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Biodegradable foams based on wheat flour - from materials processing to modelling and design for packaging applications - LK0819

Description
This proposed work is aimed to develop processing technologies and a finite element (FE) model for foams based on wheat flour in order to provide deeper insight into the material’s behaviour and thereby to assist packaging design and facilitate more widespread exploitation of the new materials to replace less environmentally friendly and less sustainable oil-based polymer foams.

The objectives are
· To establish a FE model for the biodegradable foam macro-composites in order to predict the materials performance under different packaging conditions, to optimise the material structure and design of products and to generate a database for the product design.
· To develop a portfolio of secondary processing techniques in order to understand the effect of processing conditions on the change of materials structure and performances, to identify the processing window, to verify the FE model by comparing the predicted and experimental measurements and to develop a range of demonstrators for case study in the applications.
· To establish a design tool, incorporating the database, for selection of the materials and product design;
· To demonstrate the applications of the materials and establish exploitation plan via case study.

The success of the proposed work is expected to make significant contribution to the competitiveness and sustainable development of the UK arable farming, biodegradable packaging and related industries. It will enable more widespread use of the new generation of biodegradable foam products such as:
· Cushion pads directly applicable in cushion packaging of simple shaped goods (e.g. computer, Video or DVD player);
· Shaped blocks for packaging of e.g. high-value wine/spirit or bottled chemicals.
· High impact cushion planks or blocks suitable for packaging of heavy goods (e.g. fridge/freezer and washing machines).
· Shaped cushion pads for e.g. cushioning layer between stacked goods (from circuit boards to fruits), lining in cardboard boxes (e.g. for parcel boxes) or shaped containers (e.g. for dry foods).
· Thin sheets for flexible wrapping and biodegradable bags for controlled pesticides or fertiliser release in forestry or farm industry or washing powder bags.
· Sandwiched composites as lightweight boards (e.g. for display, partition or sound and heat insulation).
· Laminated composite for replacing lining materials (e.g. plastic bubble wrap, plastic foam sheets or fibrous fillers) in laminated envelopes (e.g. Jiffy bag type) for parcel delivery.
· String or ropes for some temporary fastening applications (e.g. for loose packaging in department stores or in gardening).
Objective
1· To establish a FE model for the biodegradable foam macro-composites in order to predict the materials performance under different packaging conditions, to optimise the material structure and design of products and to generate a database for the product design.

2· To develop a portfolio of secondary processing techniques in order to understand the effect of processing conditions on the change of materials structure and performances, to identify the processing window, to verify the FE model by comparing the predicted and experimental measurements and to develop a range of demonstrators for case study in the applications.

3· To establish a design tool, incorporating the database, for selection of the materials and product design;
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2007

Cost: £389,564
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Kingspan Ltd, SCA Industrial, University - Brunel, Green Light Products Ltd, Dassett Process Engineering Ltd, Heygates Ltd
Keywords
Agri-Industrial              
Arable Farming              
Crops              
Farming              
Wheat              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops