A Pathway to Patents: How Procter & Gamble’s Work with NASA Led to Product Innovations

Saturday, August 15, 2020 - 18:50 in Physics & Chemistry

To some, it may seem an unlikely collaboration: Procter & Gamble (P&G), a world leader in consumer-packaged goods, partnering with NASA. Both, however, share a common goal: bettering life on Earth by defying gravity and conducting research in space. People around the world use P&G’s products every day—they own multiple brands providing skincare, haircare, personal health care, laundry products, and more. Many of these products are comprised of colloids—mixtures of microscopic particles suspended within other substances, such as gels or a liquid medium. They’re behind the science of what makes dishwashing liquid clean better or a lotion hydrate skin longer. Over time, however, these colloids break down or separate, rendering products unusable. “We wanted to take gravity out of the equation,” says Dr. Matthew Lynch, principal scientist with P&G. “By experimenting with colloids in space, we would be able to better understand the structure of these substances—how they react to heat, how...

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