Most plastics come from petroleum polymers that don’t decompose after time and fill up landfills all around the world. Thankfully, researchers at the University of North Texas have created biodegradable plastics that can replace their petroleum-based counterparts. These plastics are derived from natural polymers, such as cellulose and corn starch, that easily decompose in compost. The University of North Texas is continuing research about biodegradable plastics to develop a plastic that can fulfill the consumer’s initial needs, but degrade quickly once thrown away.
By using NI LabVIEW and NI CompactDAQ, researchers built a reliable automated system that monitors and enhances biodegradation, as well as meets ASTM D5338-98 (2003) standard requirements. "We knew from the outset that our system needed to be controlled using the LabVIEW graphical programming environment because of its flexibility and rapid deployment capabilities,” said Mark Pickens, researcher with the University of North Texas. “Given the fact that we were building a complex system with many sensors, NI CompactDAQ proved to be invaluable and versatile in realizing our objectives."