Predicting Package Defects: Quantification of Critical Leak Size
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The critical leak size is the size micro-defect that allows microbial penetration into the package. The critical leak size of air-filled defects was found to be 7 Î¼m at all pressures tested. This size is considerably important to food packagers because this is when sterility of the package is lost. Previous leak studies have shown that the critical leak size for liquid-filled defects coincide with the threshold leak size and pressure. If this is in fact true, then air-filled defects should exhibit a larger critical leak size than the liquid-filled defects. In this study, air-filled defects were examined. A bioaerosol exposure chamber was used to test micro-defects, nickel microtubes of known diameters 2, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 50 Î¼m hydraulic diameters, against pressure differentials of 0, -6.9, -13.8, and -34.5 kPa.
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