Working together, can plastics and agricultural researchers help create a polylactic acid resin that's capable of handling hot-filled liquids? That's the aim of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, which is reporting that USDA chemist William J. Orts is working with Lapol LLC, of Santa Barbara, Calif., in an effort to make corn-derived plastics more heat-tolerant. The team is developing a 90 percent corn-based modifier that is fully biodegradable that can be blended with PLA to make it more heat-tolerant. The story quotes Randall L. Smith, chief operating officer at Lapol, who says there currently are no commercially available heat-deflection temperature modifiers for PLA. Smith said ARS and Lapol are seeking a patent for their invention.
Helping PLA take more heat
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