by Márton Kardos
Prof. Gadi Rothenberg and Dr Albert Alberts, Researchers of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) developed a biobased and biodegradable resin, called Glycix. According to their story, they were looking for a biofuel and discovered the plastic by chance. The basic ingredients are citric acid and glycerol, two completely natural compounds.
Glycix appears to be a polyester that dissolves in water after a while. That, of course, is a disadvantage on one hand, as it makes the material unsuitable for outdoor use without a waterproof coating. On the other hand, it is a huge advantage, because the material can break down and be absorbed without leaving back any unnatural or toxic substances. As the world is getting more and more concerned about the huge amounts of plastic waste floating around in our oceans intoxicating fish and wildlife, these kinds of materials will have growing importance in the near future.
Glycix seems to be the first alternative to conventional thermoset resins, none of which is biodegradable or even recyclable. Imagine the wide spectrum of possibilities this bioplastic provides in combination with natural fibers as a biobased, compostable composite material. Some of the applications Rothenberg and Alberts have proposed for Glycix include indoor applications like furniture padding and foam packaging.