Development of Kenaf Fiber-Reinforced Bioplastic for Mobile Phones
As environmental problems such as global warming and resource depletion attract more interest, polylactic acid, a renewable plant-based bioplastic, has gained attention as a replacement for conventional petroleum plastic.
However, it has previously not been feasible to apply normal polylactic acid to electronic products because its heat resistance and durability were not sufficient. Though methods to mix petroleum resin have been examined to solve these problems, this would not really contribute to the achievement of the original goal.
NEC has been conducting research and development in this area for some time and has finally succeeded in substantially improving the heat resistance of polylactic acid by adding kenaf fiber, thereby improving the global warming prevention characteristics of the bioplastic. In collaboration with Unitica, NEC has also been able to satisfy other practical characteristics such as durability. We have already started using this material in PC parts. NEC has also realized the high drop impact resistance and formability characteristics necessary for mobile phone casing panels by adopting a unique composition of a plant softening agent and reinforcement filling agent.