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Materials Developments for Barrier Food Packaging Applications

SpecialChem / Mark DeMeuse & Mark DeMeuse – Jan 16, 2013

The use of polymeric materials in food packaging is increasing not only in respect to the proportion of packages totally or partially made with these materials but also in the number of different polymer types now used in the actual package design. The selection of the appropriate polymer to use in the food packaging industry often depends on the properties of the food product. Often, polymers must act as a barrier to the movement of gases, such as oxygen, to function effectively in a food package.

Two of the most important high barrier polymers for food packaging applications are polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH). While both of these polymers have excellent oxygen barrier features, they both also suffer deficiencies. For example, PVDC homopolymer has a melting point of 198-205 C and decomposes at about 210 C, which makes the polymer difficult to process.

EVOH provides an excellent barrier to oxygen when dry. However, the most significant issue concerning the use of EVOH as a barrier material is its moisture sensitivity. EVOH is hydrophilic, absorbing...

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