Barrier Membranes for Food Applications


  1. The curricular unit Barrier Membranes for Food Applications aims at teaching students the importance of barrier membranes in food packaging, and to give the tools to design new membranes employing emerging techniques.

    The students should acquire the following specific competences:

    1. To acquire general concepts about barrier membranes in food packaging;

    2. To be able to apply previous knowledge, acquired in transport phenomena to obtain transport properties;

    3. To be able to design new membranes with improved performance;

    4. To acquire knowledge about emerging processes and their use for membrane development;

    5. Understand how a specific problem may be approached by the food industry. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria Rola Coelhoso


Weekly - 4

Total - 57

Teaching language



Available soon


Robertson, G.L. “Food packaging: Principles and practice”, third edition. Taylor & Francis, 2012.


Mulder, M., "Basic Principles of Membrane Technology", Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1990.

D.R. Paul, L.M. Robeson, “Polymer nanotechnology: Nanocomposites”, Polymer 49 (2008) 3187–3204.


L. Brody, B. Bugusu, C. K. Sand, T. K. McHugh, “Innovative food packaging solutions”, Journal of Food Science 75 (2010) 73 nº8 (2008) 107-116.


A. Arora and G.W. Padua, “Nanocomposites in Food Packaging”, Journal of Food Science 75 nº1 (2010) 43-49.


S. Carranza, D.R. Paul, R.T. Bonnecaze “Analytic formulae for the design of reactive polymer blend barrier materials”, Journal of Membrane Science 360 (2010) 1–8.


S. Carranza, D.R. Paul, R.T. Bonnecaze, “Multilayer reactive barrier materials”, Journal of Membrane Science 399–400 (2012) 73–85.

Teaching method

Available soon

Evaluation method

The evaluation includes:

  1. Scientific research project and corresponding report and discussion – individual
  2. Engineering project with report and oral presentation and discussion - group of 3 students.
  3. Tests (2) - individual

The final grade is composed by 25% of the grade obtained in the research project +25% of the grade obtained in the engineering project +50% of the grade obtained in the tests (average value of the two tests).

In each component of the evaluation the grade has to be >=9.5, in a scale 0-20. 

Subject matter

Definition of barrier membranes. Packaging. 

Properties of barrier membranes ;

 Edible coatings – composition, function and applications;

Nanocomposites - formulation, properties and applications.

 Polymers rheology;

Structural, mechanical and thermal properties;

 Transport properties of barrier membranes

 Sorption, diffusion and permeability;

Permeability in polymer blends, multilayers and composites;

Unsteady-state molecular diffusion and permeability;

 Membranes with reactive carriers

Active  and intelligent packaging;

Barrier membranes with scavengers-blends or layers. Mathematical modeling.

 Selected case-studies of barrier membranes for food applications 

New challenges 


Programs where the course is taught: