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Measuring Oxygen Transmission Rate of Polymer Materials using Florescence Detection

A new dynamic accumulation method for measuring the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packages and packaging films using fibre optic oxygen sensing technology has been developed.

The method allows for oxygen to transfer through a given area of packaging or sample film and accumulate in a given volume. The test volume incorporates a florescence oxygen sensor that is measured using an optical fibre probe. The chamber is initially purged with nitrogen and then the sample is exposed to an oxygen rich gas, typically air or pure oxygen.

Oxygen transfers through the sample and accumulates over time. The rate of oxygen accumulation is measured and converted into an OTR measurement for the film at the temperature studied. The new method allows for the measurement of perforated films, which is not possible with the industry standard, steady-state, method described by ASTM D-3985.

The new method was tested against a Mocon Oxtran 2/20 (ASTM D-3985) using films with approximate OTR values of ten, 1000 and 10,000 cc/m2/day. Results showed that the new dynamic accumulation method provides comparable results to the widely accepted steady-state method, but at significantly lower cost per measurement.

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