A study by researchers at Ohio-based Case Western Reserve University (US) has led to a nanotechnology method that could block damaging gases even more effectively and lessen the gas permeability of polymers used in food, medicine and even electronics packaging. The findings of the study - published in the Feb. 6, 2009, issue of the journal Science
- found that polyethylene oxide, when melted into nanolayers crystallizes as a single, very thin yet very strong layer made up of large, impermeable "single" crystals, thereby dramatically curtailing gas permeability in numerous polymer applications.
"The work takes a step toward developing more flexible, optically transparent, ultra-high-barrier polymers for several different applications," said Anne Hiltner, Ph.D., lead author of the study and the Herbert Henry Dow Professor of Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve. The study was conducted in the labs of the National Science Foundation Center for Layered Polymeric Systems at the School of Engineering, where Hiltner is co-director.