PLA: The Versatile Biobased Polymer

by Gyanvitaranam

   Lactic acid is an organic acid having the molecular formula CH3-CH(OH)CO-OH and is mainly produced in muscle cells and red blood cells. It is formed when the body breaks down carbohydrates to use for generating energy when oxygen levels are low.

    Polylactic acid (PLA) is a polymersied form of lactic acid and has become a precious raw material for the production of biodegradable materials since it is derived from renewable, organic sources such as corn starch or sugarcane.

    Use of biomass resources makes PLA production different from most plastics, which are derived from fossil fuels through distillation and polymerization of petroleum. In fact, PLA is the second most produced bioplastic (after thermoplastic starch) and has prperties similar to polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or polystyrene (PS); the benefit is, it is biodegradable. Due to the nature of lactic acid, there are several distinct forms of....

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