The use of bioplastics in the packaging industry has become progressively relevant. In particular, polylactide (PLA), also known as polylactic acid, is playing an increasingly important role. Its biodegradability, even if only in industrial composting units, and its transparency makes it an ideal material for use in food packaging. However, its permeability to gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and also water vapor means that it needs modifying before use in packaging films for foodstuffs. This is because the permeability is greater compared with other polymers used in food packaging, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). For this purpose, BYK has developed a unique additive, BYKO2BLOCK-1200. It is based on a platelet-forming, modified phyllosilicate that has been developed specially for use in foodstuff packaging films. During the processing (compounding), the separated platelets are distributed equally in the polymer matrix, thereby bringing about a reduction in the permeability to gases and water vapor. Tests in the BYK laboratories have shown that even adding a small quantity of BYKO2BLOCK-1200 (3–5 %) can achieve a significant improvement up to 30% in the impermeability towards gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor, without changing other properties such as the mechanics or transparency. Moreover, BYKO2BLOCK-1200 also improves thermal endurance.
BYKO2BLOCK®-1200 – New Barrier Additive for PLA-based Food Packaging Applications