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Investment in bioplastics research pays off

Bioplastics are a small but rapidly growing niche that currently represents about 1% of the global plastics market. Their use is expected to grow by over 10% per year, with the estimated global market expected to be more than 12 million tonnes per year by 2020.

Scion’s latest research shows that plastics reinforced with MDF fibre (licenced to Sonae Indústria as Woodforce) can be recycled many times with little change to their mechanical properties. Woodforce is an engineered diced wood fibre pellet developed by Scion that is used to reinforce thermoplastic polymers in the same way as short glass fibre and other natural fibres such as flax.

Polypropylene reinforced with MDF, flax and short glass fibres were recycled six times through Scion’s extrusion and injection moulding pilot plant and then tested for strength, stiffness and impact strength. The MDF composite fared the best, retaining on average, 87% of its original properties in comparison to flax (72%) and glass (59%). The MDF fibres also preformed well in strength and, with a lower density than glass fibres, makes them an attractive alternative for use in materials where weight is important. 

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Image credit: Scion

  Investment in bioplastics

Posted Date: July 16, 2014

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