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M-RULE Model

The newest addition to the research and consulting services offered by CONTAINER SCIENCE® is the M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods. This subscription-based computer model is a powerful permeation model for predicting the performance of packaging for a variety of liquid and solid food products, as well as for complex food packaging (like bag-in-bag, bag-in-box, institutional packaging, etc.).

The M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods is based on the same materials, science, algorithms, and code developed for the M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Beverages, the industry standard tool for permeation prediction in the beverage industry since its introduction in 2002. Consequently, the Model for Foods benefits from the in-depth validation and features enhancements of that model.

A powerful feature of the M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods is its ability to accurately predict temperature-dependent moisture sorption as a function of relative humidity and food composition (using only carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of each product), eliminating the need for empirical moisture sorption vs. relative humidity measurements at different temperatures.

Along with moisture sorption, the M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods predicts the glass-transition temperature of the food product (where the food loses its crispness), which provides the user with an independent, non-empirical prediction of upper and/or lower moisture targets.

The M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods incorporates vitamin degradation, food respiration and oxygen scavengers. It also predicts package expansion and contraction as a function of internal and external pressure and polymer modulus. It includes all the major barrier technology options, including plasma coatings, multilayers, blends and nanocomposites. Furthermore, this M-RULE® model allows the user to assess the impact of package design, filling, storage and distribution conditions on product shelf-life.

The M-RULE® approach to permeation prediction is unique and proven. Unlike empirical models that rely on a database of permeation values to derive results, each M-RULE® model is a fundamental model based on first-principles prediction of the diffusion and solubility of gases. These powerful systems are also remarkably user-friendly. The intuitive input fields and graphical outputs make date input and interpretation easy.

With the M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods, users can quickly assess opportunities for cost savings and shelf-life extension without the need to first create and evaluate physical prototypes. The model simulates far more packaging options and a far greater range of environmental conditions than you could ever address using physical prototypes.

M-RULE® inherently accounts for all the factors that affect permeation, including concentration-dependent diffusion, temperature, crystallinity, orientation, stress and stress relaxation. The model simultaneously calculates the migration of O2, N2, CO2 and H2O and continually revises the diffusivities and solubilities of each of these permeants as a function of the above factors.

M-RULE® is a versatile tool for new package development, strategic analysis of alternative technologies, assessment of competitive materials/packages, package authorizations, light-weighting programs with existing packages, barrier technology development, and materials research and development.

Subscribers to this M-RULE® Container Performance Model for Foods have unlimited access to the capabilities identified in their subscription contracts for the specified contract period. Subscriptions provide company-wide, 24/7 online access to the model via a secure Internet site. There are a number of different subscription levels available so that you can tailor the service to meet your specific needs.

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