Discover Copper Online

December 2009

Preserve Your Valuables with Copper

From medical equipment to fighter jets to wedding dresses, almost anything worth preserving can be kept safe with the help of copper.

Intercept™ Technology, a copper-based polymer developed and patented by Lucent Technologies and Bell Laboratories, uses a plastic film impregnated with copper ions to neutralize gasses that can lead to the deterioration of anything that can corrode, rust or mildew, including metals, electronics, fabrics, rubber, furniture, firearms and artwork. This is a major breakthrough, not only for consumers, but for many industries as well - and it is all thanks to mankind's oldest metal.

Intercept™ TechnologyPhoto courtesy of Intercept™ Technology

High-resolution version of this photo.

This new technology is available in various applications, including zipper bags, shrouds, sheets, rolls, rigid containers and even coatings. With all these different packing options, Intercept™ can be used to protect just about anything from being damaged. As a result, copper is changing the face of the packaging industry.

The Intercept™ film provides protection to sealed items whether they are being shipped or stored for long periods of time. Ted Del Borrello, director of projects at Sea Transportation Management in Fremantle, Australia, said, "Encapsulating with Intercept™ has ensured that the equipment reaches its destination in its pre-shipping condition, avoiding damage from the environment and contamination."

"Intercept™ allows consumers and companies to safely ship, receive and store products anywhere in the world, even in areas where heat and humidity are unusually high," said Elaine Spitz, president of Liberty Packaging Company in Braintree, MA. Some notable users of Intercept™ include BMW, Volkswagen, Nokia, GM, Rolls Royce, Intel and the US Army and Marines.

This unique technology is not only useful, and economical - its use cuts down on labor and energy costs - but because copper is sustainable, it is also a "green" technology. Intercept™ is reusable, recyclable and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional barrier protection materials. In fact, Intercept™ was the recipient of the German Environmental Award, administered by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), and Volkswagen won an environmental award this year because its use of Intercept™ for its engine blocks eliminated the need for coating oils.

"There are many areas that have not yet used Intercept™ technology that would benefit from it," added Spitz. In the future, Intercept™ could be used to extend the life of fresh food during shipping. Packing and crating businesses like UPS or Federal Express could also use Intercept™ to benefit a larger portion of the consumer market, Spitz said.

"It's not surprising that, through Intercept™, copper is playing a vital role in shipping and storage," said Robert Weed, vice president of OEM Markets for the Copper Development Association. "Copper's many valuable properties make it an indispensable part of our lives, it is malleable and ductile, it is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, it is corrosion resistant, and recent research has shown that it is even antimicrobial. This is just another example of the many benefits of this great resource." Cu


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