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Inhibited Biodegradable Films


Development and Presentation of the Technology of New Inhibited Film Materials with Accelerated Biodegradation in Soil

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-POL/Polymer Chemistry/Chemistry
  • ENV-SPC/Solid Waste Pollution and Control/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / V.A. Bely Metal Polymer Research Institute, Belarus, Gomel

Supporting institutes

  • Minsk Research Institute of Radiomaterials, Belarus, Minsk


  • University of Dublin / Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, Dublin\nSwedish Life Science University / Department of Chemistry, Sweden, Uppsala

Project summary

Aim of the project: development and presentation of the technology of new inhibited film materials with rapid biological degradation in soil aimed at preserving electronic hardware.

Statement of the problem.

Thanks to their unique properties, including inertness, strength, thermal plasticity, flexibility, transparence, water repellence, as well as low cost, polymeric materials are intensely used in manufacture of various-purpose film packages for a wide-scale production sphere and public needs. More than a half of the total volume of commercial thermoplastics is spent nowadays on the production of packages. High resistance of polymer materials to biological, thermal and photodestruction have lead to piling of huge amounts of polymer scrap in the environment. The problem of waste recycling bears a global character today. A promising trend of its solution is the development of multifunctional biodegradable polymer films with regulated life (L.S. Pinchuk, A.V. Makarevich, V.A. Goldade. Active polymer packaging films. Processing and packaging technologies, 2001, No. 4, p. 30-33. G. Vlasova, and A. Makarevich. Active polymer packaging films. Processing and packaging technologies. 2001, No. 4, p. 36-38.). Named materials incorporate active functional additives in their polymer matrix. These additives isolate inside the package space and create a protecting ambient medium. Sensitive to moisture and hostile environment electronic equipment require an obligatory protection against corrosion. So far, the problem of developing a new type of polymer films containing corrosion inhibitors is extremely actual as the stages of packaging and preservation can be merged in one operation, besides extra costs on application and removal of special preserving or inhibiting agents can be eliminated.

The inhibited polymer coatings (IPC) are manufactured in great many countries today. Their chief manufacturers are Northern Technologies International Corporation, Cortec Corporation, Nitto Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Aicello Chemical Co. and many other. The production method of IPC is based on co-extrusion of LDPE granules with a functional component (FC) in the form of corrosion inhibitors evenly distributed over the polymer matrix. The physico-chemical basis of the proposed production method of IPC to be realized in the project constitutes phase transitions in the polymer-solvent system. Its uniqueness consists in the method of injecting FC into the ready hose film by thermal diffusion. Advantages of thus produced IPC are the following:

– combination of the functions of a barrier perceiving mechanical loads and FC carrier in a single-ply film structure;

– capability of FC to isolate via syneresis and evaporate from the side of the film facing the object preserved;
– low cost thanks to reduced content and economizing of FC (most costly ingredient) injected only into the thin layer of the film but not in the whole volume;
– prolonged functional action of the film.

Advantages of the proposed technology over traditional ones are the next:

– FC is not subjected to thermodestruction;

– production of the film is safe since low-molecular FC is localized in a sealed volume formed by the hose and the vapors can’t leak through extruder junctions;
– the proposed technique is oriented to manufacture of biodegradable thermoplastic polymers and composites easily consumed by soil bacteria harmless for nature.

Impact of the proposed project on progress in ecological sphere and prolonged preservation of susceptible to corrosion materials:

– biodegradable IPC render a fungicidal protection;

– cut cost of electronic hardware packaging;
– prolong storage terms without additional re-packaging;
– reduce volumes of polymeric scrap and contamination by toxic wastes;
– improve ecology round urban territories – consumers of polymeric packages.

It’s evident that named works are utterly timely. They solve the problems of annihilation of polymer wastes without any harm to the environment and preservation of electronic equipment simultaneously.

Participants of the project.

The leading institute: V.A. Belyi Metal-Polymer Research Institute of NASB (MPRI) is the major organization in the field of developing polymer materials in CIS. The institute co-executor – UP Minsk Research Institute of Radiomaterials (UP RIR) specializes in elaboration and manufacture of functional materials and products for radio-electronic industry. Participants of the project embrace 3 Professors, Doctors of Sciences, 7 specialists with PH.D. degrees dealing with the problems of chemistry of polymers, technology of explosives, biotechnology, heating engineering, microelectronics, microsensorics, industrial ecology, armament, experts engaged in biopolymers and fissionable matter of trans-uranium series, explosives, missile technologies, laser and SHF engineering, atomic energy, and etc. Prof. Pinchuk L.S. - the project supervisor is the founder of the scientific school of metal-polymer sealing systems in CIS, is the author of more than 100 scientific works on biopolymers and polymer film materials.

Anticipated results: the project is to solve 7 problems to achieve the goals posed, namely:

1. Elaboration of specifications for BIPC used to preserve electronic equipment, requirements to their biodegradation products and time of their decomposition till simple substances.

2. Development of compositions of BIPC and fabrication of their samples.

3. Investigation of structure and physico-mechanical characteristics of BIPC.

4. Estimation of the efficiency of antirust and fungicidal effect of BIPC at preserving electronic hardware.

5. Study of biodegradation kinetics of BIPC by soil microorganisms.

6. Creation of production technology of BIPC and a pilot production, presentation of the technology.

7. Elaboration of normative documents, forms and records.

Commercial value of the results: Provisional investigations have shown that new BIPC are on a par in protective characteristics with and are much cheaper (2.5-3.5 $/kg) their foreign analogues (Сortec, Zerust, Branofol, Lectron) and the films produced in CIS (5-7 $/kg) on the base of imported ingredients. The development can be adopted based on a typical production process of polymers after certain retrofit of equipment. Profits from production of 250 tones/year in CIS conditions is estimated roughly in $300,000. It’s planned to protect the intellectual property.

Field of application.

BIPC with new physico-mechanical characteristics and chemical mixture are used as protective packaging of the materials which are subject to atmospheric and biological corrosion and destined for long-term storage in conditions of high humidity and salt-containing.

Compliance of the project with aims and tasks of ISTC.

Fulfillment of the project will realize the aims and tasks of ISTC proceeding from the following reasons:

1. The participants engaged in the sphere of armaments will acquire a possibility to reorient their potentialities to peaceful activities on the study of ecologically safe polymer packages.

2. The project will contribute to solution of the national and international technical problems and development of a new active polymer material with programmed lifetime in a number of industrial branches and consumers services to replace the traditional polymeric package.

3. The project is able to solve in part ecological tasks as it will decrease essentially volume of polymer wastes and their effect on the environment.

4. Realization of the project encourages integration of the participants in the international scientific community in the course of joint research and participation in international symposia and conferences.

5. The project gives an incentive to transfer of the participants to the market economy and future self-financing.

Volume of activities.

Duration of the project is 30 months, labor intensiveness – 5748 man-days, number of participating organizations – 2. The leading organization is MPRI whose role in the project is to develop a polymer composition with programmed life incorporating corrosion inhibitors of a new class.

The co-executor of the project – UP RIR whose role is to conduct tests of BIPC, their protective ability for electronic products, effect on the ecology and biodestruction products of used up packages. The project presupposes the fulfillment of 7 goals in applied investigations, development and presentation of the technology, and launching of pilot production.

Role of foreign collaborator in the project:

Within the framework of the present project it’s scheduled to cooperate with the Chairs of physical chemistry and organic chemistry of Trinity College. The project collaborator, Director of Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials has proposed to render support for the project in the form of

– exchange of information during the project;

– commentaries and notes to technical reports;
– joint use of equipment;
– testing of developed under the project materials;
– organizing of joint symposia or workshops.

Technical approach and methodology.

MPRI have conducted research on creation of biodegradable IPC based on PE-starch compositions. Manufactured from them films have been tried in soil for 6-12 months till their destruction. MPRI were the first in CIS to employ polynitric heterocyclic compounds as universal inhibitors. The compounds present semiproducts of synthesis of explosive substances, they are non-toxic, ecologically safe, possess high vapor elasticity properties and strong fungicidal characteristics.

Draft version of specifications for BIPC (task 1) will be preliminary elaborated. An optimum composition of BIPC will be developed according to task 2 in laboratory conditions proceeding from the requirements of thermodynamic and process compatibility of film components, its biodegradability, resistance to corrosion and biological effects. Investigation methods according to task 3 of experimental BIPC samples will consist of determining rupture strength and structure by the optical, electron and atomic-force microscopy, electret-thermal and X-ray diffraction analyses. Trials for anticorrosion and biological protection in accordance with task 4 will be carried out in the salt mist chamber and the heat and cold one.

Task 5 – testing of BIPC for biological destruction will be solved using a model simulating soil features and climate in Belarus (aluminous soils with elevated humidity during winter-summer time). Biodegradation kinetics of experimental samples will be preliminary studied on BIPC of various compositions. The limiting factors effecting the rate and degree of destruction are to be defined, after which the samples will be subject to field tests. Tasks 6 and 7 presume the development of normative documents, forms and records based on European standards.


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