Polylactide-Graft-Lignin Copolymers
Michael Paul Eyser, Clay Perbix, and John R. Dorgan
Summary: Methods to produce renewable polyactide-graft-lignin blends and copolymers
Description: Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is an aliphatic renewable thermoplastic that is
biodegradable. However, PLA is limited thermally by a low glass transition and heat distortion
temperatures. Lignin is expected to improve the properties of bioplastics and plastics by acting
as a toughening agent. This work presents methods to produce renewable polyactide-graft-
lignin blends and copolymers that have improved physical properties. Both alkali lignin and
organosolv lignin were butyrated before being grafted with poly(lactic acid). Gas permeation
chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform inferred spectroscopy,
and solubility tests proved that the different functionalized lignins were successfully
synthesized via solution polymerization to form a renewable PLA-graft-lignin copolymer.
Main Advantages of this Invention
 Can make biodegradable and
renewable plastics
 Uses waste products of other
 Low costs
Potential Areas of Application
 Paper by-product recycling
 Biofuels
Patent Application: 12020
Intel ectual Property Status: US utility patent pending (application #13/850,447)
Opportunity: We are seeking an exclusive or non-exclusive licensee for marketing,
manufacturing, and sale of this technology.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: wvaughan@mines.edu