Understanding Biopolymer Behavior

A guide to optimizing material selection for product performance and processing conditions

The drive for consumers, brand owners, and corporations to become more eco-conscious in their purchases has led to an increased demand in sustainably sourced materials. Several industries have started initiatives to incorporate the use of recycled materials as well as bio-derived materials. In the case of bio-derived materials, industries using polymers have interest in biopolymers; however, these materials come with unique challenges.

Even though biopolymers use has increased in recent years, there is limited standardization of processes to characterize incoming materials and ensure consistency and efficacy in product designs. While biopolymers aim to be a one for one substitute for their petroleum-based polymeric counterparts, it is rarely a simple case. These materials must be carefully characterized to ensure the proper material is selected for an end use application. Additionally, processing of these materials can be more complex than petroleum-based polymers.

Analytical techniques such as thermal analysis, rheology, and mechanical analysis are commonly used to characterize the composition, behavior, and physical properties of these materials. These techniques will help answer:

  • Is the biopolymer received the same as the last batch?
  • How will this biopolymer behave during processing?
  • Do atmospheric conditions impact processing performance?
  • Will this biopolymer perform safely in my application?
  • Is the life of the component impacted by my biopolymer selection?
  • Will the biopolymer selected be able to sustain a variety of temperature and humidity conditions?

Using these techniques enables research scientists to better select and understand their biopolymer, process engineers to enhance the manufacturability, and design engineers to ensure their product design will last using a new biopolymer. Download this eBook to see how today’s leading instruments help improve the material selection process.

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