Sappi Symbio PLA25

What is it?

This is a composite of 75% bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) polymer originating from renewable feedstock and 25% cellulose fibres, an organic structural component of green plants. The cellulose is wood-based and originates from responsibly managed forests. This combination makes Symbio PLA-based composites 100% renewable and bio-based. Because of its good balance between strength, rigidity and impact resistance, it can be used for a variety of applications. Its soft appearance and touch contribute to its suitability for visible parts. The company also offers a grade with 60% PLA and 40% cellulose.

Material properties

  • Tensile strength (MPa): 83

  • Tensile modulus (MPa): 8200

Positive Plastics_Sappi Symbio PLA25

Technical benefits

Compared with unfilled PLA, the cellulose content significantly increases the strength and rigidity of the material with a very limited increase in density. Other benefits include good impact resistance and good heat and scratch resistance. The rigidity of the sample is in the range we typically experience with glass-reinforced engineering plastics.

Look and feel

The material has a natural look and warm touch that comes with a visually pleasing matte surface. The natural colour is off-white. Without added colourants, the filler material might become visible on the glossy surfaces of the sample, which is of less concern on EDM (sparked) surfaces. Low density makes the rigid component lightweight and easy to handle. Good scratch resistance maintains the quality appearance of the product even in harsh conditions.

Environmental benefits

The high volume of organic content reduces the consumption of fossil-based feedstock and decreases the carbon footprint of the end product. The wood-based cellulose fibres are derived from sustainable sources and controlled through FSC certification (FSC C015022). The material can be fully recycled in a closed-loop recycling process.

Applications

This material can be used for automotive interior, consumer electronics, furniture, appliances, and other consumer goods.

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Why we chose this material 

Cellulose is an interesting option compounded with thermoplastics, in many cases with polypropylene. A material with similar properties does not really exist among conventional thermoplastic alternatives. In addition, the material is 100% bio-based.

Why you should consider this material

  • You are looking for a visually appealing material.

  • You need a material with improved rigidity and strength, and with lower weight than other fillers such as glass or talc.

  • You want to reduce the environmental footprint of your product.

About the manufacturer

Sappi is a diversified wood-fibre company focused on providing dissolving pulp, packaging and speciality papers, as well as biomaterials and biochemicals to customers across more than 150 countries. They are using renewable wood fibres, as well as material used in the paper production, to produce diversified products. Amongst them, are  bio-composite polymers.