Oxygen barrier properties of polyketone/EVOH blend films and their resistance to moisture

Oxygen barrier properties of polyketone/EVOH blend films and their resistance to moisture
blends; ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH); gas barriers; packaging; polyketone
Issue Date
Journal of applied polymer science
VOL 137, 49537
Polyketone (PK) has excellent chemical and mechanical properties, but its use in food packaging is limited due to its oxygen barrier properties being insufficient for high-barrier film applications. To improve its oxygen barrier properties, PK has been blended with ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH), which is one of the highest oxygen barrier polymers in use today. The oxygen barrier properties under both dry and humid conditions, as well as the mechanical properties of PK/EVOH blend films were investigated in this study. These novel PK/EVOH blend films exhibited unusually low oxygen permeability values from 0.3 to 0.16 cc 20 μm m?2 day?1 atm?1 with increasing EVOH content from 30 to 70 wt%, which are even lower than those of the ideal laminar model that expresses the theoretical minimum permeability values attainable for blended barrier films. These high oxygen barrier properties of PK/EVOH blend films can conceivably be attributed to the combination of two dominant effects: a tortuous diffusion path through the EVOH domains in the PK matrix and hydrogen bonding interactions between PK and EVOH. Furthermore, in high-humidity environments with retorting, the PK/EVOH blend films exhibited superior resistance to moisture over EVOH. Immediately after the retorting test, the oxygen permeability of the high-barrier PK/EVOH blend films with an EVOH content of 30?40 wt% increased by less than 3× the preretorting value, as opposed to 74× for EVOH. In addition, PK/EVOH blend films displayed superior stretching characteristics, with a breaking strain of over 300%, which are valuable for flexible packaging applications.
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