Monday, January 24, 2011

No. 229: Plastics made from bark of a tree from Japan (January 24, 2011)

Fujifilm developed bark-derived plastics. The company developed this new product from cellulose and successfully made it processable to create complicated shapes. Cellulose is the main ingredient of a plant, and thready particles bond tight each other. Therefore, plastic made of cellulose is very strong, but it has limited applications because it cannot be easily processed. The research team weakened the bond between particles of cellulose a little with the help of special medical agents. In addition, strength remains unchanged because it combined several medical agents. The research team experimentally applied the plastics to the film case and succeeded in creating parts of complicated shape. Strong against thermal deformation, the newly developed plastic does not become deformed up to 93 degrees centigrade. Fujifilm plans to apply it to various parts of such products as home electronic appliances and vehicles. Practical applications of plastics using polylactate made of corn are developing lately. However, polylactate is not problem-free because the more amount of polylactate is produced, the less amount of corn is consumed for food. Cellulose does not create such problem because it comes from barks of trees that are not edible.

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