Standardization News

Better Shelf Life

ASTM International Committee F02 on Flexible Barrier Packaging is developing a new standard to test the transmission rate of water vapor into packaging materials. Understanding water transmission rate is a key component for ensuring the shelf life of many products.

"The materials and packages covered by this standard affect nearly every package one sees in grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals," says ASTM member Joel Fischer, laboratory manager, MOCON.

The proposed standard (WK49124, Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate through Packages Using a Modulated Infrared Sensor) is based on another ASTM standard (F1249) that measures water vapor through plastic film and sheeting with a pressure modulated infrared detector.

"This detector lends itself well to testing whole packages, including bottles with closures, sealed pouches, tubing and small blister cards," notes Fischer. Many people have used the instruments in F1249 for packaging testing due to faster analysis and greater sensitivity. This led to a need for a standard that used the techniques described in F1249, but with a focus on packaging.

The proposed standard is being developed by the Subcommittee on Permeation (F02.10), part of Committee F02. The subcommittee has developed other methods that cover a range of materials, including geomembrane, building materials, electronics and breathable barriers. All interested parties are invited to join in the standards developing activities of the subcommittee.

CONTACT Technical Information: Joel Fischer, MOCON Laboratory • Brooklyn Center, Minn. • tel +1.763.493.7219 | ASTM Staff: Diane Lake • tel +1.610.832.9661 | Upcoming Meeting: Oct. 28-29 • October Committee Week • Tampa, Fla.

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