MM: Milk-Based Edible Packaging And Volvo's Record-Fast Truck

In this episode, we examine edible milk-based packaging and Volvo’s new truck built for speed.

Edible Packaging

Plastic packaging is widely used in the food industry, but it doesn’t always do a good job and creates a large amount of trash that sits in landfills or our oceans for years. To solve the downsides of plastic packaging, biodegradable alternatives have been studied and now scientists have come up with a way to use the milk protein casein to create a packaging film that is better at preventing spoilage, degradable and even edible.

Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the casein film has much smaller pores than current packaging options, making it up to 500 times better than plastics at locking out oxygen. Besides just reducing waste levels by increasing the shelf life of food, the milk protein-based packaging will biodegrade quickly or can just be eaten along with its contents.

During early development the researchers used pure casein, which they found it to be effective at blocking oxygen, but the material wasn't very flexible and dissolved too quickly in water. To combat this, the team added citrus pectin, used in other edible coatings, to make the film more durable and increase its resistance to heat and humidity.

While it might not completely replace plastics, it could significantly cut down on the amount used and a sprayable version may open up further applications. The team continues to improve the film and hope to have the material on the market in the next three years. 

Could this packaging option make a positive impact on manufacturing and consumer waste? 
Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.

Volvo Truck Breaks Two World Speed Records

Last week, Volvo made the headlines when they claimed their custom-built Iron Knight truck would break a world speed record. Turns out, the automaker underestimated the 9,920-pound, quad-turbocharged 13-liter diesel engine, because the Iron Knight actually broke 2 world records.

So, how fast do you have to be to claim two world records? Fast, real fast.

First, the Iron Knight was able to achieve an average speed of 105 mph in a time of 21.29 seconds in the 1,000 meter run from start to finish. But wait, there’s more. The monster semi then did the 500 meter distance in 13.71 seconds from a standing start. And, on these record runs, the Iron Knight reached a top speed of an incredible 171.5 mph.

Volvo also tried to set the world record with its so-called “Mean Green” semi -ruck in 2012, which didn’t work out. But, the automaker says it’s “really proud” of the clever engineering involved its Iron Knight semi.

And with speeds like that, what’s not to be proud of?

Feel free to share your thoughs in the comment below 

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