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Prediction of oxygen transmission rate for thermoformed trays

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Packaging technology & science ; Volume 17. p. 321–332. 2004

Pettersen, Marit Kvalvåg; Nilsson, Astrid; Espedal, Aud; Kohler, Achim

There is a desire in the food industry to be able to estimate the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packages by knowing the permeability data of unconverted sheet/film, instead of measuring the OTR of packages. Due to thermoforming, the permeability of a material changes and therefore it is difficult to estimate the permeability (OTR) of converted trays from the OTR values of unconverted material. This paper evaluates the possibilities and limitations of predicting the OTR of thermoformed trays. Different methods for the calculation of OTR due to thickness measurements were compared. The use of theoretical thickness was satisfactory in the calculation of OTR of trays based on the OTR of unconverted sheet, area and thickness. Both linear and quadratic regression models were evaluated. Validation of the regression models was made by comparing the measured and calculated OTR of trays made of PS/EVOH/PE, A-PET/PE, PS/PE and PP/PE. These trays were manufactured on different thermoforming machines, different processing parameters and different sizes of mould. None of the models (linear and quadratic) were suitable for the calculation of OTR of trays made of PS/PE and PP/PE. Both linear and quadratic models gave satisfactory agreement with measured values for trays made of both PS/EVOH/PE and A-PET/PE. This case study indicates that a general equation for the calculation of OTR for different polymer combinations was not possible to generate. The equations presented in this paper are strictly applicable only for the polymer combinations used in this experiment, and can not be considered as general equations. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

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