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Packaging - Glossary - A

  • Packaging Processes

      A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  

    The Glossary of the International Trade Centre (ITC) on the technical terms used in the packaging sector is a database designed to provide updated information on the specific terminology used in the packaging industry. This Glossary is a tool placed at the disposal of users for information only. It is not designed to replace the appropriate professional advice in any way. Users are invited to submit their comments and observations by email to Mr. Frederic Couty, Senior Adviser, Export Packaging at the following email address: fcouty[at]intracen.org

    Select an alphabetic above to access the glossary.

  • A

    Abrasion resistance

    The ability to withstand the effects of repeated rubbing, scuffing and scratching.

    Absorbent packing

    The inclusion of absorbent material within a package to take up liquids resulting from leakage or lique-faction of the product.

    Accelerated Test

    Laboratory performance test of a container or coating to evaluate its performance in a shorter time interval than that required under actual service conditions. Example: Performing chemical-resistance tests at elevated temperatures.


    Resins produced by polymerization of form-aldehyde. Characterized  by a high melting point, high strength and stiffness, and solvent resistance. Translucent to opaque. Finding ap­plication in blow-molded and injection-molded containers.

    Acrylic resin

    A family of plastic materials made by the polymerization of monomeric ester of acrylic acid.

    Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

    Resin resultng from the polymerization of blends of polystyrene or styrene-acrylonitrile with butadiene-acrylonitrile rubber. Noted for stiffness and heat resistance. Easily thermoformable.

    Active Packaging

    Packaging with features that change to protect the contents in changing circumstances.

    Active Tag

    Pack identification tags that use batteries as a partial or complete source of power. They are further classified by separating them into those with replaceable batteries and those with batteries inside a sealed unit or what may be termed unitized active tags, see RFID label.


    The state of adhering. The strength of an adhesive assembly or test specimen meas­ured in such a manner that a large part of the loading stress is concentrated at or near the bond to produce apparent fracture in the bond.


    Any material which is applied to one or both surfaces to form a bond between the two.

    Adhesive Bleed

    Exudation, or ooze, especially from pressure-sensitive label material. It is the result of cold flow, excessive roll winding tension, excessive heat or improper converting procedures.


    A gas-tight container equipped with a valve which is designed to hold the product and the propellant gas under pressure. When the valve is opened, generally by finger pressure, the product is dispensed. Aerosol products include wet sprays, foams, pastes, syrups and powders.


    The process of developing specific properties of a product over a period of time. The process can be accelerated by the application of heat, pressure, chemical agents or catalysts. See also: Cure.

    Air bubble film

    Is usually made of two polyethylene films joined together so that air bubbles are formed between the layers. Delivered in rolls for wrapping and cushioning.

    Air knife coater

    A device that applies an excess coating to paper and then removes the surplus by directing a flat jet of air upon the fluid coating leaving a smooth metered film on the paper.

    Alkyd plastics

    Plastics based on resins composed principally of polymeric esters, in which the recurring ester groups are an integral part of the main polymer chain, and in which ester groups occur in most crosslinks that may be present between chains.


    A metal refined from bauxite ore into ingots by electrolysis. The ingots are rolled into thin sheets of foil or drawn and formed into can bodies. Foil may range in thickness from 7 to 150 microns.


    (when used as an abbreviation for amino-plastics)  One of a group of synthetic resins containing a compound with the radical NHz; spe­cifically, the urea-formaldehyde and melamine-formaldehyde plastics.


    A small container made from glass or plastic, the end(s) of which is drawn into a stem and closed by fusion. The stem end is broken off to open the ampoule.

    Aniline ink

    Special inks which were adopted in the past for use in flexographic printing.

    Anti-foaming agent

    A substance which is added to a liquid to reduce the tendency to foam or “bubble” during processing. An example of a foaming problem is the water emulsion of SaranTM for coating paper and film.


    A substance which reduces the rate of oxidation resulting from exposure to oxygen.

    Anti-static agent

    A substance which modifies the static electricity properties of a surface. See: Static eliminator.

    Applicator Cap

    A container closure designed so that it may be used to apply the contents of the container, such as daubers or cleaners for oil and grease spots.


    Mechanical: An enlarged artist's conception of the copy design laid out to scale on heavy paper or light cardboard. Black and white: A photographed copy of the mechanical done in actual size and an exact reproduction of that which will be printed on the final package. Colour overlay: A reproduction of the colour separation with each colour on a separate piece of clear plastic.

    Aseptic packaging

    The bringing together of a sterilized product and a sterilized packaging material and combining them under sterile conditions. As long as the package remains sealed, the product has an extended shelf-life without being refrigerated.


    A manual device for dispensing liquids as a fine spray or mist.

    Auger filler

    A filling machine equipped with a large spiral screw to push products which do not flow freely (granular solids, powders, discrete articles).


    A pressure vessel into which steam or other vapour can be introduced at a suitably high temperature to sterilize packages or other objects placed therein. Small autoclaves are normally used for sterilizing surgical instruments and supplies, laboratory glassware, media for bacteriological testing and similar materials. Large autoclaves are used for sterilization of liquids and solutions packaged in glass con­tainers. The pressurised vessels used for production-scale sterilizing of foodstuffs in jars or cans are called retorts.

    Avoirdupois Weight

    System of weights used for the measure of goods other than gems, precious metals and drugs. Designated by "oz" or "oz av" and "lb" or "lb av". Sometimes, when a container is meant to hold a specific product such as honey or talcum powder, the capacity is stated in auvoirdupois ounces rather than in fluid ounces. For example, a typical 1 lb. honey jar holds 11 to 12 fluid ounces.

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