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

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0930665
Agency Tracking Number: 0930665
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: MM
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-608
Small Business Information
Northern Technologies International Corporation
4201 Woodland Road, P.O. Box 69, Circle Pines, MN, 55014
DUNS: 054484001
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (763) 225-6646
Business Contact
Title: DPhil
Phone: (763) 225-6646
Research Institution
 Michigan State University
 Michael R Poterala
 3900 Collins Road
Lansing, MI, 48910 6000
 (763) 225-6646
 Nonprofit college or university
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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