A high-density polyethylene (HDPE) resin hyper-nucleated with Hyperform HPN-20E achieves a 30% improvement in moisture and oxygen barrier performance compared with conventional HDPE. The technology developed by Milliken (Spartanburg, SC) for over-the-counter pharmaceutical and nutraceutical bottles was introduced at NPE2015 in Orlando, FL, last week.
In the injection blow molding (IBM) process—the industry standard for small drug bottles—the enhanced HDPE resin produces standard-gauge bottles that deliver a longer product shelf life and thinner-gauge bottles that are 15% lighter than conventional packaging. Broader options can be engineered when these benefits are combined.
Milliken's Hyperform HPN-20E hyper-nucleator elevates the barrier properties of HDPE resins by altering crystal orientation to create a tortuous path that inhibits passage of moisture and oxygen. A permeant molecule must move through a maze of linear crystals that encircle the side walls of the bottle, which significantly slows down permeation. HDPE that does not incorporate the hyper-nucleating agent typically forms large, spherulitic crystals that minimally inhibit the transport of oxygen and moisture across the bottle.
The proven efficacy and safety of Hyperform HPN hyper-nucleating technology in FDA-compliant food packaging led to its adoption in high-demand pharmaceutical applications, said Reed Walker, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Plastics Additives. "Our advanced technology is helping drug and nutraceutical companies capitalize on new opportunities to increase the performance and sustainability of their packaging," says Walker. "At the same time, we have expanded the possibilities for the use of polyethylene for an entirely new class of packaging applications."