FTIR chemically fingerprints your material
In can be a non destructive test
Can be used to identify many materials
Can be used to deformulate materials
Can be used to identify contamination or problem batches
Can be used to quantitatively assess reactions.
Only small samples required
FTIR is an analytical spectroscopy technique that is used to fingerprint the chemical groups within a sample. The equipment uses a laser combined with an infra beam that is focused on the sample surface or passed through the sample. Different chemical groups within the sample will absorb different amounts and different wavelengths of the infra red beam. Hence a scan of absorbance versus wavelength will produce an infra red spectrum which will be a fingerprint of that specific material.
Our chemist will then compare the resulting spectra to our extensive databases and also use his interpretation skills to determine the chemical nature of the material. Below you will see a typical spectra showing the comparison of an unknown sample with that of a reference polycarbonate. In this case it is easy to see that the samples are the same.
FTIR spectrum comparing unknown (black) with reference PC (red)
This technique is highly useful for identifying most polymeric materials, additives and changes in composition or changes during ageing. When first selecting your materials it is highly recommended that you conduct an FTIR scan on your material so that you can fingerprint your reference materials. Any subsequent changes made by your supplier can then be easily compared in the future.
Depending on the material, FTIR analysis can be a non destructive test. By using an ATR (Attenuated Internal Reflectance) sampling device it is possible to take a spectrum from the surface of a sample. Thin films can be easily analysed by placing them directly in the beam. More difficult materials may require pyrolysis and subsequent analysis of the residue.
Sample sizes can typically be postage stamp size but this depends on the specific material. In some cases we can also offer microscopic infra red analysis of very tiny contaminants.