PLA (Polylactic acid – H-[OCHCH3CO]n – OH) is originated from the regeneration of plant products such as corn meal, sugarcane, cassava, and potato starch.
PLA is produced by lactic acid condensation method, which consumes 68% less fuel compared to conventional plastics. Under suitable conditions, PLA-based products can be completely decomposed by microorganisms in nature after use, eventually released carbon dioxide and water, which are pollutant-free and useful for the environmental protection.
- Melting point: 175 – 185o C
- Internal viscosity: 0.2 - 8 dl/g, suitable for producing a variety of products.
Internal viscosity is a measure of the polymer chain length. Depending on the value that the appropriate material produces different types of products:
+ 0.6 dl/g: fiber
+ 0.65 dl/g: thin film
+ 0.76 - 0.84 dl/g: bottles, vials
+ 0.85 dl/g: rope type
- The gloss, duration of stretching and solvent-repellent properties can be used in various methods such as extrusion, spinning, blow molding, heat treatment, etc. Thus, like any regular plastic material, PLA can be used for making various kinds of products such as bottle, food box, tent cloth, surface of mat, etc.
- As the PLA surface penetrates well, microorganisms can penetrate natural decomposition process. Although this is beneficial, consumers should pay attention to the using process, ensuring the hygiene matter, especially not reuse when it is used to contain food and drink, etc.,
Why PLA is widely used
Environmental friendly: PLA products are applied as a traditional plastic product. However, it is biodegradable under the proper conditions. No smoke or toxic gases, causing environmental pollution, are released when being burned. As a result, PLA has become the most recommended raw material today.
Being regenerated from a variety of vegetable sources, PLA itself is embedded with various colors that are not mixed like traditional plastics. Therefore, PLA is safe to use in manufacturing many different types of products.
PLA is claimed to be able to emit light in the dark; therefore, it can be widely used in daily life, creating more potential development.
Good compatibility and biodegradability also help PLA materials to be widely used in the medical sector such as the manufacturing one-time infusion devices, surgical sutures or drug delivery packages, etc.
While environmental pollution and plastic waste are the major problems in world nowadays, bio-based products are an encouraged incentive for growth in any national or continental territory. PLA will become a popular concept in the coming time and certainly that PLA products will be used in every market in the world.