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Battelle Debuts Smart Laundry Capsule

Posted on Nov 5, 2014

Biodegradable polymer makes bleach effective in cold-water laundry loads, leaves no bead residue

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov. 5, 2014)—Battelle scientists have invented a new product that will allow consumers to effectively use bleach when they wash clothes in cold water. The patented Battelle Smart Laundry Capsule will save money, help conserve energy and is environmentally friendly.

The product will debut at the Cleaning Products Conference Nov. 10-12 in Washington D.C.  Battelle’s Cindy Conner will present information about it at the conference on Nov. 11 at 4:45 pm. “We are very excited about this new development and look forward to working with manufacturers to get this important product to consumers,” Conner said.

The drivers behind the development of the capsule are the consumer’s desire to wash clothes in cold water (saving energy and money) and today’s wash machines that are designed for colder water loads. But cold water washing doesn’t get clothes as clean and fresh as hot water.

That’s because bleach for color and white loads doesn’t work well in cold water—without an activator. Battelle’s new technology comes from its encapsulation program that designs products based on specific applications. Encapsulation allows for shelf-stable formulations using ingredients that are normally incompatible. Our work keeps one ingredient safely enclosed in a polymer capsule that can be designed to respond to a variety of different release triggers, like pH, temperature, pressure or dilution.

The Smart Laundry Capsule combines bleach and activator together, so when it’s thrown in the wash water with laundry detergent, they all mix to produce a highly effective cleaning environment, triggered by the water. And, since there are no microbeads in the product, Battelle’s biodegradable capsule doesn’t hurt the environment.  

There are many applications for the technology, which is based on a career of study by Battelle Senior Research Scientist Ram Lalgudi. Already in action in Battelle’s Smart Corrosion DetectorTM, it also can work in variety of formulations, such as fragrances, dishwashing, agrichemicals and nutraceuticals.

“Any time you need a controlled release of your product, we can design an encapsulation for it,” said Lalgudi. “When I came to Battelle I sensed a lot of need for our clients to protect their active ingredients. What’s the bottleneck? I’ve been working on the answer since then.”

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit 

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or

Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544