Materials Engineering Department
BS in Materials Engineering
Packaging is used to contain, preserve, protect, and advertise both manufactured and natural products. In 2013 it was reported that over thirty percent of solid waste in the United States was from packaging. One way to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment is to create a solution that is edible and sourced from a waste or secondary food product that is not currently being utilized. Food-contact packaging made from recycled materials must meet strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations to be utilized as raw material for packaging. Fruit pomace is a candidate material since it may be cross-linked to increase strength and become the base for a multilayer packaging composite. This proof of concept study was designed to determine the ideal composition of fruit pomace and an effective cross-linking process. A pilot study of seven samples compared two different compositions and assessed a first attempt at cross-linking. Our studies showed that one of the compositions was stronger than the other based on tensile strength. This was true for both stress (MPa) and normalized stress (N). A second cross-linking process based on a patented method did not indicate any improvements in strength. The effect of aging was studied through the apple samples produced with a control procedure across multiple trials. While there was no indication of aging effects based on the ultimate tensile strength, there was indication that other factors may have altered strength values. The two suspected factors are the improvement of the rehydration process and the amount of time between preparation (rehydration and strip formation) and processing (cross-linking and dehydration).
Available for download on Wednesday, June 02, 2021