(19)
(11)EP 3 647 357 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 18822929.8

(22)Date of filing:  27.06.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C08L 29/04  (2006.01)
C08K 3/11  (2018.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/024305
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/004257 (03.01.2019 Gazette  2019/01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 27.06.2017 JP 2017124872
05.07.2017 JP 2017131681

(71)Applicant: Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
Tokyo 100-8251 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • USUI Shintaro
    Tokyo 1008251 (JP)
  • NISHIMURA Daichi
    Tokyo 1008251 (JP)
  • IKESHITA Minako
    Tokyo 1008251 (JP)

(74)Representative: Kuhnen & Wacker Patent- und Rechtsanwaltsbüro PartG mbB 
Prinz-Ludwig-Straße 40A
85354 Freising
85354 Freising (DE)

  


(54)ETHYLENE-VINYL ALCOHOL COPOLYMER COMPOSITION FOR MELT MOLDING, PELLET AND MULTILAYER STRUCTURE


(57) A melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition and a multilayer structure are substantially free from heat coloration. The melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition contains: (A) an ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer; (B) an alkali earth metal compound; and (C) an iron compound; wherein the iron compound (C) is present in an amount of 0.01 to 20 ppm on a metal basis based on the weight of the ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition.


Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition containing an ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (hereinafter referred to simply as "EVOH resin") as a major component, and further relates to pellets and to a multilayer structure. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to a melt-formable EVOH resin composition substantially free from coloration after heating, and further relates to pellets and to a multilayer structure.

BACKGROUND ART



[0002] EVOH resin is excellent in transparency, gas barrier properties such as oxygen barrier property, aroma-retaining property, solvent resistance, oil resistance, and mechanical strength, and is formed into films, sheets, bottles, and the like, which are widely used as various packaging materials such as food packaging materials, pharmaceutical product packaging materials, industrial chemical packaging materials, and agricultural chemical packaging materials.

[0003] However, EVOH resin contains relatively active hydroxyl groups in its molecule and, therefore, is liable to experience oxidation reaction and crosslinking reaction when being melted at a higher temperature even in a generally oxygen-free environment within an extruder. This tends to cause coloration, gelation, and other problems. To solve these problems, for example, PTL 1 discloses a resin composition that contains: (A) a saponified ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer having an ethylene content of 20 to 60 mol % and a saponification degree of not less than 90 mol %; (B) acetic acid; and (C) magnesium acetate and/or calcium acetate; wherein the component (B) is present in an amount of not greater than 0.05 parts by weight based on 100 parts by weight of the component (A); wherein the component (C) is present in an amount of 0.001 to 0.02 parts by weight on a metal basis based on 100 parts by weight of the component (A). The resin composition is excellent in long-run melt formability, and can provide a formed product excellent in appearance substantially without fisheyes, streaks, and coloration. Where the formed product is provided in the form of a laminate, the laminate is less susceptible to odor emanation. The resin composition ensures excellent interlayer adhesiveness of the laminate even after the laminate is subjected to secondary processes such as stretching and deep drawing.

RELATED ART DOCUMENT


PATENT DOCUMENT



[0004] PTL 1: JP-A-HEI11(1999)-106592

SUMMARY



[0005] In recent years, forming apparatuses tend to have higher functionalities to cope with diversification of feed block and die shapes of the forming apparatuses and higher functional requirements for layer thickness reduction and layer number increase of multilayer structures to be formed as final products by the forming apparatuses. On the other hand, the resin is liable to deteriorate in such a forming apparatus having an internal structure complicated due to the higher functional requirements. This tends to result in coloration of the resin, thereby reducing productivity. Therefore, the resin composition needs further improvement.

[0006] The inventors conducted intensive studies in view of the foregoing and, as a result, found that, where an alkali earth metal compound and a very small amount of an iron compound are added to the EVOH resin, the resulting EVOH resin composition has a coloration-suppressing effect during heating.

[0007] According to a first aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a melt-formable EVOH resin composition containing: (A) an EVOH resin; (B) an alkali earth metal compound; and (C) an iron compound; wherein the iron compound (C) is present in an amount of 0.01 to 20 ppm on a metal basis based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition. According to a second aspect of the present disclosure, pellets formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition are provided. According to a third aspect of the present disclosure, a multilayer structure including a layer formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition is provided.

[0008] The melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure contains the EVOH resin (A), the alkali earth metal compound (B), and the iron compound (C). In the EVOH resin composition, the iron compound (C) is present in an amount of 0.01 to 20 ppm on a metal basis based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition. The EVOH resin composition has a coloration-suppressing effect during heating in a melt forming process and the like.

[0009] Where the alkali earth metal compound (B) is present in an amount of 0.1 to 500 ppm on a metal basis based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure, the EVOH resin composition is improved in coloration-suppressing effect during heating in the melt forming process and the like.

[0010] Where the weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis is 0.005 to 50,000, the EVOH resin composition is further improved in coloration-suppressing effect during heating in the melt forming process and the like.

[0011] Where the alkali earth metal compound (B) is an alkali earth metal carboxylate, the EVOH resin composition is still further improved in coloration-suppressing effect during heating in the melt forming process and the like.

[0012] The pellets formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure are excellent in coloration-suppressing effect during heating in the melt forming process and the like. Therefore, the pellets of the present disclosure can be melt-formed into packaging materials, which are advantageously used, for example, for packaging foods, chemicals, agricultural chemicals, and the like.

[0013] The multilayer structure including the layer formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is particularly useful, for example, as a packaging material for foods, chemicals, agricultural chemicals, and the like.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



[0014] Preferred embodiments of the present disclosure will hereinafter be described in detail. It should be understood that these preferred embodiments are illustrative but not limitative.

[0015] An EVOH resin composition for a melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure contains: (A) an EVOH resin as a major component; (B) an alkali earth metal compound; and (C) an iron compound. In the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure, the EVOH resin (A) is present as a base resin. That is, the proportion of the EVOH resin (A) in the EVOH resin composition is typically not less than 70 wt.%, preferably not less than 80 wt.%, more preferably not less than 90 wt.%, particularly preferably not less than 95 wt.%. The melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure will be hereinafter sometimes referred to simply as EVOH resin composition.

[0016] The respective components will hereinafter be described in turn.

[EVOH Resin (A)]



[0017] The EVOH resin (A) to be used in the present disclosure is a water-insoluble thermoplastic resin typically prepared by saponifying a copolymer of ethylene and a vinyl ester monomer, i.e., an ethylene-vinyl ester copolymer. Vinyl acetate is generally used as the vinyl ester monomer for economy.

[0018] A known polymerization method such as solution polymerization method, suspension polymerization method or emulsion polymerization method may be utilized for polymerization of ethylene and the vinyl ester monomer. In general, a solution polymerization method using methanol as a solvent is utilized. The saponification of the resulting ethylene-vinyl ester copolymer may be achieved by a known method.

[0019] The EVOH resin (A) thus prepared mainly contains an ethylene structural unit and a vinyl alcohol structural unit, and further contains a small amount of a vinyl ester structural unit left unsaponified.

[0020] Vinyl acetate is typically used as the vinyl ester monomer, because it is easily commercially available and ensures a higher impurity treatment efficiency in the preparation. Other examples of the vinyl ester monomer include aliphatic vinyl esters such as vinyl formate, vinyl propionate, vinyl valerate, vinyl butyrate, vinyl isobutyrate, vinyl pivalate, vinyl caprate, vinyl laurate, vinyl stearate, and vinyl versatate, and aromatic vinyl esters such as vinyl benzoate. The aliphatic vinyl esters typically have a carbon number of 3 to 20, preferably 4 to 10, particularly preferably 4 to 7. These vinyl esters may be typically each used alone or, as required, a plurality of vinyl esters may be selected from these vinyl esters to be used in combination.

[0021] The ethylene structural unit content of the EVOH resin (A) can be controlled by adjusting the pressure of ethylene to be supplied when the vinyl ester monomer and ethylene are copolymerized. The ethylene structural unit content of the EVOH resin (A) is typically 20 to 60 mol %, preferably 25 to 50 mol %, particularly preferably 25 to 35 mol %. If the ethylene structural unit content is excessively low, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in high-humidity gas barrier property and stretchability. If the ethylene structural unit content is excessively high, on the other hand, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in gas barrier property.

[0022] The ethylene structural unit content may be measured in conformity with ISO14663.

[0023] The vinyl ester saponification degree of the EVOH resin (A) can be controlled by adjusting the amount of a saponification catalyst (typically, an alkaline catalyst such as sodium hydroxide), a saponification temperature, a saponification period, and the like for the saponification of the ethylene-vinyl ester copolymer. The saponification degree is typically 90 to 100 mol %, preferably 95 to 100 mol %, particularly preferably 99 to 100 mol %. If the saponification degree is excessively low, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in gas barrier property, heat stability, humidity resistance, and the like.

[0024] The saponification degree of the EVOH resin (A) is measured in conformity with JIS K6726 (with the use of a solution obtained by homogenously dissolving the EVOH resin in a water/methanol solvent).

[0025] The EVOH resin (A) typically has a melt flow rate (MFR) of 0.5 to 100 g/10 minutes, preferably 1 to 50 g/10 minutes, particularly preferably 3 to 35 g/10 minutes (as measured at 210°C with a load of 2160 g). If the MFR of the EVOH resin (A) is excessively high, the EVOH resin composition tends to have unstable film formability. If the MFR of the EVOH resin (A) is excessively low, the EVOH resin composition tends to have an excessively high viscosity, making melt extrusion difficult.

[0026] The MFR, which is an index of the polymerization degree of the EVOH resin, can be controlled by adjusting the amount of a polymerization initiator and the amount of a solvent in the copolymerization of ethylene and the vinyl ester monomer.

[0027] The EVOH resin (A) to be used in the present disclosure may further contain a structural unit derived from any of the following comonomers in an amount (e.g., not greater than 10 mol % of the EVOH resin (A)) that does not impair the effects of the present disclosure.

[0028] The comonomers include: olefins such as propylene, 1-butene, and isobutene, hydroxyl-containing α-olefins such as 3-buten-1-ol, 3-butene-1,2-diol, 4-penten-1-ol, and 5-hexene-1,2-diol, and derivatives including esterification products and acylation products of these hydroxyl-containing α-olefins; hydroxyalkyl vinylidenes such as 2-methylenepropane-1,3-diol and 3-methylenepentane-1,5-diol; hydroxyalkyl vinylidene diacetates such as 1,3-diacetoxy-2-methylenepropane, 1,3-dipropionyloxy-2-methylenepropane, and 1,3-dibutyryloxy-2-methylenepropane; unsaturated acids such as acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, crotonic acid, phthalic acid (anhydride), maleic acid (anhydride), and itaconic acid (anhydride), salts of these unsaturated acids, and monoalkyl and dialkyl esters of these unsaturated acids each including a C1- to C18-alkyl group; acrylamide compounds such as acrylamide, N-alkylacrylamides each including a C1- to C18-alkyl group, N,N-dimethylacrylamide, 2-acrylamidopropane sulfonic acid and its salts, and acrylamidopropyldimethylamine and its acid salts and quaternary salts; methacrylamide compounds such as methacrylamide, N-alkylmethacrylamides each including a C1-to C18-alkyl group, N,N-dimethylmethacrylamide, 2-methacrylamidopropane sulfonic acid and its salts, and methacrylamidopropyldimethylamine and its acid salts and quaternary salts; N-vinylamides such as N-vinylpyrrolidone, N-vinylformamide, and N-vinylacetamide; vinyl cyanates such as acrylonitrile and methacrylonitrile; vinyl ethers each including a C1- to C18-alkyl group such as alkyl vinyl ethers, hydroxyalkyl vinyl ethers, and alkoxyalkyl vinyl ethers; halogenated vinyl compounds such as vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, vinyl fluoride, vinylidene fluoride, and vinyl bromide; vinylsilanes such as trimethoxyvinylsilane; allyl acetate, and halogenated allyl compounds such as allyl chloride; allyl alcohol compounds such as allyl alcohol and dimethoxyallyl alcohol; and trimethyl(3-acrylamido-3-dimethylpropyl)ammonium chloride and acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid. These may be used alone or in combination.

[0029] An EVOH resin having a primary hydroxyl group in its side chain is particularly preferred because of its gas barrier property and excellent secondary formability. Particularly, an EVOH resin prepared by copolymerization with the hydroxyl-containing α-olefin is preferred, and an EVOH resin having a 1,2-diol structure in its side chain is especially preferred.

[0030] Particularly, where the EVOH resin having a primary hydroxyl group in its side chain is used, the content of a structural unit derived from the primary hydroxyl-containing monomer is typically 0.1 to 20 mol %, preferably 0.5 to 15 mol %, particularly preferably 1 to 10 mol %, of the EVOH resin.

[0031] The EVOH resin (A) to be used in the present disclosure may be a post-modified EVOH resin such as a urethanized, acetalized, cyanoethylated or oxyalkylenated EVOH resin.

[0032] The EVOH resin (A) to be used in the present disclosure may be a mixture of different EVOH resins. These EVOH resins may have different saponification degrees, and different polymerization degrees, and contain different comonomer components.

[Alkali Earth Metal Compound (B)]



[0033] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure contains the alkali earth metal compound (B). The amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition is typically 1 to 1,000 ppm, preferably 10 to 800 ppm, particularly preferably 50 to 500 ppm, based on the weight of the overall EVOH resin composition.

[0034] The amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal weight basis is typically 0.1 to 500 ppm, preferably 0.5 to 300 ppm, more preferably 1 to 200 ppm, particularly preferably 2 to 150 ppm, based on the weight of the overall EVOH resin composition.

[0035] If the amounts of the alkali earth metal compound (B) described above are excessively great, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in heat stability. If the amounts of the alkali earth metal compound (B) are excessively small, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in formability.

[0036] The amounts of the alkali earth metal compound (B) described above are based on the EVOH resin composition as a final product that includes the EVOH resin (A), the alkali earth metal compound (B), the iron compound (C), and optional additives.

[0037] Exemplary alkali earth metal species for the alkali earth metal compound (B) to be used in the present disclosure include beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium, which may be used alone or in combination. Of these, magnesium and calcium are preferred for commercial availability and economy.

[0038] Examples of the alkali earth metal compound (B) to be used in the present disclosure include alkali earth metal salt, alkali earth metal oxide, and alkali earth metal hydroxide. Of these, the alkali earth metal oxide or the alkali earth metal salt is preferred for economy and dispersibility, and the alkali earth metal salt is particularly preferred. Examples of the alkali earth metal oxide include magnesium oxide and calcium oxide. Examples of the alkali earth metal salt include inorganic salts such as carbonates, hydrogen carbonates, phosphates, borates, sulfates, and chlorides of the alkali earth metals, and carboxylates of the alkali earth metals.

[0039] The alkali earth metal compound (B) to be used in the present disclosure preferably exclude inorganic lamellar compounds such as montmorillonite and double salts such as hydrotalcites from the viewpoint of economy and dispersibility.

[0040] Particularly, the carboxylates of the alkali earth metals are preferred because of their excellent viscosity reducing effect during heating. The carboxylates may be saturated or unsaturated carboxylates of the alkali earth metals. Examples of the carboxylates include monocarboxylates such as acetates, butyrates, propionates, enanthates, caprates, laurates, palmitates, stearates, 12-hydroxystearates, behenates, and montanates of the alkali earth metals, and dicarboxylates such as oxalates, malonates, succinates, adipates, suberates, and sebacates of the alkali earth metals, which may be used alone or in combination. From the viewpoint of commercial availability, linear saturated carboxylates of the alkali earth metals are preferred, and the monocarboxylates of the alkali earth metals are more preferred.

[0041] Where plural types of alkali earth metal compounds are used as the alkali earth metal compound (B), the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) is the total amount of the alkali earth metal compounds.

[0042] The alkali earth metal compound (B) may be used in any form, e.g., solid form (powdery form, particulate form or flake form), semisolid form, liquid form, paste form, solution form, emulsion form (aqueous dispersion form) or the like. Particularly, the powdery form is preferred.

[0043] The amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is determined, for example, by heating and ashing the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure, treating the resulting ash with an acid such as hydrochloric acid, adding purified water to the resulting solution to a predetermined volume to prepare a sample liquid, and analyzing the sample liquid by an atomic absorption spectrometer.

[Iron Compound (C)]



[0044] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure contains the EVOH resin (A), the alkali earth metal compound (B), and the iron compound (C). In the EVOH resin composition, the iron compound (C) is present in a specific very small amount. With this arrangement, the EVOH resin composition is substantially free from the coloration after the heating.

[0045] In general, it is known that an EVOH resin composition prepared by adding an alkali earth metal salt to an EVOH resin tends to experience viscosity reduction with time during heating. A mechanism for the viscosity reduction is not clarified, but the viscosity reduction occurs supposedly because the EVOH resin composition is made basic by the addition of the alkali earth metal compound, and some anion serving as a nucleophilic agent removes hydrogen from a main chain carbon of the EVOH resin, whereby the main chain of the EVOH resin experiences a decomposition reaction to be broken. Further, the heat coloration of the EVOH resin occurs supposedly because double bond structures are formed in the main chain of the EVOH resin during the reaction, and serve as reaction starting points again to cause a dehydration reaction and the like, whereby polyene structures are formed in the main chain of the EVOH resin.

[0046] In the present disclosure, the coloration is suppressed by using the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the specific very small amount of the iron compound (C) in combination. That is, the formation of the polyene structures is suppressed supposedly because the iron compound (C) provides stable trivalent iron ions and, even with a very small amount of the iron compound (C), the iron ions form chelates with the double bonds in the main chain of the EVOH resin to be stabilized, thereby suppressing the formation of the polyene structures.

[0047] In the present disclosure, it is unexpectedly found that, where the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) are used in combination, the viscosity reducing effect with time during the heating is enhanced.

[0048] The amount of the iron compound (C) contained in the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is 0.01 to 20 ppm, preferably 0.03 to 8 ppm, particularly preferably 0.05 to 3 ppm, especially preferably 0.05 to 0.8 ppm, on a metal basis based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition.

[0049] If the amount of the iron compound (C) is excessively small, the EVOH resin composition tends to be poorer in heat coloration-suppressing effect. If the amount of the iron compound (C) is excessively great, on the other hand, a product formed from the EVOH resin composition is liable to be colored.

[0050] The amount of the iron compound (C) is determined in the following manner.

<Analysis of Iron Compound (C)>



[0051] A sample solution is prepared by pulverizing pellets of the EVOH resin composition, ashing 0.5 g of the pulverized EVOH resin composition in an oxygen stream at 650°C for 1 hour in an infrared heating oven, dissolving the resulting ash in an acid, and diluting the resulting solution to a predetermined volume with purified water. The sample solution is analyzed by an ICP mass spectrometer 7500ce available from Agilent Technologies, Inc. through an ICP-MS standard addition method.

[0052] The iron compound (C) may be present, for example, as an iron oxide, an iron hydroxide, an iron chloride or an iron salt, in an ionized form, or in the form of a complex coordinated with the resin or other ligands in the EVOH resin composition. Examples of the iron oxide include ferric oxide, ferrosoferric oxide, and ferrous oxide. Examples of the iron chloride include ferrous chloride, and ferric chloride. Examples of the iron hydroxide include ferrous hydroxide, and ferric hydroxide. Examples of the iron salt include inorganic salts such as iron phosphate and iron sulfate, and organic salts such as iron carboxylates (e.g., iron acetate, iron butyrate, iron stearate, and the like). These may be used alone or in combination.

[0053] From the viewpoint of the dispersibility in the EVOH resin composition, the iron compound (C) is preferably water-soluble. From the viewpoint of the dispersibility and the productivity, the iron compound (C) typically has a molecular weight of 100 to 10,000, preferably 100 to 1,000, particularly preferably 100 to 500.

[0054] In the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure, the weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis is typically 0.2 to 50,000, preferably 1 to 10,000, particularly preferably 50 to 8,000, especially preferably 800 to 5,000.

[0055] The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis is typically 0.005 to 50,000, preferably 1 to 30,000, particularly preferably 10 to 10,000, especially preferably 30 to 5,000.

[0056] If the weight ratio values described above are excessively great, the heat stability tends to be deteriorated. If the weight ratio values are excessively small, a product formed from the EVOH resin composition tends to be colored.

[Other Thermoplastic Resin]



[0057] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure may contain a thermoplastic resin other than the EVOH resin (A) in an amount (e.g., typically not greater than 30 wt.%, preferably not greater than 20 wt.%, particularly preferably not greater than 10 wt.%, based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition) that does not impair the effects of the present disclosure.

[0058] A known thermoplastic resin may be used as the other thermoplastic resin. Specific examples of the thermoplastic resin include polyamide resins, polyolefin resins, polyester resins, polystyrene resins, polyvinyl chloride resins, polycarbonate resins, polyacrylic resins, ionomers, ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers, ethylene-acrylate copolymers, ethylene-methacrylic acid copolymers, ethylene-methacrylate copolymers, polyvinylidene chlorides, vinyl ester resins, polyester elastomers, polyurethane elastomers, chlorinated polyethylenes, and chlorinated polypropylenes, which may be used alone or in combination.

[Other Additives]



[0059] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure may contain additives that are generally blended with the EVOH resin, as long as the effects of the present disclosure are not impaired. Examples of the additives include: plasticizer (e.g., aliphatic polyhydric alcohol such as ethylene glycol, glycerin or hexanediol); oxygen absorber [e.g., inorganic oxygen absorber such as aluminum powder, potassium sulfite or photo-catalytic titanium oxide; organic compound oxygen absorber such as ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid ester, ascorbic acid metal salt other than ascorbic acid salts of the alkali earth metals, polyhydric phenol compound (e.g., hydroquinone, gallic acid, hydroxyl-containing phenol aldehyde resin or the like), coordination compound obtained by coordination-bonding nitrogen-containing compound and non-iron transition metal (e.g., bis-salicylaldehyde-imine cobalt, tetraethylenepentamine cobalt, cobalt-Schiff base complex, porphyrins, macrocyclic polyamine complex, polyethyleneimine-cobalt complex or the like), terpene compound, reaction product obtained by reaction between amino acid and hydroxyl-containing reductive substance, triphenylmethyl compound or the like; or polymer oxygen absorber such as coordination compound obtained by coordination-bonding nitrogen-containing resin and non-iron transition metal (e.g., combination of methyl xylylenediamine (MXD) nylon and cobalt), blend of tertiary hydrogen-containing resin and non-iron transition metal (e.g., combination of polypropylene and cobalt), blend of unsaturated carbon-carbon bond-containing resin and non-iron transition metal (e.g., combination of polybutadiene and cobalt), photo-oxidation degradative resin (e.g., polyketone), anthraquinone polymer (e.g., polyvinylanthraquinone), or mixture containing any of these blends and photo initiator (benzophenone or the like), peroxide scavenger (commercially available antioxidant or the like) or deodorant (active carbon or the like)]; and heat stabilizer, photo stabilizer, UV absorber, colorant, antistatic agent, surfactant (not serving as lubricant), antibacterial agent, antiblocking agent, and filler (e.g., inorganic filler or the like). These compounds may be used alone or in combination.

[EVOH Resin Composition Production Method]



[0060] Known examples of a method of producing the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure include dry blending method, melt mixing method, solution mixing method, and impregnation method, which may be used in combination.

[0061] An example of the dry blending method is a method (i) including the step of dry-blending pellets of the EVOH resin (A) with at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) by means of a tumbler or the like.

[0062] Examples of the melt mixing method include: a method (ii) including the steps of melt-kneading a dry blend of pellets of the EVOH resin (A) and at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C), and forming the resulting melt mixture into pellets or a product; and a method (iii) including the steps of adding at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) to the EVOH resin (A) in a melted state, melt-kneading the resulting mixture, and forming the resulting melt mixture into pellets or a product.

[0063] Examples of the solution mixing method include: a method (iv) including the steps of preparing a solution by using commercially available pellets of the EVOH resin (A), adding at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) to the solution, solidifying and forming the resulting solution into pellets, separating the pellets from the solution, and drying the pellets; and a method (v) including the steps of adding at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) to a homogeneous solution (water/alcohol solution or the like) of the EVOH resin in the preparation of the EVOH resin (A), solidifying and forming the resulting solution into pellets, separating the pellets from the solution, and drying the pellets.

[0064] An example of the impregnation method is a method (vi) including the steps of bringing pellets of the EVOH resin (A) into contact with an aqueous solution containing at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) to incorporate at least one selected from the group consisting of the alkali earth metal compound (B) and the iron compound (C) into the pellets of the EVOH resin (A), and then drying the resulting pellets.

[0065] In the present disclosure, the EVOH resin composition can be produced by using any of the aforementioned different methods in combination. Particularly, the melt mixing method is preferred, and the method (ii) is particularly preferred, because the resin composition produced by these methods is significantly improved in productivity and the effects of the present disclosure.

[0066] Pellets of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure to be produced by any of the aforementioned methods, and the pellets of the EVOH resin (A) to be used in any of the aforementioned methods may each have any desired shape. The pellets may each have, for example, spherical shape, oval shape, cylindrical shape, cubic shape, square prism shape, or the like, and typically the oval shape or the cylindrical shape. The oval pellets typically each have a minor diameter of 1 to 10 mm and a major diameter of 1.5 to 30 mm, preferably a minor diameter of 2 to 6 mm and a major diameter of 3 to 20 mm, more preferably a minor diameter of 2.5 to 5.5 mm and a major diameter of 3.5 to 10 mm, for easy handling thereof in the subsequent use as a forming material. The cylindrical pellets typically each have a bottom diameter of 1 to 6 mm and a length of 1 to 6 mm, preferably a bottom diameter of 2 to 5 mm and a length of 2 to 5 mm.

[0067] As described above, a water-soluble iron compound is used as the iron compound (C) in the aforementioned methods. Examples of the iron compound include: iron oxides such as ferric oxide, ferrosoferric oxide, and ferrous oxide; iron chlorides such as ferrous chloride and ferric chloride; iron hydroxides such as ferrous hydroxide and ferric hydroxide; inorganic iron salts such as iron phosphate and iron sulfate; and organic iron salts such as iron carboxylates (e.g., iron acetate, iron butyrate, iron stearate, and the like). As described above, the iron compound (C) may be present in the form of a salt, in an ionized form, or in the form of a complex coordinated with the resin or other compound ligands in the EVOH resin composition.

[0068] Usable as the aqueous solution containing the iron compound in the method (vi) are an aqueous solution of any of the aforementioned iron compounds, and an aqueous solution that contains iron ions released from a steel material immersed in water containing chemical agents. In this case, the amount (on a metal basis) of the iron compound (C) to be contained in the EVOH resin composition may be controlled by adjusting the concentration of the iron compound in the aqueous solution in which the pellets of the EVOH resin (A) are immersed, the immersion temperature, the immersion period, and/or the like. The immersion period is typically 0.5 to 48 hours, preferably 1 to 36 hours, and the immersion temperature is typically 10°C to 40°C, preferably 20°C to 35°C.

[0069] The pellets of the EVOH resin composition are separated from the aqueous solution by a known method, and dried by a known drying method. Various drying methods are usable for the drying, and examples of the drying methods include stationary drying method and fluidized drying method, which may be used alone or in combination.

[0070] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure typically has a water content of 0.01 to 0.5 wt.%, preferably 0.05 to 0.35 wt.%, particularly preferably 0.1 to 0.3 wt.%.

[0071] The water content of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is measured and calculated in the following manner.

[0072] The weight (W1) of the EVOH resin composition is measured by an electronic balance before the drying, and the EVOH resin composition is dried at 150°C for 5 hours in a hot air dryer and cooled for 30 minutes in a desiccator. Then, the weight (W2) of the resulting EVOH resin composition is measured. The water content of the EVOH resin composition is calculated from the following expression:



[0073] The pellets of the EVOH resin composition thus produced may be used as they are for the melt forming. In order to ensure stable feeding of the EVOH resin composition pellets in the melt forming, a known lubricant is preferably applied to surfaces of the pellets. Examples of the lubricant include: higher fatty acids (e.g., lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, behenic acid, and oleic acid); esters of the higher fatty acids (e.g., methyl esters, isopropyl esters, butyl esters, and octyl esters of the higher fatty acids); amides of the higher fatty acids (e.g., saturated higher fatty acid amides such as lauramide, myristamide, palmitamide, stearamide, and behenamide, unsaturated higher fatty acid amides such as oleamide and erucamide, and bis-higher fatty acid amides such as ethylene bis-stearamide, ethylene bis-oleamide, ethylene bis-erucamide, and ethylene bis-lauramide); low-molecular-weight polyolefins (e.g., low-molecular-weight polyethylenes and low-molecular-weight polypropylenes each having a molecular weight of about 500 to about 10,000, and acid modification products of these low-molecular-weight polyolefins); and higher alcohols, ester oligomers, and fluorinated ethylene resins. The amount of the lubricant is typically not greater than 5 wt.%, preferably not greater than 1 wt.%, based on the weight of the EVOH resin composition.

[0074] The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure may be prepared in any of various forms, e.g., in a pellet form, in a powdery form, or in a liquid form, for use as a melt-formable material for various formed products. The EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure may be a resin composition prepared by mixing the EVOH resin composition with a resin other than the EVOH resin (A).

[0075] Exemplary products to be formed from the EVOH resin composition for practical applications include a single-layer film formed by using the pellets of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure, and a multilayer structure including a layer formed by using the pellets of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure.

[Multilayer Structure]



[0076] A multilayer structure produced by using the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure includes a layer formed from the EVOH resin composition. The layer formed by using the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure and containing the EVOH resin composition (hereinafter referred to simply as "EVOH resin composition layer") may be laminated with some other base material (hereinafter referred to as "base resin") containing a thermoplastic resin other than the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure as a main component. Thus, the EVOH resin composition layer can be strengthened, protected from moisture and other influence, or imparted with an additional function.

[0077] Examples of the base resin include: (unmodified) polyolefin resins including polyethylene resins such as linear low-density polyethylenes, low-density polyethylenes, very-low-density polyethylenes, medium-density polyethylenes, high-density polyethylenes, ethylene-propylene (block and random) copolymers, and ethylene-α-olefin (C4 to C20 α-olefin) copolymers, polypropylene resins such as polypropylenes and propylene-α-olefin (C4 to C20 α-olefin) copolymers, polybutenes, polypentenes, and polycycloolefin resins (polymers having a cycloolefin structure in a main chain and/or a side chain thereof); polyolefin resins in a broader sense including modified olefin resins such as unsaturated carboxyl-modified polyolefin resins obtained by graft-modifying any of the aforementioned polyolefin resins with an unsaturated carboxylic acid or an unsaturated carboxylic acid ester; and ionomers, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers, ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers, ethylene-acrylate copolymers, polyester resins, polyamide resins (including polyamide copolymers), polyvinyl chlorides, polyvinylidene chlorides, acrylic resins, polystyrene resins, vinyl ester resins, polyester elastomers, polyurethane elastomers, polystyrene elastomers, halogenated polyolefins such as chlorinated polyethylenes and chlorinated polypropylenes, and aromatic and aliphatic polyketones.

[0078] Of these, the polyamide resins, the polyolefin resins, the polyester resins, and the polystyrene resins, which are hydrophobic resins, are preferred, and the polyolefin resins such as the polyethylene resins, the polypropylene resins, the polycycloolefin resins, and the unsaturated carboxyl-modified polyolefin resins obtained by modifying these polyolefin resins are more preferred.

[0079] Where EVOH resin composition layers a (a1, a2, ...) formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure and base resin layers b (b1, b2, ...) are laminated together to produce a multilayer structure, the layered configuration of the multilayer structure may be any combination of these layers, e.g., a/b, b/a/b, a/b/a, a1/a2/b, a/b1/b2, b2/b1/a/b1/b2, b2/b1/a/b1/a/b1/b2, or the like. Where the multilayer structure further includes a recycle layer R formed from a mixture obtained by re-melting cutoff pieces and defective products occurring during the production of the multilayer structure and containing the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure and other thermoplastic resin, possible combinations of the layers for the layered configuration include b/R/a, b/R/a/b, b/R/a/R/b, b/a/R/a/b, b/R/a/R/a/R/b, and the like. The total number of the layers of the multilayer structure is typically 2 to 15, preferably 3 to 10. In the aforementioned layered configuration, as required, an adhesive resin layer containing an adhesive resin may be provided between the layers.

[0080] Known adhesive resins are usable as the adhesive resin. The adhesive resin is properly selected according to the type of the thermoplastic resin to be used for the base resin layers b. Typical examples of the adhesive resin include carboxyl-containing modified polyolefin polymers prepared by chemically bonding an unsaturated carboxylic acid or its anhydride to a polyolefin resin by an addition reaction, a graft reaction or the like. Examples of the carboxyl-containing modified polyolefin polymers include polyethylenes graft-modified with maleic anhydride, polypropylenes graft-modified with maleic anhydride, ethylene-propylene (block and random) copolymers graft-modified with maleic anhydride, ethylene-ethyl acrylate copolymers graft-modified with maleic anhydride, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers graft-modified with maleic anhydride, polycycloolefin resins modified with maleic anhydride, and polyolefin resins graft-modified with maleic anhydride. These adhesive resins may be each used alone, or two or more of these adhesive resins may be used as a mixture.

[0081] Where the adhesive resin layers are provided between the EVOH resin composition layer formed from the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure and the base resin layers in the multilayer structure, the adhesive resin layers are present on opposite sides of the EVOH resin composition layer and, therefore, a highly hydrophobic adhesive resin is preferably used for the adhesive resin layers.

[0082] The base resin and the adhesive resin may each contain conventionally known plasticizer, filler, clay (montmorillonite or the like), colorant, antioxidant, antistatic agent, lubricant, nucleating agent, antiblocking agent, wax, and the like in amounts that do not impair the effects of the present disclosure (e.g., in amounts of not greater than 30 wt.%, preferably not greater than 10 wt.% of the resin). These may be used alone or in combination.

[0083] The EVOH resin composition layer formed by using the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure and the base resin layer may be laminated together (optionally with the adhesive resin layer provided therebetween) by a known laminating method. Examples of the laminating method include: a method in which a film or a sheet of the EVOH resin composition is laminated with the base resin by melt extrusion; a method in which the base resin layer is laminated with the EVOH resin composition by melt extrusion; a method in which the EVOH resin composition and the base resin are coextruded; a method in which the EVOH resin composition layer and the base resin layer are dry-laminated together with the use of a known adhesive agent such as of organic titanium compound, isocyanate compound, polyester compound or polyurethane compound; and a method in which a solution of the EVOH resin composition is applied on the base resin layer, and a solvent is removed from the applied solution. Of these methods, the coextrusion method is preferred from the viewpoint of costs and environmental concerns.

[0084] The multilayer structure described above may be further subjected to a (heat) stretching process as required. The stretching process may be a uniaxial stretching process or a biaxial stretching process. The biaxial stretching process may be a simultaneous stretching process or a sequential stretching process. Exemplary methods for the stretching process include roll stretching method, tenter stretching method, tubular stretching method, stretch blowing method, and vacuum pressure forming method each having a higher stretch ratio. A temperature for the stretching is preferably close to the melting point of the multilayer structure, and is typically selected from a range of about 40°C to about 170°C, preferably about 60°C to about 160°C. If the stretching temperature is excessively low, poorer stretchability will result. If the stretching temperature is excessively high, it will be difficult to ensure stable stretching.

[0085] The resulting multilayer structure may be further subjected to a heat-setting process to ensure dimensional stability after the stretching. The heat-setting process may be performed in a known manner. For example, the stretched film is typically heat-treated at 80°C to 180°C, preferably 100°C to 165°C, for about 2 to about 600 seconds, while being kept tense. Where the stretched multilayer film produced by using the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is used as a shrinkable film, the stretched film may be cold-set so as to be imparted with a heat-shrinkable property by applying cold air over the stretched film without performing the above heat-setting process.

[0086] In some case, a cup-shaped or tray-shaped multilayer container may be produced by using the multilayer structure described above. For the production of the multilayer container, a drawing process is typically employed. Specific examples of the drawing process include vacuum forming method, pressure forming method, vacuum pressure forming method, and plug-assisted vacuum pressure forming method. Where a tube-shaped or bottle-shaped multilayer container (laminate structure) is produced from a multilayer parison (a hollow tubular preform to be blown), a blow molding process is employed. Specific examples of the blow molding process include extrusion blow molding method (twin head type, mold shift type, parison shift type, rotary type, accumulator type, horizontal parison type, and the like), cold parison blow molding method, injection blow molding method, and biaxial stretching blow molding method (extrusion type cold parison biaxial stretching blow molding method, injection type cold parison biaxial stretching blow molding method, injection inline type biaxial stretching blow molding method, and the like). As required, the resulting multilayer structure may be subjected to heating process, cooling process, rolling process, printing process, dry laminating process, solution or melt coating process, bag forming process, deep drawing process, box forming process, tube forming process, splitting process, or the like.

[0087] The thickness of the multilayer structure (or the stretched multilayer structure) and the thicknesses of the EVOH resin composition layer, the base resin layer, and the adhesive resin layer of the multilayer structure vary depending upon the layered configuration, the type of the base resin, the type of the adhesive resin, and the use purpose, the package shape, the required physical properties, and the like of the multilayer structure. The thickness of the multilayer structure (or the stretched multilayer structure) is typically 10 to 5,000 µm, preferably 30 to 3,000 µm, particularly preferably 50 to 2,000 µm. The thickness of the EVOH resin composition layer is typically 1 to 500 µm, preferably 3 to 300 µm, particularly preferably 5 to 200 µm. The thickness of the base resin layer is typically 5 to 3,000 µm, preferably 10 to 2,000 µm, particularly preferably 20 to 1,000 µm. The thickness of the adhesive resin layer is typically 0.5 to 250 µm, preferably 1 to 150 µm, particularly preferably 3 to 100 µm.

[0088] The thickness ratio between the EVOH resin composition layer and the base resin layer of the multilayer structure (EVOH resin composition layer/base resin layer) (if these layers each include a plurality of layers, the thickness ratio between the thickest one of the EVOH resin composition layers and the thickest one of the base resin layers) is typically 1/99 to 50/50, preferably 5/95 to 45/55, particularly preferably 10/90 to 40/60. The thickness ratio between the EVOH resin composition layer and the adhesive resin layer of the multilayer structure (EVOH resin composition layer/adhesive resin layer) (if these layers each include a plurality of layers, the thickness ratio between the thickest one of the EVOH resin composition layers and the thickest one of the adhesive resin layers) is typically 10/90 to 99/1, preferably 20/80 to 95/5, particularly preferably 50/50 to 90/10.

[0089] Bags, cups, trays, tubes, bottles, and other containers, and caps produced from the film, the sheet or the stretched film formed in the aforementioned manner are useful as packaging material containers for general foods, condiments such as mayonnaise and dressing, fermented foods such as miso, fat and oil such as salad oil, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.

EXAMPLES



[0090] The embodiments of the present disclosure will hereinafter be described more specifically by way of examples thereof. However, it should be understood that the present disclosure be not limited to the examples within the scope of the present disclosure.

[0091] In the following examples, "parts" means "parts by weight" unless otherwise specified.

[0092] Prior to implementation of Examples, pellets of the following EVOH resin (A) were prepared, and the amount of an iron compound (C) contained in the EVOH resin (A) was measured.
  • EVOH resin (A): Ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer having an ethylene structural unit content of 29 mol %, a saponification degree of 99.6 mol %, and an MFR of 3.9 g/10 minutes (as measured at 210°C with a load of 2160 g)

[Measurement of Amount of Iron Compound (C)]



[0093] A sample was prepared by pulverizing the pellets of the EVOH resin (A), and 0.5 g of the sample was ashed in an infrared heating oven (in an oxygen stream at 650°C for 1 hour). The resulting ash was dissolved in an acid, and the resulting solution was diluted to a predetermined volume with purified water, whereby a sample solution was prepared. The sample solution was analyzed by an ICP-MS (ICP mass spectrometer 7500ce available from Agilent Technologies, Inc.) through a standard addition method. As a result, the amount of the iron compound (C) was 0 ppm on a metal basis.

<Example 1>



[0094] First, 100 parts of the pellets of the EVOH resin (A), 0.01 part of magnesium stearate (SM-PG available from Sakai Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.) as the alkali earth metal compound (B), and 0.000034 parts of iron (III) phosphate n-hydrate (available from Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd., and having a drying loss of 20.9 wt.% when being dried at 230°C) as the iron compound (C) were preheated at 230°C for 5 minutes and then melt-kneaded for 5 minutes by means of a plastograph (available from Brabender Corporation), whereby an EVOH resin composition was prepared. The EVOH resin composition thus prepared was pulverized by operating a crusher (SKR16-240 available from Sometani Sangyo Co., Ltd.) at 650 rpm. The pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition was in a granular form having a size of 1- to 5-mm square.

[0095] The amount (on a metal basis) of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition was 4 ppm as calculated as the magnesium content of the EVOH resin composition. The amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 0.1 ppm. The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 40.

<Example 2>



[0096] An EVOH resin composition and a pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition of Example 2 were prepared in substantially the same manner as in Example 1, except that the amount of the iron (III) phosphate n-hydrate was 0.00034 parts.

[0097] The amount (on a metal basis) of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition was 4 ppm as calculated as the magnesium content of the EVOH resin composition. The amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 1 ppm. The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 4.

<Example 3>



[0098] An EVOH resin composition and a pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition of Example 3 were prepared in substantially the same manner as in Example 1, except that the amount of the iron (III) phosphate n-hydrate was 0.0034 parts.

[0099] The amount (on a metal basis) of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition was 4 ppm as calculated as the magnesium content of the EVOH resin composition. The amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 10 ppm. The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 0.4.

<Example 4>



[0100] An EVOH resin composition and a pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition of Example 4 were prepared in substantially the same manner as in Example 1, except that magnesium oxide (KYOWAMAG 30 available from Kyowa Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.) was used as the alkali earth metal compound (B)

[0101] The amount (on a metal basis) of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition was 60 ppm as calculated as the magnesium content of the EVOH resin composition. The amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 0.1 ppm. The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 600.

<Example 5>



[0102] An EVOH resin composition and a pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition of Example 5 were prepared in substantially the same manner as in Example 1, except that the amount of magnesium stearate was 0.03 parts.

[0103] The amount (on a metal basis) of the alkali earth metal compound (B) contained in the EVOH resin composition was 12 ppm as calculated as the magnesium content of the EVOH resin composition. The amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 0.1 ppm. The weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis was 120.

<Comparative Example 1>



[0104] An EVOH resin composition and a pulverized product of the EVOH resin composition of Comparative Example 1 were prepared in substantially the same manner as in Example 1, except that the iron (III) phosphate n-hydrate was not blended.

[0105] The EVOH resin compositions of Examples 1 to 5, and Comparative Example 1 were each evaluated for coloration and heat stability by the following methods. The results are shown below in Table 1.

[Evaluation for Coloration]



[0106] The pulverized products of the EVOH resin compositions prepared in the aforementioned manner were each used as a sample. Before heating, the YI value of the sample was measured by means of a spectrophotometer SE6000 available from Nippon Denshoku Industries Co., Ltd. At this time, the measurement was performed with the sample filled to the full in a cylinder having an inner diameter of 32 mm and a height of 30 mm. After the sample was heat-treated at 150°C for 5 hours in an air atmosphere in an oven, the YI value of the heat-treated sample was measured in the same manner. Then, the ratio of the YI value after the heating to the YI value before the heating was calculated. A higher YI value ratio means that the EVOH resin composition was yellowed by the heating.

[Dynamic Viscosity Behavior]



[0107] The pulverized products of the EVOH resin compositions were each preheated at 230°C for 5 minutes and then melt-kneaded for 120 minutes by operating a plastograph (available from Brabender Corporation) at 50 rpm. The EVOH resin compositions were each evaluated based on a value obtained by dividing a torque observed after a lapse of 5 minutes from the start of measurement by a torque observed at the start of the measurement (after a lapse of 0 minute). A lower such value means that viscosity increase during the heating was suppressed. Further, the EVOH resin compositions were each evaluated based on a value obtained by dividing the torque observed at the start of the measurement (after a lapse of 0 minutes) by a torque observed at the completion of the measurement (after a lapse of 120 minutes). A higher such value means that viscosity increase with time was suppressed and the dynamic viscosity behavior was excellent.
Table 1
 Example 1Example 2Example 3Example 4Example 5Comparative Example 1
Alkali earth metal compound (B)
 TypeMagnesium stearateMagnesium stearateMagnesium stearateMagnesium oxideMagnesium stearateMagnesium stearate
 Amount (ppm) on metal basis 4 4 4 60 12 4
Amount (ppm) of iron compound (C) on metal basis 0.1 1 10 0.1 0.1 -
Amount of alkali earth metal compound (B) on metal basis/Amount of iron compound (C) on metal basis 40 4 0.4 600 120 -
YI before heating 39.3 40.5 32.6 37.5 47.1 35.0
YI after heating 58.0 57.0 48.5 59.6 63.4 58.0
YI after heating/YI before heating 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.3 1.7
Dynamic viscosity behavior (5 minutes/0 minute) 0.96 0.95 0.94 0.99 0.91 1.01
Dynamic viscosity behavior (0 minute/120 minutes) 2.21 2.06 2.10 2.63 4.38 1.89


[0108] The EVOH resin compositions of Examples 1 to 5 of the present disclosure each had smaller YI values before and after the heating as compared with the EVOH resin composition of Comparative Example 1 not containing the iron compound (C). This result indicates that the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is substantially free from the coloration during the heating.

[0109] Further, the melt-formable EVOH resin compositions of Examples 1 to 5 of the present disclosure each had a lower dynamic viscosity behavior value (5 minutes/0 minute) and a higher dynamic viscosity behavior value (0 minute/120 minutes) as compared with the EVOH resin composition of Comparative Example 1 not containing the iron compound (C). This means that the viscosity of the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is reduced with time by the heating, and indicates that the EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is excellent in long-run formability.

[0110] While specific forms of the embodiments of the present disclosure have been shown in the aforementioned examples, the examples are merely illustrative of the disclosure but not limitative of the disclosure. It is contemplated that various modifications apparent to those skilled in the art could be made within the scope of the disclosure.

[0111] The melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is substantially free from heat coloration, and is excellent in long-run formability. Therefore, the melt-formable EVOH resin composition of the present disclosure is useful as a material for packaging foods, condiments such as mayonnaise and dressing, fermented foods such as miso, fat and oil such as salad oil, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.


Claims

1. A melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition comprising:

(A) an ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer;

(B) an alkali earth metal compound; and

(C) an iron compound;

wherein the iron compound (C) is present in an amount of 0.01 to 20 ppm on a metal basis based on a weight of the ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition.
 
2. The melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition according to claim 1, wherein the alkali earth metal compound (B) is present in an amount of 0.1 to 500 ppm on a metal basis based on the weight of the ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition.
 
3. The melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition according to claim 1 or 2, wherein a weight ratio of the amount of the alkali earth metal compound (B) on a metal basis to the amount of the iron compound (C) on a metal basis is 0.005 to 50,000.
 
4. The melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the alkali earth metal compound (B) is an alkali earth metal carboxylate.
 
5. Pellets comprising the melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition according to any one of claims 1 to 4.
 
6. A multilayer structure comprising a layer that comprises the melt-formable ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer composition according to any one of claims 1 to 4.
 











REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description