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Biodegradable plastics

Biodegradable plastics

29/07/2010
OKW Odenwälder Kunststoffwerke Gehäusesysteme GmbH

On request, Odenwälder Kunststoffwerke Gehäusesysteme GmbH now also offers its design-oriented standard cases and tuning knobs in a bioplastic material. This biomaterial is entirely manufactured from renewable raw materials and in many applications can replace the fossil plastics used up to now. Unlike conventional raw materials, bioplastics are largely CO2-neutral, irrespective of their subsequent utilisation. After they have been used, materials made from plants release only the same amount of CO2 as they absorbed from the atmosphere during their growth phase.

After comprehensive tests with many different types of biomaterials, OKW decided in favour of the material BIOGRADE® C7500 produced by the company FKuR Kunststoff GmbH. This is obtained from almost 100% renewable raw materials - the initial products are cotton or wood. At the start of the process, the purified cellulose is esterified to obtain cellulose acetate (CA), which is then only slightly modified. This material has similar properties to ABS and can be processed using the normal injection moulding method. For indoors applications there are no restrictions to the life cycle. The heat distortion temperature is as high as 123°C. Customer-specific colouring is also possible through the use of 15 natural dyes.

Parts made of Biograde are biodegradable. After the biomaterial has been crushed mechanically, it is broken down into its non-toxic initial products by micro-organisms. If it is to be utilised thermally at the end of its useful life, this also guarantees carbon-neutral energy. The environmental advantages of this recycling method are obvious. However, bioplastics have not only ecological advantages. They also help to preserve our fossil raw material deposits supplies and reduce our dependence on petroleum.

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