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Desiccant Films Made of Low-Density Polyethylene with Dispersed Silica Gel - Water Vapor Absorption, Permeability (H2O, N2, O2, CO2), and Mechanical Properties

: Sängerlaub, Sven; Kucukpinar, Esra; Müller, Kajetan

Fulltext ()

Materials 12 (2019), No.14, Art. 2304, 22 pp.
ISSN: 1996-1944
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Silica gel is a well-known desiccant. Through dispersion of silica gel in a polymer, films can be made that absorb and desorb water vapor. The water vapor absorption becomes reversible by exposing such films to a water vapor pressure below that of the water vapor pressure during absorption, or by heating the film. The intention of this study was to achieve a better understanding about the water vapor absorption, permeability (H2O, N2, O2, CO2), and mechanical properties of films with dispersed silica gel. Low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) monolayer films with a nominal silica gel concentration of 0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 g dispersed silica gel per 1 g film (PE-LD) were prepared and they absorbed up to 0.08 g water vapor per 1 g of film. The water vapor absorption as a function of time was described by using effective diffusion coefficients. The steady state (effective) water vapor permeation coefficients of the films with dispersed silica gel were a factor of 2 to 14 (8.4 to 60.2·10−12 mg·cm·(cm2·s·Pa)−1, 23 °C) higher than for pure PE-LD films (4.3·10−12 mg·cm·(cm²·s·Pa)−1, 23 °C). On the other hand, the steady state gas permeabilities for N2, O2, and CO2 were reduced to around one-third of the pure PE-LD films. An important result is that (effective) water vapor permeation coefficients calculated from results of sorption and measured by permeation experiments yielded similar values. It has been found that it is possible to describe the sorption and diffusion behavior of water by knowing the permeability coefficient and the sorption capacity of the film ( Peff.≈Seff.⋅Deff. ). The tensile stress changed only slightly (values between 10 and 14 N mm−2), while the tensile strain at break was reduced with higher nominal silica gel concentration from 318 length-% (pure PE-LD film) to 5 length-% (PE-LD with 0.6 g dispersed silica gel per 1 g film).