Quantified study of polymerisation kinetics for the use of ultrasound, microwave and laser in batch
synthesis of PLA
Novel reactor concept: adaptation of ultrasound, microwave and laser for incorporation of alternative
energy to an extruder
The analysis and the control of the reactive extrusion are key points in the success of the PLA production.
Metal-free polymerisation of polylactic acid (PLA) via reactive extrusion
Profile giving additivation strategies of the new PLA grade to serve as drop in solution in existing
applications such as extruded foils or injection moulded packages
The demand for biobased polymers is growing fast. According to the current state of the art, metal-containing
catalysts are needed to improve the polymerisation rate of lactones, posing a hazard to health and the
environment. InnoREX will develop a novel reactor concept using alternative energies for the continuous, highly
precise, metal-free polymerisation of PLA.
Development of the PLA productivity/Quality
» With a continuous process
Reactive processes in extruders are attracting increasing interest, as continuous processing offers several
advantages over batch processing (including cost-efficiency and energy savings).
» Using alternative technologies (new energies, without old catalysts...)
The low intensity but highly-targeted input of alternative energies in the reaction volume will ensure a high
molecular weight polymerisation within the limited residence time of an extruder.
According to the current state of the art, metal-containing catalysts (typically: tin (II) 2-ethylhexanoate) are needed
to improve the polymerisation rate of lactones to a commercially acceptable level.
» Purification of the PLA
Purification of the PLA products by removing unreacted monomer strongly influences the stability of the final
Industrialization of the PLA
A working polymerisation line including the incorporation of alternative energy, online characterisation technology
and a purification device to remove the catalyst will be developed as a demonstrator.
» Development of new PLA and application to new markets
End-user partners within the consortium in close cooperation with RTD partners will develop new PLA grades,
PLA blends and PLA-based composites using the flexible, precisely controlled process with alternative energy
sources, which will aim not only at existing markets for PLA but also for new applications.
» Integration of this new process into the Ludovic software
The analysis and the control of the reactive extrusion are key points in the success of the PLA production. Thus, the analysis of the thermo-mechanical behaviour evolution along the extrusion process will be done within the Ludovic software. Models and characteristics of the PLA new polymerisation method will be integrated in the Ludovic software to optimize the management of experimental trials and PLA product quality.