Netherlands-based Purac and France's Arkema partner to develop functional lactide-based block copolymers to enhance properties of biobased polymers such as PLA, expand their range of applications

Liling Tan

Liling Tan

Sep 15, 2010 – Purac

GORINCHEM, Netherlands , September 15, 2010 (press release) – Purac and Arkema announce their collaboration in functional Lactide-based block copolymers. These innovative block copolymers will enhance the thermo-mechanical and physical properties of many biobased polymers like Poly Lactic Acid (PLA), resulting in a wider range of applications opportunities. These copolymers are produced by combining Arkema's organic catalysis ring-opening polymerisation technology with Purac's L- and D-Lactide monomers.

Arkema is known for its expertise in anionic and controlled radical polymerisation technologies. A polymer range based on these technologies is already available on the market under the Nanostrength® brand name. Arkema has developed a new ring-opening polymerisation process based on organic catalysis, thereby enabling full control over the polymer architecture. This process helps produce high purity copolymers from cyclic compounds such as Lactides and lactones, providing environmental benefits due to absence of metal residues.

Purac is well known for its expertise in fermentation of lactic acid and subsequent conversion into high purity and 100% biobased L- and D-Lactides. These monomers are marketed under the brand name PURALACT®. Purac is enabling the growth of the PLA market through partnerships with leading and innovative companies throughout the value-chain.

The combined know-how of Purac and Arkema will allow the development of this new range of high purity functional block copolymers containing PLA segments. This new product improves the specific functional properties, such as thermal resistance and impact strength in various polymers. PLA is a strongly growing biobased thermoplastic polymer which is widely used in packaging, textile and other consumer goods.

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