Fizz box


By Mark Ward CARDBOARD cans capable of holding carbonated drinks have been created by British researchers. It’s the first time anyone has designed a cardboard container strong enough to hold a pressurised beverage. If used widely, the cans should eventually be cheaper to make and recycle than aluminium ones. Richard Freeman and his colleagues at Scientific Generics in Cambridge make their can with four layers of thin cardboard. The layers are staggered so that the seams of each sheet meet at 90-degree intervals around the can. The seams are usually the point of failure in a tube, Freeman says, but with this design each seam gains strength from the sheets above or below it. A thin aluminium membrane is sprayed onto the inside of the cans to make them airtight, and the ends plugged with shallow cones that point outwards. Opening the can involves removing one of the cones, turning the sealed tube into a beaker. Freeman says that prototypes have withstood pressures of up to 480 kilopascals (about 5 atmospheres), higher than the 275 kilopascals fizzy drinks are usually pressurised to. Scientific Generics is looking for a partner to develop the idea. Freeman fears that large drinks companies will be wary because they have so much invested in aluminium cans. He says:
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