team photo

Figure 1
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Figure 2
project photo


Team 16

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Sam Dixon
Will Freebairn
Joey DiNino

Dr. Luyi Sun

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Biodegradable PVA Coatings as a Method to Replace Plastic Packaging

Current food packaging systems are a major contributor to modern waste problems that have negative environmental effects on the world’s ecosystems. The goal of this project is to design a food packaging system that is biodegradable, able to be mass produced, and possesses higher barrier properties than current paper packaging. Due to paper’s high porosity, it is a weak barrier to oxygen and water vapor, both of which affect the shelf life of food products. Plastic packaging is much better at preventing oxygen and water vapor from permeating, but often either lacks the ability to biodegrade or be recycled. By coating paper packaging samples with Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA), a biodegradable synthetic polymer, and Montmorillonite (MMT) we can increase the poor moisture and gas barrier properties of the paper packaging. The coating process is performed by dissolving PVA/MMT in deionised water, then stirring to ensure dispersion of the polymer. Paper samples are dried in an oven, dip coated in solution, and then dried again in an oven, turning halfway through to ensure even coating. By replacing standard plastic packaging with a paper packaging of similar abilities can significantly cut down on the waste production and environmental effects of plastics that are not properly disposed of.