Title:
Biodegradable BB Pellet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a biodegradable BB pellet and preparation thereof.



Inventors:
Chou, Ming Cherng (Taoyuan, TW)
Yang, Joe Shih-horng (Monterey Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/279876
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
04/14/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F42B14/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FOLEY, SHANON A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C. (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A biodegradable BB pellet comprising (a) a plant fiber material and (b) a binder.

2. The pellet of claim 1, wherein the material is selected from the group consisting of vegetable food refuse, vegetable resin, vegetable fiber, wood flour, rice husk, rice straw, rice bran, wheat bran, sugar canes, bamboos, corn core and pulp.

3. The pellet of claim 1, wherein the material is vegetable fiber.

4. The pellet of claim 1, wherein the binder is starch or a biodegradable polymer.

5. The pellet of claim 4, wherein the binder is starch.

6. The pellet of claim 1 further comprising a diluent selected from the group consisting of sodium sulfate, barium sulfate, calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate, cellulose, lactose, polylactic acid, polycaprolacton, polyhydroxybutyrate valerate and starch.

7. The pellet of claim 6, wherein the diluent is calcium carbonate.

8. The pellet of claim 6, wherein the diluent is polylactic acid or starch.

9. The pellet of claim 1 further comprising a lubricant selected from the group consisting of magnesium stearate and talc.

10. The pellet of claim 1, wherein the plant fiber material and the binder is present at a weight ratio of the plant fiber material to the binder in the range of 100:1 to 1:100.

11. The pellet of claim 10, wherein the weight ratio is in the range of 50:1 to 1:50.

12. The pellet of claim 6, wherein the plant fiber material and the diluent is present at a weight ratio of the plant fiber material to the diluent in the range of 20:1 to 1:20.

13. The pellet of claim 12, wherein the weight ratio is in the range of 5:1 to 1:5.

14. A method of preparing a biodegradable BB tablet core comprising mixing a plant fiber material and a binder into a mixture, and allowing the mixture through granulation and molding.

15. A method of preparing a biodegradable BB pellet comprising mixing a plant fiber material and a binder into a mixture, and allowing the mixture through granulation and molding.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising allowing the mixture through coating and polishing.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising allowing the mixture through grinding and polishing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a biodegradable BB pellet and preparation thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The components in the current commercially available BB pellets include plastic, steel, aluminum, or other non-biodegradable materials. While some of them were bleached with chlorine to make them white, other have toxic coloring or discoloring agents added.

Wild birds and some hunted varieties have been found with BB pellets in their stomach. Many environmentalists are urging their local government to force individual players and groups involved in the sport of air soft to clean up after playing unless a certificate can be produced showing that BB pellets used are biodegradable and non-toxic.

Currently known biodegradable BB pellets from Bioval Technologies DI, are made of bio-resin. Such BB pellets generally take one year to degrade in the environment. There continues to be a need to provide a biodegradable BB pellet that degrades at a relatively faster rate.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a biodegradable BB pellet comprising (a) a plant fiber material, and (b) a binder.

The present invention also relates to a method of preparing a biodegradable BB pellet comprising mixing a plant material and a binder into a mixture, and allowing the mixture through (A) granulation, and molding (tabletting), or (B) granulation, molding (tabletting), grinding and polishing, or (C) granulation, molding (tabletting), coating, and polishing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the dissolution rates of the BB pellets of the present invention and Biotech 8 mm BB pellets of Marushi-kk Inc., Japan at the temperature of 20˜25° C. and relative humidity of 60˜70%. (a). BB pellets of the present invention were placed in water for 1 hour. (b). BB pellets of the present invention were placed in water for 24 hours. (c). Biotech 8 mm BB pellets of Marushi-kk Inc. were placed in water for 24 hours.

FIG. 2 shows (a) the BB pellets of the present invention before test begins, and (b) the biodegradability of the BB pellets of the present invention after 6 days in an outdoor garden. The weather of the 6 consecutive days were: Sunny, 20.7° C.; Raining, 14.6° C.; Cloudy, 9.6° C.; Cloudy, 12.4° C.; Raining, 16.1° C.; Sunny, 17.9° C.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a biodegradable BB pellet comprising (a) a plant fiber material and (b) a binder.

The term “plant fiber material” used herein includes but is not limited to the following: vegetable food refuse, vegetable resin, vegetable fiber, wood flour, rice husk, rice straw, rice bran, wheat bran, sugar canes, bamboos, corn core and pulp. The preferred embodiment of the plant fiber material is vegetable fiber.

The term “binder” used herein includes but is not limited to starch or a biodegradable polymer. The preferred embodiment of the binder is starch.

The biodegradable BB pellets of the present invention further comprise a diluent that is selected from the group consisting of sodium sulfate, barium sulfate, calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate, cellulose, lactose, polylactic acid, polycaprolacton, polyhydroxybutyrate valerate and starch. The preferred embodiment of the diluent is calcium carbonate, polylactic acid or starch.

The biodegradable BB pellets of the present invention further comprise a lubricant that is selected from the group consisting of magnesium stearate and talc. The preferred embodiment of the lubricant is magnesium stearate.

The general process for preparing the biodegradable BB pellets of the present invention may include the steps of weighing, mixing, granulation, tabletting (molding), coating (or grinding) and polishing.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a method of preparing a biodegradable BB pellet comprising mixing a plant fiber material and a binder into a mixture, and allowing the mixture through (A) granulation, and molding (tabletting), or (B) granulation, molding (tabletting), grinding and polishing, or (C) granulation, molding (tabletting), coating, and polishing steps.

The coating is generally made with a coating suspension comprising a food grade dye, a substrate additive, a dusting agent and water.

The term “dye” used herein includes but is not limited to a dye to show color in BB pellets.

In the preparation of the present invention, the substrate additive includes but is not limited the following: sugar, gelatin, acacia gum, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose-phthalate, shellac, cellulose acetate phthalate, and hydroxypropyl cellulose.

In the preparation of the present invention, the dusting agent includes but is not limited to the following: calcium carbonate, talc, calcium sulfate, starch, dicalcium phosphate, kaolin and sugar.

In the BB pellets of the present invention, a weight ratio of the plant fiber material to the binder is in the range of 100:1 to 1:100, preferably 80:1 to 1:80, more preferably 50:1 to 1:50.

In the BB pellets of the present invention, a weight ratio of the plant fiber material to the diluent is in the range of 20:1 to 1:20, preferably 10:1 to 1:10, more preferably 5:1 to 1:5.

In the BB pellets of the present invention, the lubricant is present at the weight ratio of 0.1-5, preferably 0.1-2 based on the total weight of the BB pellet.

In the coating suspension, the dye is present at the weight ratio of 0.5-5 based on the total weight of the coating suspension. The substrate additive is present at the weight ratio of 10-70, preferably 10-60 based on the total weight of the coating suspension.

In the polishing step, the process is finished by a polishing solution comprising a polishing agent such as wax or polyethylene glycol in a solvent selected from a group consisting of chloroform, acetone and isopropyl alcohol. The weight ratio of the polishing agent to the solvent is in the range of 5:1 to 1:5, and preferably 3:1 to 1:3.

The biodegradable BB pellets of the present invention are completely prepared using biodegradable ingredients. However, most of the current commercial BB pellets include one or more than one plastic materials as the ingredients. In addition, the BB pellets of the present invention can generally degrade within 6 months, which is much faster than that of currently known biodegradable BB pellets (which generally take over one year to degrade).

EXAMPLES

The examples below are non-limiting and are merely representatives of various aspects and features of the present invention.

Example 1

Materials and Preparation Processes

A tablet formulation was prepared using the ingredients as follows:

IngredientQuantity
Vegetable fiber1365 g
Calcium carbonate 910 g
Polylactic acid  6 g
Starch 60 g
Water 800 g
Magnesium stearate 10 g

The formulation aforementioned can be changed in accordance with the reasonable variations provided.

Preparation processes of the core tablets:

Vegetable fiber, calcium carbonate and polylactic acid were mixed thoroughly to form a mixture (A). Starch was admixed into water to produce a pasty solution (B) while heating. According to the known skill of art of wet granulation (such as Leon Lachman et al., “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF INDUSTRIAL PHARMACY, 1986, pressed by LEA & FEBIGER, PHILADELPHIA), the solution (B) were mixed thoroughly with the mixture (A) which were then passed through a No. 16 mesh U.S. sieve to produce granules (C). The granules so produced were dried to make granules (D). Magnesium stearate was then added to the granules (D), which, after blending, were compressed by a tablet machine to produce a tablet based on the current tabletting technology (such as Leon Lachman et al., “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF INDUSTRIAL PHARMACY, 1986, pressed by LEA & FEBIGER, PHILADELPHIA) under 7-14 kg/cm2 of hardness. The weight and diameter of each tablet were 0.19 g±10% and 6 mm±10%, respectively.

Example 2

Preparation of BB Pellets by Coating and Polishing the Tablets

Preparation of coating suspension : 1.6 g of dye, 40 g of sugar, 7 g of gelatin and 20 g of calcium carbonate were poured into 32 g of water to form an uniform coating suspension.

Preparation of polishing solution: admixing 50 g of wax into 50 g of isopropyl alcohol.

The conditions of preparing the present BB pellets were at the temperature of 20˜60° C. and at the humidity of 40˜60%.

By using different a size of mold, the tablets with the weight of 0.12 g±10% and the diameter of 4 mm±10% were made according to the method of Example 1.

The 4 mm tablets were coated by the coating suspension according to known coating skill in the art (such as Leon Lachman et al., “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF INDUSTRIAL PHARMACY, 1986, pressed by LEA & FEBIGER, PHILADELPHIA). The core tablets were constantly rolled and sprayed with the suspension under dry heat. The resulting coated tablets were polished by constantly rolling and spraying with the polishing solution and dried by heat. The thickness of the coating was dependent on the durations of the suspension and polishing solution spraying processes. The longer the duration of coating and polishing were, the thicker the coating resulted. The pellets prepared by this process were with weight and diameter of 0.19 g±5% and 6 mm±5%, respectively.

Example 3

Preparation of BB Pellets by Grinding and Polishing the Tablets

By using a different size of mold, the tablet with weight of 0.26 g±10% and diameter of 8 mm±10% were made according to the method of Example 1.

The above tablets were trimmed down to 5.8 mm±5% based on the known grinding technology. Then, the ground tablets were polished to 6 mm in diameter by the same polishing procedure in Example 2. The pellets prepared by this process were with the weight and diameter of 0.19 g±5% and 6 mm±5%, respectively

Example 4

Comparison Test

FIG. 1 shows the dissolution rates of the BB pellets of the present invention and Biotech 8 mm BB pellets of Marushi-kk Inc., Japan at the temperature of 20˜25° C. and relative humidity of 60˜70%. (a) BB pellets of the present invention were placed in water for 1 hour. (b) BB pellets of the present invention were placed in water for 24 hours. (c) Biotech 8 mm BB pellets of Marushi-kk Inc. were placed in water for 24 hours.

The BB pellets prepared by the process of Example 2 and the commercially available biodegradable BB pellets of Biotech 8 mm BB made by Japan Marushi-kk Inc., as a control group, were tested over 24 hours at the temperature of 20˜25° C. and relative humidity of 60˜70% in water. As depicted in FIG. 1 (a), the result showed that the BB pellets of the present invention dissolved in one hour in water. FIG. 1 (b) shows that the dissolved particles of the BB pellets of the present invention got smaller over 24 hours in water. To the contrary, as depicted in FIG. 1 (c), the BB pellets of the control group maintained an intact surface under the same test condition over 24 hours. It demonstrated that the biodegradability of the present BB pellets is better than that of the control group.

Example 5

Outdoors Garden Test

The BB pellets prepared by the process of Example 2 were tested in a regular outdoor garden under usual weather condition (Mid-March in subtropical area). The weather condition of the 6-day test is as follows: Sunny, 20.7° C.; Raining, 14.6° C.; Cloudy, 9.6° C.; Cloudy, 12.4° C.; Raining, 16.1° C.; Sunny, 17.9° C. As depicted in FIG. 2, it showed that the BB pellets of the present invention were degraded on day 6 in the outdoor garden. It demonstrated that the BB pellets of the present invention actually had significant biodegradability in the environment under the normal weather conditions.

There have been many attempts on producing a truly biodegradable BB pellets that would break down in less than 8-10 months without much success. The present invention of biodegradable BB pellets not only can be degraded in a reasonable short period of time, the materials and the metabolites are normal foods or waste which are nontoxic to human or wildlife, and non-hazardous to the environment.

One skilled in the art readily appreciates that the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objects and obtain the ends and advantages mentioned, as well as those inherent therein. The processes and methods for producing them are representative of preferred embodiments, are exemplary, and are not intended as limitations on the scope of the invention. Modifications therein and other uses will occur to those skilled in the art. These modifications are encompassed within the spirit of the invention and are defined by the scope of the claims.

It will be readily apparent to a person skilled in the art that varying substitutions and modifications may be made to the invention disclosed herein without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

All patents and publications mentioned in the specification are indicative of the levels of those of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains. All patents and publications are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

The invention illustratively described herein suitably may be practiced in the absence of any element or elements, limitation or limitations, which are not specifically disclosed herein. The terms and expressions which have been employed are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention that in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding any equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, but it is recognized that various modifications are possible within the scope of the invention claimed. Thus, it should be understood that although the present invention has been specifically disclosed by preferred embodiments and optional features, modification and variation of the concepts herein disclosed may be resorted to by those skilled in the art, and that such modifications and variations are considered to be within the scope of this invention as defined by the appended claims.

Other embodiments are set forth within the following claims.