Development of an air cushioning material based on a novel idea

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Abstract:

The air cushioning material introduced in this paper as a new packaging material represents a new steadying and cushioning system using air pressures. The material is a two-layer structure consisting of an airtight chamber (air chamber) filled with air and a urethane chamber holding flexible and resilient urethane that permits free air passage. Ordinary air cushioning materials have drawbacks in that they repeat expansion and contraction according to changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature during long storage or transportation to remote destinations. While their expansion may damage the case or the packaged object, their contraction may cause a drop in steadying pressures, so that the contents may move about inside and eventually sustain damage. The two-layer structure of the new material rectifies the shortcoming of ordinary air cushioning materials that they may be affected greatly by temperature changes. Also, the greatly improved flexibility of the packaging material opens up possibilities for far wider applications in packaging precision devices and machinery. The airtight chamber to be filled with air is provided with an air charge port and an air discharge port, which may be used to control the charged air pressure. The desirable air pressure is such that the urethane in the urethane chamber is compressed to about half the ordinary size. Since it can be checked visually or tactually, the charging of air, which used to be a delicate and rather difficult operation, is easy. Conventionally, most of the packaging materials were of throw-away type and thus handled as waste materials. The new air cushioning material, which is surfaced with a strong wear-resistant cloth, is designed for repetitive use, so that it will contribute greatly to the reduction of wastes if systematic recovery is carried out. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: air chamber; air cushioning material; multilayer structure; nylon film; polyethylene film; urethane chamber

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Japan Packaging Institute, 10F Togeki Building, 4-1-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan 2: S.P. Chemical Co., Ltd., 3F Kohoku Building, 4-11-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan

Publication date: May 1, 1999

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