Polyelectrolyte Coacervates Deposited as High Gas Barrier Thin Films

Multilayer coatings consisting of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes have proven to be extraordinarily effective oxygen barriers but require many processing steps to fabricate. In an effort to prepare high oxygen barrier thin films more quickly, a polyelectrolyte complex coacervate composed of polyethyleneimine and polyacrylic acid is prepared. The coacervate fluid is applied as a thin film using a rod coating process. With humidity and thermal post-treatment, a 2  µm thin film reduces the oxygen transmission rate of 0.127 mm poly(ethylene terephthalate) by two orders of magnitude, rivaling conventional oxygen barrier technologies. These films are fabricated in ambient conditions using low-cost, water-based solutions, providing a tremendous opportunity for single-step deposition of polymeric high barrier thin films.

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Haile M; Sarwar, O; Henderson, R; Smith, R; and Grunlan, JC; Macromol. Rapid Commun., 2016, doi:10.1002/marc.201600594
Published in Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2016