The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) develops high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks. CB2's vision is to develop the knowledge that will allow the production of an array of high-value materials from agricultural feedstocks that are compatible with current industrial manufacturing systems, thereby promoting rural development. Such materials include plastics, coatings, adhesives, and composites.
CB2's goals are to:
To achieve these goals, CB2 collaborates with industry to develop fundamental knowledge of bioplastics and biocomposites; disseminates this knowledge through publications, workshops, and tradeshows; and educates future researchers, engineers, and scientists.
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CB2 focuses on the following five research areas to promote industrywide acceptance of bioplastics and increase the use of sustainable materials:
This research focuses on the development of bioplastic products including composting, product labeling, and economic analysis. Part of CB2's existing system is an interactive life cycle assessment web-based software that allows users to easily analyze their current and future products.
This research leads to a deeper knowledge of biocomposites, including fiber synthesis, biobased resin systems, and biobased fiber systems. These areas include self-healing composites, fiber production from lignin, and nanotechnologies.
CB2 affiliates have a proven track record of working with member companies to successfully commercialize biobased products. Because CB2 offers member companies royalty-free access to intellectual property resulting from its projects, CB2 is well-positioned for direct technology transfer from academia to industry. CB2 supports the development of Small Business Innovation Research program proposals and business plans, facilitates networking, and identifies markets and potential market penetration. This allows member companies to leverage their resources and increase their profits.
Modeling research studies energy and mass transfer processing techniques such as extrusion and injection molding. The long-term goal is to develop models based on fundamental principles that can be used across a wide range of sciences.
Processing research will focus on the specific requirements of biobased polymers and composites during vital processing operations. This includes melt processing, extrusion, and molding, as well as secondary operations such as cutting, welding, and coating.
Synthesis and compounding
This area will develop fundamental understanding of bioplastic synthesis and compounding, including fermentation and polymerization. This includes vegetable oil-based materials, biobased waxes, monomers, elastomers, poly(ester-amides), and other sustainable approaches to advanced functional materials and polymer additives and feedstock production.