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Scalable manufacturing of sustainable packaging materials with tunable thermoregulability

Mohsin Ali Badshah, Erica M. Leung, Panyiming Liu, Aleksandra Anna Strzelecka and Alon A. Gorodetsky ()
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Mohsin Ali Badshah: University of California, Irvine
Erica M. Leung: University of California, Irvine
Panyiming Liu: University of California, Irvine
Aleksandra Anna Strzelecka: University of California, Irvine
Alon A. Gorodetsky: University of California, Irvine

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 5, 434-443

Abstract: Abstract The implementation of innovative packaging solutions in the food and beverage industry is playing an increasingly important role in driving the global transformation towards sustainability. Within this context, the metallized polymer films most widely used for packaging, which feature static infrared reflecting properties, need to be replaced by green and low-cost alternative materials with highly desirable dynamic thermoregulability. Here we demonstrate the scalable manufacturing of squid-skin-inspired sustainable packaging materials with tunable heat-management properties. The reported composites feature a low estimated starting material cost of around US$0.1 m−2, sizes comparable to those of common metallized plastic films, the ability to modulate infrared transmittance by >20-fold and heat fluxes by >30 W m−2 upon actuation with strain, and functional robustness after mechanical deformation or cycling. Furthermore, the composites demonstrate excellent performance in routine practical packaging scenarios, as exemplified by their ability to control the cooling of a model warm beverage within a standard paper container used daily by most adults in the USA. Such materials could represent a technological solution that addresses the combined cost, performance and sustainability pressures facing the food and beverage packaging industry.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00847-2

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