About Aquapak Polymers

More information Hydropol™, Aquapak's polymer

What is a polymer?

A polymer is a large molecule, made from connecting many small molecules called monomers. Polymers are very common and can be naturally occurring, like starch, cellulose, rubber and protein – or can be man-made, like plastic and some fibres.

What does Aquapak make?

Aquapak makes polymers which disappear safely, are non-toxic, marine-safe and soluble in warm or hot water. They allow users to maintain the primary functionality of their products whilst designing-in end-of-life.

In what form is Aquapak’s polymer, Hydropol supplied?

Aquapak’s product, Hydropol™ comes in a pelletised form at all hydrolysis levels, including high hydrolysis to maximise application potential. They are available as standard plastic pellets so stability and storage is not an issue.

What has Hydropol™ been tested against?

A full list of our testing is available in our white paper. Examples of some of the more pertinent tests and standards are listed below:
1. Determination of biobased content: CEN/TS 16137; ASTM D6866
2. Composability: EN 14995; EN13432; ASTM D6400; ISO 17088; AS4736; ISO18606; ASTM D6868
3. Anaerobic Digestion: ISO 15985; ASTM D5511
4. Soil: ISO 17556
5. Freshwater: ISO 13975; EN14987
6. Landfill: ASTM D 5526
7. Aerobic wastewater & sewage sludge: EN14851; EN14852
8. Anaerobic wastewater: EN14853
9. Marine: ASTM D6691; OK Marine; ISO 18830 (floating); ISO 19679 (sediment)
10. Recycling: ISO 15270 Guidelines for the recovery and recycling of plastics waste
11. Plastic waste: EN15347

What makes Aquapak’s polymer soluble?

Hydropol™ is made from a range of different PVOH blends, formulated using Aquapak’s proprietary process. , which can be designed to be soluble in water at controllable temperatures.
The temperature at which Hydropol™ dissolves in water can be varied by the type of PVOH used, the thickness and surface area of the product, the temperature, agitation and the amount of water present.
Hot water soluble grades, are more robust at cold temperatures, but dissolve rapidly at temperatures above 70℃. The water solubility is an important feature for the end of life as it causes the product to soften and break-down in the environment. This can increase the speed at which the material will biodegrade into mineralised biomass, CO2 and water.
Warm water soluble grades will break-down rapidly at temperatures above 40℃.

Why is solubility important?

The water solubility is an important feature for the end of life, as it causes the product to soften and break-down in the environment over time into mineralised biomass, CO2 and water.
Warm water soluble grades will break-down rapidly at temperatures above 40℃. These features of Hydropol™ make it a very useful material in its own right for certain applications, but would need to be combined with another more impervious material, if more resistance to water is required.
Watch this video to see a bag made from Hydropol™ hold cold water but then dissolve rapidly in very hot water.

What is a hydrophilic polymer?

Aquapak polymers are hydrophilic. A hydrophilic polymer is attracted to water and in the right conditions (temperature, agitation etc.) will be dissolved in water. This property is important in enhancing biodegradation and other properties such as compatibility with other materials such as cellulose.
Aquapak polymer is designed to replace traditional hydrophobic polymer from which nearly all other plastics are made – and are certainly the most used. Hydrophobic (water-hating) materials not only take hundreds-thousands of years to break down, but often produce toxic breakdown products as they do.

What is Aquapak’s Hydropol™ made from?

Aquapak polymer, including Hydropol™ is made from PVOH. Aquapak has, after 10 years of R&D, perfected a method of thermally processing PVOH allowing the production of pellets, which is the standard form for secondary processing in the plastics industry. Aquapak’s global patent is a combination of process know-how and chemistry.
Aquapak’s materials, being based on PVOH a hydrophilic and water-soluble polymer, are inherently biodegradable, that is, given the right balance of environment and microbial presence it will biodegrade to carbon dioxide, water and mineralised natural biomass.

So what is PVOH (Polyvinyl Alcohol)?

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) is a water-soluble polymer, sold in both fully and partially hydrolyzed forms. Its technical properties vary depending on molecular weight (degree of polymerization) and fraction of acetate groups that are removed (degree of hydrolysis).

How do pathogens behave differently on Hydropol compared to common plastics?

We commissioned a test comparing a sample of Hydropol 30164P and polyethylene film. Samples of each film were inoculated with E.Coli and S.Aureus before being placed in a sterile container. The results showed that after 24hrs the inoculum counts on the Hydropol films were essentially the same as at the start of the test. On polyethylene film however, the average count had approximately doubled after 24hrs. This evidence indicates that the dwell time of pathogens on common plastics is much greater on hydrophobic surfaces in comparison to hydrophilic (water-loving) surfaces like Hydropol.

Want to know more?

Speak to our team