23 September 2008

New, renewably-sourced DuPont™ Biomax® Thermal extends use of PLA to higher temperature packaging applications

Market introduction in Europe and Asia early in 2009

DuPont Packaging has announced the expansion of its DuPont™ Biomax® packaging offerings to include renewably-sourced Biomax® Thermal 300, a proprietary heat-stabilizing modifier that allows polylactic acid (PLA) thermoformed packaging to withstand elevated temperatures during transport, storage and use.

PLA tray with 2% Biomax® Thermal 300, 1h 70ºC. © DuPont
PLA tray with 2% Biomax® Thermal 300, 1h 70ºC. © DuPont

Its introduction extends the use of PLA, a bio-based alternative to petrochemical-derived products, to applications beyond chilled-storage packaging.

New Biomax® Thermal 300 is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-compliant polymer modifier that increases the dimensional stability of PLA packaging materials to temperatures of up to 95°C when used at recommended levels (between 2 percent and 4 percent by weight) and in two-stage forming processes, far above temperatures that packages could be exposed to during storage and shipping. The addition of Biomax® Thermal 300 to PLA at low levels has also been demonstrated to have a minimal impact on the material’s clarity, as well as to accelerate cycle times during two-stage thermoforming. Biomax® Thermal 300 contains 50 percent renewably-sourced content by weight.

“Because it is bio-based, PLA has strong appeal in food packaging such as produce clamshells and deli trays, as well as selected industrial applications,” said Susan Homan, North American global marketing manager for sustainable materials at DuPont Packaging. “However, due to its tendency to deform at temperatures of 55°C and above, its adoption to date has been largely restricted to the packaging of chilled food and beverages. By offering a modifier that raises the working temperature of PLA, DuPont hopes to enable a broader range of applications for the material.”

Biomax® Thermal is the second modifier for PLA to be introduced by DuPont. Biomax® Strong, toughening modifier launched in 2007, improves PLA by enhancing its processibility, durability, impact strength and flexibility in rigid structures, and acts as a process aid to improve extrusion productivity. Both of these modifiers hold the added benefit of being able to be added directly to the extrusion process (versus requiring masterbatching). The market introduction of Biomax® Thermal begins in the U.S., with rollout to Europe and Asia early in 2009.

Traditional PLA, 1h 70ºC. © DuPont
Traditional PLA, 1h 70ºC. © DuPont

“We are firmly committed to developing sustainable solutions, including solutions that improve the performance of other sustainable offerings in the market,” Homan said. “By improving the performance of bio-based and biodegradable products, Biomax® modifiers can help the packaging industry in achieving this mutually desirable goal.”

Now more than ever, consumers expect freshness, taste and convenience in packaged foods and beverages – and industry leaders such as DuPont continue to respond with innovations in materials and technology, including science-based solutions for improved sustainability. From renewably sourced materials such as Biomax® PTT resins and Biomax® TPS resins and sheets, to weight reducing DuPont™ Surlyn® resins, DuPont offers a wide line of high-performance polymers and additives to meet global packaging needs.

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 18 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global market.

DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers is a world-class manufacturer of high-performance resins and films for a variety of packaging and industrial applications. Its best known ethylene copolymer products include Surlyn® resins for packaging and industrial applications, Bynel® coextrudable adhesives, Selar® PA amorphous polyamide barrier resins, Nucrel® acid copolymers, Elvax® EVA copolymers, Elvaloy®, Elvaloy® AC, Entira™ and Fusabond® modifiers.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont™, The miracles of science™ and Biomax® are registered trademarks or trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.

Source: Innovations Report, 2008-09-23.

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