Essay on Polylactic Acid ( Pla )

1304 Words Dec 7th, 2015 6 Pages
Polylactic Acid (PLA)
Polylactic acid begun to be commercially produced and directly used in the 1990’s, as it was manufactured in large quantities and used for profit. Since then, continuously increasing amounts are being produced, as more is being used in everyday items.
The biopolymer is a renewable source, as it is derived from plants, in particular corn crops.
Development of Polylactic Acid
1. Corn starch is harvested from corn crops.
2. The starch undergoes hydrolysis to break the bonds between glucose molecules in the starch, forming individual glucose molecules.
Hydrolysis: C6H10O5 + H2O ------> C6H12O6
3. The synthesis of polylactic acid requires bacteria or fungi, not enzymes. Hence, lactobacillus bacteria or rhizopus fungi are used in the fermentation process. Glucose undergoes fermentation. lactobacillus bacteria
Fermentation: C6H12O6 -----------------------> 2CH3CH(OH)CO2H OR rhizopus fungi
4. The fermentation process will produce two lactic acid monomers.
5. These monomers undergo condensation polymerisation, losing water molecules, to form polylactic acid.

Evaluate the use or potential use of the polymer produced, related to its properties, includind impact on society and the environment.
There are both advantages and limitations of the use of the biopolymer polylactic acid, based on its properties.
Due to the high strength and ductility of polylactic acid, it can be used to make rigid plastic items such as containers. The…

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