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Case Study

Polymeric and Gel

ASMAC has handled a lot of cases involving polymeric and gel-form materials. Interestingly, clients bringing in these materials come from distinct sectors and their requests also vary greatly.

Polymeric and Gel

In some cases, clients would approach us with an unknown gel-form material, wanting us to tell them what it is. They usually have little idea about the sample, so our staff would talk to them to solicit as much background information as possible. Very often, the process of identifying a totally unknown substance without any expectations or grounded predictions would not be straight forward. Typically we would start with a first touch chemical analysis by employing Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), but definitely there are some materials that are not IR-active. Even if the constituents are IR-active, the situation can be complicated if more than one ingredient is involved. Judging from the information provided by the client and considering their specific needs, we would suggest further analysis using other sophisticated chemical analysis techniques to unveil the possible constituents or take the route of matching tests to screen out possible suspects.

On the other hand, some clients would like to know the thermal history of their samples, which is common for annealing process evaluation and cluing conditions effectiveness study of glue. The thermal history could be unveiled by thermal analysis techniques such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry.

There are also some situations that our clients would like to know what additives or fillers are inside the polymer. Challenges in these kinds of requests involve the separation of the additives from the matrix materials. Burning off the matrix could leave behind some additives such as oxide powders but many other additives could have been damaged as well. Therefore, the digestion of the matrix has to be carefully studied and trials have to be made.

For functional polymeric materials, some clients would like to study the functional groups that exist in a polymer. Based on the scale of the sample, from trace amount on stain to the surface of bulk materials, we can suggest appropriate testing methodologies accordingly.

Polymer testing is challenging, but we have a wide range of equipments on hand and ample experience in handling such requests, which allows us to make sound judgment and provide our clients professional suggestions. We believe all these enhance the chance of attaining fruitful results.