Patented technology developed at the Univ. of Mass.-Lowell for melt blending polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer with 20% of any of several biodegradable aliphatic copolyesters (U.S.

Patented technology developed at the Univ. of Mass.-Lowell for melt blending polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer with 20% of any of several biodegradable aliphatic copolyesters (U.S. Pat. 5883199) is said to achieve dramatic improvements in mechanical properties over PLA alone. Elongation can be 200% vs. about 7% for plain PLA, according to U. Mass. researchers. The blends reportedly retain their properties after aging, while PLA alone rapidly gets brittle. Such results were obtained with blends of PLA plus polycaprolactone, BASF's Ecoflex, Showa Hipolymer's Bionolle, or Metabolix's Mirel PHA polyhydroxyalkanoate). Metabolix in Cambridge, Mass., licensed the technology from U. Mass. in July and plans to use it to create compounds with its new Mirel PHA, which is due to be commercialized next year. Metabolix will consider offering sublicenses to other compounders. Metabolix: (617) 492-0505/www.metabolix.com . U. Mass-Lowell: (978) 934-3417/www.UML.edu

University of Mass-Lowell
Plastics Engineering Dept
1 University Ave Lowell, MA 01854
Phone (978) 934-3420 Fax (978) 458-4141