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Recycled biopolymers with good mechanical properties

The growing industrial demands for bio-based materials makes it economically intersting to recylce and valorize production and post-consumer biopolymer waste flows. The BIO-EOL project investigated different valorisation possibilities, with PLA as the main biopolymer.

Melt recycling, in which the waste fraction is applied in a new extrusion step is the most obvious recycling option.

The project proved that it is possible to mix PLA-based monofilaments after pelletizing in a concentration of minimum 10% with virgin PLA without the need of adapting the extrusion conditions. The slightly lower viscosity of the PLA recyclate has no influence on the processing. There is no influence on the mechanical properties of the yarns either:

 

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Even when the PLA recyclate belongs to a different PLA grade than the matrix to which it is added, the mechanical properties are similar to the ones of yarns without recyclates:

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The practical application of the test results has been demonstrated by dosing several biopolymer-based textiles in a concentration of 10% during a second extrusion step. The effects on the mechanical properties of the new fibres were minimal: similar resistance to tear (at most -10%) and a similar elongation at break.

The valorisation of these textile products as recycled matter for injection moulded products was also demonstrated.

BIO-EOL was a Cornet project (1/1/2014 - 31/12/215) supported by IWT 130373