Materials and technologies - May 2019

29 May 2019

Expiration dates on milk could eventually become a thing of the past with new sensor technology from Washington State University scientists. They have developed a sensor that can ‘smell’ if milk is still good or has gone bad. The sensor consists of chemically coated nanoparticles that react to the gas produced by milk and the bacterial growth that indicates spoilage. The sensor doesn’t touch the milk directly. The next step is developing a way to visually show how long a product has before it spoils. Currently the sensor only shows if milk is OK or spoiled. You can read more in the abstract of an article published in Food Control.
Frying pans, pill bottles, yoga mats, coffee cups and countless other non-electronic objects could be turned into a network of Internet of Things sensors with a new RFID-based technology from the University of Michigan. The system, called IDAct, bridges the gap between the estimated 14 billion “smart” electronic devices that are currently part of the Internet of Things and the hundreds of billions of everyday non-smart objects left out of the picture.

New recyclable plastic and more
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level, and then reassembled into a different shape, texture, and color again and again without loss of performance or quality. You can read more about the new material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, in the abstract of an article published in Nature Chemistry.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth found that biodegradable plastic bags are still capable of carrying shopping after being exposed in the natural environment for 3 years. You can read more about the study that has caused a quite a bit of controversy in the abstract of an article published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Researchers at the University of Pisa studied the use of bio-based and biodegradable materials for cosmetics packaging. They found that innovative materials have already been developed that are suitable for the production of cosmetics packaging while others are under development with very promising properties and perspective. An article (2.76 MB) about the research is published in Cosmetics.

NanoPack Project: extending shelf life of fresh products
Providing better fresh produce by producing packaging for extending their shelf-life and quality, is the core objective of the EU-funded NanoPack Project. The active packaging materials are now being tested and are showing some remarkable results. Fresh cherries, which were packed in NanoPack antimicrobial film, containing low concentration of various natural essential oils, exhibited an increased shelf life of 40%. For bread and baked products, the results were even more dramatic, doubling the shelf life of some baked goods, without any preservatives added.
Weekly overview of prices for plastics
Dutch trade magazine Vraag en Aanbod publishes a weekly overview of the prices for plastics (in Dutch). The prices given are estimated averages between the gross prices published in the trade journals and the net prices.

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