media release

Expancel approved as constituent in wine corks by US FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved AkzoNobel’s Expancel Microspheres – which are used in amongst others bottle corks – as a safe product for contact with wines in the US.

Part of the company's Pulp and Performance Chemicals business, the innovative and versatile product (Expancel FG52 DU 80) has been rapidly growing in popularity with micro-agglomerated wine cork manufacturers, as it helps to overcome some of the weaknesses of traditional cork.

Adding Expancel not only results in more consistent performance, it also makes wine corks easier to insert and ensures they mold themselves to form the ideal seal – keeping the liquid inside as perfect as possible.

"We are happy to receive the FDA's formal approval of Expancel as a component of micro-agglomerated cork used for alcoholic beverage bottles," said Director of Marketing & Sales for Expancel, Sylvia Winkel Pettersson.

"We know that one of the major issues winemakers are encountering is cork taint. This can be reduced or eliminated by cleaning the cork at granule size. By using Expancel Microspheres, regular, consistent and clean cork closures can be achieved. In turn, better corks ensure that wines are enjoyed as intended. The winemakers benefit from totally purified corks that make it possible to keep wine in a bottle for decades with consistent quality, which gives them a strong competitive advantage."

 Microspheres are small spherical particles that consist of a thermoplastic shell encapsulating a gas. Add heat and the microspheres expand dramatically, up to 60 times their original volume. Expancel is highly compressible and has an outstanding capacity to return to shape. AkzoNobel is the leading provider of expandable microsphere solutions worldwide. Offering benefits such as lower density and better insulation, some of the many and varied applications include footwear, paint, printing ink, paper and plastics.

"We are only just beginning to explore the potential of Expancel," added Winkel Pettersson. "The opportunities don't stop at cork. For example, its versatility makes it possible to realize innovative ideas for a new generation of packaging and sealing solutions for food products. We definitely have the expertise to take food and beverage packaging even further."

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