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Optical measurement of permeation on plastics packaging

Germany’s Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung (IVLV) has published a standard entitled Testing plastic materials – optical method for determination of the oxygen permeability of packaging systems (films and molded parts). The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV was involved in the development of the testing method and prepared the technical bulletin.

Until now, oxygen permeability has most commonly been measured using the manometric method or the oxygen-specific carrier gas method with an electrochemical sensor. There are now oxygen sensors which can be read optically. They are suitable for use in the gas phase and in liquids, and have become established in biotechnology and for barrier measurements on filled beverage bottles.

As there was a lack of accredited standards and measurement procedures for these new methods, the Fraunhofer IVV has developed and validated a permeation test procedure in collaboration with an industrial partner. The determination of the oxygen permeability is now described in the IVLV standard, which can be downloaded free of charge as Technical Bulletin no. 108/2011 in either English or German from the IVLV website (

The new standard will serve as the basis for DIN, CEN, and ISO standards which will be drawn up in collaboration with analytical equipment manufacturers, research institutes and users.

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