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Bioplastic is claimed to be first biodegradable thermoset, biodegradable battery absorbed by human body

Bioplastic is claimed to be first biodegradable thermoset, biodegradable battery absorbed by human body

To date, all biodegradable plastics have been thermoplastic polymers. A biobased and biodegradable thermoset plastic for use in inflexible items used in homes and buildings such as telephone casings, insulation foam, trays, tables and lamps has been developed by Researchers of the University of Amsterdam (UvA, The Netherlands). Researchers Gadi Rothenberg and Albert Alberts discovered “Glycix” bioplastic by chance while looking for a biofuel. The basic ingredients of the polymer are glycerol and citric acid, two substances that are in abundant supply and can be produced from biomass. Their plastic now appears to be a polyester, but further details are not available as patents for the material remain pending. Rothenberg said: “Glycix is 100% biodegradable. With water it breaks down into its monomers, glycerol and citric acid, two compounds which are completely natural and will be absorbed in the natural cycle. The decomposition rate depends on the degree to which the plastic has been hardened. Decomposition time varies from several weeks to a year, depending on the production method. Therefore, the plastic cannot be used in equipment used outside, but in principle it is a good material for any product used inside.” The researchers said the material can be injection moulded and the plastic adheres easily to other materials including stainless steel and glass. Furniture made from “Glycix” requires additional protection, so a table produced in the material and presented to the board of the University of Amsterdam was covered with a glass plate. Developing the production process and the design of new applications is being carried out in cooperation with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is expected to carry on for some years.

Most medical implants and devices currently require maintenance, usually to replace an expired battery, every 7 to 10 years. Scientists, however, have developed a biodegradable battery that, once out of power, can be absorbed by the body. The device was created by researchers at the University of Illiinois, who, in January, developed a rechargeable nanoribbon that relied on the electromechanical interaction, piezoelectricity, to power a device. Essentially, the rechargeable “battery” converted the movement of organs into electricity devices could use. In 2012, they also developed the precursor to the current device - a number of biodegradable silicon chips capable of tracking temperature and mechanical strain, and then transmitting the readings to an outside device. Those devices were relatively bulky though, and the researchers subsequently looked to smaller materials. The biodegradable metals they used included magnesium foil, iron, molybdenum, and tungsten, which conducted electricity with the help of a phosphate-buffered saline solution. These materials were then held within a biodegradable polymer called polyanhydride. The type of metal they used determined the amount of electricity produced, with some producing 2.4 milliamps of power. When they were done working, they simply dissolved, leaving nothing harmful behind. “Almost all of the key building blocks are now available,” materials scientists John Rogers, of the university, told Nature. The device is promising for both medical applications- able to go far within the body, where there’s less space- as well as environmental. Nevertheless, the device needs further application, as it is currently only able to maintain power for a day.

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Milacron 450 ton electric injection molding machine

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