Oxygen and Water Vapor Permeability

Over the past 40 years Smithers Pira has been a leading provider of independent permeation test results in the UK. We are UKAS accredited for relevant test standards.

Oxygen transmission rate and water vapour transmission rate are two key material specification properties which determine the shelf life of food packaging.

Smithers Pira offers a full range of barrier testing services, including an inter-laboratory proficiency scheme.

Laboratory Permeability Testing

The oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of films and packs is determined using benchmark MOCON OX-TRAN 2/21 equipment.

The water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) of films and packs is tested using the MOCON PERMATRAN-W 3/33.

Carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane and other gas permeability through films can be measured using Lyssy L100-5000 equipment.


"Real-Life" Permeability Testing

Mocon Op Tech | Smithers Pira

Smithers Pira is also able to evaluate the oxygen permeation of packs under “real-life” conditions using the Mocon OpTechTM platinum analyser with a flourescence-based sensor.

The sensor can be mounted within the pack for non-destructive permeation analysis in accordance with ASTM F2714.

Used in conjunction with a test cell, the apparatus is capable of accurately measuring the transmission rate of oxygen through micro-perforated films using the Dynamic Accumulation method described in ASTM F3136. Because this method does not require a constant flow of carrier gas, it is ideal for measuring the oxygen transmission rate of perforated packaging used in the food industry.

Smithers Pira also offer a pre-test integrity assessment on packs using a high sensitivity gas leak detection system and pre-conditioning of films by controlled flexing to ASTM F392 using a standard Gelbo flextester.

Standards and Accreditation
  • Oxygen permeability testing is made in accordance with ASTM D-3985, ASTM F-1927 and ASTM F-1307, DIN 53380-3 or JIS K 7126.
  • Water vapour permeability rates can be determined according to ASTM F1249, BS 7406 method A, ISO 9932 or TAPPI T557.
  • Other gas transmission rates are determined against the test methods detailed in ASTM D1434 and DIN 53380-1.
  • Other standards for WVTR based on pack or dish methods including ASTM E96, BS 2782:820A, BS 3177, DIN 53122 and JIS Z 0208, are also available.

Smithers Pira is ISO 17025, UKAS accredited for oxygen transmission rate testing to ASTM D-3985, ASTM F-1927 and ASTM F-1307, and moisture vapour transmission rate testing to ASTM F-1249 and BS 3177.