Biopol is a biopolymer that is an environmentally friendly biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources (made naturally in plants from starch and glucose). Biopol is the brand name for a group of biopolymers often called PHAs or PHBs. The continual use of petroleum to make polymers for plastic will eventually run out and hence Biopol was introduced as a polymer replacement for petroleum. It is made from an organic substance known as Alcaligenes eutrophus which is a microorganism. Biopol is stable when stored in air and even humid conditions. When the polymer is exposed to microorganisms found in soil, sewage, river bottoms or other similar environments, the decomposition into carbon dioxide and water may occur. Other properties of Biopol include its insolubility in water, good oxygen permeability, ultra violet resistance but poor resistance to acid and bases, solubility in chloroform and other chlorinated hydrocarbons, biocompatibility (hence making it suitable for medical applications), melting point of 175 °C and glass transition temperature of 15°C, sinks in water, and is non-toxic. There are many potential uses of PHA within the medical and pharmaceutical sectors mainly due to its property of biodegradability. Some of its other uses include bone plates and/or bone plating systems, orthopaedic pins, adhesion, bone marrow scaffolds and ocular cell implants. They are also used for injection moulds, water-based latex products, water resistant coatings, fibre, and film. Due to its insolubility in water, this means that they are great at resisting water and that is why they are used as water-resistant coatings. Biopol has proven to be a valuable asset to society as it is renewable and has many potential applications which may be beneficial to the advancement of society.
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