Bioplastics, which are made from vegetable fats, corn starch and other renewable sources, have great potential as sustainable packaging. Yet bioplastics are expensive to produce. New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Jiangnan University has revealed production methods that can improve its properties while overcoming obstacles to commercial manufacturing.
UNL’s Professor Yiqi Yang and colleagues found that raising the temperature of bioplastic fibers to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, then slowly allowing them to cool, greatly improved the bioplastic's lackluster resistance to heat and moisture.
The new approach allowed the team to bypass solvents and other expensive, time-consuming techniques typically needed to manufacture a commercially viable bioplastic. "This clean technology makes possible the industrial-scale production of commercialized biobased plastics," according to the researchers.
NIFA supports the research with the Hatch Multistate Research Fund.
Read more about the innovation at UNL.