Partnering opportunity

Determination of the degree of disintegration of plastic materials under simulated composting conditions in a laboratory-scale test

Summary

A Spanish research centre, specialised in plastics and composite materials, offers technical competencies for standard or tailor-made test for the determination of the degree of disintegration of plastic materials under simulated laboratory composting conditions. The research centre is looking for research, technical and commercial agreement with technical assistance with industrial actors involved with bioplastics (suppliers of raw materials, compounders, transformers, recyclers, etc.)

Partner sought

The R&D centre is looking for commercial agreement with technical assistance with industrial actors working with bioplastics as suppliers of raw materials, compounders, transformers, recyclers, etc. interested in knowing the behaviour of their bio materials during their useful life and end of life. They are also interested in research cooperation agreements and technical cooperation agreements with industry and other research institutes. They are also open to collaborate in the frame of EU projects such as Horizon 2020 projects.

Description

A Spanish research centre specialised in plastics and composite materials offers its expertise and technical competencies for the development of tailor-made test for determining the degree of disintegration of plastic materials when exposed to a laboratory-scale composting environment. Its research and development (R&D) team is involved in a continuous “open-innovation” line-management process in order to accrue enough knowledge and capacities to face any challenging research project for industry offering 3 high-tech and excellent research areas: • Polymers and biopolymers, composites: formulation and transformation of plastics from renewable sources. • Sustainable management: life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing assesment (LCC), environmental product declaration (EPD), product categories rules (PCR), ecodesign, waste revaluing. • Software engineering: FIWARE applications, internet of things, bigdata... The collaboration between the materials department, the sustainable management department and the plastic materials testing laboratory has developed a tailored bio test combining a disintegration test for plastics based on ISO 20200 and compatible with EN 14806 standards, with others plastic characterization tests (mechanical, chemical and thermal) in order to determine the behaviour of the plastic material during the use phase and the end of life. The method favours the disintegration of the test material in laboratory conditions that simulate an intensive aerobic composting process. The solid matrix used is composed of a synthetic solid residue inoculated with mature compost. The fragments of the plastic test material are composted with this solid matrix prepared. The test developed is carried out by thermophilic (high temperature) incubation of the material to be tested in a composting reactor with the homogeneous, standardized synthetic solid residue for a period of 90 days. During this cycle, the composting process is controlled and restored when necessary. Periodically, small samples of the material tested are taken to the accredited plastic laboratory (ENAC 772 / LE 2003 accreditation) to characterize and evaluate the loss of properties against the starting material. The tests that are carried out can be: • Thermal tests • Physical testing (density, shore hardness) • Chemical testing • Mechanical testing Partners, involved with bioplastics (suppliers of raw materials, compounders, transformers, recyclers, packaging developers, etc.) interested in knowing the behaviour of their bio materials during their useful life and end of life, are sought. The centre is interested in commercial agreements with technical assistance and technical cooperation agreements with industry and other research institutes. They are also open to collaborate in the frame of European projects such as Horizon 2020 projects under research cooperation agreements.

Advantages and innovations

The material department has extensive experience in the use of biopolymers acquired through national and international research projects. This knowledge allows them to offer services for the substitution of the conventional polymers by biopolymers and the development of biodegradable solutions and bioderivatives for different sectors of the industry. As well as its validation and characterization through thermal, physical and chemical tests and the biodegradability analysis, having the accreditations and certifications to carry out such tests under standard and with particular specifications. In recent years, there is a growing interest in different industrial sectors in the use or incorporation of new bio materials in their product portfolio. This change has also brought about the need to develop tests that allow formulators and developers to predict or know the behaviour of these new materials throughout their useful and end life. Aware of this need, the research centre has developed a tailored test based on the ISO 20200 standard to study the behaviour of biomaterials throughout their useful life. Determination of the degree of disintegration of plastic materials under simulated composting conditions in a laboratory, which is compatible with the standard EN 14806: Packaging and packaging. This test allows to evaluate the decomposition of the materials under intensive aerobic composting conditions. The test is performed by composing the material with a solid matrix, prepared by a synthetic solid residue inoculated with mature compost. In parallel the material is periodically characterized to evaluate the change in the properties of the material over time.

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