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Use of Agriculturally-Derived Polymers in Cleaning Aid, Charcoal, Cat Litter and Biopackaging


<OL> <LI> Provide a fundamental understanding of properties important in quality of commercial charcoal and develop new/improved charcoal products from agriculturally derived materials. <LI>Provide a fundamental understanding of processes for making non-woven products including development of nanofiber products with improved properties for cleaning. <LI>Develop new formulations containing agricultural products to produce bio-based cat litter. <LI> Explore non starch-based plastic formulations for consumer packaging materials.

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APPROACH: Charcoal from agriculturally derived raw materials will be made using laboratory protocols developed, in part, by the CRADA partner. The protocols will be used to make charcoal samples for characterization using mechanical tests. The results will be used to gain a better understanding of material interactions within charcoal formulations. The potential of using various agricultural products and waste materials will be investigated by substituting wheat straw, corn stover, and other bio-based residues in the charcoal formulation. Methods will also be devised to developed ?starter? charcoal with no release of volatile organic compounds that are common in current commercial products. Non-woven bio-based substrates for cleaning aids will be tested by producing spinnalbe fibers using an air-spinning technique. The spinning method will make micro- and nanofibers from polymer solutions. Agriculturally derived nanoparticles will be incorporated into the fibers to make cleansing products. The products will be evaluated and compared to commercial products. Biobased pet supply products (cat litter) will be made by using standard company protocols and materials to make the pet supply products. Biobased binders, filler adjuncts, and agricultural residues will be substituted for the existing binders and substrates to replace current materials used in cat litter and to make the products more compatible with the environment. New packaging (non-starch) will be tested using biopolymers such as polylactic acid. The biopolymers will be tested for performance in commercial products and evaluated for functionality.

Glenn, Gregory
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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