MATERIALS SEEK PACKAGING USES

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ATLANTA—Polyethylene naphthalate, liquid crystal polymers and aliphatic polyketones have potential uses in packaging. But for each benefit there is a trade-off, said Mel Druin, a packaging industry consultant and president of M.L. Druin & Associates.

The materials have hot-fill capability, clarity, good physical and chemical properties and a long shelf life. The flip side involves poor processability and high packaging prices. Advancing from concept to commercialization is a risky, costly and time-consuming process, Druin said at Packaging Strategies '97 in Atlanta.

PEN, used in the film and electrical industries, could see use in bottle, jar and medical packaging markets. It costs $3-$5 per pound.

LCPs are used in film, electronics, cookware and medical industries. If, along with other problems, the $10 per-pound price drops, LCPs could be used in bottles, cans and food trays, Druin said.

Aliphatic polyketones cost about $3.50 per pound and were developed for automotive, electrical, appliance and industrial markets. Packaging uses include extended-shelf-life products such as films, trays and cans. He said it could take five to 10 years for price to become more reasonable in relation to performance.