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<> MICROENCAPSULATION is a fascinating process in which tiny droplets or particles are wrapped with a protective coating yielding CAPSULES for countless applications. 

In simple terms a capsule is a miniature container that protects its contents from evaporation, oxidation and contamination until its release is triggered.

The size is always tailored to suit the end product and the relevant processes involved in order assuring survival in sometimes hostile manufacturing conditions.  For most applications the particle diameter is only a few microns across (one Micron = one thousandth of a millimetre).  This means that the product remains invisible to the naked eye but high power microscopes open up an exciting insight into this curious dimension.

For example, an area of one square centimetre (cm2) would contain one million capsules if placed side by side in a standard coated paper application.  This allows multiple releases in the same area until finally all capsules are broken.

The most common applications are the coating of paper and board resulting in a wide variety of end products such as disposable handkerchiefs, drawer liners, giftwrap, stationery, greeting cards, advertising, brochures, samplers, books, cartons, labels etc.  other substrates such as textiles, certain plastics and even metal surfaces are becoming increasingly popular with encapsulate applied.

There are special applications where the encapsulation is used to keep two or more reactive substances in isolation from each other to provide better shelf life and also new formulation opportunities.  The suggestions above are only some of the possible uses.

The development of new methods and the ever-increasing range of new polymeric materials suitable for many different techniques in encapsulation are a constant challenge.
This is resulting in new product opportunities driven by customer demand or sometimes discovered as 'spin off's' resulting from focused research in a multitude of different projects.
One of the great achievements is the variety of different coating processes possible, meaning that in most cases the existing plant can be used without any special know how or modifications.

Long term studies show that coated surfaces can remain intact for decades, the oldest and still working sample was printed in 1958! This enables savings in the packaging costs, since no airtight wrapping is needed.
Microencapsulation is the only cost effective and long lasting method in storing volatile substances over very long periods of time.
In advertising or in launching new products encapsulation becomes a very useful and powerful tool by being invisible and coming to life at the slightest touch.
The rather impressive shelf life performance provides a key benefit organising production of print runs which usually have to be planned some time ahead before the actual article is inserted into a magazine for instance.
Another popular and useful application comprises of a 'purchaser testing panel' printed directly onto the product or its packaging (e.g. deodorant, aftershave, room spray, etc.). This would give the potential purchaser a chance to sample the fragrance without the undesired tampering with the actual content (i.e. opening the item, dispensing some of the contents and returning it to the shelf with tampered packaging and reduced fill). A number of major manufacturers use encapsulation to prevent tampering whilst providing sampling at the same time as standard on their products.






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Last modified: 06 June 200