My name is Kalina Malinova and I am an Experienced Researcher working on the NewGenPak Marie Curie project. I am from Bulgaria and undertook my Bachelors and Masters degree at Sofia University. I did my Master’s degree in the Bulgarian academy of science where I was working on the design and characterization of new functional polyphosphoesters with pharmaceutical applications. After finishing it, I decided that I wanted to stay in science and to undertake a PhD abroad. I did my PhD in Ulm, Germany. Ulm is very nice, small city where Albert Einstein was born. My doctorate was a scientific-industrial collaboration and the main subject of my dissertation was the design of new biotonic calcium carbonate/polymer composite materials mimicking the natural biomineral nacre.
To create something new just from an idea is very challenging.
Since 2012, I have been working as an experienced researcher in the NEWGENPAK project under the guidance of Dr. Graham O’Neill (Imerys), Bill Marwick (Chesapeake) and Carol Hammond (Chesapeake). The main idea of my project is the fabrication of new, environmental-friendly generation of packaging with barrier properties and sustainability goals. Recycled paper and boards are very often used for the preparation of packaging boxes used in the food industry. In recent years, it was found that the customers are exposed to a range of mineral oils (saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH)), coming from the printing inks applied to newsprint, which ends up in recycled board products. Therefore, an appropriate approach stopping the transfer of the mineral oils to the recycled foodstuffs is urgent to overcome the problem in Europe.
Previous work carried at Imerys’s laboratories has shown that a new and promising approach is the application of a suitable barrier layer, printed on the reverse side of the boards. The barrier layer is a coating formulation combining platey kaolin and polymer. The function of the platey particles is to create the tortuous pathway of the water and oil vapour by good alignment. Particles with a measured aspect ratio (the ratio of particle diameter to thickness) have shown to improve the tortuous pathway. The polymer on the other hand, improves the good alignment of the kaolin plates and the oil vapour migration. Further work will be needed to find suitable coating formulations with appropriate rheology at high solids, which will be easily applied by different printing methods such as Flexography and Rotogravure. The printing will be performed at Chesapeake.