The objective of this study is to highlight the ability of FTIR to detect inconsistencies, including percent level contamination or degradation in a material.
FTIR is sensitive to any component at a concentration of roughly 5% or greater, thus the technique is generally applied for identification of the polymer type but not the additives package or other minor sample components.
By analyzing a known polyolefin standard as a comparison, it is identified that contamination is present in the sample. PYMS is a more powerful technique for identifying unknowns within a particular polymer family or identifying any low-concentration additives or impurities. FTIR is a great method for quick identification of the functional groups present in an unknown sample, but PYMS analysis can provide a much greater level of information and should be the method of choice when this type of information is preferred.
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