Even fish can eat Nuatan, the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis

October 1, 2018 by  
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A potential solution to the world’s plastic pollution crisis has recently been unveiled at the London Design Festival. Crafting Plastics Studio, established by design duo Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král, created the all-natural alternative, which is made from corn starch, sugar and cooking oil. According to the team, who researches and constructs cutting-edge materials for their avant-garde designs, Nuatan has the possibility to “replace all the packaging we know,” because it is so safe that even fish can eat it. At a glance, Nuatan may seem elementary in its composition, however, Kubušová and Král spent six years conceiving the bioplastic with material scientists at the Slovak University of Technology. This is time well spent, considering that the composition is enduring, rapidly degradable and safe to ingest. More durable than previous bioplastic samples, the material can last up to 15 years and withstands temperatures over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). Related: This edible, plastic-free packaging is grown from kombucha starter “For the first time, a fully bio-based, biodegradable material can be considered as a competitor in terms of properties and processability,” the designers explained. Nuatan’s applications are limitless, because the poly-blend is not restricted to blow-forming like traditional plastics are. Crafting Plastics Studio designed the material to succeed in any production chain. “We’re using it for 3D printing , injection molding and other plastic manufacturing technologies,” the team said. Approval of a food-safety certificate would mean that Nuatan could realistically replace all packaging , because the material is biodegradable. Industrial composters would have no trouble breaking down the substance. The possible solution to replacing single-use plastics such as plastic bags, plates, straws, water bottles, cutlery and others is found in the patented combination of naturally derived Polyacid Acid (PLA) from corn starch with Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which is corn starch that has been processed by microorganisms. Because Nuatan’s composition is not formulated from carbon-based raw materials, “it degrades inside the human body or animals,” Kubušová explained. This biocompatible feature, along with Nuatan’s durability, means that it can be used in nearly everything except heavy-duty situations, such as vehicle construction. At a lower energy and resource consumption value than traditional petroleum-based plastics, Nuatan ticks all the boxes regarding environmental sustainability and climate change relief. Faced with a high cost of production, there is still some time before the new bioplastic will see widespread use. But increased demand could help drive the cost of materials down to affordable levels. “We are hoping to find collaborators who want to include it in the right products, and not combine it with other materials, so it’s a mono-material,” Kubušová said. Faithful to their ethical and capable inception, the team made a very valid point — “If we can find the right collaborators, it can change things a lot.” For a lot of people, a lot of animals and a lot of places on Earth… + Crafting Plastics Via Dezeen Images via Adam Šakový, Andrej Andrej and Lucia Scerankova / Crafting Plastics

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Even fish can eat Nuatan, the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis

New Biocompatible Electronic Devices Would Dissolve in the Body After Use

October 17, 2012 by  
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A collaboration between scientists at Tufts School of Engineering at the University of Illinois has led to the creation of tiny, fully biocompatible electronic devices that, once they have functioned for a set period of time, dissolve harmlessly into their surroundings. The devices, dubbed “transient electronics” , are thought to be the next-generation of medical devices , and could lead to a range of  implants that never need surgical removal – not to mention that they are fully compostable. “These devices are the polar opposite of conventional electronics whose integrated circuits are designed for long-term physical and electronic stability,” says Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts School of Engineering in a statement . “Transient electronics offer robust performance comparable to current devices but they will fully resorb into their environment at a prescribed time—ranging from minutes to years, depending on the application. Imagine the environmental benefits if cell phones, for example, could just dissolve instead of languishing in landfills for years.” The report, titled A Physically Transient Form of Silicon Electronics , was published in the September 28, 2012, issue of Science and described how the futuristic devices incorporate the materials of conventional integrated circuits, but in an ultrathin form that is then encapsulated in silk protein. “While silicon may appear to be impermeable, eventually it dissolves in water,” Omenetto said. Though he added though that for the team, the main challenge was to make the electrical components dissolve in minutes rather than eons. The result was ultrathin flexible electronic components that are a mere tens of nanometers thick. The tiny electronics were then designed to dissolve by sheets of silk protein in which the electronics are supported and encapsulated. Extracted from silkworm cocoons, silk protein is one of the strongest, most robust materials known. It’s also fully biodegradable and biofriendly and is already used in some medical applications. It is hoped that the next iteration of medical devices will be designed to respond to changes in their environment, such as chemistry, light or pressure. + Tufts School of Engineering via BBC News

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New Biocompatible Electronic Devices Would Dissolve in the Body After Use

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