Polyelectrolyte Coacervate Coatings that Dramatically Improve Oxygen Barrier of Paper

Paper-based food packaging is lightweight, low cost, and highly flexible, but it suffers from a very high oxygen transmission rate (OTR ∼ 11,100,000 cc/(m2·day·atm)). Herein, two polyelectrolyte-based coacervate coatings were studied as oxygen gas barriers on kraft builder’s paper. A single coating deposition of a polyethylenimine-poly(acrylic acid) coacervate, adding less than 20% to the paper’s weight, reduced the OTR to 164,000 cc/(m2·day·atm). This work not only demonstrates a significant OTR improvement of a poor oxygen barrier material, but also provides the foundation for polyelectrolyte-based layers to be deposited on cellulosic materials at an industrial scale.

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E. T. Iverson, H. Legendre, K. Schmieg, B. Palen, T. J. Kolibaba, H.-C. Chiang, J. C. Grunlan, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2022, in press.