Multi-component Transport of Gases and Vapors in Poly(ethylene terephthalate)
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Transport of amorphous and semi-crystalline, oriented, annealed and non-annealed PET films has been studied using pure and mixed gas/vapor feeds to understand the influence of flavor molecules on the efficacy of the barrier material. Methanol has been used as the flavor molecule simulant, and pure methanol vapor sorption studies show swelling and relaxation effects in the polymer. Multi-component transport of O2/methanol and O2/CO¬2/methanol mixtures, performed at different activities of methanol, shows that vapor induced plasticization leads to increases in O2 and CO2 permeability. Annealed, semi-crystalline PET is shown to be most resistant to plasticization effects. It has been shown that the non-annealed film is less stable despite similar crystallinity as the annealed film due to the presence of orientation related stress in the material. Presence of crystals also restricts the chain motion, and helps suppress the plasticization effects. The results have been compared with the predictions of the dual mode model for multi-component mixtures. Plasticization effects at the high activities have been analyzed within the framework of the free volume theory. It has been proposed that only the densified domains of a glassy polymer be considered when evaluating fractional free volume change due to swelling in the polymer-penetrant system. The free volume parameter- BA has been evaluated for O2 and CO2 in PET and is found to be different from that for other high permeability polymers.