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Q2 Permeation Products & Services Newsletter

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Quarter 2 | June 2021




Increased Market Demand for Metalized Films

It has been estimated that the market demand for metalized films is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% during the five-year forecast period of 2021-2026. Widely utilized for food and pharmaceutical packaging, metalized films are considered a sustainable solution, offering lightweight, high barrier films for layer elimination while remaining recyclable with a minimal metal coating.

Metalized films are manufactured through a metallization process known as vapor deposition (VD) wherein aluminum is coated onto a base polymer substrate, like PET or PP, to ensure improved barrier properties of the base film materials. Metalized films are used for a variety of different packaging forms, including pouches, lids, candy wrappers, labels, as well for applications in the electrical industry, among others.

The barrier quality of metalized films is crucial to ensure the product’s desired shelf life.

To learn more regarding the challenges and solutions of testing the barrier properties of metalized films, continue reading the Application section of this newsletter below.



Ambient Package Testing Made Easy!

Testing the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of complete packages is a key element to ensuring a product will meet a desired shelf life. Whether you are designing a new package or conducting quality control testing, ambient testing is a common method to measure the OTR of packages.

Historically, many labs have been hesitant to conduct ambient package testing because of its cumbersome and laborious nature, often fraught with inconsistent test results when compared to traditional film testing methods.

With the goal of improving ambient package testing, MOCON has introduced the new OX-TRAN 2/48 ambient package testing analyzer. This new analyzer is easier to use and can test more packages per week then traditional instruments. Through the use of MOCON’s revolutionary package testing cartridges, packages can be prepared for testing with less labor, less mess and provide more consistent test results. The cartridges are mounted to the analyzer with the simple touch of a button, rather than requiring tools and fittings

To increase the testing efficiency, the analyzer has 4 integrated conditioning cells that operate in parallel to the 4 exam cells. The exam cells utilize MOCON’s legendarily fast response COULOX® Sensor to provide accurate results in less time that the older models. The conditioning cells have individual O2 sensors and high flow purge that alert the operator when they are ready to be tested and reduce conditioning time. This combined with automated test methods, controlled RH on the carrier gas, and continuous monitoring of the ambient room temperature and RH, make the OX-TRAN 2/48 the most capable and efficient solution for ambient package OTR testing.



A Deep Dive into the Non-Fickian Behavior of Metalized Films

For various applications, metalized films should have their water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) examined alongside other barrier properties. However, whether historically or today, measuring WVTR of metalized films has proved challenging, particularly in obtaining repeatable values due to the film’s mysterious Non-Fickian behavior (i.e. the material changes with increasing humidity exposure).

Recently, MOCON tested WVTR of metalized OPET and metalized BOPP. The studies were conducted on one MOCON Legacy permeation analyzer PERMATRAN-W 3/33, and two Next Generation analyzers, the PERMATRAN -W 3/34 and AQUATRAN 3/38. The WVTR studies were conducted at the following test conditions: 37.8C, with RH levels of 50%, 75%, 85%, 90% and 100%.

Both OPET and BOPP based metalized films exhibited Non-Fickian behaviors to certain extents, with the OPET-based material showing a relatively more sever barrier breakdown at higher RH levels. The standard deviation of the test results showed a wider spread in the values for the OPET-based metalized film. The OPET-based film also showed increased deviation with the increase of the RH% levels. While the WVTR of BOPP-based metalized film showed better consistency, this structure started showing Non-Fickian behavior after 85%RH.

For more information on this study, please read the full white paper, “Non-Fickian Behaviors of Metalized Films at Higher Relative Humidity Levels” on the AMETEK MOCON website.


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