Permeation Measurement Device for a New Generation of Synthetic Materials
Joint Project with Partners in Research & Development
PreSens worked together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging to develop a new optical permeation measurement device that could be used not only for testing packaging materials but also high barrier films.
New chemical optical sensors for trace oxygen measurement as well as the respective reading device had to be developed and constructed by PreSens. The goal was to create a new, highly sensitive sensor with a detection limit of 0.5 ppm in the gas phase, which is lower by a factor of 50 than in systems used so far. Therefore different indicator dyes in combination with different carrier materials had to be tested.
The institute had to develop special measurement cells in which barrier films for different applications could be measured with chemical optical sensors. Also different synthetic materials with known permeation characteristics for test measurements had to be supplied.
The main challenges of this project were
- The system had to be able to measure with the same or higher accuracy compared to the currently used systems with barometrical or electrochemical sensors.
- A cost-effective measurement solution should be developed that did not require specialized personnel.
- Measurement cells with different, defined measurement volumes had to be designed; the gas leakage rate had to be improved and cells with lower volumes constructed to get more exact measurements and shorten permeation measurement time; moreover the design had to be adapted to the use of chemical optical sensors.
- A highly sensitive oxygen sensor for measurement of high barrier materials had to be developed.
In close cooperation with PreSens the measurement cell could be designed so the chemical optical sensors could be read out through a glas window. As for high barrier permeation measurements an oxygen sensor with extremely low detection limit was needed, PreSens developed and tested several different oxygen indicator dyes and carrier materials to get a new and improved chemical optical sensor membrane that could be used in the measurement set-up.
The project partners worked together closely during design and construction phase. Every two months a meeting was held to coordinate the different tasks and discuss progress and further steps in development.
Production & Validation
Films with known permeation characteristics and PreSens PSt6 sensors were applied for validation of the new measurement system. Furthermore, tests in comparison with conventionally used permeation measurement devices were carried out. Results confirmed that the cooperation has produced a prototype measurement device that is easy-to-handle as well as very cost-effective, and a lot more sensitive compared to conventional systems. Now the project has moved on to the next step planning serial production of the new measurement device. In a few months the system will be available for customers in industry and research.