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Introduction of PET film

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PET film was developed in the mid-1950s, originally by DuPont and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). In 1960 and 1964, NASA launched the Echo satellites, 100 feet (30 m) diameter balloons of metalized 0.005 inches (0.13 mm) thick PET film.

Biaxially oriented PET film can be aluminized by evaporating a thin film of metal onto it. The result is much less permeable to gasses (important in food packaging) and reflects up to 99% of light, including much of the infrared spectrum. For some applications like food packaging, the aluminized PET film can be laminated with a layer of polyethylene, which provides sealability and improves puncture resistance. The polyethylene side of such a laminate appears dull and the PET side shiny.

Metalized nylon (or "foil") balloons used for floral arrangements and parties are often mistakenly called "Mylar", one of the trade names for PET film.

Other coatings, such as conductive indium tin oxide (ITO), can be applied to PET film by sputter deposition

Application

Uses for PET polyester films include, but are not limited to:

Flexible Packagingand food contact applications

Covering over paper

Insulating material

Solar and marine applications

The Sciences

Electronic / Acoustic applications

Graphic arts 

 

Flexible Packaging and food contact applications

l Laminates containing metallized PET film protect food against oxidation and aroma loss, achieving long shelf life. Examples are coffee "foil" packaging and pouches for convenience foods.

l Attractive glossy or matte surfaces on the outside of packages are achieved using PET film.

l White PET film is used as lidding for dairy goods such as yoghurt.

l Clear PET film is used as lidding for fresh or frozen ready meals. Due to its excellent heat resistance, it can remain on the package during microwave or oven heating.

l Roasting bags

Covering over paper

l A clear overlay on a map, on which notations, additional data, or copied data, can be drawn without damaging the map

l Metallized PET is used as a mirror-like decorative surface on some book covers, T-shirts, and other flexible cloths.

l Protective covering over buttons/pins/badges

l The glossy top layer of a Polaroid SX-70 photographic print

l As a backing for very fine sandpaper

l PET film is used in bagging comic books, in order to best protect them during storage from environmental conditions (moisture, heat, and cold) that would otherwise cause paper to slowly deteriorate over time. This material is used for archival quality storage of documents by the Library of Congress and several major library comic book research collections, including the Comic Art Collection at Michigan State University.It should be noted that while PET is widely (and effectively) used in this archival sense, it is not immune to the effects of fire and heat and could potentially melt, depending on the intensity of the heat source, causing further damage to the encased item.

l For protecting the spine of important documents, such as medical records.

Insulating material

l An electrical insulating material

l Insulation for houses and tents in cold environments, covering the inner walls with the metallized surface facing inward, thus reflecting heat back into the space

l Insulation for houses and tents in hot environments, covering the outer walls with the metallized surface facing outward, thus reflecting heat away from the space

l Five layers of metallized boPET film in NASA's spacesuits make them radiation resistant and keep astronauts warm.

l Metallized boPET film "emergency blankets" conserve a shock victim's body heat.

l As a thin strip to form an airtight seal between the control surfaces and adjacent structure of aircraft, especially gliders.

l Light insulation for indoor gardening.

l Wildland fire shelters.

l Proximity(aluminized) suits used by AR-FF fire fighters for protection from the high amount of heat relase from fuel fires.

l Aluminized boPET films are no longer used as thermal/acoustic insulation in aircraft since they were found to have been a factor in the Swissair Flight 111 crash. The accident investigation showed that the aluminum layer prevents the film from self-extinguishing in a fire under the conditions in aircraft. 

Solar and marine applications

l Solar sails as an alternative means of propulsion for spacecraft such as Cosmos 1

l Metallized PET solar curtains reflect sunlight and heat away from windows.

l Aluminized, as an inexpensive solar eclipse viewer, although care must be taken, because invisible fissures can form in the metal film, reducing its effectiveness.

l High performance sails for sailboats and hanggliders 

The Sciences

l Amateur and professional visual and telescopic solar filters. PET films are often annealed to a glass element to improve thermal conductivity, and guarantee the necessary flat surface needed for even telescopic solar observation. Manufacturers will typically utilise films with thicknesses of between 280 and 500 microns, in order to give the films better resilience. 250 Micron thickness films with a heavy aluminium coating are generally preferred for naked-eye Solar observation during eclipses.

l Films in annular ring mounts on gas-tight cells, will readily deform into spherical mirrors. Photomultiplier cosmic-ray observatories often make use of these mirrors for inexpensive large (1.0m and above), lightweight mirror surfaces for sky-sector low and medium energy cosmic ray research.

l As a light diaphragm material separating gases in hypersonic shock and expansion tube

 

 

facilities.

l As a beamsplitter in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, typically with Laser applications. Film thicknesses are often in the 500 micron range

Electronic / acoustic applications

l Carrier for flexible printed circuits

l Very thin boPET film is often used as the diaphragm material in electrostatic loudspeakers and electret microphones.

l PET film has been used in the production of banjo & drumheads since 1958 due to its durability and acoustical properties when stretched over the bearing edge of the drum. They are made in single- and double-ply versions, with each ply being between 2 mils and 10 mils (0.05 – 0.25 mm) in thickness, with a clear or opaque surface, originally used by the company Evans.

l PET film is used as the substrate in practically all magnetic recording tapes and floppy disks.

l Metallized PET film, along with other plastic films, is used as a dielectric in foil capacitors.

l Clear PET bags are used as packaging for audio media such as compact discs and vinyl records.

Graphic arts

l Often engineering plans or architectural drawings are plotted onto sheets of PET film. The PET sheets become legal documents from which copies or blueprints are made. PET sheets are more durable and can withstand more handling than bond paper.

l Overhead transparency film for photocopiers or laser printers(PET film withstands the high heat). 

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