Frank Steinbrecher of Mitsubishi Chemicals (Germany) introduced Durabio®, a renewable durable polycarbonate-like bio-polymer based on isosorbide made from sorbitol which in turn came from glucose made from starch.
The technology had been developed by Roquette. In 2010 the Durabio® capacity was 300 tpa and last year it was 5000 tpa. The injection moulding grade has high hardness and the end-products are positioned between PMMA and PC for transparency. Compared with PC, Durabio® also performs better on weathering but is slightly worse for tensile strength. It is being used to make high-gloss coatings for mobile phones by injection moulding and as glass-replacements in roadside sound barriers by extrusion. Automotive parts are also made by extrusion and have proved to have the necessary optical, chemical and safety characteristics for interior trim. It is less flammable than either PMMA or PC. Asked if it was weldable to ABS like PC is, Mr Steinbecher thought it was, in principle, but Mitsubishi would be happy to test this.
Mitsubishi’s GS Pla was their biodegradable polymer originally made from petrochemicals and now available from bio-succinic acid. Despite its name it is a polybutyl succinate and not a PLA.