Recent polymer developments

Paul Boughton

TONE monomerspolyols and polymers from Dow are homopolymers of e-caprolactonea seven-membered ring compound. The product family originally consisted of two high molecular weight polymers and one of low molecular weight.

They address a myriad of application needs and are compatible with a wide variety of thermoplastic processing techniques. In additionthey have strong light stability andunlike many other commercial polymersare truly biodegradable when composted.

Syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS) is a semicrystalline polymer synthesised from styrene monomer using a single-site catalystsuch as metallocene. Because of its semicrystalline natureSPS products exhibit performance attributes that are significantly different from those of amorphous styrenic materials. These properties include a high melting pointgood chemical and moisture resistanceand a high degree of dimensional stability. SPS can be differentiated from conventional styrenic polymers on the basis of molecular structure.

For its partpolylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradablethermoplasticaliphatic polyester derived from lactic acid. It is currently used in a number of biomedical applicationssuch as suturesdialysis media and drug delivery devicesbut it is also evaluated as a material for tissue engineering.

Being biodegradable it can also be employed in the preparation of bioplasticuseful for producing loose-fill packagingcompose bagsfood packaging and disposable tableware. In form of fibres and non-woven textiles PLA also has many potential usesfor example as upholsterydisposable garmentsawningsfeminine hygiene products and nappies.