Packaging design begins at the molecular level, the systems approach taken by CP2S employs the expertise of polymer chemists, chemical engineers, food scientists and the like to develop novel compounds that have the end product consumer in mind. The synthesis of usable, practical, cost-efficient materials that are truly recyclable will be critical in the future of packaging design. Through intentional engineering of monomer units and starting materials, CP2S looks to revolutionize the packaging industry via the innovation of use-specific and content-oriented synthesis of materials.
Through the extensive network of intercollegiate departments at Virginia Tech, CP2S has at its disposal the full gamut of top ranked programs like the College of Natural Resources + Environment, Food Science + Technology, Polymer Chemistry and Additive Manufacturing – to name a few. The resources afforded by these programs and their respective faculty allow for both the physical fabrication of proposed models and the computing power necessary to project material behaviors in variable environments.
Manufacturing | Fabrication
With its location right in the heart of the Packaging Corridor – stretching from Northern Virginia to Atlanta – CP2S not only exists to revolutionize packaging materials but also the methods in which scalable manufacturing are approached. The systems approach stems from basic chemical makeup to the fabrication process aiming to discover materials that are cost efficient in an industry setting. The departments of Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging Design are outfitted with the necessary equipment and highly educated faculty to develop new methods in which the world creates packages.
The current problem with recycling lies with the nature of monomer constituents. Typically compounds like HDPE, PET, etc. are cannot be truly recycled when the polymer repeat unit is isolated, so they are recast into materials of the same chemical makeup for similar uses. This is costly and largely ineffective, sequestering a large amount of material that can only be used for one application. Recycling is typically a back-end effort to “clean up” a situation that had unforeseen consequences. CP2S aims to hypothesize materials that are truly recyclable, creating polymers and thermoplastics that can be broken down to their monomer substituents to be reused in a multitude of other applications, saving materials to a process that is scalable and cost-effective. This approach to recycling at the outset of synthesis takes a new approach to recycling that creates truly reusable compounds rather than cleaning up a process without an ideal solution.
Closely related to recycling, creating sustainable materials is crucial for the benefit of our planet. CP2S remains sustainably minded by theorizing materials, processes and applications of packaging materials that not only last extended periods of time, but retain structural integrity without degradation comprised of environmentally friendly compounds, all in a package that can easily and cheaply broken down to the starting materials to be used in a plethora of other applications. In a time when industry and capitalism are fighting a ticking clock on the abundance of materials and adding to the human footprint on climate and environment – this mindset is close to the heart of CP2S and of the utmost importance.