Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of polymers and plastics for identification and quality assessment, providing data and meaningful information

Fourier Transform-Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is a reliable and cost-effective analytical tool for identification of polymers and assessment of the quality of plastic materials. When a plastic material absorbs infrared light, typically in the mid-infrared region, the resulting spectrum (absorbance or transmittance) gives a distinctive “fingerprint” that can be used to easily screen and test samples for many different applications.  

The quality and performance of plastic products depends on the quality of the polymers materials used during manufacturing, and so confirmation of identity and quality testing of materials is critical.

Our polymer testing laboratories provide expert infrared spectroscopy services for polymers used in diverse applications such as food, automotive, and packaging. Our FTIR expertise can deliver reliable data supporting the identification of polymer samples, qualitative analysis of polymer starting materials and finished products, quantification of components in polymer mixtures or analysis of in-process samples, analysis of competitor’s materials and comprehensive contamination analysis.

Polymer identification by Infrared Spectroscopy

We utilise both reflectance and transmission sampling approaches that are suitable for polymer analysis and through comparison against spectral databases we perform rapid and effective identification studies for samples of all types of polymer materials and all sizes including pellets, parts, opaque samples, fibres, powders, wire coatings, and liquids. 

FTIR Quality Assessment of Polymers and Plastics

By comparison of the infrared spectra of a sample against and reference sample our polymer scientists can implement quality control assessment of the materials used by monitoring any differences. If differences are observed then further FTIR studies can be deployed to help understand the potential contamination. 

Polymer Analysis Technology

Infrared spectroscopy is often used with other molecular spectroscopy techniques available at Intertek laboratories, including TGA, DRIFTS, FTIR/TGA, NMR, GC/MS, LC/MS, UV/Vis spectroscopy, NIR and Raman scattering. FTIR combined with these techniques provides significant complementary data regarding a polymer molecule's molecular structure. FTIR, when used together with other analytical techniques, can prove very effective in the identification of unknown plastics and polymeric materials.

Our polymer laboratories, located in US, Europe and Asia provide leading expertise including infrared spectroscopy analysis capabilities that have supported many leading brands from the automotive, packaging, food and consumer goods and polymer related industries. Our experience means that we deliver good quality spectra every time whilst extracting the critical information you need to make decisions and assess your products or materials.

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