FARREL POMINI and NatureWorks publish white paper on the advantages of continuous mixing technology on molecular weight retention for processing highly filled PLA.

FARREL POMINI and NatureWorks conducted joint research to compare the processing of Ingeo™ polylactide (PLA) compounds on the Twin Screw Extruder and the Farrel Continuous Mixer (FCM™). The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects on molecular weight loss in PLA while adding a talc mineral filler.

Ingeo polylactide (PLA) or polylactic acid is a biodegradable and bioactive polyester derived from sustainable, renewable resources, such as corn starch, cassava, or sugarcane. It is often used in food packaging and fiber/nonwovens industries and is one of the most highly utilized bioplastics in the world.

The study found that the FCM™ resulted in significantly better molecular weight retention. Trials showed a 95% molecular weight retention when using 50% filler and 88% retention when using 60% filler.

In addition, the trials demonstrated that FCM™ technology provides other distinct advantages over Twin Screw Extruders regarding lower melt temperature as well as lower specific energy. The minimal residence time and efficient mechanical shear respectively, that are the cornerstones of the FCM™ operating principles, are responsible for these outcomes.

PLA is often compounded with mineral fillers and/or additives to improve physical properties. The benefits of the FCM™ would allow for lower processing costs, higher mineral fill levels and improved physical properties relative to Twin Screw Extruders.

The results are being presented at various conferences worldwide beginning with ANTEC® 2019, March 18 – 21 in Detroit, Michigan USA. Copies of the white paper may also be requested by going to farrel-pomini.com/contact.

For more information about NatureWorks, visit www.natureworksllc.com or on Twitter at @natureworks.