Metal Packaging Materials

  • Luciano PiergiovanniEmail author
  • Sara Limbo
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIEFSMOLECULAR)


The majority of known elements are metals. With relation to food packaging, these elements are used in a very pure form (aluminum) and as metal alloys (steel, tin plate). Five fundamental characteristics of metals make them particularly feasible for packaging: compactness, high density, unrivalled toughness, malleability and high thermal conductivity. In addition, the easiness of a selective collection of the metallic waste (due to magnetic behaviour and high density values) and the opportunity of thermal recycling without any loss of the original performances should be noted. As a result, three main classes of metallic materials for food packaging applications are currently available on the market: aluminum, coated plates (tinplate, tin-free steel, polymer-coated and steels) and stainless steel plates. Each material has interesting features on the one hand and peculiar disadvantages on the other side, when speaking of food packaging applications and other topics such as simple logistic considerations (oxidation, etc.).


Aluminum Chromium Iron Lacquer Metal packaging Steel Tin Tin-free steel Tinplate 





Aluminum oxide


Bisphenol A




Chromic oxide




Electrolytically chromium-coated steel


European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group


Fluorinated perfluoroethylenepropylene






Perfluoroalkoxy alkane






Tin-free steel


Tin oxide


  1. Alcoa (2006) Global product specifications. Alcoa Inc., Rigid Container Sheet. Accessed 09 June 2015
  2. Arnold JW, Bailey GW (2000) Surface finishes on stainless steel reduce bacterial attachment and early biofilm formation: scanning electron and atomic force microscopy study. Poult Sci 79(12):1839–1845. doi: 10.1093/ps/79.12.1839 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barilli F, Fragni R, Gelati S, Montanari A (2003) Study on the adhesion of different types of lacquers used in food packaging. Prog Org Coat 46(2):91–96. doi: 10.1016/S0300-9440(02)00215-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boelen B, den Hartog H, van der Weijde H (2004) Product performance of polymer coated packaging steel, study of the mechanism of defect growth in cans. Prog Org Coat 50(1):40–46. doi: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2003.09.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cvetkovski C (2012) Stainless steel in contact with food and beverage. Metall Mater Eng 18(4):283–293Google Scholar
  6. Cunha SC, Fernandes JO (2013) Assessment of bisphenol A and bisphenol B in canned vegetables and fruits by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry after QuEChERS and dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction. Food Control 33(2):549–555. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.03.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis JR (1999) Corrosion of aluminum and aluminum alloys. ASM International, Materials ParkGoogle Scholar
  8. EHEDG (2005) Materials of construction for equipment in contact with food. European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group, Frankfurt/MainGoogle Scholar
  9. International Icon Group (2009) The 2009 report on tin-free steel carbon steel tin mill products: World Market ICON Group International, Inc. Las Vegas, USAGoogle Scholar
  10. Lee DS, Yam KL, Piergiovanni L (2008) Metal packaging. In: Lee DS, Yam KL, Piergiovanni L (eds) Food packaging science and technology. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  11. Leivo E, Wilenius T, Kinos T, Vuoristo P, Mäntylä T (2004) Properties of thermally sprayed fluoropolymer PVDF, ECTFE, PFA and FEP coatings. Progr Org Coat 49(1):69–73. doi: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2003.08.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mondolfo LF (1976) Aluminum alloys structure and properties, p 56. Butterworth & Co., LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Morgan E, Hopkins DW (1985) Tinplate and modern canmaking technology. The pergamon materials engineering practice series. Elsevier, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Morris SA (2011) Food and package engineering. Wiley, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Newson T (2001) Stainless steel-applications, grades and human exposure. AvestaPolarit Oyj Abp, EspooGoogle Scholar
  16. Ohtsuka T (2012) Corrosion protection of steels by conducting polymer coating. Int J Corros 2012:1–7. doi: 10.1155/2012/915090 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Parkar J, Rakesh M (2014) Leaching of elements from packaging material into canned foods marketed in India. Food Control 40:177–184. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.11.042 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Piergiovanni L, Limbo S (2004) The protective effect of film metallization against oxidative deterioration and discoloration of sensitive foods. Packag Technol Sci 17(3):155–164. doi: 10.1002/pts.651 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sanders RE, Baumann SF Jr, Stumpf HC (1989) Wrought non-heat-treatable aluminum alloys. In: Vasudevan AK, Doherty RD (eds) Aluminum alloys—contemporary research and applications. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  20. Shelnutt S, Kind J, Allaben W (2013) Bisphenol A: update on newly developed data and how they address NTP’s 2008 finding of ‘Some Concern’. Food Chem Toxicol 57:284–295. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.03.027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Veschi D (1989) L’Alluminio e le leghe leggere, p 8. Ulrico Hoepli Editore, MilanGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS)Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations