Poly(lactic acid) (PLA)

Polylactic acid (PLA) is the most important biodegradable and biobased thermoplastic. Most commercial high-purity grades are semicrystalline, have high transmittance (> 90 %), and high yield and tensile strength (about twice of HDPE). However, unmodified PLA resins are rather brittle, have a relative low glass transition temperature of about 50 to 60 °C and thus a rather low upper service temperature. Many commercial grades are specifically designed for thermoforming, and extrusion / injection molding. Typical applications of PLA are disposable tableware articles like drinking cups, cutlery, trays, food plates and food containers. Some other (potential) applications include soil retention sheething and other agriculture films, waste and shopping bags, and the use as packaging material in general. PLA can also be spun into fibers which could be used for the manufacture of woven and non-woven biodegradable one-use fabric articles such as disposable garments, feminie hygine products, and diapers.

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1Futerro is a 50/50 joint venture between Galactic and Total Petrochemicals established in September 2007

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