U of Minnesota gets grant to develop better corn-based plastic

phys.org | 4/2/2019 | Staff
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Corn farmers in Minnesota are investing in research at the University of Minnesota aimed at developing a more useful corn-based plastic.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association this week announced a $460,000 grant for the Center for Sustainable Polymers, which is working to make green plastics that break down more quickly than petroleum-based plastic but still have some of conventional plastic's durability and toughness.

Kind - Want - Ways - Plastics - Marc

"We kind of want it both ways. We want plastics to be quite strong and durable when we want them to be, but when we're done with them we want them to rapidly decompose," said Marc Hillmyer, a chemist at the U of M and director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers. "That's a big scientific and engineering challenge."

Corn-based plastics are used today—for instance, to make disposable cups, bags and plates—but the plastic is brittle and can deform when filled with a hot drink. Research funded by the state's corn farmers will focus on adding toughness, strength and better thermal stability to the material.

Hillmyer - Students - Researchers - Lab

"We're up and going," Hillmyer said. "We've got students and postdoctoral researchers in the lab, making...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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