SYNTHESIS OF BIODEGRADABLE POLYMER, THE POLYMERIZATION OF LACTIC ACID WITH MICROWAVE RADIATION
1 Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (MEXICO)
2 Instituto Godwin México (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:During the last decade, most of the countries have introduced regulations to the plastic materials to promote its biodegradability, and avoid the build-up in the environment.
Several factors have to be considered when evaluating the life-cycle of polymers:
The first is energy input during manufacture and disposal, if the balance is positive, then the polymer is eco-efficient.
The second factor is the minimization of unwanted byproducts and associated pollution.
The third factor is land utilization, if the polymers comes from crops, they will be in competition with food crops.
Clearly, the long-term eco-sustainability of plastics based on renewable resources has not yet been established.
The problem was finding new plastics from biodegradable sources, mainly from waste or naturally produced materials. It was given to a team of four undergraduate students with the aim of bringing a real and cheap solution to the problem. A constant supervision was given during all the project, and it took one semester to accomplish.
They used lactic acid, as a raw material that can be obtained from natural sources. When it is polymerized it produce a biodegradable polymer. The use of microwave radiation was used to obtain the polymer. Changing the time of reaction and the temperature, distinct products were obtained, from an extremely soft polymer, ideal to be used as glue, to a very hard one to produce different solid objects. They used a mold of silicon to obtain figures with the polymer.
The aim of this project was to develop awareness between young students of the big problems the civilization is facing and ways in which they can contribute to solve them.
Keywords: Polymerization, lactic acid, microwave, biodegradable polymer.