The potential of paper pulp bottles with inner protective coatings: a review on sustainable alternatives to petroleum plastic packaging

Hartman, Peter (2023) The potential of paper pulp bottles with inner protective coatings: a review on sustainable alternatives to petroleum plastic packaging. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Part A:

The need to replace petroleum-based plastic vessels for containing liquids has prompted the packaging industry to develop novel materials to store and transport different liquids, such as foods, beverages, colloids, detergents and soaps. This has the effect of reducing pollution and waste emitted from the production, consumption and disposal of plastic. The major issue in using sustainable biomaterials is barrier functionality. Innovative inner protective coatings have been used to overcome the shortcomings of these materials. Many containers use sustainable materials with a plastic-based coating. A novel wax-based coating has been developed by Pulpex to remove plastic entirely. Permeability issues regarding barrier functionality to moisture and homogeneity have yet to be fully resolved and are currently under investigation.

Part B

The mechanical strength found in cellulose fibres is highly suitable for packaging. When water makes contact, the strength is lost, due to weakening of van-der-Waals forces resulting in reduced structural integrity. Wax coatings are being considered as a protective layer due to their natural water repellence and biodegradability. There are, however, issues with stress fractures which impact barrier functionality. In this study a rice bran wax based emulsion was formulated and applied via a spray gun to paper samples to investigate the impacts of coating homogeneity on barrier functionality. Initial findings via fluorescence microscopy showed that inhomogeneous surface coatings correlate with a weak barrier function as evident from high water permeability throughout the paper. To perform a systematic investigation of the wax deposition process, the effect spraying temperature on. the surface morphology and permeability was conducted. Scanning electron microscopy and Raman confocal spectroscopy were used to visualise the wax layers. Analysis showed the number of fractures, pores and cracks present decreased with the increase of curing temperature. The hydrophobicity of the samples were tested, and again the curing temperature had a positive correlation with barrier functionality against moisture. The results of this study and the methodologies developed provide a powerful platform for investigation of surface coatings used in direct-contact packaging applications.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Yakubov, Gleb
Keywords: plastics, plastic packaging, bioplastics
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology > TP1080 Polymers and polymer manufacture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
Item ID: 76030
Depositing User: HARDING, Prof Stephen
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2024 15:17
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 08:20

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