Flexible High-Barrier Polymers for Food Packaging
Small Business Information
111 Downey Street, Norwood, MA, 02062
AbstractThe development of a polymer laminate with water and oxygen barrier properties suitable for food packaging and preservation on 3-5 year manned space exploration missions is proposed. The laminate is a multilayer structure comprising polymer and inorganic dielectrics that will provide near-hermetic encapsulation of food items for the duration of these missions. The properties and expected benefits of the multilayer packaging include: oxygen transport rate of <<0.005 cc/m2-day; water transport rate of <<0.005 g/m2-day; suitable for retort, microwave, and high pressure sterilization (>135oC); specific weight <40 g/m2 for a 34 micron thick laminate meeting H2O and O2 permeation goals; inorganic content of <2.4 g/m2; contains no metal foils; and, a higher strength-to-weight ratio than current barrier materials, providing a thin high-strength laminate with sufficient ductility for packaging and sealing operations. In Phase I, polymer laminates will be fabricated and characterized by oxygen and water permeation tests to demonstrate barrier properties. Mechanical and accelerated testing, using steam sterilization and high-temperature water immersion, will be included to demonstrate the suitability of the laminate for packaging applications. In Phase II, the manufacturing process would be scaled-up and methods for forming packages, vacuum and inert gas packaging; and heat sealing addressed.
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