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Methods

Permeation testing

Permeation tests on plastics are carried out to characterize the penetration or migration behaviour of various substances through a material. These types of tests are important for assessing the suitability of plastics for certain applications, especially when the interaction with different substances, such as gases or liquids, is of great importance.

Permeation behavior, which is usually referred to as diffusion behavior when considering gaseous substances, is influenced both by the substance itself (the so-called permeate) and by the properties of the material to be permeated. In materials science and chemistry, diffusion refers to the process by which molecules or atoms move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. In addition to the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), we also test the water resistance (WR) of plastics and plastic products. The permeation properties of plastics play a decisive role here. Generally speaking, permeation describes the penetration and permeation of gases or liquids through a material, whereby the chemical composition, thickness and pore size are the main influencing factors on the material side. Permeation and diffusion analyses are therefore indispensable methods for evaluating the barrier effect of plastics and optimizing their use in different environments.

Dr. Irene Reuther
Group Manager | Special services and expert reports
Würzburg
i.reuther@skz.de
Udo Dengel
Project Manager | Customer & Project Management | Construction Products
Würzburg
u.dengel@skz.de

Weitere Einzelheiten zum Verfahren

Extract from our test procedures

Accredited test methods

  • Oxygen permeability
    e.g. according to ASTM D 3985 and DIN 53380-3
  • Water vapor permeability
    e.g. according to ASTM E 96/E 96M, DIN 53122-1, DIN EN 1931, DIN EN ISO 12572, DIN EN ISO 15106-3 and ISO 2528
  • Water tightness
    in accordance with DIN EN 1928, EN 13111 and DIN EN 14150, among others

Non-accredited test methods

  • General gas permeability test (e.g. helium, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen)
    according to DIN 53380-2 and ISO 15105-1
What can influence the permeation / diffusion behavior?

Concentration gradient:
Permeation occurs when there is a difference in concentration of a substance between two regions. Particles move from regions of high concentration to regions of low concentration in order to achieve equilibrium.

Temperature:
Temperature strongly influences permeation. At higher temperatures, the thermal movement and energy of the particles increase, resulting in an increased permeation rate.

Material composition:
The type of material affects how easy or difficult it is for particles to migrate through the material. Materials can have different pore structures, densities and chemical properties that influence the permeation behavior.

Size of the permeating particles:
The size of the particles passing through plays a role. Smaller particles tend to pass through materials more easily than larger particles.

Type of particles passing through:
The type or chemical makeup of the particles passing through is also important. Some materials are selectively permeable and only allow certain substances to pass through.

Technical test equipment
  • Pubtester GTR-G3
  • Mocon oxygen displacement device
  • Pressure cells for watertightness tests
What are typical areas of application for diffusion/permeation testing?

Packaging industry:
In the food and pharmaceutical industries, packaging materials must ensure that no undesirable substances from the environment enter the product or vice versa. Diffusion tests help to evaluate the barrier properties of packaging materials.

Medical applications:
In the medical field, plastics are often used to manufacture drug delivery systems, implants and other medical devices. It is important to check how drugs or other substances can diffuse through the material to ensure that the desired properties are present.

Construction industry:
Plastics are used in various building products, and it is important to know how moisture or other chemicals can permeate through the materials to evaluate structural integrity and durability. For example, underfloor heating systems require oxygen density testing to avoid biological processes on the pipes.

Hydrogen industry
Plastic tanks used as a transportation medium for hydrogen must undergo extensive permeation testing to ensure safe and loss-free transportation or storage.

Landfill:
In the area of landfill management, seals must be subjected to diffusion tests to avoid endangering the environment through methane permeation, for example.

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SKZ · German Plastics Center
Friedrich-Bergius-Ring 22
97076 Würzburg

Telefon: +49 931 4104-0
E-Mail: info@skz.de

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Frankfurter Str. 19 c
97082 Würzburg

Telefon: +49 931 4104-123
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06118 Halle (Saale)

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Training Center
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72160 Horb am Neckar

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Training Center
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31224 Peine

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European Center for Dispersion Technologies (EZD)
Weißenbacher Str. 86
95100 Selb

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Sales partner – Italy
PROCHEMA S.r.l.
Via Buonarotti 175
20900 Monza, Italy

Telefon: +39 039 281561
E-Mail: info@prochema.it

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Sales partner – Romania
Plastics Bavaria Equipment & Systems srl
Str. Iancu Jianu, nr. 26
500178 Braşov, Romania

Telefon: +40 268 412 559
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SKZ Standort Würzburg, SKZ Weiterbildung

SKZ – Testing GmbH
Friedrich-Bergius-Ring 22
97076 Würzburg

Tel. +49 931 4104-0

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