Tech Exchange

Improved Recycling Processes

Currently, cellulose-based fibers can only be recycled 6-8 times, after which the fiber length and properties are too significantly impacted for any further reuse. Technologies are therefore required to enhance the fibers’ recycling potential. The technologies must not add virgin fibers at each recycling stage. Potential solutions include synthetic fibers to aid in recovering structural integrity lost in repulping; coatings to provide strengthening end results; and chemical technologies that minimize damage to the fibers during repulping. The primary function of packaging must be maintained.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Microencapsulation of Probiotic Bacteria

The incorporation of probiotic bacteria into liquid food or food with high water activity is still a challenge for the functional food industry. The metabolic activity of the lyophilized bacteria, however, is extremely sensitive to the presence of water and oxygen, and a solution must protect microencapsulated bacteria from contact. Particles must be of a size below 100 micrometers. Between the process of encapsulation and the time of preservation of probiotic bacteria in the liquid matrix, loss of viability must not exceed an order of magnitude.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Polymer Indicator Monitors Spoilage

The Fresh Stripe multi-layer indicator for meats is manufactured or incorporated into packaging using conventional roll-to-roll processes. The polymer layer biodegrades at a predictable rate in the presence of the same hydrolytic bacterial enzymes that degrade meat. As the indicator degrades, it changes appearance so that a consumer can effectively judge the meat’s freshness. Freezing, refrigeration, and heat do not degrade the performance of the indicator or affect its accuracy.

Posted in: Techs for License

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Holographic Technology Offers Robust Authentication

A new security technology provides a hologram invisible to the naked eye. The tool requires viewing with a prism to discover the holographic image. The product also supplies a primary and complementary hologram for applications where visibility is required or desired. Both approaches offer robust authentication and are extremely difficult to counterfeit. The technology is suitable for high-volume production.

Posted in: Techs for License

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Heat-Seal Adhesive

A new food-grade heat-seal adhesive is needed for roll-coated film lids. New chemistries must be formulated into a waterbased matrix to seal transparent film onto plastic trays containing food or medical materials. The organization deals primarily with polyester films (APET/CPET) and trays, and containers made from polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyester (PET), and polyvinylchloride (PVC). Extrusion films or solvent-based materials are not needed, and the solution must withstand 100–140 °C during application. Because the substrate is roll-wound, the material cannot adhere to itself at room temperature.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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Corrugate Reduction

An organization wants to use less corrugate in its shipping operations. Unique designs or processes must reduce the amount of corrugate material required, while maintaining the same level of protection for the products being shipped. Replacing corrugate with another material may be considered, but the replacement material will have to be less expensive and equally environmentally friendly. Possible solutions include thin-walled corrugate, fewer pieces, corrugate reinforced with 90-degree-angle folds, or corrugate in combination with shrink-wrap. The proposed method must be automated and cannot increase the labor component of packaging the materials.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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Gauge Calibrates Three-Dimensional Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)

A gauge, which is used in examining the accuracy of a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), enables total calibration of errors and numbers of revisions of the measured values. The accurate calibration is possible for a CMM of any size. Various machines can also be calibrated by combining the gauge.

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