Identification of Polymer Additives

In the manufacturing of plastics, additives are mixed into the base polymer (e.g. polyethylene, PE) to tailor the chemical and physical properties of the product, such as impact resistance, UV and light stability, colour and others. Typical formulations contain often up to ten additives with concentrations between 100 ppm and a few weight percent. Incompatibility of an additive to other additives or the base polymer itself can lead to a significant change in the performance of the polymer product. For the clarification of such effects a variety of techniques (e.g. GC-MS, HPLC, IR, XPS, MALDI) are available.

As an example we are showing a secondary ion mass spectrum that was recorded with Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). This technique enables a quick, sensitive and localised screening of the molecular composition of a surface which determines properties such as adhesion and corrosion resistance. As can be seen, molecular ions of the additives Tinuvin 770, Irganox 565 and Cyanox 1790 are clearly detected. The identification of these compounds is made a lot easier with the aid of a database, developed by tascon GmbH.

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