Leader: Benny Freeman
Fundamental understanding of transport phenomena in micro and nano layered systems will be developed by performing systematic experimental and modeling studies to identify the dominant controlling structural variables. This understanding of fundamental transport phenomena will be used to design and optimize unique layered systems for food and electronic packaging, drug delivery and diagnostic devices. Layered material systems will be optimized to exhibit transport-property profiles that may be otherwise inaccessible.
Some of the projects in Platform II include:
- Layered materials for low Tg glass/polymer composites for high barrier applications
- Layered materials for smart pellets
- Oxygen scavengers for packaging applications
- Development of high barrier layered systems using particulates
- Developing biologically-active materials from multilayered polymer systems
- Layered materials for controlled atmosphere packaging materials
- Development of low Tg glasses suitable for melt processing with organic barrier polymers
- Confined crystallization in nanolayered films for improved gas barrier
Oxygen Scavengers for Packaging Applications
Barrier films are essential for packaging to prolong product shelf life. Films that have exceptional oxygen barrier properties are used in food packaging, whereas those designed to reduce water permeation are commonly used in microelectronics packaging. There are several ways to make a better barrier film and the method we are investigating is to improve the barrier properties by changing barrier reactivity. This strategy introduces reactivity by incorporating reactive groups into the barrier films in the presence of a transition metal catalyst. These reactive groups capture, or scavenge, solutes such as O2 as they diffuse through a membrane. However, oxygen barrier properties alone are often not the only concern for a given application. High oxygen and water vapor barrier properties might both be required in the packaging of electronic display elements. However, since both high barrier properties do not usually occur in the same materials, micro- and nano-layered systems may be used to develop configurations possessing both oxygen and water barrier properties. In addition, it would be in the best interest to prepare such structures in a way that would also lead to exceptional optical transparency. Therefore, the application of micro- and nano- layered systems could potentially provide a route to combination of high oxygen barrier, high water vapor barrier, and exceptional optical properties in a single configuration.
The pictures below show the differences in oxidation on a layered polymeric film over different periods of time as characterized by microscopic analysis. The objectives of this research is to measure the amount of oxygen taken up as a function of the variables acting on the system, to characterize the effect of metal-catalyzed oxidation on polymer morphology by spectroscopic and microscopic means, and to develop mathematical modeling to predict the performance of various oxygen scavenging systems.