Super Gas Barrier of a Polyelectrolyte/Clay Coacervate Thin Film

Transparent polymeric thin films with high oxygen barrier are important for extending the shelf life of food and protecting flexible organic electronic devices. Polyelectrolyte/clay multilayer nanocoatings are shown to exhibit super gas barrier performance, but the layer‐by‐layer assembly process requires numerous deposition steps. In an effort to more quickly fabricate this type of barrier, a polyelectrolyte/clay coacervate composed of branched polyethyleneimine (PEI), poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), and kaolinite (KAO) clay is prepared and deposited in a single step, followed by humidity and thermal post‐treatments. When deposited onto a 179 µm poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) film, a 4 µm coacervate coating reduces the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) by more than three orders of magnitude, while maintaining high transparency. This single‐step deposition process uses only low‐cost, water‐based components and ambient conditions, which can be used to for sensitive food and electronics packaging.

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H-C. Chiang, T. J. Kolibaba, B. Eberle, J. C. Grunlan, Macromol. Rapid Commun., 202142, 4.