bioORMOCER® multifunctional barrier coatings for sustainable packaging

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bioORMOCER® multifunctional barrier coatings for sustainable packaging

The transformation of packaging to recyclability, biogenic raw materials or compostability poses great challenges for industry. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC supports packaging manufacturers in this process with sustainable multifunctional barrier coatings for easily recyclable, bio-based or compostable packaging.

Fraunhofer ISC in Würzburg has more than 30 years of experience in the development of functional barrier coatings for various applications (e. g. food or technical packaging). These inorganic-organic hybrid polymers (ORMOCER®) can be designed using a chemical toolbox as multifunctional coatings for plastic films or paper. They prevent the migration of oxygen, water vapor and fragrances and protect against mechanical abrasion. Even extremely thin layers are sufficient to meet the barrier requirements. This enables monomaterial packaging that can be easily recycled. In the packaging sector, this opens up the possibility of replacing the current non-recyclable multi-layer composite films. ORMOCER® barrier coatings are already being used commercially for various packaging applications.

Dr. Sabine Amberg-Schwab and her team have further developed the coating lacquers to attain even more sustainable material solutions. To become independent from fossil resources in the packaging sector, they are now also available as bio-based and compostable products. For this new class of materials, bioORMOCER®, organic-fossil components of ORMOCER® are replaced by bio-organic building blocks, e. g. from biological waste streams. This "upgrading of organic waste" means that there is no competition with field crops. The residues are turned into new high-quality raw materials for the synthesis of bioORMOCER®. The bio-lacquers have properties comparable to ORMOCER® and perform the same functions: they have very good barrier properties and abrasion-resistant surfaces and they are over-printable. The functional coatings can be used for food packaging as well as for cosmetic and pharmaceutical packaging. The bioORMOCER®-based coatings are suitable for the coating of biopolymers as well as for conventional plastics or paper packaging. They can be applied in roll-to-roll processes on flat substrates, but also on complex shapes such as trays.

With this innovation, the way to sustainable recyclable or compostable packaging materials is practicable. Dr. Sabine Amberg-Schwab and her team have already received several awards for this material concept, the most recent award being the German Packaging Gold Award 2020 in the sustainability category in the month of September, which was awarded under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.

Participant: Dr. Sabine Amberg-Schwab

Contact details: 
Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC
Neunerplatz 2
97082 Würzburg
+49 931 4100-0
info@isc.fraunhofer.de

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