Keynote Speaker

Prof Dr Azman Hassan

Title : Poly (lactic acid): Polymer for the Future

Bio-based polymers are materials such which are produced from renewable resources and currently hold a small fraction of the total global plastic market. The worldwide interest in bio-based polymers has accelerated in recent years due to the desire and need to find non-fossil fuel-based polymers. One such bio-based polymer which is also biodegradable is polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from sustainable resources. Due to the good mechanical strength and low toxicity, PLA is considered to be a potential replacement for petroleum based plastics used for various commodity applications. Although PLA has been the focus of much research for nearly decades, their production has still not reached the level of PE, PET and PP due to cost. Lactic acid is not as readily available compared to the starting materials used for current plastics. Despite PLA’s shortcomings, interest in this material has not waned due to its faster degradation time compared to current plastics, which is believed to prevent its accumulation in our environment if implemented on an industrial scale. The other weaknesses of PLA are poor thermal properties limit its applicability at high temperatures, and brittleness. Therefore, further developments are still required before PLA can replace existing plastics. Many researches have been reported on the modification of PLA to further enhance the properties; overcoming the weaknesses without compromising its inherent outstanding properties like good mechanical performances and biodegradability. This presentation will highlight on efforts to reduce the cost of PLA to make it more competitive compared to the commodity synthetic plastics. Besides that, investigations on overcoming the brittleness and poor thermal properties will be discussed. The other important property which is important for PLA to be accepted in many engineering applications is good flame resistance. This aspect will also be covered in this presentation.


Professor Dr Azman Hassan is currently a Professor in Faculty of Engineering and Centre of Advanced Composite Materials at UTM. He received his Bachelor in Polymer Technology in 1984 from UWIST, Wales and Master Process Design in 1987 from Strathclyde University Scotland. He obtained his PhD in 1997 from the University of Loughborough in Polymer Technology. He was the Head of Polymer Engineering Department for six years from 2002 to 2008, Deputy Director (Research Publications) for Research Management Centre from 2008 to 2011. From 2012 to 2013, he was the Director of Research Publications Centre before being appointed as Deputy Dean for Research and Innovations at Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering from 2015 to 2017. He also serves as a UTM Senate member since 2011.

He has supervised more than 30 PhD students and published more than 250 papers with Scopus h-index of 32. In 2016, he was awarded with the Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) by Akademi Sains Malaysia (ASM).

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