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, color, etc. Typical formulations often contain up to ten additives with concentrations between 100 ppm and a few weight percent. Incompatibility of an additive with other additives or with 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.


The figure (right) shows the Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) spectrum acquired from a polymer.  ToF-SIMS enables a quick, sensitive, localized screening of the molecular composition of a surface. 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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