Researchers from NOVA Chemicals Present Solutions for Flexible Packaging Design and Evaluation

Technical sessions on multilayer packaging modeling, testing and barrier solutions to be presented at the 2016 TAPPI PLACE Conference

Calgary, Alberta, Canada (April 7, 2016) – Researchers from NOVA Chemicals Corporation (NOVA Chemicals) will deliver findings from studies during the 2016 TAPPI PLACE Conference April 11-13 in Fort Worth, Texas. The research, conducted at NOVA Chemicals’ Centre for Applied Research and Centre for Performance Applications, has the potential to impact multilayer packaging design, resin selection and barrier solutions in flexible packaging markets. A keynote presentation and customer case study will show how supply chain collaboration can reduce packaging development cycle times and deliver greater value.

“Our ongoing research and customer collaboration helps enable our customers’ success by predicting resin performance in new applications,” said Performance Films Group Manager Mark Kay, NOVA Chemicals Polyethylene Business. “We look forward to sharing the impact this work can have on flexible packaging at this year’s TAPPI PLACE Conference.”

Promoting Collaboration and Innovation

Technical Services Manager Sarah Marshall, NOVA Chemicals Technology, will address how collaboration is crucial to innovation during a lunchtime keynote presentation, “Accelerate Innovation through Collaboration.” Marshall will discuss how rapid prototyping of flexible packaging designs is an effective way to reduce product development cycle time and boost success. As an example, she will share how NOVA Chemicals is overcoming common barriers and creating new value through collaboration in flexible packaging applications.

Marshall will present her keynote presentation during the PLACE awards luncheon on April 12.

Also highlighting the power of collaboration, Technical Service Specialist Norm Aubee, NOVA Chemicals and, Tetra Evero® aseptic Product Manager Ulf Attevik, Tetra Pak, will present the case study “Collaboration – A New Material in an Unexpected Application.” Wanting to expand the dairy applications for their Tetra Evero aseptic package design, Tetra Pak needed to find a package shoulder material with exceptional oxygen barrier properties. Aubee and Attevik will demonstrate how NOVA Chemicals and Tetra Pak collaborated throughout the project to resolve potential issues and bring a better-performing product to market.

The case study presentation will take place at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 13.

Understanding How Resins Perform in Complex Structures

The polyethylene heavy duty sack market covers a broad range of applications, each with unique attributes required of the film. Multilayer film extrusion is used to achieve the balance of properties required, making it necessary to understand how resins perform in complex structures.

Technical Service Specialist Nancy Conley, NOVA Chemicals, will discuss a design-of-experiment approach the company adopted to evaluate the effects of film structure and processing conditions in the study, “Physical Property Modeling of Multilayer Heavy Duty Sack Films.” Based on the experimental program, models were developed to predict the finished properties of heavy duty sack films. As a result, resin selection and processing conditions can now be used to optimize properties in three-layer films for a range of end-use applications.

Conley will present this study, coauthored by Tieqi Li and Greg Courtney, both also of NOVA Chemicals, at 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 12.

Overcoming Contaminants in the Seal Area

Channel leaks are a recurring problem in flexible packaging and can lead to product waste and premature spoilage. A common cause of channel leaks is product contamination in the seals. If the sealant fails to flow around or fully encapsulate a solid contaminate in the seal, an air channel may form resulting in loss of package integrity. A strategy for minimizing contaminant-channel leaks is to choose sealants with better “caulkability,” or the ability to seal-through contamination.

In the study “Seal-Through Contamination and ‘Caulkability’,” by Dan Ward and Michael Li, both of NOVA Chemicals, the ability of various sealants to encapsulate contaminants was evaluated through a newly-developed, practical test. The results suggest that sealants with the optimal combination of zero shear viscosity, hot tack strength window and other sealant properties are required to fully encapsulate contaminants in a seal. 

Ward, technical service specialist, NOVA Chemicals will present the study at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 12.

Easy-Open Seal Technology

Many pouches or bags for dry goods, like cereal and crackers, are difficult to open without tearing and damaging the bag. Also, a low moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) is required for this type of packaging to maximize product shelf life. A number of different peelable seal formulations and the use of a high moisture barrier sHDPE were evaluated and are presented in the study “Peelable Seal Films with Enhanced Moisture Barrier Properties for Flexible Packaging Applications.”

Dan Falla, technical service specialist, NOVA Chemicals, will present this popular study at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 13.

Evaluating Grease Barrier Properties to Enable All-PE Recyclable Packaging Designs

Grease barrier properties are an important performance requirement for packaging high-fat containing products ranging from potato chips to pet food. Unfortunately, only a few elementary techniques exist for determining a package’s resistance to grease permeation. As interest grows in all-PE recyclable packaging for high-fat containing products, a simple technique is required for determining a film’s grease barrier properties.

Shiv Goyal, Bronwyn Gillon, Barney Quong and Dan Falla, all of NOVA Chemicals, address this challenge in “Grease Resistant Multilayer Polyethylene Films.” This study describes an improved method to measure grease and oil permeation through multi-layer films, and the results of several multi-layer film structures are presented. The results show that it is now possible to develop cost effective and recyclable all-polyethylene film packaging for high-fat containing products.

Goyal, principal research engineer, will present the findings from this study at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 13.

For more information, visit NOVA Chemicals on the Internet at


About NOVA Chemicals

NOVA Chemicals develops and manufactures chemicals and plastic resins that make everyday life safer, healthier and easier. Our employees work to ensure health, safety, security and environmental stewardship through our commitment to sustainability and Responsible Care®. NOVA Chemicals, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

About NOVA Chemicals Polyethylene Business

The NOVA Chemicals polyethylene business enables its customers’ success with a portfolio of more than 125 specialized SURPASS®, SCLAIR® and NOVAPOL® resins. Each new NOVA Chemicals resin is developed to meet customer requirements, from drop-in consistency to step-out performance attributes. Our customer-centric approach is driven by our brand promises of Focused Expertise, Applied Innovation, Proactive Service and Reliable Supply.


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The NOVA Chemicals logo and NOVAPOL are registered trademarks of NOVA Brands Ltd.; authorized use. SCLAIR and SURPASS are registered trademarks of NOVA Chemicals Corporation in Canada and of NOVA Chemicals (International) S.A. elsewhere; authorized use. Responsible Care is a registered trademark of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada. Tetra Evero is a registered trademark of AB Tetra Pak.