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Tuskegee Researchers Make New Discovery in Plastics

from Tuskegee University

Currently, most bioplastics are produced using renewable biomass resources, such as vegetable fats, oils and sweet potatoes, which readily decompose once they are buried in the ground. However, these materials lack the necessary strength and flexibility required to extend the life of plastics in the packaging and electronic industry. To date, there have been limited successes in inventing new solvents to dissolve cellulose for commercialization usage. Also, the increase in toxicity associated with current dissolution techniques has made cellulose less attractive for use in the plastic industry.

But, Tuskegee University researchers have discovered a new method that can be used to suspend tiny particles of cellulose in an organic solvent that is commonly used in the plastic industry. This technique could remove the current limitations and allow for the creation of a new kind of biodegradable cellulose-based plastic. This product can be used in the production of items ranging from packaging materials to plastic covers. more

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