Bioplastics: Materials for a Sustainable Future
Cindie Kehlet and Helio Takai
School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Mathematics and Science
Bioplastics are the counterpart to the petroleum-based plastics made of biopolymers. They are biodegradable, made from renewable raw materials such as gelatin, starch, and other biopolymers. Although the materials are not new, we now have technologies and methodologies that can help us create everyday products out of bioplastics to replace traditional plastics.
At Pratt, our focus is to create, study, and characterize bioplastics for art and design applications. In this presentation, we focus on the characterization of materials using a technique called NMR. This method allows us to measure the flexibility of materials. We have created a series of gelatin-based bioplastics with different amounts of activated charcoal resulting in varying flexibility. Our studies will continue with analyzing their degradation in both controlled and natural environments.