Has been published Monday, December 12, 2011 Next »

Toughening PLA with Additives

A few weeks go, I commented on the barrier properties of PLA that are limiting its use in bottle packaging. But many new additives are addressing some of PLA’s other issues, such as impact resistance; below is just a sampling of new additives, discussed in more depth, with others, in my yearly additives overview in Plastics Engineering magazine:


  • OnCap™ BIO L masterbatches, based on a collaboration between Dow Plastics Additives and PolyOne: Used to toughen opaque injection-molded PLA products, the additives reportedly will allow PLA to be used in cold applications such as ice cream packaging, and in cosmetics packaging and electronic device housings.
  • Teknor Apex Company’s Terraloy™ 90000 series masterbatch: Used at up to 20% in flexible or thermoformed PLA, the masterbatch is said to increase impact strength while maintaining clarity. (The masterbatch reportedly is formulated with an impact modifier from Arkema, Inc., and Ingeo PLA carrier polymers from NatureWorks LLC.)
  • BioAdimide™ grades from Rhein Chemie (a subsidiary of Lanxess) address PLA’s susceptibility to hydrolysis. The company says BioAdimide 100 increases PLAs hydrolytic stability by up to seven times, while BioAdimide 500 XT acts as a chain extender, increasing the melt viscosity of extruded PLA.
  • SoluPLAs™ concentrates and masterbatches from Plastics Color Corp. address the above issues, as well as enhance PLA’s mold-release, de-nesting, UV absorbance, and anti-static properties.

New PLA additives are coming onto the market all the time; consider checking here for the latest news (or add your own brief, non-commercial response below).


(Note: In my 22 November posting, blog responders emphasized PLA’s interference with standard recycling practices. Please consider responding below about any new technical developments with recycling PLA that we might not be aware of.)


Mike Tolinski is the author of Plastics and Sustainability, published in Oct. 2011 by Wiley-Scrivener, and he is Contributing Editor for Plastics Engineering magazine of the Society of Plastics Engineers in the USA. His views have been shaped by his engineering, university, and journalism experience in the plastics and manufacturing industries over the past 21 years.