Case study - Multilayer material structures for flexible and rigid packaging

Microscopy analysis for documenting the number and thickness of layers.

Norner has leading expertise in microscopy, microstructure and material analysis for investigation of failures and material composition. This is an example of how multilayer material structures for flexible and rigid packaging are analysed.

A key competence area of Norner is our advanced packaging development centre including film extrusion lines, MDO line, injection moulding and EBM machinery and a flexible and rigid packaging test centre with physical and analytical services. This is led by a dedicated expert team in plastics and packaging.

In order to analyse the structure and composition of multilayer moulded, laminated or extruded film structures it is necessary to involve several techniques. Each will provide valuable information regarding the polymer composition of the film/sheet/bottle/cup/tray, the number and thickness of its layers and their polymers. Detailed analysis with photographic documentation will be provided for the structure as can be seen in the illustration below. Photo documentation can also be provided for sealing areas, perforations or scoring, delamination problems or other critical details.

The analysis may include several methods which enable analysis down to even a very detailed level. These are useful to split into a range of analytical services of basic investigations and more advanced analysis. Our alternatives and procedures in structure and polymer analysis can be listed as follows:

  • Basic microscopy analysis for documenting the number and thickness of layers.
  • Basic polymer analysis by FTIR and DSC for identification of all polymers contained in the structure.
  • Advanced microscopy analysis for investigation of the melting behaviour of each layer and contrasts with different light filters.
  • FTIR analysis of each layer under microscope for detailed identification of polymers in the layers.
  • Scanning electron microscopy for investigation of scoring and perforations or inorganic components like catalysts.
  • Further analyses like GPC/SEC, NMR, MFR and density will give more detailed and valuable information in some cases.

We recommend carrying out such analysis in the same sequence as presented above.

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