Abstract: Antimicrobial packaging systems are recognized as effective approaches to prolong food shelf life. In this context, Bio-based PA11 loaded with a food-grade zeolite were prepared using ball milling technology in the dry state. Zeolite was filled with sodium salicylate, as an antimicrobial agent, and incorporated into the polymer matrix (~50 wt % of salicylate) at different loadings (up to 10 wt %).
Structural characterization and an analysis of the physical properties (thermal, barrier, mechanical) were conducted on the composites’ films and compared with the unfilled PA11. The successful entrapment of the antimicrobial molecule into the zeolite’s cavities was demonstrated by the thermal degradation analysis, showing a delay in the molecule’s degradation. Morphological organization, evaluated using SEM analysis, indicated the homogeneous distribution of the filler within the polymer matrix. The filler improves the thermal stability of PA11 and mechanical properties, also enhancing its barrier properties against CO2 and O2. The elongated form of the zeolite particles, evaluated through SEM analysis, was used to model the permeability data. The controlled release of salicylate,
evaluated as a function of time and found to depend on the filler loading, was analyzed using the Gallagher-Corrigan model.