Plant Strengthens Biodegradable Plastic
COVENTRY, ENGLANDAutomobile manufacturers are coming under increasing pressure to build cars that won’t just rust away in junkyards once they’ve reached the end of the road. Biodegradable plastics could help, but they are too weak to be of much use for most car parts. Now, English researchers may have come up with a solutionelephant grass.
Researchers at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (Coventry, England), in collaboration with Biomass Industrial Crops Ltd. (Durston, England), have discovered that, when used as filler, Miscanthus, or elephant grass, will stiffen biodegradable plastic. Moreover, there is no worry that the plastic will start to degrade while the vehicle is in use.
To make the discovery worthwhile, researchers will have to show that the plastic can be used in all automotive applications, because the cost of stripping out some plastics before shredding the rest would be too costly.