Food packaging tech honoured at industry conference

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A large-scale manufacturing process intended to improve food packaging and keep groceries fresher for longer has been honoured at a major packaging conference.

The new manufacturing process uses cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) that provide advanced barrier coatings for food packaging.

It was developed by a team of researchers at Purdue University led by Jeffrey Youngblood, a professor of materials engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering.

Md Nuruddin, a graduate student on the team, received the award for best poster during PaperCon 2019 this month in Indianapolis.

“This discovery has the potential to enable more sustainable high-performance food packaging to keep food fresher longer,” Youngblood said.

“Winning an award such as this at Papercon from experts in the packaging field is validation that our approach has merit.”

The Purdue manufacturing technique also is scalable since it is a roll-to-roll manufacturing process using waterborne polymer systems.

CNCs are highly crystalline and easily dispersed in water, so manufacturers can control the structure to eliminate free volume and end up with only the properties that are needed for the barrier material.

The technology also offers food packaging manufacturers excellent optical, thermal and mechanical properties to ensure that food remains as fresh as possible when it is delivered to the grocery store for consumers.