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RTP Company Design Glass Fibre-Reinforced PLA

20 June 2011

RTP Company (RTP) has commercialised its glass fibre-reinforced polylactic acid (PLA) compounds aimed at delivering greater strength, stiffness, and thermal performance.

According to RTP, their latest extension of engineered bioplastic compounds use resins derived from rapidly renewable resources target durable and semi-durable applications and are targeted at durable and semi-durable applications. ""Our new glass fibre reinforced PLA compounds enhance the strength and temperature performance of PLA making it possible for PLA to be considered for much broader use,"" said Will Taber, Business Manager for Emerging Technologies at RTP.

RTP explain that their reinforced PLA grades have glass fibre loadings from 10% to 40%, and have the ability to customise glass level to meet application requirements in appliance, automotive, consumer goods, electrical & electronics, and construction markets. They report that the 30% glass fibre-reinforced PLA grade has a tensile strength of 16,500psi (114 MPa), flexural modulus of 1,630,000 psi (11,239 MPa), and heat deflection temperature (HDT) of 320°F at 66 psi (160°C at 455 kPa), which they claim is nearly twice the tensile strength of unmodified PLA. ""RTP Company can now produce PLA bioplastic compounds with mechanical properties that meet or exceed those of many traditional thermoplastics,"" said Taber.

Proprietary nucleation packages are designed to speed crystallisation, which increases temperature performance and allows quicker part ejection, yielding PLA injection moulding cycle times similar to PP and ABS. Several nucleating package option are available to balance cost and performance requirements. ""We have really just begun to scratch the surface of what can be done with compounding PLA,"" said Taber.





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