DAEJEON, Apr. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — A South Korean research team has developed technology that resolves the problem of biodegradable plastic bags being susceptible to rips and tears.
The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) announced on Thursday that a research team led by Dr. Oh Dong-yeop, Dr. Hwang Seong-yeon, and Dr. Park Jae-young has developed a sturdy biodegradable plastic bag with improved tensile strength.
Experiments showed that the plastic bag completely decomposed within six months.
Bioplastic is produced by combining biomass-based monomers made from sugar cane, corn, wood, and rice straws with monomers from petroleum.
While biodegradable, these types of plastic bags had the tendency to be easily torn apart.
The research team resolved this issue by adding stiffeners extracted from wood pulp and crab shells to increase the tensile strength of the plastic bag.
The new plastic bag boasts tensile strength of 65-70 megapascals, which surpasses the average tensile strength (40 megapascals) of more common plastic materials such as polypropylene and polyethylene.
It is as sturdy as nylons used in parachutes and safety belts.
“We hope that the plastic materials that are being used at malls, cafes, and other vendors will be replaced with ours,” said Hwang Seong-yeon, head of the biochemical research center at KRICT.
Kevin Lee (email@example.com)