Nanoscale particles to block UV light in plastic packaging

By Ahmed ElAmin and Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ultraviolet Titanium dioxide Dupont

Nanoscale titanium dioxide particles could be the next breakthrough
in plastic packaging, having the ability to prevent ultraviolet
light from reducing shelf life.

Over time the sun's ultraviolet light can cause cracking, fading and other types of solar degradation to plastics. Ultraviolet light (UV) can also reduce the shelf life and effectiveness of cosmetics and personal care products in transparent or semi-transparent packaging. Finding better ways to block UV rays from passing through plastic packaging, while still allowing consumers to see the product inside, is a major goal within the industry. This week DuPont announced the release of its Light Stabilizer 210, a plastic additive designed using extremely small particles of titanium dioxide, which have been nanoengineered to absorb UV. DuPont lists current potential applications for Light Stabilizer 210 as consumer packaged products sporting goods, outdoor furniture, fabrics and carpet fibres; the company has also applied in the US for regulatory approval for use in the food sector. In testing, Light Stabilizer 210 blocked twice as much UV light as several classes of competitive products, the company claimed in a statement. Light Stabilizer 210 works by absorbing UV rays and changing them into small amounts of heat which dissipate quickly without damaging the structure of plastic, DuPont stated. "The key performance advantage of the new light stabiliser is that its extremely small particle size provides much more surface area for UV absorption,"​ the company stated. As a sizeable percentage of titanium dioxide particles in the product are nanoscale, DuPont has selected the additive as a demonstration case for application of a risk assessment process. The Nano Risk Framework was introduced by DuPont and Environmental Defense introduced in June, a bid to meet scientific and consumer concerns about the technology. The framework is a systematic and disciplined process to evaluate and address the potential risks of nanoscale materials. Light Stabilizer 210 will be available for sale in November, the company stated. DuPont claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of titanium dioxide, a material widely used as a pigment in the coatings, plastics and paper industries. Light Stabilizer 210 is the first in a family of products based on the company's titanium dioxide process technology, said Richard Olson, vice president and general manager of the DuPont developing the technology. "Our titanium dioxide manufacturing technology has transformed several times in the more than 70 years since it entered the DuPont product family,"​ he stated. "It's extremely gratifying to see this material transform yet again into a high performance product made using DuPont nanoscale science."

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