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Research Foundation

High Strength Plastic From Reactive Blending of Starch and Polylactic Acids

Reference Number: 99-23

Inventors: Xiuzhi S. Sun, Paul Seib, Hua Wang


While plastics have generally been an inexpensive and efficient material for manufacturing products, they are derived in large part from petroleum resources which are finite and increasing in cost. Thus, it is important to develop new methods and materials for forming plastics as an alternative to the current methods.

Additionally, the environmental impact of discarded plastic objects is of growing global concern due to the fact that disposal methods for such wastes are quite limited. Incineration of the plastic wastes generates toxic air pollution. At the same time, satisfactory landfill sites are limited, and most durable plastics do not biodegrade. There is, thus, a need for durable and biodegradable plastic materials, particularly for short-term use items such as packaging materials and disposable utensils.

Invention Advantages:

This technology provides biodegradable polymers for use in forming high strength, degradable plastics and methods of forming the polymers. The technology provides materials with physical properties that are especially suitable for utensil and food container applications.

Biodegradable polymers for use in forming high strength, degradable plastics and methods of forming the polymers are provided. Broadly, the methods comprise forming and heating a blended mixture of polylactic acid, a starch, and a linkage group for joining or copolymerizing the polylactic acid and starch. Preferred linkage groups comprise an isocyanate moiety, with diphenylmethylene diisocyanate, hexamethylene diisocyanate, and isophorone diisocyanate. The reacted mixture can then be formed into the desired final product which has high tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, percent elongation, and thermal stability.

Patent Status
  • U.S. Patent #6,211,325 issued on April 3, 2001

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909
E-Mail: ic@k-state.edu