Biodegradable and environmental friendly component (wad) based on PVA for a cartridge (CARTRIDGE WAD)


The project consists in the design, manufacturing and launch into the market of an innovative hydro soluble and biodegradable wad that could be used as a component for a cartridge replacing conventional plastic. This wad will be made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), is soluble in water, biodegradable and non-toxic.
After being shot the wad itself, containing the ammunition, will dissolve in hours when placed in humid conditions and biodegrade in weeks leaving no toxic residues and/or harmful particles, contrary to a conventional cartridge wad which leaves plastic residues difficult to manage for decades.
Cartridge manufactures, hunters and sporting shooters would benefit from this alternative product to the existing conventional plastic.
The coordinating company Plásticos Hidrosolubles assembled a partnership consisting of the manufacturer of the biodegradable plastic material; Carmusa, eco-cartridge producer ; Aiju, a technological institute with a vast experience in non conventional plastic materials; and finally a marketing organization, Alfred Feystel, supplying cartridges to a wide number of customers . The first three are based in Spain while the later one is in Germany.
The job ahead for the partnership will be manufacturing and testing of the polyvinyl alcohol formulation, the design of the geometry of the wad, the manufacturing of the injection mould, the assembling of the cartridge and the marketing and commercialisation of the finished product.  All these activities will be done with the proper timing and sequence between September 2011 and September 2013.

Expected and/or achieved results

The fine tuning of the PVA formulation to meet the technical, ballistic and functional requirements of the hunting industry for an ecologic cartridge.
The manufacturing of PVA wads for shotgun cartridges by means of injection moulding, that will dissolve and biodegrade leaving no footprint under the normal atmospheric and environmental conditions found in the fields across Europe: in water (river, lake or sea) or on soil, disappearing with no environmental impact in 2-3 hour hours or 2-3 months, respectively.
Dissemination of the results, promotion of the product at European level (starting in Germany) and launching into the European market.
The first wads biodegradable, non toxic and water soluble for the industrial line is expected to be obtained by mid 2012 and will approximately produce 1.5 million of pieces the first year. By end 2013 it is expected to reach a market share of 10% of ecological cartridges and a portion of those used in wetlands and rainy environments.
The potential market for uptake is 700-1.200 millions cartridges. Each cartridge would represent 3,5 -4 grams of the new material. A successful development will minimize drastically the environmental impact of hunting and sport shooting activities.