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M. Trznadel

Biodegradable polymer materials

Polimery 1995, No 9, 485

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.14314/polimery.1995.485


Environmentally biodegradable materials have been reviewed, including their use and limitations, law regulations applied in various countries, and biodegradation study problems. Spontaneously biodegradable synthetic polymers and polymers biodegrading via their additives are described. The latter group is confined to commercially available starch-containing polymers, viz., low-starch (6—15%) and high-starch (40—60%). The low-starch materials incorporate starch as a biodegradable filler with its original structure and granular form preserved. The high-starch materials are prepared with destructurized starch. The low-starch polymers biodegrade with the help of autooxidants: these are mixed with starch and produce peroxides that cleave the polymer chains. The high-starch materials have their starch removed by microorganisms (or enzymes) and their residues become dispersed in the environment. Despite the large amount of starch, the latter materials show satisfactory mechanical properties most likely due to complexes formed between the starch and the synthetic component of the material.

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