Cracking down on environmental stress cracks in PET bottles

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bottle Pet bottle

Cracking down on environmental stress cracks in PET bottles caught up with Coca-Cola's Sally Potter at last week’s Pack Expo in Las Vegas to talk about the problem of environmental stress cracks (ESC) in PET bottles.

The senior manager of research and innovation support at the drinks giant said that improved manufacturing techniques and lightweighting meant that ESC was become less common – but that it remained an important issue.

ESC occurs when hydrolysis causes the PET polymers to fail – with water acting as the reactant, alkalinity the catalyst - causing bottles to leak or burst, which can trigger a domino effect among other containers in shipments.

Potter explained the factors that can increase the risk of stress cracking– but also outlined solutions to minimise the hazard, including important new findings relating to alkalinity.

Using the right kind of lubricants, correct storage and monitoring of rinsing water are all crucial factors in helping to cut ESC, she said.