With its ability to discriminate between subtle differences in molecular bonds, infrared spectroscopy has become became the "go-to" tool for plastics and polymer compounding businesses. In a matter of minutes, FTIR spectroscopy can identify practically any polymeric material. FTIR is just one component in our portfolio of instrumentation that includes Raman, X-ray photoelectron, and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopies for raw material inspection, ensuring good chemistry during processing, identifying contaminants, and troubleshooting failed products.
FTIR - a valuable tool in plastic failure analysis
Polymers exhibit a range of molecular structures with varying functional groups making FTIR a natural technique to analyze polymeric materials. Jeff Jansen of The Madison Group sat down with us to discuss how FTIR can be applied to discovering the root problems in polymer failures, including:
- Material identification of a failed part
- Qualitative assessment of copolymers and blends
- Identification and verification of resin formulation ingredients
- Determination of molecular degradation
- Identification of chemical agents in contact with a failed part
Raman to the Rescue - looking at laminates
FTIR spectroscopy's vibrational cousin, Raman spectroscopy, is another valuable technique in characterizing materials. Raman generates a molecular fingerprint that is well suited to material identification. Where an IR signal is weak, Raman is strong. Confocal Raman microscopy enables the analyst to look at the discrete thin layers of laminates, meeting the demand on analysis for product quality control, failure analysis, and reverse engineering.
Learn more - read Leveraging the Lateral Spatial Resolution of a Confocal Raman Microscope to Resolve Micron to Sub-micron Layers in Polymer Laminates
X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy - mapping surface chemistry of materials
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is surface-sensitive technique that looks at the top layers of a material, and is therefore the ultimate technique to look at the chemical states of polymer depositions and thin-film coatings. We studied the use of a plasma containing a fluorcarbon monomer to polymerize areas of a substrate exposed to the plasma, leaving a polymeric fluorocarbon. Our analysis mapped the chemical states of this material to determine its construction and thickness.
Learn more - read Chemical State Mapping of Polymers
It's Elemental - finding trace contaminants in polymers with X-ray Fluorescence
Creating plastic materials typically need the assistance of catalytic substances containing elements such as aluminum, titanium or zinc. Yet, it is important to minimize the presence of catalysts in the final product in order to maintain its desirable properties. Plastics are generally electrical insulators, resistant to acids and therefore difficult to put into solution. This makes X-ray fluorescence the preferred method to obtain rapid and precise analyses for all the elements of the periodic table as low as boron.
Learn more - read Analysis of Trace Elements in Polymers