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Home  > Raw materials & technologies  > Raw materials  > Coatings binders  > Growing inks from trees

Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Raw materials & technologies, Raw materials, Coatings binders

Growing inks from trees

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A growing focus on the environmental impact and sustainability of printing inks has been predicted. Laura Kela
 from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland shows how pulping wastes can provide 
ink binders.

VTT biobased packaging demonstrations

VTT biobased packaging demonstrations

Polymers based on hemicelluloses and tall oil from wood have potential for use as ink binders. They originate from renewable non-food materials. In addition, it is possible to extract them from side streams of existing production processes. Thus they would offer a really eco-friendly option for inks.

Hemicelluloses improve water repellency

Hemicelluloses are one of the most abundant biopolymers in nature: they are widely available from the forest industry, energy crops, agricultural residues, straw and grass. In softwoods such as spruce and pine the dominant hemicellulose is non-ionic O-acetyl-galactoglucomannane (AcGGM). In hardwoods such as birch and eucalyptus, O-acetyl-4-O-methyl-glucuronoxylan, often referred as glucuronoxylan or simply xylan, dominates.

In the European Coatings Journal 11/2012 supplement Printing Inks, Laura Kela
 from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, showsthat hydroxyl groups in hemicelluloses allow the polymers to be modified to improve properties such as water repellency. Even other pulping by-products may be used for this purpose. Waterbased flexo inks have been produced based on hemicelluloses and on pine rosin esters.
As the products are biodegradable and non-toxic they may be of particular interest for packaging printing, where compostability is increasingly of interest. The potential market for such packaging inks is large, but far less than the amount of hemicellulose produced in pulping.

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