Permeation testing and the barriers - what can be measured...and why? - Industrial Physics Permeation testing and the barriers - what can be measured...and why? - Industrial Physics

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Permeation testing and the barriers – what can be measured…and why?

There are different ways to work with permeation rate calculations, depending on what you are testing for and the type of testing you need to carry out.

If you want to find out how much oxygen will permeate through your package, or if you need to analyze the throughput of water vapor through packaging films and barriers, there is a permeation test instrument to match.

So, what are the popular types of permeation test instruments? Well, our customers typically call on us to help them with different types of tests: oxygen permeation testing and water vapor permeation testing. And now we’ll take a little time to explore both.


Oxygen permeation testing and the water vapor permeation test

Most commonly found in the food and beverage industries, these testing methods are great for quality control of your package or packaging materials – a key consideration for food producers whose goods are packaged under a modified atmosphere; when it’s essential to limit oxygen in order to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. This will prolong shelf life and keep your customers healthy!

It may well be the life-giving gas, but oxygen has the potential to destroy aroma, vitamin C, and affect the taste of your products. Want to check the barrier properties of the films you have selected for your finished packaging and determine their oxygen permeability? It’s important to pick a high quality oxygen permeation test.

The oxygen barrier properties of packaging materials have been improved tremendously in recent years. Take polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for example. It’s a form of polyester that’s extruded – or molded – into plastic bottles and containers for packaging foods and beverages, personal care products, and many other consumer products. These days a PET bottle can achieve impressive results like 0.015 cm³/one litre bottle, per day.

Predominantly, people in industry measure the oxygen permeability of a film before it has been incorporated into the package – where the process of heating, stretching, and forming can affect its properties.

Our permeation testing guidebook allows you to access insights into the ways our affordable and accurate instruments allow you to accurate determine your oxygen transmission rate (OTR).

Water vapor permeation testing

It goes without saying that you don’t want water vapor to get through your packaging films and barriers. It’s obvious why you wouldn’t want this in the food sector – nobody likes soggy potato chips! But it’s also a vital and more demanding consideration for our customers who work with highly sensitive electronics in the automotive or aerospace sectors, for example.

 In order to measure water vapor permeability through a material, you’ll need to know the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) or moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR). Simply put, this permeation rate calculation shows you the mass of water vapor that is transmitted through a measured area in a specific unit of time under specified conditions of temperature and humidity.

 Water vapor analyzers enable you to achieve this. Today, most available instruments offer a wide measurement range of 0.002-1000 g/m²/day and precision temperature, humidity, and flow control. This enables you to achieve accurate and repeatable results. Whether you need them for research and development testing of water transmission rate (wvtr) in both current and newly formulated packaging film materials, or for speedy quality control testing.

When undertaking a permeation rate calculation, it’s also really important to consider temperature and its impact upon permeation rates. Even just a one degree rise or fall in temperature can alter the results considerably. Our customers in the packaging industry are particularly sensitive to this. So, correct temperature control during your experiments is vital in order to obtain accurate and repeatable results.

We can help with all of this. Industrial Physics has been helping clients with permeation testing, across multiple sectors, for over 30 years. Our versatile and easy to operate permeation instruments contain the highest quality sensors on the market. They give you rapid results and accurate readings…even at the lowest levels.

Whether you need a permeation test to support your research and development or to enable effective quality control testing processes, we have the oxygen, gas, and water vapor permeation test devices to do the job – we can even help you with product development, third party analysis, or academic research services.

For more information, get in touch today!

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