Nanotechnology in packaging

An emerging engineering discipline, nanotechnology continues to gain media attention for its potential in the areas of material science, electronics and optoelectronics, and biomedical science.

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Nanotechnology is often described as the manipulation of atoms and molecules to create structures with “real-world” applications.

In packaging, raw materials could be created to enhance durability, improve gas and oxygen barriers for films and food packaging, and lengthen shelf life for the packaged product. So reports a new book entitled “Nanotechnology in Packaging.” In a section of the book covering commercial packaging applications, the publication refers to reports from U.S. analyst B.R.G. Townsend and Packaging Strategies, that note:

  • In the next five years, 5 million lb of nanocomposite materials will go into both rigid and flexible packaging.

  • By 2006, beer packaging will use the highest weight of nanocomposites (3 million lb), followed by meats and carbonated soft drinks.

  • By 2011, the total figure will reach almost 100 million lb. At that time, carbonated soft drinks will consume 50 million lb of nanocomposite materials, followed by beer, meats, and packaged foods/condiments.

  • Other nanocomposite packaging applications include cheese, juice, pet food, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and household appliance/automotive.

    “Nanotechnology will affect, directly or indirectly, so many sectors that failure to respond to the challenge will threaten the future competitiveness of many organizations and companies,” says author Dr. Graham Moore. Published by Pira Intl. Ltd., the 86-page soft cover publication is broken into five sections:

  • The evolution of nanotechnology

  • Commercial applications

  • Pathways to realization

  • Commercial ventures

  • Future developments, bibliography, and abbreviations and acronyms

    Moore’s comments appear in the Future developments section. He concludes: “The high cost of experimenting with an unfamiliar technology covering a wide range of disciplines makes it hard for many companies, and in particular for many involved in paper, packaging, and printing, to establish what nanotechnology can do for them. However, a solution needs to be found, as it is important that industry is involved and is able to assess and maximize the opportunities offered.”

    For more information on the $530 publication, visit Piranet.com, or call Ciaran Little at 011/44.1372.802.039.

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