Eco-friendly Plastics Made From Sugars Boast “Unprecedented” Properties

The search for sustainable alternatives to common plastics has researchers investigating how their building blocks can be sourced from places other than petroleum, and for scientists behind a promising new study, this has led them straight to the sweet stuff.

The team has produced a new form of plastic with “unprecedented” mechanical properties that are maintained throughout standard recycling processes, and managed to do so using sugar-derived materials as the starting point.

The breakthrough comes from scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK and Duke University in the US, who in their pursuit of more sustainable plastics turned to sugar alcohols. These organic compounds carry a similar chemical structure to the sugars they’re derived from, which the scientists found can bring some unique benefits to the production of plastic.

The two compounds in question are isoidide and isomannide, which both feature rigid rings of atoms that the scientists were able to use as building blocks for a new family of polymers. The polymer based on isoidide featured a stiffness and malleability like that of typical plastics, and strength comparable to high-grade engineering plastics.

The polymer made from isomannide, meanwhile, had similar strength and toughness, but with a high degree of elasticity that allowed it to recover its shape after deformation. The characteristics of both were maintained after being subjected to the common recycling methods of pulverization and thermal processing.

The team used computer modeling to study how the unique spatial arrangement of atoms within the compounds afford them these different properties, a discipline known as stereochemistry. As a next step, the scientists created plastics using both building blocks, which enabled them to tune the mechanical properties and degradation rates, independently of one another.

This raises the prospect of creating sustainable plastics with desired degradation rates, without impacting on their mechanical performance. Our findings really demonstrate how stereochemistry can be used as a central theme to design sustainable materials with what truly are unprecedented mechanical properties,” said Duke University professor Dr Matthew Becker.

The team has filed a patent application for the technology and is on the hunt for industrial partners to help commercialize it. The hope is that the sugar-based plastics can offer a more sustainable option not just in terms of production, but also their disposal, with petroleum-based plastics sometimes taking centuries to break down.

By: Nick Lavars

Nick has been writing and editing at New Atlas for over six years, where he has covered everything from distant space probes to self-driving cars to oddball animal science. He previously spent time at The Conversation, Mashable and The Santiago Times, earning a Masters degree in communications from Melbourne’s RMIT University along the way.

Source: Eco-friendly plastics made from sugars boast “unprecedented” properties

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Maritime Rope May Be a Large Source of Microplastics Pollution

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about how disintegrated waterborne trash is one of the main sources of ocean microplastics pollution. A new study, however, suggests that aging maritime rope could also be making a significant contribution.

Ocean microplastics are tiny particles or fibers of plastic that are suspended in the water, where they get consumed by fish. When those fish are eaten by humans or other animals, the microplastics get passed along into their bodies, potentially causing health problems.

Previous studies have determined that a great deal of microplastics come from plastic packaging and other garbage, which gradually deteriorates after being dumped in or washed into the sea. Other sources include synthetic textile fibers that enter the wastewater stream from washing machines, and even particles of automobile tire rubber that get washed off the roads and down into storm sewers.

All of that being said, scientists from Britain’s University of Plymouth wondered if the polymer ropes used for hauling in fishing nets might also be to blame.

In both lab-based simulations and field experiments, it was initially determined that one-year-old ropes release about 20 microplastic fragments into the ocean for every meter (3.3 ft) hauled. That figure rose to 720 fragments per meter for two-year-old ropes, and over 760 for 10-year-old ropes.

With those figures in mind, it was estimated that a 50-m (164-ft) length of new rope likely releases between 700 and 2,000 microplastic fragments each time it’s hauled in. For older ropes, the number could be as high as 40,000 fragments. It was further estimated that the UK fishing fleet – which includes over 4,500 vessels – may be releasing anywhere from 326 million to 17 billion rope microplastic fragments annually.

“These estimates were calculated after hauling a 2.5-kg [5.5-lb] weight,” says the lead scientist, Dr. Imogen Napper. “However, most maritime activities would be hauling much heavier loads, creating more friction and potentially more fragments. It highlights the pressing need for standards on rope maintenance, replacement and recycling in the maritime industry. However, it also shows the importance of continued innovation in synthetic rope design with the specific aim to reduce microplastic emissions.”

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Source: Maritime rope may be a large source of microplastics pollution

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Chemical Society, American. “Plastics in Oceans Decompose, Release Hazardous Chemicals, Surprising New Study Says”. Science Daily. Science Daily. Retrieved 15 March 2015.

Chalabi, Mona (9 November 2019). “Coca-Cola is world’s biggest plastics polluter – again”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 November 2019.

“Global Brand Audit Report 2019”. Break Free From Plastic. Retrieved 18 November 2019.

McVeigh, Karen (7 December 2020). “Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé named top plastic polluters for third year in a row”. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2020.

“Top 20 Countries Ranked by Mass of Mismanaged Plastic Waste”. Earth Day.org. 4 June 2018.

Kushboo Sheth (18 September 2019). “Countries Putting The Most Plastic Waste Into The Oceans”. worldatlas.com.

National Geographic, 30 Oct. 2020, “U.S. Generates More Plastic Trash than Any Other Nation, Report Finds: The Plastic Pollution Crisis Has Been Widely Blamed on a Handful of Asian Countries, But New Research Shows Just How Much the U.S. Contributes”

Science Advances, 30 Oct. 2020 “The United States’ Contribution of Plastic Waste to Land and Ocean” vol. 6, no. 44

EcoWatch, 18 Mar. 2021 “U.S. Continues to Ship Illegal Plastic Waste to Developing Countries”

Lebreton, Laurent; Andrady, Anthony (2019). “Future scenarios of global plastic waste generation and disposal”. Palgrave Communications. Nature. 5 (1). doi:10.1057/s41599-018-0212-7. ISSN 2055-1045. Lebreton2019. the Asian continent was in 2015 the leading generating region of plastic waste with 82 Mt, followed by Europe (31 Mt) and Northern America (29 Mt). Latin America (including the Caribbean) and Africa each produced 19 Mt of plastic waste while Oceania generated about 0.9 Mt.

“Plastic Oceans”. futureagenda.org. London.

Cheryl Santa Maria (8 November 2017). “STUDY: 95% of plastic in the sea comes from 10 rivers”. The Weather Network.

Duncan Hooper; Rafael Cereceda (20 April 2018). “What plastic objects cause the most waste in the sea?”. Euronews.

Christian Schmidt; Tobias Krauth; Stephan Wagner (11 October 2017). “Export of Plastic Debris by Rivers into the Sea” (PDF). Environmental Science & Technology. 51 (21): 12246–53. Bibcode:2017EnST…5112246S. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b02368. PMID 29019247. The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88–95% of the global load into the sea

Harald Franzen (30 November 2017). “Almost all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers”. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 18 December 2018. It turns out that about 90 percent of all the plastic that reaches the world’s oceans gets flushed through just 10 rivers: The Yangtze, the Indus, Yellow River, Hai River, the Nile, the Ganges, Pearl River, Amur River, the Niger, and the Mekong (in that order).

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In An Earth Day Test For Synthetic Biology Field, Zymergen Raises $500 Million In IPO

Zymergen's Hyaline optical film is made with biology not petrochemicals.

The past few years have been boom times for synthetic biology. Today, in a big test for public markets’ appetite for the emerging field, Zymergen raised $500 million in an initial public offering set to value the company at more than $3 billion.

“I love the symbolism that we’re going public on Earth Day,” cofounder and CEO Josh Hoffman told Forbes in a morning video call. “There’s a bit of luck there, but I’m just super pleased. It is really cool.”

Hoffman, 50, a former McKinsey consultant and Rothschild merchant banker, founded Zymergen in 2013 with two former Amyris execs, Zach Serber, 46, now chief science officer, and Jed Dean, 43, now vp of of operations and engineering. They named it Zymergen as a mash-up of the words zymurgy (the study of fermentation), merge and genomics. Based in Emeryville, California, a hotspot for biology startups, the company’s scientists ferment molecules that can become part of industrial coatings, insect repellant or whatever final product the company is developing.

Zymergen is one of a number of companies that are using biology, along with machine learning and robotics, to transform how we manufacture stuff. And after years of flying under the radar, investors are taking notice. In addition to Zymergen’s IPO, Gingko Bioworks, which we profiled in Forbes magazine in 2019, is now reportedly considering a SPAC deal worth more than $20 billion.

“I love the symbolism that we’re going public on Earth Day.”

Zymergen’s first product is a transparent polymer film, called Hyaline, that it’s marketing for use in consumer electronics. It has 10 other products in development in electronics, personal care and agriculture. The potential market opportunity, by Zymergen’s calculations, is $1.2 trillion. “I’m not saying we’re ever going to sell $1.2 trillion, let’s not be absurd, but it’s ubiquitous across product classes,” Hoffman says. “We’re trying to make better stuff in a better way across the economy, and last I checked there was a lot of stuff to go make.”

But this is a long game: Though Zymergen had raised more than $1 billion from investors that include SoftBank, True Ventures and DCVC before its IPO, it’s just beginning to commercialize its first product. Revenue last year was a meager $13 million, “substantially all” of which came from R&D service contracts and collaboration agreements for developing, testing and validating its biomanufacturing platform, according to its prospectus. The company reported a net loss of $262 million for 2020, and has said that it does not expect to be profitable in the foreseeable future.

Hoffman, who has an undergraduate degree from the Unviersity of California, Berkeley, and a graduate degree from Yale, never intended to be an entrepreneur. He started his career at the Carter Center in Atlanta, then worked for the Uganda Ministry of Finance before winding up in banking. “Entrepreneur is not a label I apply to myself,” he says. “I would be a little uneasy if somebody called me that, but it probably fits.”

Hoffman had been doing some advisory work at Amyris, and when Serber left to start his own company the two started hanging out and talking about the potential. Today, their Emeryville labs are a high-tech space, where scientists wearing white lab coats with a stylized letter “Z” on them run experiments rapidly thanks to the company’s custom automation.

In a video tour of the labs last summer, Zymergen showed off how it had integrated systems to not only have colony-picking robots, but to design software that could put the pieces together in modular fashion. “Jed Dean and I traveled to China to visit car parts factories and Apple factories to learn how the work is done,” Will Serber, Zymergen’s head of automation, who has a master’s degree in astrophysics from Princeton, explained then.

Zymergen’s Hyaline product is a bio-based polymer film that is transparent and strong, yet bendable, making it good for use in foldable touchscreen phones, high-density flexible printed circuits, wearable sensors and other consumer electronics. The company launched it commercially in December 2020, and is currently doing qualifications with potential customers.

Most of the materials currently in use as optical films are petrochemical-based and decades old, giving Zymergen’s product an advantage in sustainability. But Zymergen’s pitch to customers is more than that. “If you show up at a phone company or an OEM and you’re like ‘biology can change your world,’ they’re like, ‘that’s cool, but I don’t know what to do with it.’ But if you show up with an optical film, that’s a different story,” Hoffman says. “We’re not selling sustainability, we’re selling performance.”

Among the next products in development are another optical film, for launch in 2022, and a next-generation film that could be used in flexible electronics and as insulation for antennas to deliver 5G data speeds, planned for 2023. In agriculture, meanwhile, it is working on a bio-based, non-Deet insect repellant and a microbial alternative to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

“We’re still in the first mile of a 100-mile race,” says Hoffman, who owns just over 3 million shares of stock worth $93 million at the offering price. “The goal was not to create a company to go public. It was to create a generation-defining company that allows us to make products in a better way. It’s going to be years before we fully realize that.”

I’m a senior editor at Forbes, where I cover manufacturing, industrial innovation and consumer products. I also edit the Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before rejoining Forbes in 2016, I was a senior writer or staff writer at BusinessWeek, Money and the New York Daily News. My work has also appeared in Barron’s, Inc., the New York Times and numerous other publications. I’m based in New York, but my family is from Pittsburgh—and I love stories that get me out into the industrial heartland. Ping me with ideas, or follow me on Twitter @amyfeldman.

Source: In An Earth Day Test For Synthetic Biology Field, Zymergen Raises $500 Million In IPO

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With Russia’s Help, China Becomes Plastics Making Power In Pandemic

After giving up on recycling — American recycling that is — China is still in love with the plastics biz. In fact. their companies are becoming dominant in all things plastic, one of the most important supply chains in the world.

In other words, it will be yet another segment in global business that the world will need Chinese companies to get supply.

The pandemic has helped the petrochemicals industry make up for losses in oil and gas demand. Plastics are tied to the fossil fuels industry. Stay-at-home orders throughout the U.S. and Europe has led to more take-out food orders and a lot of that is being placed in plastic containers.

I’d like to highlight one thing though: China’s Sinopec is the behemoth in this space, and although you can buy into Sinopec on the U.S. stock market, if the incoming Biden Administration makes good on a Trump order to delist Chinese companies that are not compliant with the financial audit rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, then Sinopec will probably leave the NYSE.

According to industry consultant Wood Mackenzie, petrochemicals will account for more than a third of global oil demand growth to 2030 and nearly half through 2050.

The growth in both plastics consumption and production is mostly coming from Asia where economies are catching up with the western levels of plastics consumption, and becoming a source for plastics exports to the U.S. and Europe.

Within Asia of course, China is the powerhouse. Last year Exxon Mobil XOM -4.8% began constructing its $10 billion petrochemical complex in Huizhou, China.

Russia Joins China, Wants To Be ‘Indispensible’

Russia’s petrochemical giant Sibur is also locked into China, mainly through a Sinopec partnership. The two companies began work on one of the world’s largest polymer plants for plastics making last August, spending $11 billion on the Amur Gas Chemical Complex in Russia.

The two sides are intimately connected in the global plastics biz.

“Amur is a milestone in the cooperation between Sinopec and Sibur,” Zhang Yuzhuo, chairman of Sinopec, says in a press statement, calling it a “model for Sino-Russian energy cooperation.”

The entire industry, while not exactly the sexy and green industry the Davos crowd is promoting heavily in the Western world, is seen by China and still-emerging markets like Russia — as a development tool for regions far away from the big city hubs of Moscow or Shanghai. This is as much about job creation as it is pumping out plastic molds and the ethylene needed to make it.

Russia recently introduced negative excise tax on LPG and ethane used in petrochemicals which was a meaty financial bone thrown to Sinopec and Sibur’s Amur project, among others in the Russian far east. 

The Sibur Russia angle has gained momentum recently due to the ramp up in production from the new ZapSib Siberian facility last year. They make polyethylene and 500 thousand tons of polypropylene there; all must-have ingredients for plastics manufacturers.

Their relationship with Chinese investors, buyers and counterparties was one of the main reasons to even build that manufacturing plant in the first place, and is something the Moscow market likes to give as one of the best reasons to be bullish about a rumored initial public offering for Sibur.

Sibur has said in press statements that they expect “another jump in scale” of plastics chemicals output with the addition of the Sinopec project, Amur.

“Sibur has long built relationships with Chinese clients, partners, and investors and Sinopec has been our strategic partner since 2013,” says Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board for Sibur. Konov told Reuters recently that there was no timeline for any IPO in the Moscow Exchange. Moscow was home to one of the top four largest IPOs last year, shipping firm Sovcomflot.

Konov said their logistical advantages in the far east, near China, and competitive pricing for its polymers means they will “scale up these relationships to further expand the delivery of high-quality petrochemicals from Siberia to China.”

VTB Capital, a Russian investment bank, says those projects would allow Russia to become one of the world’s top four producers of ethylene by 2030. Russia wants to position itself as the indispensable partner to China in this space, much in the way that China has positioned itself as the key source for numerous key inputs, whether its cobalt used in electric vehicle car batteries, or solar panels now expected to criss-cross the U.S. in the Biden Administration.

Due to the pandemic, China has been focused on industries of the future alongside those needed to get itself, and its trading partners, out of the pandemic rut — those polypropylene Olive Garden to go containers might not come from China, but the plastics that made it sure might.

China remains the place for growth in this space, too. Plastics-use patterns and penetration are rising. Figure the Asians are a good 10 to 20 years behind the U.S. in terms of plastics use. They’re gaining fast.

China As Plastics Demand Driver

Plastics aren’t made from tree bark, that’s for sure. It comes from fossil fuels and non-organic chemical compounds that make the stuff designed to last hundreds of years.

And China now accounts for roughly 40% of the demand for the chemicals used in making it, an increase of just 20% in 2005. 

China’s ethylene demand grew by 8.6% between 2014-17 while global demand grew by only half that. 

Looking out five years, Deutsche Bank industry analysts said in a November 25 report that China will account for over half of global consumption growth for ethylene (to which Sibur and Russia are happy as their go-to for now). 

China has 50% self-sufficiency in ethylene and derivative products – the domestic desire to expand capacities and increase self-sufficiency remains high. Russia is a solution. But Sinopec will invest domestically, as will the big Western multinationals who are frowned upon doing similar work back home. Exxon is case in point.

China was a relatively late entrant to the global petrochemical industry, but that does not mean much. They ramp up, and rev up fast due to state subsidies and state-owned companies’ ability to obtain raw materials and pass them along downstream for pennies on the dollar. These are loss leaders, but China doesn’t care about that stuff. They are looking to produce plastics for the locals, and for the export markets, especially U.S. and Europe, which are increasingly disinterested in anything fossil fuels related, at least on paper. 

In the 1990s, the Chinese petrochemical industry was significantly smaller than the U.S. In 1995, China’s ethylene capacity totaled 3% of global capacity. In comparison, Japan had 9% of global ethylene capacity and Korea had 5% of global capacity. Ethylene is naturally occurring.

During the 2000s, China’s petrochemical industry grew substantially driven by government support and strong demand from government-directed infrastructure spending, a burgeoning middle class with rising disposable incomes, expanding residential construction and exports of course.

Between 2004 and 2012, China’s ethylene capacity — the flammable gas used to make ethanol for cars, fruit ripeners, and — more importantly, plastics — doubled to 11 million tons per year. Within 25 years, China’s capacity has moved from 3% of global to 16% of global. Who thinks they’re going to slow that down? Need plastic? China will have it. For now, Russia has the chemicals. China might just gain on that next. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn

Kenneth Rapoza

Kenneth Rapoza

I’ve spent 20 years as a reporter for the best in the business, including as a Brazil-based staffer for WSJ. Since 2011, I focus on business and investing in the big emerging markets exclusively for Forbes. My work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Nation, Salon and USA Today. Occasional BBC guest. Former holder of the FINRA Series 7 and 66. Doesn’t follow the herd.

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How Does This Unique Volumising Polymer Work On All Hair Types

1

Market research and a perusal of social media show that while one of the top five benefits consumers require in a shampoo is volume[1-2], many hair care users are unhappy with current volumising products because they fail to deliver long-term performance, essential care, and conditioning properties at the same time[3].

There is also growing demand among consumers for products specifically tailored to the needs of their own hair type[4].

Within the hair care industry, it is recognized that volume is a particularly challenging benefit to achieve because, to date, the standard approaches taken – fewer care ingredients or light conditioning polymers, addition of styling polymers or addition of silica or cellulose powders – are known to have a negative impact on sensory and care properties.

These approaches can also be complicated and time consuming because they require modifications to the carrier formulation.

Introducing polyquaternium-110

To respond to this unmet consumer need, in 2019, DSM launched a novel hyper-branched polymer, TILAMAR Boost 150 (polyquaternium-110), which was identified through a collaboration between DSM Materials Science Centre and DSM Personal Care & Aroma.

This hair care polymer has demonstrated significant volume boost combined with care benefits. Moreover, it can be added easily to existing shampoo formulations.

The polymer’s dual benefits are achieved due to a structural transformation during hair drying. Its mechanism of deposition, via conservator formation, gives rise to lamellar structures that provide lubricant effects to ease wet combing. On drying these lamellar structures transform into hexagonal structures which provide the volume boost consumers desire.

Polyquaternium-110’s initial claimed benefits were substantiated by instrumental tests and confirmed by hairdresser assessments[5].

More recently, to address a growing consumer demand for bespoke hair care benefits, DSM carried out a new series of tests to assess the polymer’s volume and care performance on different hair types.

Different hair types have different needs

The benefits of improved and lasting volume are particularly sought after by Caucasian and Asian hair care consumers.

Studies on hair types according to ethnicity show that although the shape of a hair strand is not specific to any ethnic group, there are some broad tendencies.

Asian hair is generally straight, a round shape and low density. In contrast, Caucasian hair, whether straight or wavy, has a relatively elliptic shape and is characterised by high density[6-7]. It stands to reason therefore that a hair care product may produce different results in different hair types.

DSM’s instrumental hair test method

The instrumental test method followed, which involves before and after comparisons, was specially developed to provide hair care consumers with reassurance about the accuracy of results and tangible evidence about product performance.

Sample preparation

Hair swatches were washed either with a base shampoo (control) or a test formulation. Swatches were washed twice in succession using 0.5ml of shampoo per 3g of hair. Samples were combed five times to detangle the hair fibres and then dried overnight at 20°C and a relative humidity of 20%. After drying overnight, the swatches were placed in a climate room at 20°C and a relative humidity of 60%. Bulk volume measurements were then taken at different times.

Instrument

Hair volume was measured with a Bossa Nova Vision Bolero device. A camera took a succession of 36 pictures while each hair swatch was rotating 360°, back-illuminated by an LED-lamp. Software was then used to calculate the bulk volume, ‘frizz’ and total volume (bulk and frizz combined) of each hair swatch based on the difference between the light intensity transmitted (and grey level).

Results, expressed in cm3, reflected the calculated mean values of five hair swatches. They were then interpreted statistically using the ANOVA model with comparisons drawn according to the Dunnett and Tukey methods.

Various tests were performed using the above method:

i) Caucasian hair:
• comparison of the base shampoo and the base shampoo containing 2% Polyquaternium-110 as supplied;
• comparison of the base shampoo and the base shampoo containing 2% polyquaternium-110 as supplied and a conditioning polymer (0.25% PQ-7 active content);
• comparison of the base shampoo and the base shampoo containing 2% polyquaternium-110 as supplied with 1% PEG/PPG 4/12 dimethicone;
• comparison of a European market, volume shampoo with and without 2% polyquaternium-110 as supplied.

ii) Asian hair:
• comparison of an Asian market, volume shampoo with and without 3% polyquaternium-110 as supplied.

iii) Multiple hair types:
• Comparison of the base shampoo and the base shampoo containing 2% polyquaternium-110 as supplied and a conditioning polymer (0.25% PQ-7 active content) on four distinct hair types with different properties – virgin, straight, Asian hair; straight Caucasian hair (virgin and bleached); and virgin, curly Caucasian hair.

Study results demonstrate enhanced volume lasting 24 hours on different hair types:

i) Caucasian hair

As the graph in figure 1 shows, when 2% polyquaternium-110 was added to a base shampoo, volume performance increased by 196% for the first hour and by 32% after 24 hours.

Figure 1: Comparison of volume performance of base shampoo on Caucasian hair, on its own (grey) and with the addition of 2% polyquaternium-110 (pink) over a 24-hour period from first use

Figure 2 illustrates these results in visually tangible terms.

Figure 2: Photographic evidence of volume performance of polyquaternium-110 on Caucasian hair after 1 hour and 24 hours when used in a base shampoo at 2%

Enhanced volume was also evident when polyquaternium-110 was used in a shampoo base in combination with a conditioning polymer (0.25% PQ-7 active content).

Under these test conditions, volume performance increased by 213% after one hour and by 48% after 24 hours, suggesting that this is an optimal combination for long lasting volume performance.

The graph in figure 3 compares the volume performance of the base shampoo, the base shampoo with the addition of either a conditioning polymer or polyquaternium-110, and the base shampoo with the addition of both polymers.

Figure 3: comparison of volume performance of a base shampoo on its own and with the addition of a conditioning polymer or polyquaternium-110 or both

Adding 2% polyquaternium-110 to a European market volume shampoo was also found to increase the volume performance of the shampoo by 40% after 24 hours.

ii) Asian hair

Adding 3% polyquaternium-110 to an Asian market volume shampoo was found to improve volume performance by 20% after 24 hours. The images in figure 4, provide a visually tangible illustration.

Figure 4: Photographic evidence of volume performance of polyquaternium-110 on Asian hair after 1 hour and 24 hours when added in an Asian market volume shampoo at 3%

iii) Multiple hair types

Instrumental tests also showed that when it was used at 2% in a formulation consisting of a conditioning polymer (0.25% PQ-7 active content) in the base shampoo, polyquaternium-110 increased volume in all four hair types studied. These results were still visible 24 hours from first use.

Figure 5: Photographic evidence of volume performance of 2% Polyquaternium-110 in the base shampoo combined with a conditioning polymer on four different hair types

Proven care properties

DSM’s original study found that on Caucasian hair, as well as visibly boosting volume performance, polyquaternium-110 increased the wet combing performance of a shampoo base (measured in terms of reduction in wet combing force) on its own and when combined with a conditioning polymer[5].

Now, subsequent tests, carried out according to the same methodology as the original (testing with INSTRON 5542; five hair swatches were tested per product at 20°C and 60-65% relative humidity; 15 measurements were made per hair swatch[5]), show that on Asian hair, polyquaternium-110 also enhances wet combing performance in an Asian market shampoo.

Indeed, as figure 6 illustrates, the polymer’s lamellar structure was shown to help decrease wet combing force by 48% compared with non-treated hair, which was more than twice the decrease measured in the original market shampoo (19%).

Figure 6: Comparison of the decrease in wet combing force on Asian hair vs non-treated hair, in an Asian market shampoo, with and without 3% polyquaternium-110

Polyquaternium-110 in existing & new formulations

Polyquaternium-110 can be added directly to formulators’ own shampoo bases and only one drop is needed. It is compatible with cationic, anionic and non-ionic ingredients and can be combined with current traditional conditioning polymers. The typical use level for this ingredient is 1–3%, with a dosage of 2% recommended for Caucasian hair and 3% for Asian hair.

DSM has developed a range of market-ready formulations that combine polyquaternium-110 with other ingredients in its portfolio, such as vitamins, moisturising actives and UV filters, to meet a wide range of hair care needs in addition to 24 hours of enhanced volume.

All formulations have been tested in line with the instrumental test method described above and their results proven. The range includes:

24-hour volume shampoo for grey and white hair

With age, the diameter of the hair shaft begins to shrink, making the hair thinner and more fragile. In addition, a decline in melanin can lead to grey, or white hair.

This formulation has been specially developed for hair that is becoming thinner with age, and for grey and white hair, and bleached blond hair in need of a volume boost with a touch of care.

It combines the volumising and care properties of polyquaternium-110 with vitamins, DSM’s UV filter, polysilicone-15, for UV protection and violet colourant to overcome hair yellowing.

In instrumental tests on Caucasian grey hair, this formulation was shown to increase volume by 29% for 24 hours and to improve wet combing performance by more than twice compared to a base formulation that did not contain polyquaternium-110.

Sulfate free, 24-hour volume shampoo

This formulation, infused with moisturising actives, boosts hair volume for up to 24 hours and also leaves it feeling perfectly cared for thanks to polyquaternium-110.

In instrumental tests on Caucasian bleached hair, it was found to increase volume by 36% for 24 hours and to improve wet combing performance by more than twice compared to a base sulfate free shampoo that did not contain polyquaternium-110.

Because the polymer has been proven to respect the vitality, diversity and balance of the scalp microbiome, this formulation also comes with the claim of including a microbiome-friendly ingredient.

Traceability & microbiome friendliness

Polyquaternium-110 has been proven to respect the vitality, diversity and balance of the scalp microbiome and certified as microbiome-friendly, according to My Microbiome Standard 19.10[8].

This certification provides additional reassurance to the growing number of consumers looking for ingredients that do not have an adverse effect on the balance of their scalp microbiome.

It also comes with clear information about its environmental impact and traceability.

In summary

Polyquaternium-110, was developed to satisfy an unmet need for increased hair volume (identified by market research as one of consumers’ top five desired benefits) while also retaining care and conditioning properties.

Its unique mechanism of deposition, via coacervate formation, involves transformation of a lamellar structure in wet hair to a hexagonal structure as the hair dries, creating volume.

It can be added directly to existing shampoo bases, adding value without the need for time-consuming and costly reformulations, and is also compatible with traditional conditioning polymers and silicone.

In instrumental and hairdresser tests, polyquaternium-110 had already been proven to deliver volume performance and increased hair elasticity and style ability.

New instrumental tests now confirm that polyquaternium-110’s proven benefits last for 24 hours and apply to multiple hair types.

The instrumental test method provides consumers with tangible and easy-to-understand evidence of performance.

Formulations including polyquaternium-110 could therefore help meet growing consumer demand for products that can deliver a range of bespoke hair care benefits alongside 24 hours of enhanced volume.

Authors

Melanie Waeckel, Global Marketing Manager Technical & Performance Ingredients, DSM, and Emmanuel Martin, Head of Application Hair Care, Research & Development, DSM

Source: https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/

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