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Title:
CAP MEMBER AND DRINKING STRAW APPARATUS INCLUDING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/214628
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cap member for a drinking straw apparatus can include a straw having a first end and a second end located opposite and distal the first end. The cap member can further include an end portion, a tubular body portion extending from the end portion, and an inner mandrel extending from the end portion and being disposed internal with respect to the tubular body portion. The tubular body portion and the inner mandrel can be configured to be located on opposing sides of the first end of the straw in order to couple the straw to the cap member. The inner mandrel can include a plug portion and at least one rib portion extending outwardly from the plug portion toward the first end of the straw in order to maintain engagement between the inner mandrel and the first end of the straw.

Inventors:
KLEIN JULIEN (FR)
FORLER PATRICE (FR)
ABRAMS WILLIAM (US)
Application Number:
US2020/028187
Publication Date:
October 22, 2020
Filing Date:
April 15, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CSP TECHNOLOGIES INC (US)
International Classes:
A47G21/18; C08K3/26; C08L101/00
Foreign References:
JPH09275971A1997-10-28
US20130149282A12013-06-13
EP0892673B12004-02-04
US20130270357A12013-10-17
EP2213374A12010-08-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOGELBACKER, Mark T. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed:

1. A cap member for a drinking straw apparatus, the drinking straw apparatus comprising a straw apparatus having a first end and an opposing second end, the cap member comprising:

a closed end portion;

a tubular body portion extending from the end portion; and

an inner mandrel extending from an interior surface of the closed end portion and being disposed internal with respect to or spaced-apart from the tubular body portion, the tubular body portion and the inner mandrel being configured to be disposed on opposing sides of the first end of the straw apparatus when the cap member is attached to the straw apparatus to couple the straw apparatus to the cap member, the inner mandrel comprising a plug portion and at least one rib portion extending radially outwardly from the plug portion toward the first end of the straw apparatus when the cap member is attached to the straw apparatus in order to maintain engagement between the inner mandrel and the first end of the straw apparatus.

2. The cap member according to claim 1, wherein the plug portion includes a first segment and a second segment, wherein an external surface of the first segment is cylindrical, and wherein an external surface of the second segment is tapered.

3. The cap member according to claim 2, wherein the at least one rib portion is located at the junction of the first and second segments of the plug portion.

4. The cap member according to any preceding claim, wherein the at least one rib portion comprises an annular- shaped rib portion extending around an entire periphery of the plug portion.

5. The cap member according to any one of claims 1-3, wherein the at least one rib portion comprises a plurality of spaced-apart rib portions.

6. The cap member according to any one of claims 1-5, wherein at least a portion of the cap member is desiccated.

7. The cap member according to any one of claims 1-6, wherein the cap member is formed of a mixture of a base polymer, between 30% and 40% active agent, and optionally a channeling agent.

8. The cap member according to any one of claims 1-7, wherein the active agent is silica gel or calcium carbonate.

9. The cap member according to any of claims 1-5, wherein the cap member is non- desiccated.

10. The cap member according to claim 9, wherein the cap member is devoid of a channeling agent.

11. The cap member according to any preceding claim, wherein the straw apparatus contains medicament.

12. A drinking straw apparatus comprising:

a straw apparatus having a first end and a second end disposed opposite and distal the first end; and

the cap member according to any of the preceding claims.

13. The drinking straw apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the straw is coupled to the cap member by a snap fit mechanism.

14. The drinking straw apparatus according to claim 12 or 13, further comprising a medicament disposed inside the straw apparatus.

15. A cap for a straw, the cap comprising: an inner mandrel extending from an interior surface of a closed end portion of the cap, the inner mandrel being spaced inwardly from a tubular body portion extending downwardly from the closed end portion, the tubular body portion and the inner mandrel being configured to be disposed on opposing sides of a first end of a straw when the cap is attached to the straw, the inner mandrel comprising a plug portion and at least one rib portion extending radially outwardly from the plug portion, the plug portion including a first segment and a second segment, an external surface of the first segment is cylindrical, and an external surface of the second segment being tapered.

16 The cap according to claim 15, wherein the tubular body portion and the inner mandrel are configured to be disposed on opposing sides of a first end of a straw when the cap is attached to the straw.

17. The cap according to claim 15 or 16, wherein at least a portion of the cap includes a desiccant.

18. The cap according to any one of claims 15-17, wherein the cap is formed of a mixture of a base polymer, between 30% and 40% active agent, and a channeling agent.

19. The cap according to any one of claims 15-18, wherein the at least one rib is located at a junction of the first and second segments of the plug portion.

20. The cap according to any one of claims 15-19, wherein the at least one rib portion comprises an annular- shaped rib portion extending around an entire periphery of the plug portion.

Description:
CAP MEMBER AND DRINKING STRAW APPARATUS INCLUDING SAME

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/834,061, titled“CAP MEMBER AND DRINKING STRAW APPARATUS INCLUDING SAME” and filed April 15, 2019, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] The presently disclosed technology relates generally to caps or lids, and more particularly to drinking straw apparatus including a cap member. Optionally, the cap member can include an internal mandrel optionally containing an active agent.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Known drinking straw apparatus include a cap member that can be secured to an end of the straw apparatus. Such prior art drinking straw apparatus may contain medicament, e.g., a medicine in powdered or granulated form, inside the straw. The medicament may be consumed by a patient when the patient removes the cap member from the straw apparatus, inserts the straw apparatus into a liquid (e.g., water), and drinks some of the liquid through the straw apparatus, thus pulling the medicament into the patient’s mouth with the liquid. Known types of apparatus include, for example, threaded connections between cap members and straw apparatus, and connections wherein the cap member is maintained on the straw apparatus solely via a friction fit, a plug-type fitting.

[0004] One problem with prior art apparatus is that removal of the cap member from the straw apparatus can often be accomplished too easily. Specifically, prior art drinking straw apparatus are often packaged in an aluminum foil pouch with a notch on one end. To open, the user will open the foil at the notch and extract the drinking straw apparatus from the pouch by pulling on the cap member.

[0005] If the required pull-off force of the cap member from the straw apparatus is not sufficient high, the cap member may be prematurely separated from the straw apparatus, thus inadvertently releasing medicament located therein. Further, patients using such prior art apparatus may be unsure of whether the cap member is properly closed or attached to the straw apparatus. [0006] On the other hand, if the cap member is too difficult to remove from the straw apparatus, especially for a child or an elderly patient, the patient may be unable to access the medicine stored within the drinking straw apparatus.

SUMMARY

[0007] In light of the above, a delicate balance must be struck to produce a drinking straw apparatus that is applicable to a wide swath of the relevant population, and designing and molding a cap member to meet this balance is not simple. Accordingly, it is desirable to provide an improved cap member and drinking straw apparatus including the same. The presently disclosed technology satisfies the above and other objective, as disclosed herein.

[0008] Accordingly, in one aspect there is provided a cap member for a drinking straw apparatus. The drinking straw apparatus includes a straw having a first end and a second end located opposite and distal the first end. The cap member includes an end portion, a tubular body portion extending from the end portion, and an inner mandrel extending from the end portion and being located internal with respect to and/or spaced-apart inwardly from the tubular body portion. The tubular body portion and the inner mandrel are configured to be located on opposing sides of the first end of the straw in order to couple the straw to the cap member. The inner mandrel includes a plug portion and at least one rib portion extending outwardly from the plug portion toward the first end of the straw in order to maintain engagement between the inner mandrel and the first end of the straw.

[0009] As another aspect there is provided a drinking straw apparatus. The drinking straw apparatus includes a straw apparatus and the aforementioned cap member.

[0010] Yet another aspect of the presently disclosed technology includes a method of attaching a cap member to a straw apparatus and/or removing the cap member from the straw apparatus.

[0011] Still a further aspect of the presently disclosed technology includes a method of forming or making a drinking straw apparatus as disclosed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of the presently disclosed technology, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings, wherein like numerals designate like elements throughout. For the purpose of illustrating the presently disclosed technology, there are shown in the drawings various illustrative embodiments. It should be understood, however, that the presently disclosed technology is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

[0013] FIG. 1 is an isometric, partially simplified view of a drinking straw apparatus and cap member for the same in accordance with one non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept, wherein FIG. 1 is partially simplified for ease of understanding only and is not limiting;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the cap member shown in FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the cap member shown in FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional elevation view of the cap member shown in FIG. 1;

[0017] FIG. 5 is a magnified view a portion of the cap member shown in FIG. 4, taken from the area identified as“FIG. 5” in Fig. 4, and wherein a portion of a straw apparatus is shown therein;

[0018] FIG. 5A is magnified, partially cutaway schematic view of the cap member shown in FIG. 5, wherein certain spacing may be shown for clarity of the invention only and is not limiting;

[0019] FIG. 6 is a partially cutaway, isometric view of a portion of a cap member in accordance with another non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept, the cutaway aspect of this and certain following drawings is for clarity only and is not limiting;

[0020] FIG. 7 is a partially cutaway, isometric view of a portion of a cap member in accordance with yet another non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept;

[0021] FIG. 8 is a partially cutaway, isometric view of a portion of a cap member in accordance with a further non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept; and

[0022] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional side elevation view of the portion of the cap member shown in FIG. 8 taken alone line FIG. 9-FIG. 9 of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] While systems, devices and methods are described herein by way of examples and embodiments, those skilled in the art recognize that the presently disclosed technology is not limited to the embodiments or drawings described. Rather, the presently disclosed technology covers all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Features of any one embodiment disclosed herein can be omitted or incorporated into another embodiment.

[0024] Any headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not meant to limit the scope of the description or the claims. As used herein, the word“may” is used in a permissive sense (i.e., meaning having the potential to or optionally includes) rather than the mandatory sense (i.e., meaning must). Unless specifically set forth herein, the terms“a,”“an” and“the” are not limited to one element but instead should be read as meaning“at least one.” As used herein, the word“unitary” means a component that is created as a single piece or unit. Under this definition, a component that includes pieces that are created separately and then coupled together as an assembled unit is not a“unitary” component or body. As employed herein, the statement that two or more parts or components“engage” one another shall mean that the parts exert a force against one another either directly or through one or more intermediate parts or components. As employed herein, the term“number” shall mean one or an integer greater than one. The terminology includes the words noted above, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.

[0025] Referring now in detail to the various figures of the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout, FIGS. 1-5A show a drinking straw apparatus, generally designed 102, and a cap member, generally designated 110, for the same in accordance with one embodiment of the present application. The drinking straw apparatus 102 can include a straw apparatus 104 (shown in simplified form in FIG. 1) removably attachable to, removably secured to, and/or removably insertable at least partially into the cap member 110.

[0026] The straw apparatus 104 can include an open first or upper end 105 (see, for example, FIG. 5 A) and an open second or lower end 106 (see Fig. 1) located opposite and distal the first end 105. As depicted by the broken line portion shown in Fig. 1, the straw apparatus 104 can be any of a variety of lengths (e.g., short or long). Optionally, the straw apparatus 104 is configured to contain and/or store a predetermined quantity of material, for example and without limitation, medicament 107 (shown in simplified form in FIG. 1), located inside at least a portion of the straw apparatus 104.

[0027] Optionally, an internal plug member is provided at or slightly upwardly from the second end 106 of the straw apparatus 104 to contain the medicament 107 in place (i.e., prevent the medicament 107 from falling into the liquid), but to allow the liquid to flow out of the second end 106 of the straw apparatus 104 (e.g., when the internal plug member is removed or at least partially opened).

[0028] The internal plug member can optionally be formed of a material (e.g., a type of filter) that prevents the passage of particles of a particular size (e.g., powdered or granular medicament) out of the straw apparatus 104, but permits the passage of particles below the particular size (e.g., liquid) into the straw apparatus 104. In such an embodiment, the internal plug member can remain inside the straw apparatus 104 when the user is consuming liquid through the straw apparatus 104.

[0029] The cap member 110 optionally includes a closed, upper end portion 112, a tubular body portion 114 extending from and/or depending downwardly from an outer periphery of the end portion 112, and an inner mandrel 116 extending from and/or depending downwardly from an interior surface of the end portion 112. The tubular body portion 114 can optionally be exactly or approximately half as long as a total length of the straw apparatus 104.

[0030] As shown in Fig. 1, an external surface of the tubular body portion 114 can optionally include a plurality of spaced-apart spines 121 extending parallel to a longitudinal axis of the tubular body portion 114. In one embodiment, each of the plurality of spaced-apart spines 121 extends less than the full length of the cap member 110, and optionally less than half the full length of the cap member 110. Optionally, the spines 121 can add structural rigidity to the cap member 110 and/or provide the user with increased gripping force on the cap member 110.

[0031] Additionally or alternatively, an external surface of the cap member 110 can optionally include one or a plurality of spaced-apart prongs 123 (see, e.g., FIG. 6). Optionally, each prong 123 can be in the shape of an approximate keystone extending from a central circular portion. In one embodiment, the exterior of the top of the cap member 110 includes four spaced-apart prongs 123.

[0032] As shown in Fig. 3, for example, the inner mandrel 116 is optionally located internal with respect to and/or radially inwardly spaced-apart from the tubular body portion 114. As shown in FIG. 5A, which partially shows the straw apparatus 104 in simplified form, the tubular body portion 114 and the inner mandrel 116 are located on opposing sides (e.g., an exterior side and an interior side, respectively) of the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 when the straw apparatus 104 is fully inserted into the cap member 110.

[0033] In one embodiment, in a fully assembled and/or attached configuration, at least the free or leading end of the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 contacts an interior surface of the upper end portion 112 of the cap member 110. Alternatively, in a fully assembled and/or attached configuration, at least a portion of the first end 105 can curve and/or bend at least slightly inwardly (see, for example, Fig. 5), which can serve to more securely attach the cap member 110 to the straw apparatus 104. [0034] Optionally, as shown in Figs. 5 and 5 A, the inner mandrel 116 includes and/or is in the form of a plug portion 118. The plug portion 118 can include a first or upper segment and a second or lower segment. An exterior surface of the first segment can be cylindrical, and an exterior surface of the second segment can be conical. As a result, in cross-section (see Fig. 5A), the exterior or outer surface of the plug portion 118 can have at least two different shapes, for example, straight and tapered. In contrast, an internal surface of the first and second segments can be the same, consistent, and/or straight in cross-section (see Fig. 5A). The size, shape, and/or configuration of the second segment of the plug portion 118 can facilitate or ease attachment of the cap member 110 to the straw apparatus 104, such that the second segment guides and/or makes it easier for the first end 105 to move toward the upper end portion 112 of the cap member 110.

[0035] In one embodiment, at least one rib portion 120 can extend radially outwardly from the exterior surface of the plug portion 118. The at least one rib portion 120 can optionally extend perpendicularly to the direction that the tubular body portion 114 extends. Optionally, the at least one rib portion 102 is located at the junction between the first and second segments of the plug portion 118. Optionally, the at least one rib portion 120 can extend radially outwardly further than any portion of the first or second segments of the plug portion 118 along a longitudinal axis thereof. In one embodiment, in cross section (see, for example, Fig. 5A), the at least one rib portion 120 can have a semi-circle and/or gradually raised shape.

[0036] Optionally, when the cap member 110 is properly attached to the straw apparatus 104, or when the straw apparatus 104 is fully or completely inserted into the cap member 110, the at least one rib portion 120 extends toward and/or to the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 in order to maintain engagement between the inner mandrel 116 and the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104.

[0037] In one embodiment, passing the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 past the at least one rib portion 120, or contact of at least a portion of the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 with at least a portion of the at least one rib portion 120, can create or produce an audible noise or “click,” for example. Such a noise can signal to the user that the cap member 110 is properly or fully attached to the straw apparatus 104.

[0038] In one example embodiment, the at least one rib portion 120 is an annular- shaped rib portion 120, such that the rib portion 102 extends around the entire circumference of the plug portion 118 (see, for example, Fig. 6). However, the presently disclosed technology is not limited to the at least one rib portion 120 extending around the entire periphery of the plug portion 118. In another embodiment, the at least one rib portion 120 can include two or more vertically spaced- apart rib portions (i.e., spaced-along the longitudinal axis) that optionally extend around an entire periphery of the plug portion 118.

[0039] It will be appreciated that the engagement between the at least one rib portion 120 and the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 is tighter and/or more secure, as compared to the prior art. Specifically, in one embodiment, the at least one rib portion 120 allows the straw apparatus 104 to be coupled to the cap member 110 by a snap-fit mechanism. In this manner, when the cap member 110 is properly and/or fully attached to the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104, an audible click may optionally be heard by a user. Additionally or alternatively, the snap-fit connection between the cap member 110 and the first end 105 of the straw apparatus 104 increases the pull-off force, as compared to, for example, the prior art. The design of the presently disclosed technology also is adaptable to and/or can be readily produced in high-volume manufacturing, which is beneficial because it reduces overall costs.

[0040] Moreover, the force required to pull-off the cap member 110 from the straw apparatus 104 may depend directly on the difference between the external diameter of the at least one rib portion 120, and the external diameter of the plug portion 118. For example, the larger the difference in diameter, the higher the pull-off force.

[0041] In operation of one embodiment, before or after a user (e.g., a patient) removes the cap member 110 from the straw apparatus 104, the user can insert at least the second end 106 of the straw apparatus 104 into a substance (such as, but not limited, a liquid, like water), drink some of the liquid, and thereby pulling any medicament 107 out of the straw apparatus 104 through the first end 105 and into the mouth of the user.

[0042] FIG. 7 shows an isometric view of a portion of a cap member 210 in accordance with another non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept. The cap member 210 is substantially the same as, and provides substantially the same advantages as, the cap member 110, discussed above, and like reference numbers correspond to like components. A unique aspect of the cap member 210 is that it does not include a single annular- shaped rib portion, but rather includes a plurality of laterally spaced-apart rib portions 220, each of which extend radially outwardly from plug portion 218. Optionally, each of the rib portions 220 can have a generally oval shape, and can have a greater width than height. In FIG. 7, the mandrel 216 is only shown with only one full rib portion 220, however it will be appreciated that a number of other, corresponding rib portions are provided on rear and/or side portions of plug portion 218, but are hidden from view.

[0043] FIGS. 8 and 9 show different views of a portion of a cap member 31, in accordance with another non-limiting embodiment of the disclosed concept. The cap member 310 is substantially the same as, and provides substantially the same advantages as, the cap members 110, 210 discussed above, and like reference numbers correspond to like components. A unique feature of the rib portions 320 of cap member 310 is that they are elongated as compared to the rib portions 220 of the cap member 210 of the previous embodiment. Such a size, shape, and/or configuration can allow for a continuous insertion of the straw into cap member 310.

[0044] Optionally, each of the cap members 110, 210, 310 may be a unitary component made from single pieces of material ( e.g ., without limitation, injection-molded pieces). Each of the cap members 110, 210, 310 may also be desiccated (e.g., to provide for moisture absorption of medicament 107) or non-desiccated. The entire cap members 110, 210, 310 can be formed of a desiccant-based material, or one or more portions of the cap members 110, 210, 310 can be a desiccant component. For example, in an optional embodiment, at least a part of the end portion 112 can be formed of a desiccant material.

[0045] In one example, embodiment where the cap members 110, 210, 310 (or at least a portion thereof) are desiccated, each cap member 110, 210, 310 can include a mixture of a base polymer, between 30% and 40% active agent (e.g., silica gel), and optionally a channeling agent. In one example embodiment, where the cap members 110, 210, 310 are non-desiccated, the cap members 110, 210, 310 are devoid of a channeling agent. An exemplary non-desiccated cap member 110, 210, 310 may also contain a mixture of a base polymer and between 30% and 50% active agent (e.g., calcium carbonate).

[0046] According to any embodiment, a cap member (e.g., 110, 210, 310) may comprise in part or constitute in its entirety an entrained material, optionally an entrained polymer. An entrained material is a monolithic composition comprising an active agent (optionally, a desiccant, oxygen scavenger, a (optionally, antimicrobial) releasing agent, and/or an absorbing agent) entrained in a base material. If the entrained material is an entrained polymer, then the base material is a base polymer.

[0047] As used herein, the term“active” is defined as capable of acting on, interacting with or reacting with a selected material (e.g., moisture or oxygen) according to the presently disclosed technology. Examples of such actions or interactions may include absorption, adsorption or release of the selected material. Another example of“active” is an agent capable of acting on, interacting with or reacting with a selected material in order to cause release of a released material.

[0048] As used herein, the term“active agent” is defined as a material that (1) can be immiscible with the base polymer and when mixed and heated with the base polymer and the channeling agent, will not melt, i.e., has a melting point that is higher than the melting point for either the base polymer or the channeling agent, and (2) acts on, interacts or reacts with a selected material. The term“active agent” may include but is not limited to materials that absorb, adsorb or release the selected material(s).

[0049] The active agents of one embodiment of the presently disclosed technology are those that release antimicrobial gas(es), such as but not limited to chlorine dioxide gas. Active agents according to the presently disclosed technology can be in the form of particles such as minerals (e.g., molecular sieve or silica gel, in the case of desiccants), but the presently disclosed technology should not be viewed as limited only to particulate active agents. For example, in some embodiments, an oxygen scavenging formulation may be made from a resin which acts as, or as a component of, the active agent.

[0050] The term“antimicrobial releasing agent” refers to an active agent that is capable of releasing a released antimicrobial material, e.g. in gas form. This active agent may include an active component and other components (such as a catalyst and trigger) in a formulation (e.g., powdered mixture) configured to release the antimicrobial gas. A “released antimicrobial material” is a compound that inhibits or prevents the growth and proliferation of microbes and/or kills microbes, e.g., chlorine dioxide gas. The released antimicrobial material is released by the antimicrobial releasing agent. By way of example only, an antimicrobial releasing agent may be triggered (e.g., by chemical reaction or physical change) by contact with a selected material (such as moisture). For example, moisture may react with an antimicrobial releasing agent to cause the agent to release a released antimicrobial material.

[0051] As used herein, the term“base material” is a component (preferably a polymer) of an entrained active material, other than the active agent, that provides structure for the entrained material. [0052] As used herein, the term “base polymer” is a polymer optionally having a gas transmission rate of a selected material that is substantially lower than, lower than or substantially equivalent to, that of the channeling agent. By way of example, such a transmission rate is a water vapor transmission rate in embodiments where the selected material is moisture and the active agent is an antimicrobial gas-releasing agent that is activated by moisture or a water-absorbing desiccant. This active agent may include an active component and other components in a formulation configured to release the antimicrobial gas. In one embodiment, the primary function of the base polymer is to provide structure for the entrained polymer.

[0053] Suitable base polymers for use in the invention include thermoplastic polymers, e.g., polyolefins such as polypropylene and polyethylene, polyisoprene, polybutadiene, polybutene, polysiloxane, polycarbonates, polyamides, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers, ethylene- methacrylate copolymer, poly(vinyl chloride), polystyrene, polyesters, polyanhydrides, polyacrylianitrile, polysulfones, polyacrylic ester, acrylic, polyurethane and polyacetal, or copolymers or mixtures thereof.

[0054] Referring to such a comparison of the base polymer and channeling agent water vapor transmission rate, in one embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least two times that of the base polymer. In another embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least five times that of the base polymer. In another embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least ten times that of the base polymer. In still another embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least twenty times that of the base polymer. In still another embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least fifty times that of the base polymer. In still another embodiment, the channeling agent has a water vapor transmission rate of at least one hundred times that of the base polymer.

[0055] As used herein, the term“channeling agent” or“channeling agents” is defined as a material that is immiscible with the base polymer and has an affinity to transport a gas phase substance at a faster rate than the base polymer. Optionally, a channeling agent is capable of forming channels through the entrained polymer when formed by mixing the channeling agent with the base polymer. Optionally, such channels are capable of transmitting a selected material through the entrained polymer at a faster rate than in solely the base polymer. [0056] As used herein, the term “channels” or “interconnecting channels” is defined as passages formed of the channeling agent that penetrate through the base polymer and may be interconnected with each other.

[0057] As used herein, the term“entrained polymer” is defined as a monolithic material formed of at least a base polymer, an active agent and optionally also a channeling agent entrained or distributed throughout. An entrained polymer thus are at least two phases (without a channeling agent) or at least three phases (with a channeling agent). A“mineral loaded polymer” is a type of entrained polymer, wherein the active agent is in the form of minerals, e.g., mineral particles such as molecular sieve or silica gel. The term“entrained material” is used herein to connote a monolithic material comprising an active agent entrained in a base material wherein the base material may or may not be polymeric.

[0058] As used herein, the term “monolithic,” “monolithic structure” or “monolithic composition” is defined as a composition or material that does not consist of two or more discrete macroscopic layers or portions. Accordingly, a“monolithic composition” does not include a multi-layer composite.

[0059] As used herein, the term“phase” is defined as a portion or component of a monolithic stmcture or composition that is uniformly distributed throughout, to give the structure or composition its monolithic characteristics.

[0060] As used herein, the term“selected material” is defined as a material that is acted upon, by, or interacts or reacts with an active agent and is capable of being transmitted through the channels of an entrained polymer. For example, in embodiments in which a desiccant is used as an active agent, the selected material may be moisture or a gas that can be absorbed by the desiccant. In embodiments in which a releasing material is used as an active agent, the selected material may be an agent released by the releasing material, such as moisture, fragrance, or an antimicrobial agent (e.g., chlorine dioxide). In embodiments in which an adsorbing material is used as an active agent, the selected material may be certain volatile organic compounds and the adsorbing material may be activated carbon.

[0061] As used herein, the term“three phase” is defined as a monolithic composition or structure comprising three or more phases. An example of a three phase composition according to the invention is an entrained polymer formed of a base polymer, active agent, and channeling agent. Optionally, a three phase composition or structure may include an additional phase, e.g., a colorant, but is nonetheless still considered“three phase” on account of the presence of the three primary functional components.

[0062] Entrained polymers may be two phase formulations (i.e., comprising a base polymer and active agent, without a channeling agent) or three phase formulations (i.e., comprising a base polymer, active agent and channeling agent). Entrained polymers are described, for example, in U.S. Patent Nos. 5,911,937, 6,080,350, 6,124,006, 6,130,263, 6,194,079, 6,214,255, 6,486,231, 7,005,459, and U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2016/0039955, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0063] In any embodiment, suitable channeling agents may include a polyglycol such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH), polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), glycerin polyamine, polyurethane and polycarboxylic acid including polyacrylic acid or polymethacrylic acid. Alternatively, the channeling agent can be, for example, a water insoluble polymer, such as a propylene oxide polymerisate-monobutyl ether, such as Polyglykol B01/240, produced by CLARIANT. In other embodiments, the channeling agent could be a propylene oxide polymerisate monobutyl ether, such as Polyglykol B01/20, produced by CLARIANT, propylene oxide polymerisate, such as Polyglykol DO 1/240, produced by CLARIANT, ethylene vinyl acetate, nylon 6, nylon 66, or any combination of the foregoing.

[0064] Optionally, in any embodiment, the active agent is molecular sieve or silica gel.

[0065] The following exemplary embodiments further describe optional aspects of the presently disclosed technology and are part of this Detailed Description. These exemplary embodiments are set forth in a format substantially akin to claims (each set including a numerical designation followed by a letter (e.g.,“A,”“B,” etc.), although they are not technically claims of the present application. The following exemplary embodiments refer to each other in dependent relationships as“embodiments” instead of“claims.”

[0066] 1A. A cap for a straw, the cap comprising:

an inner mandrel extending from an interior surface of a closed end portion of the cap, the inner mandrel being disposed internal with respect to or spaced-apart from a tubular body portion extending downwardly from the closed end portion, the tubular body portion and the inner mandrel being configured to be disposed on opposing sides of a first end of a straw when the cap is attached to the straw, the inner mandrel comprising a plug portion and at least one rib portion extending radially outwardly from the plug portion. [0067] 2A. The cap of embodiment 1A, wherein the plug portion includes a first segment and a second segment, wherein an external surface of the first segment is cylindrical, and wherein an external surface of the second segment is tapered.

[0068] 3A. The cap of embodiment 2A, wherein the at least one rib portion is located at the junction of the first and second segments.

[0069] 4A. The cap of any one of embodiments 1A-3A, wherein at least a portion of the cap includes desiccant.

[0070] IB. A cap configured to stay on a straw or a cap configured to prevent easy removal form a straw, the cap comprising at least one rib extending radially outwardly from a mandrel on an interior of the cap, the mandrel being spaced-apart radially inwardly of an exterior tubular body portion of the cap.

[0071] 2B. The cap of embodiment IB, wherein the at least one rib is located at a junction of first and second segments of the mandrel, wherein an external surface of the first segment is cylindrical, and wherein an external surface of the second segment is tapered.

[0072] 3B. The cap of embodiment IB or 2B, wherein at least a portion of the cap is desiccated.

[0073] 1C. A method of forming or using a cap as shown and described herein.

[0074] The disclosed concepts have been described above with the aid of functional building blocks illustrating the implementation of specified functions and relationships thereof. The boundaries of these functional building blocks have been arbitrarily defined herein for the convenience of the description. Alternate boundaries can be defined so long as the specified functions and relationships thereof are appropriately performed.

[0075] The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention that others can, by applying knowledge within the skill of the art, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such specific embodiments, without undue experimentation, without departing from the general concept of the present invention. Therefore, such adaptations and modifications are intended to be within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments, based on the teaching and guidance presented herein, it is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation, such that the terminology or phraseology of the present specification is to be interpreted by the skilled artisan in light of the teachings and guidance. [0076] The breadth and scope of the presently disclosed technology should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.