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STTR Phase I: Advanced Poly(lactide) (PLA) Materials for Extruded Sheet…

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Northern Technologies International Corp
4201 Woodland Rd Circle Pines, MN -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: STTR Phase I: Advanced Poly(lactide) (PLA) Materials for Extruded Sheet Applications
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0930665
Award Amount: $150,000.00


This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project is responsive to topic Multi-Functional Materials (MM), Subtopic Materials for Sustainability (MS). Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC), MN, in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, MI, plans to formulate and engineer chemically modified biobased and biodegradable Poly(Lactide)-based compounds to generate a new class of materials that are high strength, lightweight, multifunctional and an environmentally-friendly & cost-effective alternative to the petroleum-based polymers. NTIC has successfully commercialized a portfolio of reactive blended biobased and/or biodegradable resins for extrusion, molding and coating applications. However, it faces a major hurdle due to poor mechanical properties, high prices and higher densities of current PLA materials. The objective of this project is to (1) use novel chemistries of compatibilization and impact modification to create advanced PLA bioresins that offer improved toughness and heat resistance; (2) improve economic viability of biobased materials by engineering microcellular foamed sheets. The newly synthesized materials would control the mechanical and thermal properties of extruded sheets and injection-molded parts to broaden the scope of industrial applications of biobased Polylactide (PLA) while providing environmental preservation by reducing their carbon foot print. NTIC's target market for the newly crafted PLA chemistries is extruded and thermoformed sheet applications currently using petroleum based plastics such as acrylic, polystyrene, polypropylene, etc.. These include point-of-purchase displays, retail fixtures, indoor signage, credit cards, gift cards, hotel room keycards, thermoformed trays and tubs both for food and non-food applications. NTIC estimates the gross potential to be as high as $250 million. Furthermore, successful implementation of Phase I & II of this STTR project will have technical, environmental and economical impacts in the future, as follows: (1) widen the window of performance of PLA-based applications; (2) further fundamental understanding of PLA and its chemistries (3) greatly increase the use of biobased products in larger industrial and packaging markets implying environmental preservation of fossil fuel resources; and (4) create upto 10 jobs for sales, manufacturing, technical support of newly developed Natur-Tec? products.

Principal Investigator:

Shilpa Manjure

Business Contact:

Shilpa Manjure
Small Business Information at Submission:

Northern Technologies International Corporation
4201 Woodland Road P.O. Box 69 Circle Pines, MN 55014

EIN/Tax ID: 410857886
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Michigan State University
3900 Collins Road
Lansing, MI 48910 6000
Contact: Michael R. Poterala
Contact Phone: (763) 225-6646
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university