Japanese technology company NEC has joined forces with the Kyoto Institute of Technology and local lacquerware artist Yutaro Shimode, to develop a bioplastic that uses resin from grasses, trees and other non-edible plant resources that features the highly regarded ‘Urushi black’ color of Japanese traditional lacquerware.
The partners all worked together to create a technology that was said to mix additives to ‘adjust coloration and light reflectance of the material, enabling, for the first time, the realization of optical properties similar to the deep and shiny black color of high-grade Japanese lacquerware.’
With the new process said to be able to allow mass-production of the bioplastic into products of various shapes and patterns, such as cosmetic packaging, NEC used black coloring agents and highly refractive organic ingredients with cellulose resin as special additives. This allowed an adjustment to the resin’s color and light reflective properties.
Dr. Masatoshi Iji, Research Fellow, IoT Devices Research Laboratories NEC Corporation, said, “In response to the depletion of resources and food shortage problems, the need for non-edible-plant-based plastics is increasing. In addition to NEC’s history in the development of a unique cellulose-based plastic (NeCycle(R)(3)) using non-edible plant materials for use in durable electronic products, we have now developed a new bioplastic that, in addition to high functionality, realizes the decorativeness of Japanese lacquerware, which is highly evaluated throughout the world, and illustrates a beauty well beyond what petroleum-based plastics can provide.”