Demonstration of a Self-Heating Self-Hydrating Combat Ration

Period of Performance: 09/07/2007 - 09/07/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Principal Investigator


A need exists to provide the individual Warfighter with hot beverages and ration components that can be heated while on the move. The current Flameless Ration Heater (FRH) provides an acceptable means for heating prepackaged shelf-stable foods that are already hydrated. However, it is inadequate for heating dehydrated rations and water for beverages. The Phase I effort evaluated numerous reactions for heating and hydrating rations. A chemical formulation was rigorously downselected for simultaneous filtration and heating of non-potable water. Mainstream demonstrated that pressure generated by the chemical heating reaction could drive nano-filtration, as well as heat the water to over 150°F, with a clean water flux equivalent to 12 fluid ounces in 15 minutes. Biocide formulations, if needed, were also developed to augment the disinfection of the non-potable water. A flexible pouch proof-of-concept device was also demonstrated, and various food rations were hydrated with water heated by the chemical reaction. The Phase II effort will finalize a robust chemical system around the Phase I formulations, perform shelf life and materials compatibility testing, design, fabricate and deliver final prototype heater/hydrator pouches to the Army, and develop the manufacturing strategy for a rapid ramp up to Phase III transition/commercialization.