Bio-ABS: A New Green Polymer to Replace the Petroleum Derived ABS

Various factors are driving the inclination towards bioplastics. Consumers are expressing improved attentiveness in green products as well as are keen for healthier lifestyles and restoring the environment. Consequently, businesses are reacting to government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and consumer demands for more eco-friendly products instigating the usage of bioplastic instead of conventional polymers.

Various companies are aiming to develop a bio-based green material to be used in electronics application which can act as a substitute to the currently used petroleum-based acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). This polymer is likely to be a blend of poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and ABS. The characteristics of ABS compliments PLA well, as it is a very tough. Additionally, its structure comprise of three polymers which allows for a wide spectrum of resulting properties when the ratios are adjusted. The PLA/ABS blends, with proper compatibility, will act as alternate to massively used petroleum based polymer, thus offsetting an amount of petroleum used as material derivative. Moreover, as PLA has comparatively low cost than ABS, its blend is also comparatively low in price which makes them highly attractive for the industry.

ABS is extensively used in electrical & electronic industry owing to its high strength and toughness that allows it to be used in various semi-structural applications as well. Biopolymers and their blends are applied successfully in several areas right from agriculture to consumer goods, packaging and automotive applications. PLA is a majorly used biopolymer as a replacement to ABS. It is tremendously versatile in nature and can be easily converted into various forms through different techniques. For instance, it can be molded into plastic parts through injection molding process, extruded into sheets or film, and spun into fibers for non-woven as well as can be thermoformed into packaging items. In 2012, various researchers at Siemens developed an alternative material to polystyrene-based acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastic which is a mixture of polyhdroxybutyrate (PHB) bioplastic and carbon dioxide-based polypropylene carbonate (PPC). Numerous companies are still searching ways to develop a successful alternative to petroleum based polymers, especially ABS resin.