Polymer Analysis and Plastic Testing
Understanding Material Composition and Properties
In recent years, we have seen a growing use of polymeric materials in the industries we service and an increasing need for polymer and plastic testing. Although Laboratory Testing Inc. is not as well known for polymer testing and plastic testing as it is for testing metals, we have expanded our polymer test and analysis capabilities to include SEM/EDS analysis, FTIR analysis, hardness testing and tensile testing.
Polymer analysis and testing services are performed according to our stringent procedures and customer requirements. All details are outlined on Certified Test Reports.
LTI Polymer Testing and Analysis Capabilities
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is an analytical technique used to identify organic, polymeric, and in some cases, inorganic materials. LTI is performing FTIR analyses with a high-tech Thermo Scientific Nicolet iS10 FT-IR spectrometer. The analysis results in an absorption spectra which provides information about the chemical bonds and molecular structure of a material. Absorbance peaks provide information that can be used to identify the general types of material being analyzed. The analytical spectrum can be compared with cataloged reference spectra to identify base polymers and additives.
LTI performs SEM/EDS Analysis for enhanced polymer testing and failure analysis using a Hitachi S-3400N SEM and EDAX EDS. The SEM features a variable pressure system capable of accommodating wet and/or non-conductive samples with minimal preparation. It’s able to produce high resolution images at magnifications from 5x to 300,000x and is particularly helpful in microanalysis and analyzing small areas of interest on samples. The large sample chamber allows for the examination of samples up to 200 mm (7.87 in.) in diameter and 80 mm (3.14 in.) in height.
The hardness of polymers is measured by the Shore Durometer Test at LTI, in accordance with ASTM D2240. This polymer test method determines a material’s hardness value or resistance to indentation by penetration of an indenter into the test sample. Since the flexibility of polymers varies, LTI is equipped with various indenters to use for testing different types of materials from elastomers to rigid plastics.
Our newest Tinius Olsen tensile test machine is a 10K for polymer test samples. It will test any polymeric material that can be formed or machined into a specimen. Tensile testing involves applying a constant rate of tensile load to a test sample up to the point of failure. The process creates a stress/strain curve showing how the material reacts throughout the test process. The data generated during the test is used to determine tensile strength, yield strength and ductility.