Effectively Analyzing Polymers Using IR, Raman Spectroscopy and MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry
The polymer industry is one of the world’s largest industrial sectors. Almost all consumer products are composed of polymers of some sort. These products range across items like automobiles, pharmaceuticals, toys, packaging, computer and cell phones, and so on. There are a few areas where characterizing these polymer-based objects can be important: first is performing a quick polymer identification for recycling purposes; second is quality control to identify product defects or failures; and third is reverse engineering to facilitate product development in a highly competitive marketplace. Vibrational spectroscopy (infrared (IR) and Raman) is especially useful for the analysis of polymers in an industrial setting. IR and Raman are highly specific and sensitive tools that are non-destructive and easy to use. Examples will be presented demonstrating the effectiveness of IR and Raman analysis in each of these categories.
Mass Spectrometry (MS) has become an indispensable tool for polymer analysis and has been widely used to study polymer structure and composition, end-groups and additives, molecular weight distribution, and so on. MS analysis is extremally sensitive, allowing the detection and identification of minor polymer components and synthesis by-products, as well as low-level impurities and products of decomposition. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) allows to perform rapid MS analysis without lengthy pre-separation and with minimal sample preparation. MALDI MS can provide structural and copolymer composition information, as well as be used for imaging of polymer surfaces, characterization of complex polymer mixtures and many other analytical tasks. In this webinar, we will discuss several MS analytical techniques and their applications for polymer analysis using real life examples from the industry and academia.