Photos: new thermoformed algae plastic, it's leopard print!

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Apr 22, 2014 9:26:00 AM

Hey guys!

Happy Spring time!

Some time ago, Dordan began investigating different bio-based/biodegradable/compostable and otherwise "green plastics" for its customers; as custom thermoformers, we like to be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovations in material science and plastics processing. These efforts cumulated with the release of our Bio Resin Show N Tell, an overview of the various non traditional resins' performance and sustainability credentials. Also included is a cost comparative of these eco plastics vs. traditional resins (PVC, PET, HIPS, etc.).

One material recently added to the Show N Tell is ALGIX's "algae plastic;" I have blogged on this company before and how it converts aquatic biomass into plastic building blocks. The technology has been showcased in many industry articles. 

The first generation of ALGIX's algae plastic Dordan sampled smelled of the sea and was green; it literally looks like exactly what your mind would picture when you think of algae plastic. See:

Algae plastic

The second generation of algae plastic we sampled was colored and demonstrated the company's first attempt at odor removal; unfortunately, it did not thermoform as well as the first gen, and the smell was positively awful.

Algae plastic

We just got to sample ALGIX's latest and greatest algae plastic. It is a 12% algae/HIPS multilayer film. Here is what the material in sheet form looks like:

algae plastic

Here are some samples I made on our sample press; these are protos and obviously not Dordan production quality.

algae plastic traysDordan Algae plastic thermoformedPictured: new algae plastic thermoformed tray (left) vs. old algae plastic (right)

Overall it was exciting to form: the way the material rose and fell with the heat was unique and unlike anything I've seen. Once heated and formed, the once blue/black leopard print transforms into a more muted, less shinny version thereof. The material was extremely brittle, allowing me to essentially fold and tear it along the form lines.

And here if a photo of thermoformed algae plastic cars from another thermoformer, the colors are nuts! My friend at ALGIX explained that the translucent effect has to do with the algae pigment coming through on the skin layer; the goal is to extrude any color over ALGIX's material, even white.

Algae plastic cars

Topics: thermoformed trays, green plastic, eco plastic, sustainable plastic, compostable plastic, recycled plastic, custom thermoforming, Biodegradable plastic, algae plastic, Dordan