About Deformulation Services

We offer deformulation analysis of products, this is also referred to as reverse engineering or competitor product analysis. This can be as simple as determining the major component, or as detailed as looking for additives that may be present at very low levels (below 1%, for example). The approach to a deformulation analysis will vary depending on the sample characteristics and the information needed. The most critical variable for this analysis is whether the sample is cross-linked or not.

Deformulation analysis is typically complex and involves many steps.  We have a wide array of in-house testing capabilities coupled with a highly educated and experienced team. Additionally, we partner with you and combine your industry-specific insights with our analytical results to broaden the depth of the deformulation process.

  • Approaches

    The following are the most common testing capabilities we use for deformulation analysis, with explanation of their applications:
    • Provides information about chemical composition of sample and is able to detect compounds present at >5%.
    • NMR provides more detailed information about chemical composition, including copolymer ratios, if applicable.  This is a solution technique, therefore not applicable to cross-linked systems.
    • TGA is used for the determination of carbon black level and amount of inorganic filler.
    • This analytical technique provides elemental information about inorganic filler with a detection limit of about 0.1%.
    • The EDS proivdes information about the specific elements that comprise a sample region.
    • GPC Analysis, also known as Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) is used to measure molecular weight distribution, Mn, Mw, Mz, and polydispersity.  This is a solution technique, therefore not applicable to cross-linked systems.
    • GC-MS provides a qualitative, or semi-quantitative, analysis of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs).  It can determine SVOCs present in a sample, such as certain additives.  
    • This is a solution technique which means it is not applicable to cross-linked systems.
    • This technique provides a listing of the top 20 peaks identified along with estimated level
    Elemental Analysis via Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP)
    • The ICP scans for 65 different additives.  This instrument helps identify additives and fillers with detection limits as low as ~10 ppm for most elements.

    Soxhlet Extraction

    • This sample preparation technique is used to remove low molecular weight materials from a polymer system for further analysis.
  • Sample Considerations

    Compared to other projects a larger sample size is usually required for a deformulation analysis.  This is because a greater variety of tests are performed to ensure you get the answers you require.  
    Contact us to talk through your specific sample considerations.
  • Experience

    There are a large variety of reasons that our clients come to us requesting deformulation analysis.  They include things such as:

    • A desire to better understand the composition of their product
    • A desire to understand the composition of their competitors product
    • Determination as to the cause of a product failure
    • Concerns related to patent infringement or misappropriation of intellectual property
    • The evaluation of a new supplier
    • The evaluation of a new product under consideration to replace an obsolete product

    Deformulation analysis we've done includes:

    • Polymer formulations
    • Consumer products
    • Manufactured products
    • Coatings
    • Adhesives