Product development with biopolymer-based nanocomposites
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Advantages of polymer nanocomposites are well known among scientists and certain other experts, but much less among many product designers and applicators. Their application is limited until now. Application of biopolymers is still limited as well, although steadily increasing. Biopolymer-based nanocomposites may offer additional property combinations and hence interesting perspectives for future poduct development. The number of design opportunities offered by so many material combinations and compounds easily gets confusing for product development professionals, who are often the ones to initiate application of materials. Application benefits may not be derived straightforward from scientific materials-related research results. Ideally, additional new developments would be driven based on potential benefits in products. Therefore a hybrid research activity was initiated to address both practical nanocomposite behavior in products and requirements for design support in dealing with bio-based and nano-structured materials in particular. The experiments focus on developing methods to obtain the most desired balance of product properties. Poly(lactic acid)-based nanocomposites with two different types of nano-sized additives seem promising for certain product applications.