Researchers at Tuskegee University in Alabama are conducting groundbreaking research in bioplastics. Many of the new environmentally friendly bioplastics made from vegetable fats, oils, and sweet potatoes will decompose in landfills. But these plastics have not shown the strength and flexibility of traditional plastic products.
Michael L. Curry, an associate professor in the department of chemistry at Tuskegee University and graduate student Donald H. White have conducted experiments in biodegradable polymers where tiny particles of cellulose are suspended in an organic solvent. Their cellulose-based plastics are flexible and significantly stronger than previously biodegradable plastics.
Dr. Curry stated that “this discovery will allow us to develop new and better plastic products, use plastic resources more efficiently and create products that have a low impact on the environment, thus reducing our ecological footprint.”
Dr. Curry is a 1999 graduate of the University of West Alabama in Livingston. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.