NASA SBIR 01-II Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: B3.07-8999 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 013000 )
PHASE-I CONTRACT: NAS9-01149
PROPOSAL TITLE: New High-Barrier Polymer Nanocomposite Food Packaging Enables 5-Year Shelf-Life

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
On future extended-flight, exploration-class missions to the Moon or to Mars, astronaut crews will need a minimum 3-year food supply. Triton addresses this challenge by developing new polymer nanocomposite-based materials solutions for food packaging. Nanocomposite materials, based in high-barrier resins, such as PET, EVOH, and polyethylene, can outperform unfilled materials in ways crucial to the needs of NASA and the extended-flight missions. Triton Nanocomposites increase the barrier capabilities of such materials by over 2-3 times. Nanocomposites remain lightweight, flexible, moldable and fully recyclable. With such dramatic increases in barrier properties, nanocomposites can allow the necessary weight and volume of food packaging to be reduced by at least half with decreased packaging wall-thickness. These unique advantages result from the nano-dispersion of very high aspect ratio (>100:1), organically-modified layered alumino-silicates (ORMLASTM). The successful nanocomposite contains well-dispersed and highly orientated nano-platelets, which form an inorganic barrier to diffusing species. This remarkable nano-structure also increases strength and tensile modulus without loss of flexibility and the low-loading levels (2-8%) do not result in any weight-increase or loss of processibility. Reduced resistance to heat and moisture makes these materials fully retortable as well as microwaveable and compatible for use with convection ovens, or hot-water-injection.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Triton has successfully produced large-scale food packaging tray prototypes incorporating our high barrier nanocomposite resins through commercial food packaging partners. This accomplishment has also attracted commercial attention from major food and beverage packagers in the US and abroad. The nanocomposite materials remain as flexible, recyclable, and versatile as the unfilled resin counterparts while providing enhanced oxygen barrier for extended shelf life. Since these effects are achieved at very low loading levels of the nanoscopic fillers, the approach is highly cost-effective. The nanocomposite structure enables unparalleled reductions in wall-thickness for bottles, retort pouches and thermoformed trays resulting in lower shipping, processing, and materials costs

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Erin McLaughlin
Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road
Chelmsford , MA   01824 - 4000

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road
Chelmsford , MA   01824 - 4000


Form Printed on 05-09-02 16:37