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Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2)

Iowa State University

Washington State University

Last Reviewed: 06/12/2017

The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) is a National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites is a Phase I I/UCRC NSF center.

CB2 strives to improve the basic understanding of the synthesis, processing, properties, and compounding of bioplastic and biocomposite materials, as well as, develop reliable material characteristics data for industrial partners; and support large-scale implementation of renewable materials.

The team of researchers includes experts from the fields of polymer processing, polymer chemistry, materials science, and biomass utilization. It combines a wide breadth of experience and expertise allowing a well-rounded interdisciplinary approach. In addition, both participating institutions have state-of-the-art facilities for polymer processing and characterization to facilitate the development of a fundamental understanding of the influence of processing on the properties of biopolymers and composites.

 

Center Mission and Rationale

The center’s mission is to develop fundamental knowledge related to bioplastics and biocomposites, and disseminate this knowledge to industry to promote sustainability and educate future scientists and engineers. This mission is supported through the creation of transformative new materials and processing technologies and the necessary reliable, comparable material data to allow efficient and profitable industrial use of biorenewable alternative materials. This will reduce dependence on petroleum and the release of harmful greenhouse gases.

The center will have positive impacts on the environment and the economy. The knowledge generated through this research will accelerate the demand for bioplastics, promoting a substantial, sustainable workforce that is less likely to be outsourced because biomass sources must be local to meet sustainability requirements and minimize transportation costs and emissions. Further, the collaborative, pre-competitive nature of the center will allow us to address research and development issues more efficiently and comprehensively than is typical in single project contracts.

Research program

Biocomposites Thrust

Foundational knowledge on biocomposites, including fiber synthesis, biobased resin systems, and biobased fiber systems.

Medical Applications Thrust

Focus on the biomedical uses of bio-based polymers.

Modeling Thrust

Study energy and mass transfer for the employed processing techniques, such as extrusion and injection molding.

Processing Thrust

Focus on the specific requirements of biobased polymers and composites during vital processing operations.

Products Thrust

Focus on commercialization of bioplastic products.

Synthesis/Compounding Thrust

Develop fundamental understanding of bioplastic synthesis and compounding, including fermentation and polymerization.

Special Activities

The center engages industry and other institutions with annual activities including:

  • Collaborations with industry to develop fundamental knowledge of bioplastics and biocomposites.
  • Dissemination of this knowledge through publications, workshops, and tradeshows.
  • Education and training of future researchers, engineers, and scientists in the field of bioplastics and biocomposites.

Facilities and Laboratory

CB2 is well positioned to work on the elimination of many problems faced by the bioplastics and biocomposites industry, including feedstock logistics, economic limitations, and supply chain issues. The CB2 at Iowa State has a wide range of polymer processing equipment, including but not limited to, numerous extruders, injection molding machines, and thermoforming systems. In addition, the CB2 has extensive thermal and mechanical characterization equipment for polymers and composites. The CB2 also has novel fiber processing equipment for the production of graphite fibers. Washington State University (WSU) is a site of CB2. WSU’s expertise in natural fiber composites, which has grown out of WSU’s Composite Materials and Engineering Center (CMEC), facilitate projects in biobased composites.

Locations

Iowa State University

1350A Elings Hall

Ames, Iowa, 50011

United States

Washington State University

PO Box 642920

Pullman, Washington, 99164

United States