their service life without changing the processing properties.

© Fraunhofer LBF
Scheme of controlled accelerated degradation of plastics in the environment

The Research Department »Circular Additives and Compounds« conducts research on new additive systems for plastics in order to make plastics fit for circular economy: For the optimization of service life and recyclability and for controlled degradation in the environment. Biobased plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polybutylene succinate (PBS) must meet high material requirements. They require a long service life in order to compete with petroleum-based plastics in long-term applications. Likewise, bioplastics should be degradable as quickly as possible if they get lost in the environment. Additives are the key to specifically achieving these material properties. First laboratory tests show that the life of PLA plastic could be modified by certain additives during water storage. The additives can be added to common plastic formulations. They do not change the processing properties, but even stabilize the polymer.

For further information visit:
www.lbf.fraunhofer.de.