Preventing Capillary Obstructions Caused By Transition Metal Soaps Formed in Edible Oils

Request Number REQ4296521
Due Date October 30, 2015
Author Nick Kacsandi
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Preventing Capillary Obstructions Caused By Transition Metal Soaps Formed in Edible Oils
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a Leading Manufacturer of Consumer Products, invites proposals for technologies that will prevent the blockage of capillary flow in downstream processes due to transition metal complexes (i.e. soaps) that can form in edible oils. Solutions describing novel materials, additives, or treatments are invited from across the landscape of industry, research and academia.


NineSigma’s client manufactures products containing edible oils (soy, palm, etc.) which are subject to downstream processes requiring uninhibited capillary flow within a cellulose-based substrate. These oil-based mixtures are further comprised of highly complex natural and synthetic chemical components, which may include metals, salts, organic compounds, etc. In particular, a range of transition metals are frequently present due to the use of natural materials in the mixtures, metal drum component shipping containers, drying agents to prevent condensation and residual catalyst from early stage processing within the supply chain. These metals (primarily nickel and zinc) interact within the oil environment to form soap complexes that interfere with capillary flow over a cellulose substrate, hindering product performance at the end application.


Due to in-process constraints, the capillary mechanism cannot be altered to accommodate the larger soap complexes. As such, innovative solutions are required to ensure that these undesirable materials are neutralized or removed from the system before they have the opportunity to inhibit capillary flow. Possible solutions may address the issue at hand from any number of angles. For example:


  • By disrupting the formation of the soap complexes entirely
  • By removing the transition metals / soap complexes (via separation, precipitation, etc.) in the mixture
  • By repelling the complexes from the site of capillary flow
  • By pretreating component materials upstream


This issue is central to the client’s business and a successful solution represents a potentially game-changing innovation. Viable, long-term partners capable of supporting the development pathway from proof of concept through commercial scale-up encouraged to respond.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Confidential discussions under NDA and preliminary project planning


Additional project Phases will be subject to negotiation with all top-rated solution providers following a review of the full proposed technology / approach.  For developmental technologies, incremental funding will be made available in accordance with completion of pre-determined milestones.



Key Success Criteria

The successful technology proposal should explicitly address the following criteria for the client’s immediate review and evaluation:

  • Is the technology compatible with or adaptable to edible oil mixtures?
    • Melting points of the liquid edible oil and edible oil mixtures are ~120-130F
    • Working temperature of the oil and mixture should not exceed 175F to prevent rancidity
  • Is the technology compatible with or adaptable to applications with transition metals in the presence of a hydrophobic environment? For example:
    • Nickel
    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Copper
    • Chromium
    • Molybdenum
  • Can the proposed technology achieve the stated objective without altering the end characteristics of the current product? End characteristics include, but are not limited to:
    • Color
    • Light stability
    • Temperature stability
    • Olfactory profile
  • Will the technology allow for unobstructed flow through capillaries ranging from micron scale upwards of 1-mm in diameter?
  • Is the technology compatible with or adaptable to variable end use performance temperatures ranging from 125F to 400F?



Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Solutions capable of disrupting the formation of transition metal complexes or soaps
  • Solutions that can precipitate transition metals and/or complexes out of the oil
  • Materials, treatments, or surface modifications to create a “buffer” around the capillary source or to repel the transition metals or soaps
  • Temperature-based mechanisms that separate metals and/or soaps.
    • For example, a solution that is repelled by heat or that has an affinity for lower relative temperature
  • Reliably eliminate transition metals and/or soaps during upstream processing
  • Approaches that can be adapted from cross-industrial applications, such as in the Food & Beverage, Agriculture, Petroleum Processing, Chemicals, Personal Care, or other adjacent industries



Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Advanced chemical separation technologies, such as distillation
  • Technologies that require temperatures in excess of 175F to achieve the stated objective
  • Technologies that disrupt the functional or aesthetic characteristics of the end product
  • Technologies that prevent end product from REACH and CARB compliance
  • Technologies that are unlikely to have an economically-effective application in a consumer product with a wholesale cost less than US$5


Preferred Collaboration types
Items to be submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology
  • Technical maturity of the approach (conceptual, prototype or pilot scale, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
  • Compatibility of the proposed solution with the requirements outlined in the “Key Success Criteria” section above.
  • Discussion of how to resolve unmet Success Criteria.
  • Current IP status, including organizational preferences for handling IP.
  • Performance data, if available and applicable
  • Budget / Cost information, if available
  • Team / Organization description
  • Relevant expertise, experience or background related to the RFP topic area
  • Desired relationship with the RFP sponsor


Area of Interest
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