Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a new type of packaging that uses a single layer of graphene to protect packaged goods from moisture. The newly developed material is capable of preventing water molecules from entering packaged products, like electronics and medicines.
For the development of the new material, the researchers synthesized a single layer of graphene via CVD, and used a simple and scalable process to convert the graphene to a polymer film. Water vapour permeated the material at a rate of less than 10-6gm per m² every day. The team conducted an accelerated aging test, which demonstrated that an organic photovoltaic device wrapped in the graphene-infused film would have a lifetime of more than a year. This was reported in contrast to goods packed in polymer without the graphene layer, which were said to offer a lifespan of just 30 minutes.
According to the researchers, in order to increase the lifespan of a moisture-sensitive device for more than a year, the packaging must prohibit water vapour from entering at a rate of less than 10-6 gm per m² per day. It is noted that plastic packaging materials help protect food, electronics, medicines and other items from dust, bacteria and to some extent even water - but water molecules can pass through plastic films and reduce the lifetime of products. The IISc scientists involved in the project have already created a prototype of the new graphene-infused packaging material.