Analysis of Additives in Polymers and Plastics

In the production of polymer-based products such as plastics (e.g. PE, PET, PS, PEEK), rubber mixtures (e.g. CR, NBR, SBR) or lacquers, additives are usually added to the starting polymer to improve the chemical and physical product properties (e.g. impact resistance, light - and UV resistance, color). The use of additives facilitates the processing and storage of plastics, protects plastics from oxidative degradation processes during their service life or serves to improve the optical or haptic properties of the finished product. Typical formulations contain a variety of different additives with concentrations from a few ppm up to a few percent by weight. Typical additives are: UV absorbers, mold release agents, lubricants, flame retardants, antioxidants or crosslinking additives. The identification of these additives in polymers and plastics is a common question in our laboratory. In addition to identification, the localization of additives in plastics is a common analysis requirement. With the help of imaging analysis, the causes of discoloration and other defect patterns can often be clarified in our laboratory.

Plastics - Kunststoffe

Identification of additives

Surface Screening

Various analytical methods (e.g. GCMS, HPLC, FTIR, XPS, MALDI) are available for determining additive compositions. The choice of a suitable analysis method depends in particular on the analytical question. For example, when it comes to the analysis of additives on a polymer surface that lead to adhesion problems, discoloration or other problems, ToF-SIMS is a particularly well suited analytical method. This technique allows a fast and sensitive screening of the molecular and elementary composition of a surface. In addition to the analysis of the surface, different preparation and analysis methods (depth profiling) also make it possible to analyze the bulk material, for example to clarify the migration processes of additives.
A ToF-SIMS spectrum is shown here as an example, in which molecular ions of the additives Tinuvin 770, Irganox 565 and Cyanox 1790 are clearly detected. The identification of these substances is made considerably easier by using database software developed by Tascon GmbH.

Tascon – Your partner in the investigation of additives

If you are interested in further details or if you are trying to identify the root cause of a problem in the field of plastics and additives, contact the experienced experts at Tascon GmbH in the laboratory for surface analysis. We will provide you with a non-binding offer for the analysis of additives specifically for your question.

Get in touch.  Contact one of our analytical professionals:

+49 251 625622-100