CB2 will focus on five research thrust areas that will promote industry-wide acceptance of bioplastics and increase the use of sustainable materials. Each thrust area is listed below.
SYNTHESIS AND COMPOUNDING
This thrust area will develop fundamental understanding of bioplastic synthesis and compounding, including fermentation and polymerization. This includes vegetable oil-based, biobased waxes, mononers, elastomers, poly(ester-amides), and sustainable approaches to advanced functional materials and polymer additives and feedstock production.
Knowledge of biocomposites, including fiber synthesis, biobased resin systems and biobased fiber systems, will be developed in this thrust. These areas include self-healing composites, fiber production from lignin, nano-technologies as well as biobased composites.
This thrust will focus on the specific requirements of biobased polymers and composites during vital processing operations. This will include melt processing, extrusion, and molding as well as secondary operations such as cutting, welding and coating.
This thrust will focus on commercialization of bioplastic products. Commercialization includes, but is not limited to, composting, product labeling and economic analysis. Part of the center’s already existing system is an interactive life cycle assessment web-based software that allows users to easily analyze their current and future products. Click here to go to the software.
This thrust will study energy and mass transfer for employed processing techniques such as extrusion and injection molding. The long-term goal is to develop models based on fundamental principles that can be used across a wide range of sciences.
The center affiliates have a proven track record of working with member companies to successfully commercialize bio-based products. Because the Center offers member companies royalty-free access to intellectual property resulting from Center projects, the Center is well positioned for direct technology transfer from academia to industry. The Center supports the development of SBIR proposals and business plans, facilitates networking, identifies markets and potential market penetration. This allows member companies to leverage their resources and increase their profits.