|Kolodka awarded USDA biopolymer research grant|
Edward Kolodka (Chemical Engineering) has been awarded a $200,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative Award to work toward the synthesis of a family of bio-sourced, biodegradable polymers suitable for a wide range of applications.
Kolodka, assistant professor of chemical engineering in the School of Engineering and Mines, said currently available biodegradable polymers are generally too brittle for most applications. The goal of the grant is to produce a biodegradable polymer with significantly improved impact properties, making a tougher, less brittle polymer.
Some potential applications are disposable, one use products such as food packaging, plastic plates and cups, plastic utensils, "really any other disposable plastic. The polymer will degrade to carbon dioxide and water in 1-2 years. Plus, it's produced from agricultural products, not oil." said Kolodka.
Other potential applications are disposable items that would be used for 1-2 years but must be kept dry, such as pens, printer cartridges, plastic wrap, and clear packaging, said Kolodka.