Effect of heat-treatment on the performance of gas barrier layers applied by atomic layer deposition onto polymer-coated paperboard



The effect of heat treatment on the gas barrier of the polymer-coated board further coated with an Al2O3 layer by atomic layer deposition (ALD) was studied. Heat treatment below the melting point of the polymer followed by quenching at room temperature was used for the polylactide-coated board [B(PLA)], while over-the-melting-point treatment was utilized for the low-density polyethylene-coated board [B(PE)] followed by quenching at room temperature or in liquid nitrogen. Heat treatment of B(PLA) and B(PE) followed by quenching at room temperature improved the water vapor barrier. However, because of the changes in the polymer morphology, quenching of B(PE) with liquid nitrogen impaired the same barrier. No improvement in oxygen barrier was observed explained by, e.g., the spherulitic structure of PLA and the discontinuities and possible short-chain amorphous material around the spherulites forming passages for oxygen molecules. This work emphasizes the importance of a homogeneous surface prior to the ALD growth Al2O3 barrier layer. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011