June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.52.1 - 13.52.10
A Laboratory Session Development: Study of Mechanical Properties of Petroleum-Based Plastic Compost Bag and Biodegradable Plastic Compost Bag
There is a global interest in replacing oil-based synthetic plastics with biodegradable materials in order to enhance the biodegradability of the plastic materials and to reduce the amount of persistent plastic waste. To develop an undergraduate laboratory session in a materials laboratory course, this paper deals with investigating the mechanical properties of two types of the plastic films under controlled testing conditions: the tensile properties of petroleum-based compost plastic bag and biodegradable plastic compost bag. The effects of different strain rates (e.g. speed of testing) on the tensile properties of petroleum plastic films and biodegradable plastic films are also investigated for comparison.
Many of today’s products are manufactured from petrochemicals and are not biodegradable. As these products are based on petroleum-based synthetic materials, they are a significant source of the environmental pollution and waste in nature.
Biodegradable polymers, which are mostly derived from renewable resources, become attractive to address the sustainability of materials in commercial applications, since they enter the normal geo-chemical cycle over intended life time.1, 2 In addition, the biodegradable polymers can perform the intended functions as designed and can be manufactured by most conventional plastics processing technology.3
The demand for biodegradable materials in various product applications, such as, food packaging, personal care products, marine applications, automobile parts, and bio- medical products, has rapidly increased due to a combination of high crude oil price, government policy, environmental concern, solid waste disposal cost, and public interest. Recently, the government, private sectors, and universities are exploring many programs in research and development of biodegradable materials technology to reduce the dependency of foreign petroleum resources. The issues of depolymerization scheme, economics, and waste management of the biodegradable materials are addressed from scientific and consumer standpoints in order to gain acceptance as well. For example, San Francisco recently banned conventional plastics bags in grocery stores within the city limit.4 Other cities and states are now considering similar legislation. As a result, a lot of interest is focused in the use of biodegradable polymers in these bags.
There is an opportunity not only to utilize the sustainable resources in the production and application of biodegradable materials, but also to understand the full range of concerns in a new field in biodegradable materials technology. The aim of this paper is to develop
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