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Aluminum oxide barrier coatings on polymer films for food packaging applications

Struller, CF and Kelly, PJ and Copeland, NJ (2014) Aluminum oxide barrier coatings on polymer films for food packaging applications. Surface and Coatings Technology, 241. ISSN 0257-8972

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Abstract

In the field of packaging, barrier layers are functional films, which can be applied to polymeric substrates with the objective of enhancing their end-use properties. For food packaging applications, the packaging material is required to preserve packaged food stuffs and protect them from a variety of environmental influences, particularly moisture and oxygen ingress and UV radiation. Aluminum metallized films are widely used for this purpose. More recently, transparent barrier coatings based on aluminum oxide or silicon oxide have been introduced in order to fulfill requirements such as product visibility, microwaveability or retortability. With the demand for transparent barrier films for low-cost packaging applications growing, the use of high-speed vacuum deposition techniques, such as roll-to-roll metallizers, has become a favorable and powerful tool. In this study, aluminum oxide barrier coatings have been deposited onto biaxially oriented polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate film substrates via reactive evaporation using an industrial 'boat-type' roll-to-roll metallizer. The coated films have been investigated and compared to uncoated films in terms of barrier properties, surface topography, roughness and surface energy using scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and contact angle measurement. Coating to substrate adhesion and coating thickness have been examined via peel tests and transmission electron microscopy, respectively. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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