Industry news, events, updates, and articles
Previously, we looked into what the term bio-assimilation means, but there is an equally important question to ask: how does bio-assimilation work? Let's break it down, literally and figuratively.
To answer this question, we need to understand a few key concepts that enable SPTek ECLIPSE™ bio-assimilation: transitional metals, the free radical process and stabilizers.
Firstly, transitional metals are used as catalysts to initiate the free radical process, causing the long entangled chains within the polymer to breakdown into shorter and shorter chains.
This molecular transformation results in zero microplastics.
Secondly, stabilizers are utilized in two ways:
Once the functional stabilizer is used up and the product has successfully served its purpose, the bio-assimilation process begins.
At this stage, the polymer's molecular mass begins to rapidly reduce.
A Dalton (Da) is a unit of molecular mass used in biochemistry. This unit of mass is incredibly small, with 1 Da equal to the weight of a single carbon-12 atom.
Let's look at what happens to the ECLIPSE™ enabled Inspiration Gown™ by Fairfield once it reaches the end of its programmed 18-month lifespan.
At this stage, the molecular structure of the polymer within the gown material has a molecular mass of approximately 200,000 Daltons.
Stage 1 (200,000 Da): The free radical process begins and carbon-to-carbon bonds within the material begin to break. The molecular mass of the material rapidly reduces as the long chain molecular structure breaks down into shorter and shorter chains.
Stage 2 (40,000 Da): As they shrink, these shorter chain molecular structures change from being hydrophobic (repelling water) to being hydrophilic (attracting water), surrounding them with microorganism rich water (known as a bio-film).
Stage 3 (5,000 Da): As the free radical process continues to shrink the molecular structure and expose more and more carbon, the surrounding microorganisms begin to utilize this carbon as nutrients.
Stage 4 (0 Da): As the microorganisms consume all of the exposed carbon, the molecular mass of the original polymer continues to reduce until there is nothing left but water, C0₂ and biomass.
This is true bio-assimilation.
Once this process is initiated, it becomes a runaway freight train that can't be stopped, resulting in zero microplastics. This makes SPTek ECLIPSE™ bio-assimilation technology a truly sustainable solution to the global plastic problem.
Click here to download a PDF presentation about the SPTek ECLIPSE™ bio-assimilation process.