MATERIAL: Water-Soluble Plastic Material Based On Potato Starch.

04. April 2023 | Material | via


Ignacio Martín, on the left of the picture, with Daniel Domene (Credit: Asociacion RUVID)

The research group Waste, Energy, Environment and Nanotechnology (REMAN) of the University of Alicante (UA) has developed a process for obtaining a water-soluble plastic material based on potato starch, suitable for use as a flexible film, preferably in bags and packaging. The development of this new material arose from the thesis of Daniel Domene López, now president and CEO of Solublion, whose title “Thermoplastic starch for the development of environmentally sustainable materials” also reveals the intention that this new material will make an important contribution to mitigating the impact caused by the mismanagement of conventional plastic waste, since it does not generate an environmental problem at the end of its useful life in the event that, due to poor waste management, it ends up in natural ecosystems. The plastic developed by the REMAN group is highly stable and has a low migration rate. "Our solutions are designed for use in the packaging industry and single-use plastic products, as a direct replacement for conventional alternatives. In addition, our patented technology allows us to offer a wide range of mechanical performance, enabling us to tailor our products to customers' needs," explains Ignacio Martín, professor of Chemical Engineering. The formulations developed by the research group require the starch to be gelatinized and plasticized in the presence of plasticizers, usually water and another plasticizer with a higher boiling point. Plasticized starch, surrounded by plasticizer molecules, has a high tendency to retrograde, that is, it partially recovers its original ordered structure, which produces a decrease in its properties. However, with the technology developed in the group, this migration is mostly avoided, extending the useful life of these materials without detriment to their mechanical properties, biodegradability, compostability and water solubility.