Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. of Tokyo has developed a new biodegradable plastic it claims can outperform polylactic acid.
The new material, tradenamed GS Pla, is a polybutylene succinate. Mitsubishi says it completely biodegrades and does so faster than polylactic acid in soil. It is flexible, has high heat-seal strength and is permeable to oxygen and moisture. It is more flexible and has higher tensile elongation and notched Izod impact strength than polylactic acid, Mitsubishi claims.
GS Pla can be injection molded, cast as a film, vacuum formed or blow molded. It recently was introduced in Japan, where it is finding use in mulch films, nursery pots and other agricultural applications. Its ability to form fibers suggests nonwovens and synthetic papers as potential uses. Mitsubishi's MC Research & Innovation business unit in Redondo Beach, Calif., is spearheading introduction of GS Pla in North America.
Mitsubishi aims eventually to make the polymer even more environmentally friendly by basing much of the components on biological feedstocks such as corn.
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