SCIENCE NEWS ONLINE
Food for Thought
August 24, 1996
If it sits on the shelf long enough, even an unopened 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola or Diet Sprite will lose its zesty effervescence. What happens is the pent up carbon dioxide slowly leaks through microscopic holes in the molecular structure of the container’s plastic. Fortunately, not all plastics are as permeable as the inexpensive polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to make large soft-drink bottles. One novel class of more rigid polyesters appears to offer particular promise for bottled drinks. It develops extraordinary barrier properties after it’s been transformed into a liquid crystal, for example, by heating.
Benny D. Freeman of North Carolina State University began working with these experimental materials 5 years ago under a grant issued jointly by the National Science Foundation and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Initially, his mission was one of basic research: to understand how heat alters the structure and barrier properties of these polyesters. [Read more…] about To really hold that fizz