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Assessment of Polylactide as Optical Material
  • Matthias Kesting,
  • Jörg Meyer,
  • Gunnar Seide
Matthias Kesting
Maastricht University

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Jörg Meyer
Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Science
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Gunnar Seide
Maastricht University
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Due to environmental concerns, interest in bioplastics is rising. For optical applications, materials have to meet high requirements. Polylactide (PLA), a known bioplastic, is already applied in high tech applications such as medicine. The material shows favorable optical properties and excellent resistance against photodegradation. However, the material turns hazy due to crystallization when exposed to temperatures above 55-60 °C. This renders it useless for optical applications. Clouding might be avoided by influencing PLA’s crystallization behavior. In this critical review the broad use of PLA is discussed. It is also shown, that currently no material is commercially available that meets all requirements set while being biodegradable and exclusively based on renewable feedstocks. Finally, an overview of the current state in research is provided, considering PLA-based materials with adapted crystallization behavior under the aspect of transparency. At last, recommendations for the goal of achieving highly sustainable PLA-based optical components are given.