NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X12.02-9382
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Food Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ultra High Barrier Nanocomposites

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 940-2347

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrew W. Myers
12345 W. 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 940-2339

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
As the length of manned space missions increase, requirements to sustain those missions increase proportionately. Daily food supplies require food packaged and sent from earth, preparation mechanisms and waste treatment. The window for food preservation could be 3-5 years. This will require food packaging that provides excellent barriers to water vapor and oxygen, is durable at the processing conditions (retort sterilizing, microwave processing), and has low mass. Storage and disposal of used food packaging becomes a significant issue. Incineration is a reasonable waste treatment strategy, but is incompatible with materials used currently for high barrier packaging, like aluminum foil (which leaves ash).

TDA Research, Inc. proposes to develop a multilayer nanocomposite film with superb resistance to permeation by water vapor and oxygen, for use as an extended shelf life food packaging material. We propose to prepare nanocomposites from commercially available packaging plastics and TDA's surface-modified nanoparticles. TDA's nanocomposite research has focused on the design of surface treatments to produce nanoparticles compatible with targeted host polymers. We can form well-dispersed nanocomposites with several packaging plastics and have seen improved barrier properties – with nanoparticle contents less than 5%. TRL at the end of the Phase II contract will be at Level 5.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The high barrier films developed in this project would compliment work by the Advanced Food Technology Project, which plans and develops food technologies for astronauts. New packaging technologies for long shelf life, non-foil food packaging are needed that are compatible with NASA's planned food processing and waste disposal methods. A plastic-based packaging system with high resistance to permeation by oxygen and water vapor is necessary to protect food on long space missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Thin, high barrier nanocomposites are currently under development by many packaging companies. Since barrier properties are one advantage of nanocomposites, packaging applications are a reasonable market. However, difficulties in processing nanocomposites into traditional packaging plastics have delayed commercialization despite the significant promise (and hype) concerning nano-scale materials. TDA's surface modified boehmite nanoparticles have been developed to be compatible with traditional processing methods in mind. Our nanoparticles are easier to disperse in a wide range of plastics, using traditional polymer processing methods. Successful development of high barrier nanocomposite films would find application in a variety of areas including consumer packaging, packaging for food and food service applications and medical packaging. A high barrier plastic package that rivaled the barrier properties of the foil lined MRE pouches would also see significant military use.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomedical and Life Support
Earth-Supplied Resource Utilization
Waste Processing and Reclamation

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56