Unitika Ltd developed a new alloy grade of the "Teramac," a biomass plastic made from polylactic acid (PLA). It features heat resistance, durability and impact resistance comparable to the ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), according to the company.

The new plastic is already used for part of the exterior of Tanita Corp's bathroom scale, the "HS-302."

The new alloy grade is characterized by the following three features. First, its CO2 emissions are about 20% of those from ABS plastic. Second, it can be molded using the same equipment used for molding ABS plastic with a workability almost equivalent to that of ABS plastic. Third, it can obtain the "Biomass Plastics Mark" certified by the Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA).

The properties can be adjusted by controlling plant-derived materials or alloy designing. In addition to the type that features "heat resistance, durability and impact resistance," which was developed this time, various grades can be developed, such as a type featuring "transparency, heat resistance and durability" and a type with "heat resistance, durability and flame resistance." Sample shipments have already been started for some of the grades, according to Unitika.

The company plans to promote the use of the new alloy grade in a wide variety of products including chassis of electrical appliances and toys. At the same time, it intends to promote the use of the Teramac itself for films, sheets, fibers, spunbond fabrics and so forth.