Thermal Performance of Corrugated Plastic Boxes and Expanded Polystyrene Boxes




Björn Margeirsson, Sigurjón Arason, Halldór Pálsson

Supported by:

EU ‐ project Chill on (project no. FP6‐016333‐2), AVS Research Fund, TÞS Research Fund and University of Iceland Research Fund


Sigurjón Arason

Chief Engineer

Thermal Performance of Corrugated Plastic Boxes and Expanded Polystyrene Boxes

Experiments were performed on the insulation value of two types of packaging for fresh fish fillets: 1) Corrugated plastic box (CP) and 2) Foam plastic box (EPS). The variable temperature around the packages was controlled in the experimental cold rooms and the temperature development outside and inside the packages was monitored with thermometers. Both individual boxes and whole pallets of boxes were examined, as well as the cooling capacity of ice mats, which are sometimes placed on top of boxes for transport from manufacturer to buyer. The cooling mats (ice mats) proved to be very effective in protecting the fish fillets from heat stress. Furthermore, the results showed the superior thermal insulation of the foam plastic box over the corrugated plastic box regardless of the use of cooling mats. In fact, the difference in insulation value is even more visible when using cooling mats. Experiments with fully stacked pallets of fish boxes (approximately 300 kg per pallet) showed that the average temperature rise of fillets can be double for a corrugated plastic box with a foam plastic box, provided that the surrounding air is 10 ° C hot and has considerable movement. Finally, it was shown that several hours. fluctuations in air temperature around an entire fishing board can cause a very uneven heat distribution within the position on the board.  

Experiments were carried out to compare the thermal performance of two different types of packaging for fresh fish fillets: 1) Corrugated plastic (CP) and 2) Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) boxes. The boxes containing fresh fillets were affected with dynamic thermal loads in air climate chambers. Meanwhile, the fillet temperature was monitored with temperature loggers. Both free standing boxes and whole pallets were affected with dynamic thermal loads in the study and the chilling effect of frozen cooling mats was studied by using them in some of the boxes. The frozen cooling mats proved very efficient for protecting fresh fish fillets against temperature abuse. Furthermore, the results show that the insulating performance of EPS is significantly better than of CP, independent of the usage of cooling mats. The difference in insulating performance between the two packaging types is actually exaggerated when cooling mats are used. The experiments with whole pallets revealed that the mean fillet temperature rise for a whole 300 kg fish pallet can be twofold using CP compared to using EPS, given that the movement of surrounding air is considerable and its temperature is 10 ° C. Finally, it was shown that in dynamic temperature conditions, the temperature distribution in a whole pallet of fish fillets can be far from homogeneous.

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