Packaging Compatibility Tests

I am curious how everyone here conducts their packaging compatibility tests. I realize that a lab oven is good for formula stability, but will it also work to accurately test packaging? What parameters do you use to measure if it's a pass or fail? I feel like the heat in the oven can soften the plastic bottle and skew the results for an accurate packaging test. 

Any input would be appreciated, thanks!


  • Hello "ledude"

    The question is good. I can share my experiences concerning on tubes which might be similar to other PE or PP packaging.

    For the compatibility test we call it "stability test of the packaging" we need around 1.5-2 liter from the bulk. There is a need for 20-40pcs of tubes. We fill the tubes and we put it to a heated cabin where the temperature is constant. (37 - 55 Celsius depends on the test). The test last for 3-6months depends on the customer request. In some cases if the chemical is aggressive and attacks the packaging easily we can see differences after one month and we can decide this is not the suitable packaging for our product and we can finish the test.

    What we measure and test:

    1. Weight loss of the tubes, we measure and note the tare-weight of the tubes and after several times we measure again and again. The maximum weight loss what is allowed 1.5% / month.

    2.Decoration test: In case of printing absolutely not allowed to see damaged or melted text or picture. Very important when the packaging is hot foiled. In case of poor quality the hot foil come down fast.

    3. Packaging colour changing: If the chemical attacks the tube, the white tube turns to yellow which is also not so aesthetic and acceptable.

    3. Stress cracking test: One of the most important test. If the chemical attacks the tube after several months the tube will be softer and leakage can happen on the sides of the sealing, where there is the most stress. (I hope it is understandable it is easier to show on a picture or personally.)

    Not a good feeling to see your product on the shelf of the supermarket and see the inside chemical on the packaging surface.

    According to my experiences during the years what I spent in the packaging industry, the most aggressive chemical what I saw was a sun cream. Not a scratch remover paste or a glue or something technical sealing paste, it was a sun cream. It was very weird. What can it cause to your skin?! Anyway I do not buy that product for sure.

    Sorry for the long comment I hope it was not boring for you.


  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2015
    yes, we carry out packaging compatibility tests on everything that is destined to go to production, at the same time as the stability test; if the product is not appropriate for the pack type, if the pack/closure combination is inadequate, or if the packaging is poorly made, the compatibility test flags this up

    and sometimes even just having the formula in packaging of different materials can give very different stability results - these are two drastic examples I've dealt with:

    1. a pearlised shampoo which was fine in plastic, but separated when tested in glass

    2. a hair dye containing HC Blue No. 2, which experienced a slight pH decrease in glass, and a much more rapid pH decrease in plastic, followed by a severe colour change once it fell below pH 5
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
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