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nl Remy Jongboom Biopearls, Zetten, Netherlands email@example.com Emre Tufekcioglu School of Industrial Arts, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract The ongoing need to keep reducing trial-and error in product design applies to plastics products, and perhaps even more to bioplastics. The bioplastics market, however small, is rapidly growing. Much of this growth can be attributed to packaging, films, and bags. Applications in injection moulded products have been less numerous until now. Injection moulding typically offers design opportunities for mass production, mass customization, and efficient material usage. The benefits of new opportunities offered by material improvements, new materials, and new technologies will only be expressed in actual products if all benefits are understood and used as needed, and all existing and new challenges are met. Bioplastics offer partly unknown opportunities and challenges which may necessitate revision of the current design guidelines for injection moulded bioplastics products as well as adjustments to current practices of plastics injection moulding. Advantages and disadvantages of bioplastics are not always fully clear, partly because product behaviour cannot yet fully be predicted, and even more because life cycle issues are very complex and often do not allow final conclusions. Another factor remaining essential in designing injection moulded plastics products is to optimize unavoidable weak spots in products, such as flow weld lines. The reduced mechanical perfomance depends considerably on the combination of geometry characteristics and moulding parameters. These factors were addressed as part of a research activity involving experimental work as well as developing appropriate design support. Specimens from products moulded from two bioplastics were found to have better impact strength than for a polystyrene, in product regions both without and with flow weld lines. Certain non-trivial injection moulding settings, which reduce the impact strength in neat product regions, were found beneficial for weld line properties. Such results are important for iterative product design optimization for mechanical performance and manufacturability.
Introduction Material developments for bioplastics as well as certain bioplastics applications are rapidly progressing and are expected to keep progressing in the near future. Few product-related expertise in bioplastics is generally accessible at the moment. It is desirable to have a more or less complete picture of design opportunities and challenges, which will evolve with all the bioplastics-related developments. The present paper explores the current situation.
Designing injection moulded plastics products Plastics are a good example of a broad class of materials which have offered new design opportunities and challenges compared to more traditional materials. The developments are still progressing rapidly and include bioplastics-related developments which will be discussed in the next section. Plastics are usually appreciated because of their unparallelled versatility for shaping products [Plastics Engineering, 2001] and wide range of colour and visual effects options, serving both aesthetices and various other functionalities. Plastics have become successful in many applications, both for replacements and for new designs. Common benefits in replacement applications include: increased product differentiation, lower over-all costs, weight reduction, noise reduction, reduced number of parts by integration of product functions, simplification or even elimination of product assembly operations, and more [Carrabine, 2002], [Beall, 2002]. New designs may be successful if specific opportunities offered by plastics have been used creatively. For example, two or more materials may be combined in a single part by multicomponent injection moulding in a way that could not be achieved by conventional assembly of separate parts. Hard-soft combinations, for example, usually consist of a thermoplastic and a thermoplastic rubber. The increased demand for thermoplastic rubbers has driven material improvements. The materials involved have sufficient adhesion nowadays, such that the material components in a part no longer need to mutually enclose one another [Boer, 2006]. This is an illustration of product design guidelines evolving with material and technology developments. Whereas the large number of design opportunities offered by plastics enables a great design freedom, dealing with them and keeping up with the latest developments is a challenge. Other challenges for product development with plastics are the complex material behaviour, both during manufacturing and in the final product, and the complex interdependence of factors [Kennedy, 2004]. Thinking in plastics by designers and applicators includes considerations of product realization and requires different manufacturing and assembly philosophies [WJT Associates, 2005], and hence different views on product architecture. Preliminary design stages require a rather high level of detail if design and development are to proceed effectively and efficiently [Mascarenhas et al., 2004]. An interdisciplinary team approach is necessary when dealing with plastics, starting from early design and development stages [WJT Associates, 2005]. Present status of bioplastics On a molecular scale, bioplastics are somewhat similar to oil-based plastics, i.e., they consist of molecules with long chains, called macromolecules. Similar to oil-based plastics, most bioplastics only become practically useful after addition of one or more types of additives [Jongboom & Dartée, 2006]. A major difference with oil-based plastics is that most bioplastics are produced from annually renewable resources, most of them agricultural feedstocks at present. The first step towards bioplastics is always to obtain suitable and sufficient biomass from the applicable resources. After this first step there are currently three different routes to arrive at bio-based macromolecules [Yu et al., 2006], [Jongboom & Dartée, 2006]: ● extraction of naturally occurring macromolecular materials from resources; ● synthesis of macromolecules from naturally occurring materials in resources; ● microbial activity generating macromolecules from naturally occurring materials in resources.
[Gaspar et al. 2006].. enabling new design opportunities in addition to the existing ones. 1999]. potato. The efficiency of the process needs inprovement [Ball. In spite of the uncertainty about future developments. 2006].. Sorona is also being applied as a molecular building block for a thermoplastic rubber. The best known synthesized bioplastic from natural materials is polylactic acid (PLA). New developments of bio-based plastics are ongoing and are at different stages of applicability.. [Paul et al.. potato. and honey.. 1997]. 2001]. have been less numerous until now. corn syrup. Some of such materials have improved thermal stability. Copolymerizing PHB with hydroxyvalerate enables miscellaneous compounds with different degrees of reduced brittleness. a high molecular mass energy storage product of certain bacteria and algae [Moore & Saunders. strength and stiffness. Sorona. and miscellaneous packaging products. Worldwide bio-based plastics consumption has increased from 40 000 tonnes in 2000 to 270 000 tonnes in 2005 and is predicted to be 800 000 tonnes in 2010 [European Bioplastics. Another example is poly-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4hydroxybutyrate copolymer.. wheat. 2006]. Composite materials of PLA with inorganic fillers or nanoclay have been studied too [Uruyama et al. based on lactic acid derived from starch or sugar. This material can be applied as a filler material and in textiles. several forecasts exist about the expected growth of bioplastics. 2003]. a bio-based rubber-like material was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Thomson. PLA is also available in the form of fibres. Starch appears most promising among these materials. 2000]. The above examples are a few selections from many new developments which are expected to be going on. 2005]. which can be. Most of the current bioplastics market consists of films. giving a softer feel than most synthetic fibres [Vink el al. 2000]. This partly bio-based plastic. [Savenkova et al. protein. . 2003]. known as Ingeo™. 2002]. reduced stiffness.Examples of naturally occurring macromolecular materials are starch. 2004]. which is a sugar found in fruit. 2004]. in turn.. and rice [Curvelo et al... 2006]. and cellulose. and reduced cost [Türesin et al. by NatureWorks. Certain additives in PLA enable different degrees of reduced brittleness and reduced stiffness. [Jongboom & Dartée. An example is a method to derive molecular building blocks for polyester or polystyrene directly from an ingredient of fructose. 70% to 80% higher than the commodity plastics they usually replace [Toensmeier. The best known macromolecular materials generated by microbial activity are polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Adjustments to its material composition enables a range of material properties from hard thermoplastic to rubber-like [Snell et al. extracted from corn. Market growth is expected to be accompanied by higher production efficiencies. Applications in injection moulded products. having properties similar to the engineering plastic polybutyleneterephtalate. is being developed by Dupont. sugar cane and other sources [Hakkarainen et al. although the balance of properties still needs improvement. Enhanced performance materials are expected from more sophisticated synthesis and blending techniques [Freedonia. Another example is a glass-filled material consisting for 37% of renewable corn sugar-derived material. For tissue engineering. The most common PHA is polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). 2000]. suitable for material-efficient products made in large production volumes. enabling declining material prices which currently are. bags. Hytrel [Plastics Engineering. Common sources for starch are crops. on the average. 2006].
.. Bioplastics can generally be converted into products by existing principles of plastics processing. good permeation resistance to grease. Life cycle and environmental considerations will be briefly discussed in the next section. 2006]. it has been found for PLAs and PHAs that . Manufacturability with starch-based plastics. The delicate balance between manufacturability and mechanical product properties depends on water absorption capacity in a complicated manner: if it is not optimum. 2006]. without fully relying on additional information. and thermoformed packaging products [Jongboom & Dartée. A wide range of material properties and property combinations is offered by the currently available bioplastics. [Curvelo et al.e. Particularly for injection moulding. Exceptional stretch recovery characteristics are reported for Sorona. 2001]. This obviously requires that such products do actually contribute to sustainability. many aromas and flavours. deadfold twist retention. or to a better world in another respect. without colourants etc. The range of material properties by different compositions of poly-3hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate copolymer enables applications from low-cost moulded goods. There are other important factors.e. 2000]. Successful examples of starch-based products include films for food packaging and garbage. based on the current state of knowledge. even though physical and mechanical properties may be different. comparable to commodity plastics at the lower end.. and several gases. ● conversion of materials to products. such as business activities.. and adhesives to replacement heart valves [Snell et al. These factors will not be discussed in this paper. coatings. do not clearly look. A wide range of mechanical properties is offered by PLAs (optionally blended with other biodegradable polyesters) and PHAs. fibers. Communication by products is an issue well known by many designers and will not be discussed further. Other possible properties include breathability (water vapour transmission) and water solubility. has been improved considerably over the past years but is still challenging [Chen et al. and good flammability resistance [Jongboom & Dartée.. ● price. The perception by consumers is obviously essential. and activities by institutes for research and education.. i. [Jongboom & Dartée. 2006]. It may be desirable that products by themselves. the final product will be brittle [Chen et al. better than several polyesters and nylons [Kurian. Some typical characteristics of PLA include: similar or higher stiffness than polyesters attainable. i. to synthetic polyester-like or rubber-like properties. It should be noted that most bioplastics as supplied in their basic form. requiring water as a plasticizer. which will be discussed in the next section. 2006]. 2006]. one or both of which may be obtained by using starchbased materials. printability without pre-treatment. Opportunities as well as challenges will partly depend on: ● properties enabled by material characteristics.Design considerations for bioplastics applications Similar to the oil-based plastics enabling a great design freedom as well as posing major challenges to be overcome. feel or sound different than plastics in general.. convey to the user that they contribute to a more sustainable world. 2005]. ● perception of bioplastics products by consumers. government regulations. Perhaps the best known property is biodegradability. the same is likely to be true for bioplastics. The remaining discussion in this section will concern objective factors and uncertainties.
[Bucci et al. 2000]. 2003]. 2006]. These conditions cause emissions of carbon dioxide and methane: the latter is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide [Gerngross & Slater. and injection moulders are gradually becoming familiar with PLAs [Plastics Engineering. regarding recyclability [Biron. All of these factors combined may result in carbon dioxide emission which. The majority of publications concern material preparation.adjusted moulding conditions and specific moulds are required for obtaining quality products [Plastics Engineering. structures. 2003]. are an attractive alternative for bioplastics in landfills [Avella et al. most bioplastics can be returned to the environment by decomposition into natural organic materials. The over-all cycle for PLAs is much less energy-intensive: about 60% of the over-all energy needed to obtain oilbased nylons. is basically possible for all bioplastics too [Reske et al.. area to volume ratios [Jongboom & Dartée. may in some cases be higher than for obtaining oil-based plastics [Gerngross & Slater. The figures would improve if renewable energy sources were used. Material recycling is another end-of-life option for plastics as well as bioplastics. using controlled gasification conditions.e. overall.. to recover methane. Regarding end-of-life issues for products. such as in a sugar mill. particularly PHB: the energy demand is determined by such factors as fertilizer production. is generally preferable over separate processes for obtaining bioplastics. needed to obtain processable materials [Gerngross & Slater. depending on the nature of the materials. 2003]. Composting processes. In most known situations. Composting may or may not be the best ecological solution. 2005]. Energy recovery by incineration. It is feasible. similar to the ones applied for plant trash. Integration. and the collection system for used products. but beneficial in case of sugar mill-based processes as carried out in Brazil. few publications are known to the authors which address issues related to converting bioplastics into products. although final conclusions are often difficult . Life cycle issues A challenge for bioplastics is to verify and minimize the over-all amounts of energy and raw materials. 2003]. which would make relatively small plasticizing units on moulding equipment desirable. A further challenge is that some bioplastics melts easily degrade as a result of hydrolysis. but also depends on product geometries. The technoeconomic feasibility of PHB production has been compared for two situations: it was uncompetitive in case of corn-based processes as carried out in the US.. It is almost certainly better than biodegradation under anaerobic conditions in landfill [Gerngross & Slater. and end-of-life options. 2006]. Life cycle considerations such as over-all consumption of energy and resources. over-all emissions. are subjects of study as well as discussions. i. Although successful bioplastics products are being manufactured. An option for such biodegradation is under so-called anaerobic conditions as in landfill... The state of knowledge on these complex issues is expanding. 2004]. 2005] and yield matter which is suitable to replace oil-derived fertilizers [Gross & Kalra. 2006]. fermentation. however. The conversion of biomass to bioplastics requires energy which may be rather high for PHAs. farming. as well as usage of agricultural facilities. and developments. plastics inherently compare infavourably to metals in particular. products. properties. For all biodegradation processes it must be kept in mind that the rate of the process is not a material property only. and polymer purification. 2006]. Technological advances and simplifications may likely enable an improved energy balance [Gross & Kalra. corn wet milling. which is also viable for several oil-based plastics. 2006]. however. [Zhang et al. 2003].
although the latter is such a complex issue that no final conclusions can be drawn at present. In conjunction with the design support activity an experimental research activity has been initiated. depending on the situation [Gross & Kalra. is fully compostable within 12 weeks and may be therefore included in the plant trash (Deleco). Well-known examples of weak spots in injection moulded plastics products are flow weld lines at locations where two melt flow fronts meet during moulding. 2003]. The applicability-related conclusions from the results obtained to date are summarized in the next section. .to draw. Detailed description of the experiments as well as the results will be published in the near future. Tufekcioglu & Vlasveld. made of a modified PLA (by Biopearls). which are most complex for oil-based plastics and may be at least as complex for bioplastics. The clip is an injection moulded product featuring a snap fit and an integral hinge. and further processability research is needed. for oil-based plastics. Such clips offer an easy-to-learn way to prevent cracking. In addition to the largely materials-related research for bioplastics. a PHB. The same is thought to be true for biodegradability and sustainability. Such design support has been addressed elsewhere [Koster. An example of an appropriate bioplastics application is the BioClip® by Deleco (figure 1). a design support activity is thought desirable related to application of bioplastics and other new materials. particularly in the larger of the two injection moulding machines used. material stability during product life. The benefits of materials will only be fully expressed in products if potential weak spots can be properly addressed in product design. is among the considerations in early design stages. The BioClip. Perceived needs and approach Essential success factors for bioplastics products include processability. Such additional work is certainly needed for product manufacturing by the many injection moulding principles. The autors’ impression is that material properties and improvements for bioplastics have been and are being addressed extensively. Both the PHB and the PLA were found sensitive to degradation during plasticizing. Preliminary experimental results Several geometries with different shape characteristics were injection moulded. predictability and achievement of desired product properties based on material properties and processing parameters. bending and damaging of crop trusses during growth. 2007]. more product-related work is thought necessary. Therefore some of the results may still be less than optimum. Since designers need to deal with a large set of factors and often try to generate a more or less complete picture of product requirements. particularly regarding conversion of materials into products. and a modified PLA. One of the lessons to be learnt from designing with the existing oil-based plastics is that most material substitutions require an experienced designer or dedicated experts to help translate material properties into product performance [Manisalco. Changes in infrastructures may be required for ultimately achieving optimum over-all solutions. using a polystyrene. providing better fruit quality and higher production. 2003]. aimed at obtaining productoriented results. which. This is claimed to give the truss extra strength. and controlled product biodegradation when desired after the end of product life. enabling a myriad of future design opportunities.
An interesting result is that with PHB a better mechanical impact resistance than with polystyrene was found. This also applied to the weakest spot. and Prof Dr Stephen Picken. Martijn Baller and Johan Land performed excellent test programmes. The best weld lines were obtained with injection moulding parameter settings which would be non-trivial for normal injection moulding practice. The Delft Industrial Design Engineering students Lobke van Erve. The mechanical impact resistance was generally better for the modified PLA than for the PHB. considering the drive towards minimization of material usage. however. as well as to contribute to product-related research results with practical value. Acknowledgments Dr Urs Hänggi at Biomer. The associated product design support activity will be useful for guidance and inspiration. the flow weld line. provided PHB material free of charge and assisted us in injection moulding optimization. and almost as good as for an impact modified polystyrene. This indicates an optimization issue which has not been fully resolved yet. Prof Dr Imre Horvath. Closing remarks The initial results available until now are intended to contribute to application-related knowledge as needed for product development. although the relative difference with polystyrene was less for this case. The ongoing additional work will continue to be guided by application-related needs. Bregtje van Dijken. The aim is to develop a systematic approach for dealing with novelties and challenges and for establishing missing information and expertise associated with new materials such as bioplastics in product design. even for oil-based plastics. . Ben Norder and Mr. which. was not yet thoroughly tested. Germany. Mr. Gerard de Vos at the Delft Faculty of Applied Sciences generously supported experimental work. The following persons at Delft University gave inspiring support: Prof Dr Han Brezet. It is an interesting result.
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BE Industries (NL): Pézy. Anadolu University. Promolding. University College Ghent.EAD 2007 Izmir TR Designing Bioplastics Products Rolf Koster .Biopearls NL Emre Tüfekçioğlu . Eskisehir.Anadolu Üniversitesi TR Collaborative Partners Faculties of Industrial Design Engineering and Applied Sciences. Delft University.Delft University NL Remy Jongboom . Biopearls . NL School of Industrial Arts. Timmerije. TR Faculty of Applied Engineering Sciences. H&P Moulding.
Petrosky) .....Collaboration with Partners From (mind to) materials to products For plastics and new materials Focus on integrating product design and realization Collaboration with Partners Why this collaboration ? (1) “things that succeed teach us little .... things that fail . evidence that limits of design have been exceeded” (Success Through Failure..
fail often (Petrosky) in “academic” environment learn why. reduce trial-and-error.Collaboration with Partners Why this collaboration ? (2) “fail early. stretch design limits benefit for industrial application Designing Bioplastics Products Introduction Product Development Bioplastics Learn from Nature Discussion Designing Bioplastics Products .
Introduction Product development: critical look at design practice designing with plastics Bioplastics: not just a new plastic need “new world” → what next? Designing Bioplastics Products Introduction Product Development Bioplastics Learn from Nature Discussion Designing Bioplastics Products .
Product Development What do users / customers really need or wish ? plenty of uncertainties will change over time user need product function product Product Development Fulfill user / customer needs: consider “all” options decision making deal with uncertainties and subjective factors (product-user interactions) .
Product Development To achieve product functions: consider “all” options team up with miscellaneous experts stay up-to-date dedicated testing Product Development Lessons learnt from designing with plastics (1) prerequisite: thinking in plastics complex material behavior and interdepencies of variables noticeable time dependence .
dedicated testing very common (feasibility / optimization) often not publicly “admitted” could also be termed “trial and error” . a challenge to deal with Product Development Product development with plastics .Product Development Lessons learnt from designing with plastics (2) rather high level of detail in early product design stages unparallelled versatility in shaping → many opportunities.
etc...Product Development Most engineers: (unconsciously) deal with plastics as a special type of metal (softer. → functions → parts → subassemblies → assemblies → product use → waste ⎜ .. weaker..) .
sheet metal → injection molded plastic 30 parts → 1 part → 40% weight reduction → 90% (!) cost reduction printer carrier (Océ / Pézy) Product Development Designing with plastics: open and active attitude towards new manufacturing philosophies views on product architecture holistic view on product life cycles .
Designing Bioplastics Products Introduction Product Development Bioplastics Learn from Nature Discussion Designing Bioplastics Products Bioplastics not just a new type of plastic perhaps best known for biodegradability (not all bioplastics!) However each material is (bio)degradable. be it in different time scales .
Bioplastics Bio ? Refers to resources Resources: annually renewable less dependence on specific resources in limited regions of the world .
Bioplastics Challenges for proper usage of resources (1) several (industrial) steps from resource to material product manufacturing.effectiveness avoid competition with food resources . particularly injection molding (equipment & molds) Bioplastics Challenges for proper usage of resources (2) integration with food production for cost .
Bioplastics Biodegradability is a product property is not always desirable Question: why should end of product life cause waste of resources ? .
or new destination for materials holistic view on material flows Designing Bioplastics Products Introduction Product Development Bioplastics Learn from Nature Discussion Designing Bioplastics Products .Bioplastics After end of product life preserve valuable resources.
Learn from Nature Holistic view on material flows balance between production and break-down bio-inspiration .
Nature. M..1002. 437. et al. 999 .5 s for humans) (Elvin C. 2005) synthesized rubber-like protein polymer: extreme resilience ! Colors Without Additives (European Nanoforum.500 million movements in one lifetime ! (equivalent to one large movement every 3. March 2006) pitch size: a few hundred nanometers .
Designing Bioplastics Products Introduction Product Development Bioplastics Learn from Nature Discussion Designing Bioplastics Products Discussion Design practice what works fine today may be outdated tomorrow Designer in development team more detailed discussions with other professionals .
training & inspiration of all professionals truely collaborative: expertise no longer a “personal” property open innovation principles Designing Bioplastics Products .Discussion Product development teams more cross .
Discussion Complexities open innovation & collaborative product development bioplastics. life cycle issues interesting challenges for designers ! EAD 2007 Izmir TR Designing Bioplastics Products .
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