The reaction of products with oxygen can be a major limiting factor on the shelf-life. At FreeThink, we fully understand the role in which packaging plays with oxygen-sensitive products, including solids, semi-solids and liquids.
Moisture and Oxygen Sensitivity
Most oxidation reactions in the solid-state are also affected by moisture (due to mobility). At FreeThink, we can determine the exact role of both moisture and oxygen to establish the most effective/least expensive packaging options to provide a desired shelf-life. FreeThink’s expert scientists conduct accelerated stability studies, where samples are exposed to a range of temperature, RH and oxygen levels to model the overall behavior.
Oxygen sensitivity for some products, especially oils, can manifest itself in an increase of peroxides. We have experience measuring and using packaging to determine the rate of peroxide formation (peroxide values).
Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR)
At FreeThink, we have the capability to measure the OTR of most packaging at a range of temperatures. This enables us to then determine the OTR value at any temperature of interest. Our scientists typically measure the OTR of real packaging (rather than films) to provide very accurate determinations of this critical parameter. For bottles, this is determined as a function of cap torque. For foil overwraps, we can estimate the impact of pin-hole size on the OTR to determine the critical limit required.
As products oxidize, they consume oxygen. Our calculations take into account the rate of oxygen consumption, the initial headspace oxygen level (for production with nitrogen blanketing), and the OTR to determine the shelf-life of a product as a function of storage conditions and packaging. This allows our clients to select the appropriate packaging for their products in a short time –typically less than eight weeks.
FreeThink has expertise in the use of oxygen absorbers to control the headspace oxygen and provide protection for products. While we work with a number of commercial vendors, we partner with Clariant to bring their expertise to our clients.