Ensuring that plastics and polymers are free from contaminants is an import for both plastic and polymer manufacturers as well for OEMs using these materials. To determine the exact composition of these types of materials, several processes can be used.
One option and perhaps the most effective test for many samples is the use of FTIR testing. FTIR analysis is a short form for Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. This is an analytical process that can be used on both organic as well as inorganic materials, which is very helpful if there is a concern about contamination in a sample or concerns about the specific composition of a known or unknown material.
How it Works
As a very simple overview of the process, FTIR testing uses exposure to infrared light to determine the absorption spectrum of the material in the sample. Different molecular components have discrete and identifiable patterns in absorption or reflection. In essence, the test reveals a unique fingerprint for each sample, allowing the test to clearly and precisely determine all compounds within the sample.
As an extension of this analysis, it will also determine the covalent bonding in the sample. This information can be used to complete both quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as determining the specific formulation of previously unknown samples.
With known samples, the most common application of FTIR testing is to ensure there are no co-polymers, resins or additives in the sample other than those that are known. This type of contamination of polymers and plastics is particularly problematic in materials used in medical devices and components, in some types of military and defense applications and bio-medical industries.
The process of using FTIR Spectrometry allows for highly effective validation of the material as free from any atypical or unknown contaminants. This testing is a cost-effective option for many different companies and industries.
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