PET Nanocomposites for Beverage Container Applications

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


72967S03-I The production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles for beverages is far more environmentally benign and energy efficient than metal or glass production. A PET bottle can be made using 1/3 the energy needed for an equivalently-sized aluminum can, and both are recyclable. However, PET containers have captured only about 20% of the soft drink and beer container market because PET provides a poor barrier to the transmission of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Loss of carbon dioxide leaves soft drinks and beer flat, and the presence of oxygen "sours" beer. This project will improve the barrier properties of PET, while retaining its esthetic (i.e., clarity) properties, through the implementation of a properly designed, non-clay nanoparticle. Phase I will prepare surface-modified nanoparticles that are readily dispersible in PET and do not have reactive ammonium groups that cause PET degradation. Mechanical and barrier properties will be measured, and the best samples will undergo additional processing and testing. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: With minimal modification, the new nanoparticle additives developed for PET could be used in a wide range of polyester and polyvinylchloride plastics. Because of their low cost and wide range of desirable properties, these plastics account for a significant fraction of the polymers used in the U.S.