Polymer Analysis

Thermal & Physical Analysis


Introduction

Thermal analysis is a well established characterization technique which measures physical properties, different types of phase transitions, the presence of volatiles and fillers, and compositional analysis. The other physical analysis techniques listed below can be useful in determining crystallinity, particle size and distribution, purity, and viscosity of your polymer sample, to name a few.

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Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

TGA is a thermal analysis technique that can provide characterization information that complements other analyses.

Some of the more common measurements can provide the following information:

  • Thermal Stabilities

  • Decomposition Kinetics

  • Moisture content

  • Filler contents

  • Volatiles content

  • Char yields

  • Compositional analysis for multicomponent polymers

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

DSC is a technique used to investigate the polymers response to heating.

This technique can be used to acquire the following information about the polymer:

  • Heat capacity (Cp)

  • Glass transition temperature (Tg)

  • Crystallization Temperature (Tc)

  • Melting Temperature (Tm)

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Powder X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

This technique is used to detect crystalline phases, average crystallite size, and ratio of crystalline to amorphous phases in polymer materials. It is also a useful tool to determine the change in crystallinity of a polymer exposed to various environmental stresses or changes in crystallinity over time.

Gas Chromatography (GC)

GC is a type of chromatography used for separating and analyzing small molecules that can be vaporized. This can be a useful for testing the purity of your polymer species.

Examples of analysis include:

  • Residual monomer content

  • Identifying different components of a mixture

  • Residual solvent content

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Dilute Solution Viscometry (DSV)

DSV is used to measure a polymer’s intrinsic viscosity which is a measure of the change in solvent viscosity by the presence of polymer solutes in specific solvents and temperatures.

Based on the measured intrinsic viscosity of a polymer, the viscosity average molecular weight and hydrodynamic radius of polymers can be also be calculated.

Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)

DLS is a technique commonly used to detect the size and distribution of polymers that form a suspension in solution.

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