SBIR Phase I: Copper-based Antimicrobial Plastic Masterbatch Pellets

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Qtek LLC
20316 Chassell Painesdale Rd
Chassell, MI 49916
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will address a growing market demand for advanced antimicrobial plastic surfaces by employing a newly-developed ionic copper-based antimicrobial additive technology. The potential of this project lies in the ubiquity of plastics in consumer products. It is desirable that plastic products remain free of bacteria and fungi in a wide variety of environments. Tremendous savings in terms of reduced health care expenses, for both individuals and governments, are possible if related illnesses can be avoided. The market demand for antimicrobial plastics has been continuously increasing in recent years and is projected to account for about 20% of the global plastics market in the near term. The success of this project will accelerate the growth of this market by providing an efficient, long-lasting, environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective new material technology which can be seamlessly integrated into current production processes. Future expansion of this technology into the paint, textile, paper, and wood product markets is also envisioned. In this Phase I effort, new antibacterial/antifungal plastic masterbatch pellets will be developed by implanting copper-vermiculite in the pellets to form self-decontaminating surfaces on plastics. The ionic copper will be slowly released to the product surface from the host mineral particles to restrict the reproduction of microbes on the surface of the plastic. Through this project, the dosages, process, performance and the long term environmental impacts of the resulting products will be evaluated and optimized. The technical and economic feasibilities of these masterbatch pellets will also be determined. The success of this project will provide a new material and process for realizing cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, long-lasting antimicrobial plastics.