Modified Clays May Boost Oxygen Barrier, Reports Piranet


LEATHERHEAD, SURREY, UK—According to's consumer technology news section (June 24, 2004), ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) supplier Nippon Gohsei is keeping a close eye on a project that is looking to boost the oxygen-barrier properties of some packaging materials so effectively that it could wipe out the need for oxygen scavengers.

The news release states:

A joint Spanish project being run by the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) and the University of Jaume is using nanocomposites to increase the mechanical properties in EVOH by loading polymers with clay particles. The project will commence in 2006, and it's likely the company will license the technology if the project is successful.

A package with enhanced barrier properties increases the shelf life of food and beverages by decreasing the water sensitivity of the barrier properties.

The project has been running since September 2003 and partial exfoliation of the clay particles has been achieved so far."The clays increase the barrier properties of EVOH by up to three times and give food or beverage items three times more shelf life than a standard barrier layer.

But IATA senior research scientist José Lagarón says the team will keep working on the clays to achieve complete exfoliation, which he predicts will improve the EVOH barrier by ten times. The project will also looking at improving the barrier layers for aromas and water.

The clays are made from kaolinite, which is a material produced in Spain and is used to make tiles. The kaolinite used in the project is too fine for tile making and is therefore available to the centre on mass and is relatively cheap.

Pira is a UK-based commercial consultancy, testing, and media business that specializes in retail supply-chain technologies related to industries such as packaging, paper, plastics, printing, publishing, and consumer goods. More information about the above-listed news item, as well as other research and news relevant to the converting and package printing industries, is available at

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