Topic of the Month: December 2014

Using waste to meet the demand for bioplastic

Poly(lactic acid) or polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States), tapioca roots, chips or starch (mostly in Asia), or sugarcane (in the rest of the world).[2]

Strong demand for polylactic acid

Strong demand for bioplastic

Crude biodiesel contains substantial amounts of glycerol (dark phase). (Photo: Bo Cheng / ETH Zurich)

Glycerol has potential

Focus on catalysis technology

Catalysed polylactic acid production

The use of biodegradable plastic packaging made of polylactic acid (PLA) is spreading. Since this year, PLA cups are available also in the ETH canteens. (Photo: Bo Cheng / ETH Zurich)

A reduction of one third in carbon dioxide emissions

Literature reference

Latest articles

11/13/2017

November 2017: Real plastic hearts

An artificial heart would be an absolute lifesaver for people with cardiac failure. However, to recreate the complex organ in the laboratory, one would first need to work out how to grow multi-layered, living tissues. Researchers have now come one step closer to this goal: by means of a spraying process, they have created functioning muscle fibers a three-dimensional synthetic polymer scaffold.
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