Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists to develop tougher plastics from plants

Date:
November 18, 2010
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
Scientists are working on a new project to improve the properties of plastics made from plants. The scientists are developing a new chemical catalyst to improve the process of making these plastics, making them stronger and more heat-resistant so they can be used for a wider range of objects such as engineering plastics for the automotive industry, microwavable trays and hot drinks cups.

Scientists at the University of Bath and Tel Aviv University are working on a new project to improve the properties of plastics made from plants so that they can be used in a wider variety of products, from bottles to clothes.

Poly(lactic acid) or PLA is a type of biodegradable plastic that can be made from renewable plant sources such as corn, wheat or sugar. It is currently used in bottles, bags and films, and can even be woven into fibres to make clothes in the place of polyester.

The scientists at Bath and Tel Aviv are developing a new chemical catalyst to improve the process of making these plastics, making them stronger and more heat-resistant so they can be used for a wider range of objects such as engineering plastics for the automotive industry, microwavable trays and hot drinks cups.

Professor Matthew Davidson, Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath and Director of the University's Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, explained: "PLA can be made up of two types of building blocks that are mirror-images of each other. Using the current technology, when the plastic is made with both types present they are jumbled together within the structure of the plastic.

"This new project will develop a selective catalyst that will build up a polymer of 'left-handed' and 'right-handed' building blocks in a structured order so that we can control the physical properties of the resulting plastic."

The project is one of ten joint British-Israeli research projects that tackle global challenges in energy and the environment that have been selected to receive funding through the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, BIRAX.

Professor Moshe Kol from Tel Aviv University said: "New catalysts are the key to providing renewable and degradable plastics which will help make our society more sustainable and less reliant on oil.

"Our two research groups have previously discussed the possibility of collaboration and the British-Israeli research grant will provide an opportunity for this collaboration to take its first steps. A free flow of information between the groups will enable the identification of important leads regarding catalysts design and desired polymer structure.

"In addition, exchange of graduate students between the two laboratories will broaden their research horizons and will contribute to strengthening of the scientific collaboration between our two countries."

BIRAX was launched in 2008 by the Israeli and British Prime Ministers with the aim of strengthening academic collaboration between the two countries and enjoys continued support from both governments.

Among the funders are the Pears Foundation, UJIA, Britain's Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Science and Technology in Israel. The scheme was designed by the British Council in collaboration with the Pears Foundation and academic leaders from both countries and is managed by the British Council in Israel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Scientists to develop tougher plastics from plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101118110008.htm>.
University of Bath. (2010, November 18). Scientists to develop tougher plastics from plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101118110008.htm
University of Bath. "Scientists to develop tougher plastics from plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101118110008.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins