Zeolite in packaging film

Stock material or miscellaneous articles – Hollow or container type article – Nonself-supporting tubular film or bag

Reexamination Certificate

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C428S035700, C428S036600, C428S035900, C428S346000, C428S349000, C428S500000, C428S515000, C428S516000

Reexamination Certificate




The invention generally relates to compositions, articles and methods for scavenging by-products of an oxygen scavenging reaction.
It is well known that limiting the exposure of an oxygen-sensitive product to oxygen maintains and enhances the quality and “shelf-life” of the product. In the food packaging industry, several means for regulating oxygen exposure have already been developed.
These means include modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for modifying the interior environment of a package; gas flushing; vacuum packaging; vacuum packaging combined with the use of oxygen barrier packaging materials; etc. Oxygen barrier films and laminates reduce or retard oxygen permeation from the outside environment into the package interior.
Another method currently being used is through “active packaging.” The inclusion of oxygen scavengers within the cavity or interior of the package is one form of active packaging. Typically, such oxygen scavengers are in the form of sachets which contain a composition which scavenges the oxygen through chemical reactions. One type of sachet contains iron compositions which oxidize. Another type of sachet contains unsaturated fatty acid salts on a particulate adsorbent. Yet another type of sachet contains metal/polyamide complex.
One disadvantage of sachets is the need for additional packaging operations to add the sachet to each package. A further disadvantage arising from the use of some sachets is that certain atmospheric conditions (e.g., high humidity, low CO
level) in the package are required in order for scavenging to occur at an adequate rate.
Another means for limiting the exposure to oxygen involves incorporating an oxygen scavenger into the packaging structure itself. This achieves a more uniform scavenging effect throughout the package. This may be specially important where there is restricted air circulation inside the package. In addition, such incorporation can provide a means of intercepting and scavenging oxygen as it passes through the walls of the package (herein referred to as an “active oxygen barrier”), thereby maintaining the lowest possible oxygen level throughout the package.
One attempt to prepare an oxygen-scavenging wall involves the incorporation of inorganic powders and/or salts. However, incorporation of these powders and/or salts causes degradation of the wall's transparency and mechanical properties such as tear strength. In addition, these compounds can lead to processing difficulties, especially in the fabrication of thin films, or thin layers within a film structure. Even further, the scavenging rates for walls containing these compounds are unsuitable for some commercial oxygen-scavenging applications, e.g. such as those in which sachets are employed.
Other efforts have been directed to incorporating a metal catalyst-polyamide oxygen scavenging system into the package wall. However, this system does not exhibit oxygen scavenging at a commercially feasible rate.
Oxygen scavengers suitable for commercial use in films of the present invention are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,350,622, and a method of initiating oxygen scavenging generally is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,211,875. Both applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. According to U.S. Pat. No. 5,350,622, oxygen scavengers are made of an ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbon and transition metal catalyst. The preferred ethylenically unsaturated hydro-carbon may be either substituted or unsubstituted. As defined herein, an unsubstituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbon is any compound which possesses at least one aliphatic carbon-carbon double bond and comprises 100% by weight carbon and hydrogen. A substituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbon is defined herein as an ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbon which possesses at least one aliphatic carbon-carbon double bond and comprises about 50%-99% by weight carbon and hydrogen. Preferable substituted or unsubstituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbons are those having two or more ethylenically unsaturated groups per molecule. More preferably, it is a polymeric compound having three or more ethylenically unsaturated groups and a molecular weight equal to or greater than 1,000 weight average molecular weight.
Preferred examples of unsubstituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbons include, but are not limited to, diene polymers such as polyisoprene, (e.g., trans-polyisoprene) and copolymers thereof, cis and trans 1,4-polybutadiene, 1,2-polybutadienes, (which are defined as those polybutadienes possessing greater than or equal to 50% 1,2 microstructure), and copolymers thereof, such as styrene-butadiene copolymer. Such hydrocarbons also include polymeric compounds such as polypentenamer, polyoctenamer, and other polymers prepared by cyclic olefin metathesis; diene oligomers such as squalene; and polymers or copolymers with unsaturation derived from dicyclopentadiene, norbornadiene, 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene, 5-vinyl-2-norbornene, 4-vinylcyclohexene, or other monomers containing more than one carbon-carbon double bond (conjugated or non-conjugated).
Preferred substituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbons include, but are not limited to, those with oxygen-containing moieties, such as esters, carboxylic acids, aldehydes, ethers, ketones, alcohols, peroxides, and/or hydroperoxides. Specific examples of such hydro-carbons include, but are not limited to, condensation polymers such as polyesters derived from monomers containing carbon-carbon double bonds, and unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic, ricinoleic, dehydrated ricinoleic, and linoleic acids and derivatives thereof, e.g. esters. Such hydrocarbons also include polymers or copolymers derived from (meth)allyl (meth)acrylates. Suitable oxygen scavenging polymers can be made by trans-esterification. Such polymers are disclosed in WO 95/02616, incorporated herein by reference as if set forth in full. The composition used may also comprise a mixture of two or more of the substituted or unsubstituted ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbons described above. While a weight average molecular weight of 1,000 or more is preferred, an ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbon having a lower molecular weight is usable, provided it is blended with a film-forming polymer or blend of polymers.
As will also be evident, ethylenically unsaturated hydrocarbons which are appropriate for forming solid transparent layers at room temperature are preferred for scavenging oxygen in the packaging articles described above. For most applications where transparency is necessary, a layer which allows at least 50% transmission of visible light is preferred.
When making transparent oxygen-scavenging layers according to this invention, 1,2-polybutadiene is especially preferred for use at room temperature. For instance, 1,2-polybutadiene can exhibit transparency, mechanical properties and processing characteristics similar to those of polyethylene. In addition, this polymer is found to retain its transparency and mechanical integrity even after most or all of its oxygen capacity has been consumed, and even when little or no diluent resin is present. Even further, 1,2-polybutadiene exhibits a relatively high oxygen capacity and, once it has begun to scavenge, it exhibits a relatively high scavenging rate as well.
When oxygen scavenging at low temperatures is desired, 1,4-polybutadiene, and copolymers of styrene with butadiene, and styrene with isoprene are especially preferred. Such compositions are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,310,497 issued to Speer et al. on May 10, 1994 and incorporated herein by reference as if set forth in full. In many cases it may be desirable to blend the aforementioned polymers with a polymer or copolymer of ethylene.
Other oxygen scavengers which can be used in connection with this invention are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,075,362 (Hofeldt et al.), 5,106,886 (Hofeldt et al.), 5,204,389 (Hofeldt et al.), and 5,227,411 (Hofeldt et al.), all incorporated by reference herein i


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