Keeping drink cans cooler for longer
Keeping food or drinks cooled for longer may be achievable through insulation technology created by British nanotechnology specialists General Applications (GA).
Nanoskin is a metallised polymer film of one micron-thick vacuum cells. Applied on the interior or exterior of a container, the film is flexible enough to be shaped without losing its insulating properties. And the base material is safe for contact with food. The technology was developed by GA scientists who used finite element analysis, and worked with industrial and research partners DuPont Teijin Films, Cabot Corporation, the National Physical Laboratory, PA Consulting Group and Pera.
While the exact details of the vacuum technology cannot be revealed, GA claims the film can keep frozen or chilled goods colder for longer than conventional packaging materials. By providing high levels of insulation in a very thin film, less material will be required for packaging.
A test conducted by the company on a coated can with a 1.5mm hemisphere revealed that the time taken for the temperature of the liquid inside to rise from a ‘drinkable’ 5ºC to a warmer 13ºC was four hours, 16 minutes. An uncoated can reached that temperature in just one hour and 12 minutes. The company is developing a prototype of a film called nanosphere for the building industry.
‘The potential applications of nanoskin are wide,’ says Mark Simpson, Chief Operating Officer. ‘It can be used in food packaging, the drinks sector, for medical supplies, domestic and commercial refrigeration, and in the aviation and automotive industries.’
General Applications is testing the film at varying temperatures, and has been approached by two international drinks companies interested in the technology.