Trends towards sustainability have increased interest in biodegradable plastics. The effect of environmental factors such as UV radiation, humidity, and temperature on the properties of 7 biopolymers used in serviceware including bagasse, fiber pulp, wheatstraw and polylactic acid were analyzed. The properties of biopolymers were comparable to synthetic plastics in the as received condition, but deteriorate significantly with exposure to water and UV radiation. Improvements may be needed before biopolymers are effective replacements for traditional plastics.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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