PolyNew Inc., an R&D start-up company in Golden, Colo., has worked with John Dorgan of the Colorado School of Mines (also in Golden) to develop a nanocomposite of PLA (polylactic acid) biopolymer and nanoscale cellulose whiskers.

PolyNew Inc., an R&D start-up company in Golden, Colo., has worked with John Dorgan of the Colorado School of Mines (also in Golden) to develop a nanocomposite of PLA (polylactic acid) biopolymer and nanoscale cellulose whiskers. The technology was presented at the recent SPE Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC) in Orlando, Fla. Cellulose whiskers are surface treated to add free hydroxyl groups and then grafted to PLA by reactive extrusion in a twin-screw compounder. A 25% cellulose compound has an HDT of 230 F vs. 158 F for plain PLA, potentially allowing use with hot beverages or microwavable foods. Initially developed under an EPA grant, the technology will be supported in its commercialization phase by Sealed Air Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J. PolyNew: (303) 956-5768 . lauraohollingsworth@hotmail.com