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High pressure-induced structural effects in plastic packaging

: Richter, T.; Sterr, J.; Jost, V.; Langowski, H.-C.


High pressure research 30 (2010), Nr.4, S.555-566
ISSN: 0895-7959
ISSN: 1477-2299
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Today, flexible vacuum packages are predominantly used for products to be subjected to high pressure treatment. However, tray packages with a modified atmosphere are in demand, which provide a high failure rate with respect to gas and water vapour permeability and packaging integrity. Methods to follow permeation processes under high pressure were developed and used together with optical microscopy, confocal scanning laser microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy to identify the mechanisms for changes in permeability and damage to the packaging materials. Single film samples and pouch packages filled with model products were studied. Results indicate a reversible decrease in the coefficients of diffusion and permeation under the impact of high pressure, due to the compression of the polymeric bulk. Irreversible changes in the polymeric materials are associated with gases in the packaging head space, which cause high local temperatures and create damage due to rapid deliberation upon the pressure drop at the end of the high pressure cycle.