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PLA - short version

Meaning 1:

Polylactic acid.

Meaning 2:

Product Life Assessment.

Meaning 3:

Programmable Logic Array

Meaning 4:

Project Labor Agreement.

PLA - long version

Meaning 1:

Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable, thermoplastic, aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the U.S.) or sugarcanes (rest of world). Although PLA has been known for more than a century, it has only been of commercial interest in recent years, in light of its biodegradability.

Stereocomplex blends of PDLA and PLLA have a wide range of applications, such as woven shirts (ironability), microwavable trays, hot-fill applications and even engineering plastics (in this case, the stereocomplex is blended with a rubber-like polymer such as ABS). Such blends also have good form-stability and visual transparency, making them useful for low-end packaging applications. Progress in bio-technology has resulted in the development of commercial production of the D enantiomer form, something that was not possible until recently[citation needed].

PLA is currently used in a number of biomedical applications, such as sutures, stents, dialysis media and drug delivery devices. It is also being evaluated as a material for tissue engineering. Because it is biodegradable, it can also be employed in the preparation of bioplastic, useful for producing loose-fill packaging, compost bags, food packaging, and disposable tableware. In the form of fibers and non-woven textiles, PLA also has many potential uses, for example as upholstery, disposable garments, awnings, feminine hygiene products, and nappies.

PLA has been used as the hydrophobic block of amphiphilic synthetic block copolymers used to form the vesicle membrane of polymersomes.

PLA is a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived products, since the lactides from which it is ultimately produced can be derived from the fermentation of agricultural by-products such as corn starch or other carbohydrate-rich substances like maize, sugar or wheat.

PLA is more expensive than many petroleum-derived commodity plastics, but its price has been falling as production increases. The demand for corn is growing, both due to the use of corn for bioethanol and for corn-dependent commodities, including PLA.

PLA has also been developed in the United Kingdom to serve as sandwich packaging.

PLA has also been used in France to serve as the binder in Isonat Nat’isol, an hemp fiber building insulation.


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