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3/22/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Study Cites Advantages of Continuous Mixer to Compound PLA

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NaureWorks, Farrel Pomini trials show advantages of machine builder’s continuous mixers vs. twins in compounding Ingeo PLA.

A joint research project conducted by Farrel Pomini and NatureWorks touted the former’s Continuous Mixers (FCM) technology advantages over twin-screw compounding extruders for processing the latter’s Ingeo polylactide (PLA) compounds.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects on molecular weight loss in PLA while adding a talc mineral filler. The study found that the FCM resulted in significantly better molecular weight retention vs. twins. Trials showed a 95% molecular weight retention when using 50% filler and 88% retention when using 60% filler.

In addition, the trials demonstrated that FCM technology provides distinct advantages over twin-screw compounding extruders in the areas of lower melt temperature and lower specific energy. These are due to the minimal residence time and efficient mechanical shear respectively that are the cornerstones of the FCM operating principles, according to the study.

Ingeo polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable and bioactive polyester derived from sustainable, renewable resources, such as corn starch, cassava, or sugarcane. It is often used in food packaging and fiber/nonwovens industries and is one of the most highly utilized bioplastics in the world.

PLA is often compounded with mineral fillers and/or additives to improve physical properties. The benefits of the FCM would allow for lower processing costs, higher mineral fill levels and improved physical properties relative to twin-screw extruders, according to the research.

Copies of the white paper may also be requested by going to farrel-pomini.com/contact.