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Bioplastics are plastics derived from biological sources including plants and food waste, rather than traditional plastics that are made from petroleum. In 2015, petroleum-based plastics contributed nearly 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. As a result, bioplastics continue to become increasingly popular across the globe as governments, businesses and citizens alike make the switch to more sustainable ways of living and working. Plasticisers, which are substances that are added to synthetic polymers to make them more flexible, are used in all plastics: nanoscopic interactions between the layers of plastic and the plasticiser alter the physical properties of the plastic. The aim of this study was to study two physical properties of banana peel-based bioplastics prepared in the lab: mechanical strength and solubility (the ability of a substance to dissolve and form a solution), and to establish how these properties vary based on the type of plasticiser used to prepare the plastic. The findings confirm that plasticisers which form more intermolecular bonds produce bioplastics which have higher mechanical strength and resistance to breakage, while plasticisers with lower bonding tend to produce plastics which are more fragile and less flexible. Meanwhile, plasticisers that have a large molecular size significantly reduce the solubility of the bioplastic. Further investigation into the properties of bioplastics such as toxicity and biodegradability will provide valuable information that can be used to improve the quality of currently available bioplastics on the market.
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