Making corn-derived plastics more heat-tolerant

Making corn-derived plastics more heat-tolerant is one of several top-priority targets of collaborative research at the Agricultural Research Service's Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. This will help broaden the range of applications for which corn-based plastics would find application. Orts and Lapol co-investigators are doing the work at ARS where Orts leads the Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research Unit. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. The Albany team is developing a product known as a heat-deflection temperature modifier that would be blended with PLA to make it more heat-tolerant. The modifier is more than 90% corn-based and is fully biodegradable. There currently are no commercially available heat-deflection temperature modifiers for PLA. Preliminary tests at the Albany lab indicate that, when blended with PLA, the modifier can raise PLA's heat-deflection temperature by at least 50°F.
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