8 Dezember 2006

Fujitsu develops flexible bioplastic for notebook components

Based on Arkema’s Rilsan PA-11, the bioplastic is more flexible than PLA

Fujitsu has developed a bioplastic based on Arkema’s Rilsan polyamide material that can withstand repeated bending. The Japanese teletronics group said it is considering using the new bioplastic for small components in notebook PCs and mobile phones, such as connector covers.

Fujitsu has been a pioneer in developing and using bioplastics in applications such as the housing of notebooks made from a blend of around 50% PLA with an amorphous plastic. Despite this earlier project with Toray, it said it wanted a new bio-based polymer with a higher bio-content that features superior flexibility and is suitable for mass-production.

Fujitsu worked with Arkema in developing the new bioplastic that has as its principal component Rilsan PA-11, which is derived from castor oil.

It said: “By weakening the interaction of the chain molecule in PA-11 and relaxing the stereo-regularity of their organization, the resulting new material has sufficient flexibility to withstand repeated bending without causing the whitening that often occurs when such materials are strained.”

Fujitsu has created a prototype notebook PC-cover whose components have a high bio-content of 60-80%. “Even after adding high-density fillers to increase strength, the polymer maintains good impact-resistance and thus it is hoped that the material could eventually be used in PC chasses and other larger components,” it said.

The company plans to continue research into castor oil-based plastics (as well as PLA) and is aiming to manufacture small components for notebook PCs and mobile phones by 2008. Its research will also focus on use of the new bioplastic in larger components.

(Cf. news of May 16, 2006.)

Source: PRW Dec. 08, 2006.

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