Singapore-based encapsulation technology company Tera-Barrier Films (TBF) has developed an alternative stretchable plastic film for prolonging the shelf-life of pharmaceutical, food and electronic products.

The company developed the new film using an encapsulated nanoparticle layer that makes the material thinner but as effective as aluminium foil in keeping air and moisture at bay.

TBF found that its new plastic is a ten times better air and moisture barrier than the transparent oxide barriers currently used to package food and medicine.

The new films are thinner than a strand of human hair and have higher transparency than aluminium-based packaging materials. The company expects the low moisture vapour transmission rate of the films to allow a longer shelf life for products ranging from high-end electronics to perishable goods.

TBF director and chief technology officer Senthil Ramadas said that the company focuses on creating new packaging structures for the food, medical, pharmaceutical and electronics markets, bridging the gap between aluminium foil and transparent oxide films.

"The secret behind TBF’s film lies in our patented encapsulated nanoparticle layer that consists of nanoparticles in polymer shells," added Ramadas.

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The company’s film is able to use minimal layers as encapsulated nanoparticles increase the packing density, making it extremely difficult for water and oxygen molecules to pass through the film.