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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: March 23, 2006
No: 06-15

Technology transfer highlights through the years at the Natick Soldier Center

NATICK, Mass. -- Over the years, Natick Soldier Center (NSRDEC) has researched, developed, and/or co-sponsored numerous technologies and products that have both military and commercial applications. The following highlights cover some, but nowhere near all, of NSRDEC’s technology transfer achievements throughout the years.

Fibers and Textiles:
Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a W. L. Gore thin film product that has strong origins in military cold weather clothing development. NSRDEC and W. L. Gore worked in close collaboration to develop this film that is laminated to textile material to create one of the best environmental protection items in wet and cold environments.
Primaloft. NSRDEC, under a contract with Albany International, developed Primaloft, a synthetic (polyester), hypoallergenic alternative to down which provides superior insulation. Primaloft overcomes the deficiencies of down, including moisture retention and loss of insulating value.

Textile Treatments:
Quarpel. Quarpel water-repellent is a water and stain resistant textile treatment that was developed by Natick Research Laboratories in the late 1960s for use in combat clothing and equipment. “Quarpel” is an acronym for “Quartermaster Repellent” that was coined by the Natick scientist inventor. The water repellent is still used commercially in top clothing lines and is used in many other commercial items such as upholstery and carpeting. The military uses Quarpel extensively in rain protective combat clothing and equipment. The repellent has the unique capability to repel water and organic liquids, such as chemical warfare agents, and withstands repeated laundering.
Permethrin applied to clothing for insect protection. Permethrin is an agricultural-based product that the military adopted for treatment of textile materials for protection against flying insects. NSRDEC developed the application methods for spraying Permethrin onto clothing.

Combat Feeding—Rations:
Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) Pouch Bread (a shelf stable bread). The MRE Pouch Bread is shelf stable for up to eighteen months at 80 degrees F with the sensory qualities of fresh baked bread. NSRDEC and several commercial baking firms conducted extensive studies to develop processes to improve bread quality.
Shelf Stable Pocket Sandwich. Developed by NSRDEC’s DoD Combat Feeding Directorate, the Pocket Sandwich has a three-year shelf life at 80 degrees F and has strong military and commercial applications.
HooAH Bar. Developed by Combat Feeding, the HooAH Bar is a nutrition bar that increases energy and improves performance and endurance. The HooAH Bar is available for military or commercial use.
Energy Rich, Glucose Optimized (ERGO) Drink. Developed by Combat Feeding, the ERGO drink is a primary source of carbohydrates and helps provide extra energy when taken before and after periods of intense activity.

Food Processing and Packaging Technologies:
Food irradiation. During irradiation, foods are exposed to electron beams or cobalt gamma rays. The process kills bacteria by briefly altering the electric charge of the molecules in the food and microorganisms. Food irradiation increases food safety and shelf life. Irradiated foods are more nutritious and better tasting than foods processed with other methods. Food irradiation is used in the commercial sector as a means of preserving food. NSRDEC has a long history of producing irradiated foods for the space program and pioneered irradiation in the 1960s.
High pressure processing. High Pressure Processing (HPP) uses pressure to provide safe, minimally processed foods with extended shelf life while better preserving taste, texture and nutritional value than traditional heat-processing methods. Developed by NSRDEC, academia and industry, the process has been adopted by the commercial food industry.
Restructured food items (meats). Development of restructured meats was pioneered through research efforts at NSRDEC. These items are used in the commercial sector as a means of providing quality meats at a reduced price by using low grade cuts of meat and poultry.
Compressed food items. Developed by Combat Feeding, compressed food items are used as components of military rations and are also used in the commercial sector, particularly for foods eaten while hiking and camping where reduced volume is desirable.
Tube foods. These are shelf stable foods that are packaged in toothpaste-like tubes suitable for through-the-mask feeding. The military application for tube foods, which were developed by Combat Feeding, is for high altitude flights when aircrew must wear pressurized suits and breathe pure oxygen.
Retort pouch. Researched by NSRDEC, the retort pouch is a flexible food pouch used in lieu of the traditional metal can for storing shelf stable thermally processed foods. The pouch has both military and commercial applications and has been transitioned to the international commercial sector.

Braided and Woven Airbeam Technology for Shelter Systems. NSRDEC developed two novel textile technologies, braided and woven, for producing seamless, inflatable airbeams. Airbeam technology allows for strong, lightweight, quickly erectable, highly mobile shelters that have both military and nonmilitary uses.

For more information about the Soldier Systems Center, please visit our website

This page last updated on 12 July 2006.