NatureWorks’ bioresin goes “open source”

To spur innovation and drive biopolymers more widely into injection molding  applications, NatureWorks LLC, a supplier of low carbon Ingeo biopolymers,

is borrowing a page from the computer industry and making details for its new, high-heat, high-impact bioresin, Ingeo 3801X available by providing open source access to both formulation and compounding procedure.

Now, the full details of the proprietary Ingeo 3801X recipe including impact modifier, crystallization accelerant, and agents for reinforcement and nucleation are openly available to Ingeo customers. Details about the formulation were first released in April to attendees at the international biopolymers conference, Innovation Takes Root.

Those interested in acquiring the Ingeo 3801X formulation and its sister high-heat formulation (without impact modifier), Ingeo HHIM 670-82-01, can email NatureWorks for more information.

“With the NatureWorks formulation in hand, independent specialty resin companies and brand owners with captive operations will be in a position to use Ingeo as the foundation for biobased injection molded products and components,” said Jed Randall, NatureWorks product manager. “Furthermore, the details of the formulation can serve as a basis for research and development in further tailoring biobased solutions for the semi-durable segment of the plastics market.”

Ingeo 3801X bioresin, which is 80% biobased, can be used as a low-carbon-footprint injection molding alternative material to oil-based plastic. This formulation offers thermal dimensional stability up to 120º Celsius (248º F), notched Izod impact strength greater than two foot-pounds per inch (107 J/m), and modulus of ~ 450,000 psi (3.10 GPa). Injection molding cycle times are comparable to those for styrenic resins.

“Just in the last 18 months we saw a critical mass developing around Ingeo biopolymer from resin to retail,” said Marc Verbruggen, NatureWorks president and chief executive officer. “Ingeo production capacity has doubled to 140 million metric tons of resin and fiber. Equipment manufacturers and additives and blends companies are independently developing a host of new solutions. Ingeo is within variable cost parity of oil-based plastics, and brand owners, retailers, and consumers are becoming genuinely focused on lowering overall carbon footprint, which is spurring product development.”

Compounders PolyOne, Teknor Apex, and RTP described approaches for achieving a wide range of engineered resin properties with biopolymers. PolyONE gave details on its new reSound biopolymer line, which contains a minimum 30% by weight Ingeo, PHB, or PHBV, for applications requiring improved sustainability and higher overall performance. Teknor Apex described compostable thermoplastic starch (TPS) blend technology for Ingeo modification, and RTP described compounded Ingeo or biobased polyamide (PA) formulations (32-80% biocontent) as offsets to HIPS, PC/ABS, 30% glass fiber reinforced polypropylene, or polyamide composites.


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