[en] Poly(lactide) (PLA), a biodegradable aliphatic polyester with excellent properties for different polymer applications, has been used mostly in the biomedical field, mainly because of its high price, resulting from expensive polymerization and purification techniques. Although this polymer can play a major role in future markets for biodegradable polymers, the current high price has to be reduced significantly to at least $4 US/kg. Therefore, this paper aims to partially review the polymerization techniques traditionally used in PLA synthesis and to propose new developments that enable us to produce these polymers by an innovative process for just a portion of the costs traditionally charged, using reactive extrusion techniques in a closely intermeshing co-rotating twin screw extruder. This paper gives an overview of attainable mechanical properties and future markets.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
The European Union DG 12 SSMA in the frame of the AIR program