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Performance Additives for Plastics to Improve Shelf Life for Food

Greenhouses are used to control environmental conditions to optimise plant growth and production. Plastic manufacturers are continually developing greenhouse plastic films that provide tailored light transmission and control the rate of degradation of the polymer film. The use of UV resistant film is somewhat determined by the application for the film. For example, certain crops will require extended protection due to long growing seasons or frosts. Alternatively, fast degradation may be necessary and the use photodegradable and/or biodegradable additives may be required.

Understanding the process of photosynthesis is important in order to create functionalised plastic films that create ideal conditions for optimal plant growth. Any plant requires the correct amounts of water, nutrients, temperature, carbon dioxide, and photosynthesis at different times during a season. 

During the process of photosynthesis, plants depend on the total amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), the group of wavelengths of light between 400-700 nanometers (nm) or visible light. In contrast, Ultraviolet (UV) light and infra-red (IR) or heat radiation not only can affect the quality of crops but reduce the longevity and performance of plastic films.

Micronisers over many years has developed a range of nano zinc oxide coated powders and dispersions that can be incorporated into polymers to produce translucent/transparent protection from the damaging effects of UVA and UVB radiation while still providing excellent transmission of visible. These range of additives can improve the life of greenhouse film, synthetic turf, packaging, containers, shade cloth and agricultural film. Micronisers nano zinc oxide can be used in HDPE, LDPE, PP and PET and usually added to masterbatch.

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