WEB EXCLUSIVE: Two compounders recently launched new grades of compounds based on biopolymers or on biofiber reinforcements. In the first category is an expanded line of PLA-based bioplastic compounds from RTP Co., Winona, Minn. RTP has added impact-modified grades for injection molding and extrusion, delivering both toughness and higher HDTs that are said to be equivalent to standard thermoplastics. For example, PLA (which is derived from corn, as shown in the photo) reportedly can achieve notched Izod impact comparable to PC/ABS, and HDT can be similar to ABS, HIPS, and acrylic. They can be opaque, translucent, or colored. A range of stiffness vs. ductility balance is available. RTP’s line of PLA compounds also includes glass- and mineral-reinforced versions, nucleated compounds, and alloys with other resins.
In addition, RheTech, Inc., Whitmore Lake, Mich., has expanded its RheVision polyolefin biocomposites family to include compounds with agave or coconut fibers. (Previous grades use wood fiber, flax, or rice hulls.) Agave fiber is a byproduct from manufacturing tequila. The fibers are strong and stiff and add unique aesthetic properties to the composite. Coconut fiber is left over from coconut harvesting and is very hard and stiff. It has application in auto interior trim that has used talc-filled PP. RheVision compounds can contain 10% to 50% reinforcement and utilize various polyolefins, including post-consumer scrap.