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Inventors Saran Wrap ®
By Mary Bellis

Saran polyvinylidene chloride or Saran resins and films (called PVDC) have been wrapping products for more than 50 years. Saran works by polymerizing vinylide chloride with monomers such as acrylic esters and unsaturated carboxyl groups, forming long chains of vinylide chloride. The copolymerization results in a film with molecules bound so tightly together that very little gas or water can get through. The result is a barrier against oxygen, moisture, chemicals and heat-qualities used to protect food, consumer and industrial products. PVDC is resistant to oxygen, water, acids, bases, and solvents.

In 1933, Ralph Wiley, a Dow Chemical lab worker, accidentally discovered polyvinylidene chloride or Saran. Ralph, a college student who cleaned glassware in a Dow Chemical lab, came across a vial he couldn't scrub clean. He called the substance "eonite", after an indestructible material in the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie." Dow researchers made Ralph's "eonite" into a greasy, dark green film, which Dow called "Saran". The military sprayed it on fighter planes to guard against salty sea spray and carmakers used it for upholstery. Dow later got rid the of Saran's green color and unpleasant odor.

After World War 2, it was approved for food packaging, and it was Prior Sanctioned in 1956 (Society of the Plastics Industry). PVDC is cleared for use as a food contact surface as a base polymer, in food package gaskets, in direct contact with dry foods, and for paperboard coating in contact with fatty and aqueous foods.

Saran resins for food contact can be extruded, coextruded or coated by a processor to meet specific packaging needs. About 85 percent of PVDC is used as a thin layer between cellophane, paper and plastic packaging to improve barrier performance. For non-food contact, Saran resins can be used for molding and melt adhesive bonding. In combination with polyolefins, polystyrene and other polymers, Saran can be coextruded into multilayer sheets, films and tubes.

Saran films are best known in the form of Saran Wrap ® film, the first cling wrap designed for household (1953) and commercial use (1949), introduced by the Dow Chemical Company. Saran Wrap ® brand plastic film is now marketed by S. C. Johnson.

All About Dow
The Dow Chemical Company is a global science and technology based company that develops and manufactures a portfolio of chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services for customers in 168 countries around the world.

History Dow Timeline
In 1897, the Dow Chemical Company incorporates with Albert E. Convers as president.

Saran* Resins and Films
Product information: When it comes to barrier packaging, Saran* resins and films have had the world wrapped for more than 50 years. No other barrier system can compete with the premier qualities of this polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) - from Dow website.

Vinyl (PVC)
Waldo L. Semon, invented a way to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) useful - History of Vinyl.

Leo Hendrik Baekeland patented a "Method of Making Insoluble Products of Phenol and  Formaldehyde" - plastic history, uses for and making plastic, plastic in the fifties, online plastic museum.

Kitchen Innovations
Who invented the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven and other kitchen appliances.

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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