TechPLAstic: New applications for bio-based plastics

Flame-retardant injection molding material made from PLA with high heat resistance and impact strength for technical products

© Gira

Building technology

Light switches and sockets are manufactured with the new compound based on renewable raw materials.

© Pracht Lichttechnik GmbH

Flame retardant and impact resistant

Apollo light by Alfred Pracht Lichttechnik GmbH. Marketability is verified by the prototype production of individual components.

Project aims

The TechPLAstic joint project is developing a flame-retardant PLA compound (PLA=polylactic acid) that can be used as an alternative to conventional plastics such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymers) or PC (polycarbonates) in technical injection-molded components. The project consortium, coordinated by Fraunhofer UMSICHT, is investigating and optimizing the relevant material weaknesses of PLA. The aim is to achieve a fire protection classification UL94-V0 with increased impact strength and a heat deflection temperature of over 100°C. At the same time, the injection molding process technology is also being tested. The aim is to find economically and technically viable solutions from both a material and process point of view. The close collaboration between industrial companies and research institutes guarantees the most practical development possible and the rapid transfer of results to industry.

Benefits

Plastics have become indispensable in almost all areas of everyday life. Technical components with an increased fire risk, for example in the electronics industry, require flame-retardant, heat-resistant and impact-resistant plastics. A large part of this is produced on the basis of crude oil, the reserves of which are limited. In recent years, research has therefore increasingly focused on plastics based on renewable raw materials such as PLA. PLA is biodegradable under industrial conditions and is now available in large quantities and different types. There is also a competitive material price compared to conventional plastics. However, bio-based plastics often do not yet fully achieve the property level of conventional engineering plastics required by the market. The limits lie, in particular, in fire behavior, sufficient temperature resistance, and impact strength. This is where TechPLAstic comes in: PLA compounds for durable products are developed in an application and market-oriented manner, taking into account the respective requirements and costs. The application focus initially lies on technical products in the electronics and construction sectors, such as lights and switches, and buttons in building technology.

 

Project partners

  • Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH
  • FKuR Kunststoff GmbH
  • Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung (IKV) an der RWTH Aachen

Supported by

  • Gira Giersiepen GmbH & Co. KG
  • ICL Industrial Products
  • Nabaltec AG
  • Alfred Pracht Lichttechnik GmbH

Funding
Duration: January 2018 to December 2020
Website: www.bmel.de