NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:06 X12.01-8932
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Food Access Beyond Low Earth Orbit
PROPOSAL TITLE:Biodegradable Long Shelf Life Food Packaging Material

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
SVT Assoc
7620 Executive Dr
Eden Prairie, MN 55344-3677
(952) 934-2100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jianwei   Dong
7620 Executive Dr
Eden Prairie, MN  55344-3677
(952) 934-2100

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Long shelf life food packaging is a critical to maintaining the crew's well being in NASA's manned missions to the mars. Not only does the packaging have to offer an effective means to preserve the food's nutrition and flavor over a long period of time, but the packaging material itself should be easily managed/recycled inside a confined environment like a space shuttle. Although metal cans have long been used for long term food storage in daily life, trash management poses a serious problem for NASA. Recently, biodegradable polymers attracted a lot of attention as an environmentally friendly packaging material. However, they are mainly used for short shelf life products because of poor barrier properties. To enhance its barrier protection properties to oxygen and water, in this SBIR project, we propose a new composite material of PLA coated with a thin layer of transparent and pin-hole free amorphous Al2O3. To improve PLA thermal properties and produce retorted polymer structures nanoparticles will be introduced in the polymer matrix. Moreover, to obtain the desired barrier properties for long shelf life food packaging a unique technique will be used to deposit Al2O3 films at substrate temperatures less than 80C. This effort will greatly enhance PLA's barrier properties to provide a unique high barrier packaging material with less mass and, more importantly, totally biodegradable. This technology is easily scalable and a successful commercialization will definitely benefit NASA's manned missions. Moreover, as an environmentally friendly packaging material, the technology has the potential to have a broad impact on society.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Long shelf life food packaging using non-metallic containers is crucial for NASA's long term manned missions. The objective of this proposal is to utilize an advanced deposition process to deposit a dense and pin-hole free oxide layer to enhance the barrier properties of biodegradable polymers like PLA and form a new class of high barrier food packaging materials. When successfully completed, this technology will be used in NASA food packaging to provide an expected shelf life of 3-5 years. With its light mass, the problem of waste management associated with metal cans can be solved. In addition, the biodegradability of the packaging material further enhances its versatility.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Food packaging is a multibillion global market. The technology proposed in this project will lead to the development of a new class biodegradable polymers that can be used for long term food storage. It is an environmentally friendly, alternative packaging technology that will find widespread use in the civilian food industry.

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.

Biomass Production and Storage

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19