With the PlasticoLight project, we intend to develop low-density fillers for plastic formulations, using porous raw materials and morphological and physical and chemical modification processes through the use of polysaccharides and the incorporation of porous structures.
In the plastics industry, the use of fillers makes it possible to improve the final material’s mechanical performance with concomitant reduction in production cost. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one of the most used fillers due to its low cost, good stability and non-toxicity. Usually, between 20 and 40 % is used in plastic formulation. However, its high density (2.73 g/cm3) compromises some applications in which polymers need to be lightweight and greatly conditions savings in the polymer percentage.
Isolago – Indústria de Plásticos, S. A. (Pontével), whose activity focuses on the production of plastic compounds, is the project’s leading company. The University of Aveiro is the copromoting entity, providing a multidisciplinary team covering the areas of Polysaccharide Chemistry, Organic/Inorganic Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering.
When transposing the technology to the pilot/semi-industrial scale, the eggshells will be supplied by the Derovo group (Pombal), pectate will be recovered from apple pomace, a by-product of Indumape - Industrialização de Fruta, S. A. (Pombal) and alginate will be supplied by ALGAplus (Ílhavo), so these companies will be partners in this project.
In turn, a selected Isolago customer will perform the final assessment of the low density fillers produced, focusing the resulting materials thermomechanical and structural properties.