Principal investigator: Kevin Turner

University: University of Pennsylvania

Industry partner: Penn Color, Inc.

Penn Color (a PA manufacturer) has developed a technology that significantly enhances the recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging by producing white packaging without white pigments. However, the mechanism by which this technology works is not fully understood, which creates uncertainty around whether it is fully optimized. Prof. Kevin Turner’s group at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has expertise in characterizing thin-sheet materials and mechanics modeling that will allow for a better understanding of this material system. The objective of this proposal is to characterize the internal structure and mechanics of Penn Color’s PET technology using fracture-based tests, electron microscopy, and modeling at UPenn. This will lead to an understanding of the critical properties that lead to whitening and measurements of the mechanical properties within the package walls. This will allow for the optimization of current PET formulas and potentially the development of new materials that exploit the same effect.