About Polymer Characterization

Polymer Characterization includes determining molecular weight distribution, the molecular structure, the morphology of the polymer, thermal properties, mechanical properties, and any additives.  It is a complex and multi-faceted process that should only be done by those with years of experience and strong educational backgrounds--our scientists at SGS PSI are equipped with both.

  • Approaches

    We have multiple approaches for Polymer Characterization.  The following is a list of the most common techniques we use.

    Molecular weight analysis is often determined by one of the following methods:

    • Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)
    • Dilute Solution Viscosity Testing (IV)
    • Melt Flow Index Testing (MFI)

    Molecular Structure determines if a polymer is a homopolymer or a copolymer, for example.  Methods we use for this analysis include:

    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
    • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR)

    Determining the morphology can answer questions such as: Is the sample crystalline? Is the sample phase separated? What size are the domains?  We use the folowing analytical methods to determine the morphology:

    • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
    • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
    • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

    Understanding the thermal properties of a polymer can answer questions such as:  What is the melting point? What is the filler content? How does the polymer behave with temperature or deformation?  The following testing techniques can be used to answer those questions:

    We determine Physical Properties in the following ways:

    Additives analysis reveals information about organic or inorganic filler content.

  • Sample Considerations

    Your sample considerations will vary based up on the testing plan required to meet your needs.  Contact us to discuss your sample considerations. 

  • Experience

    Examples of products we've conducted Polymer Characterization on include

    • PET resin characterization
    • Drill Bits
    • Bullets
    • PLA materials, to determine baseline properties before initiating an aging study
    • Rubber samples for various additives
    • Tube samples for coating information
    • Comparison of name brand toys to generic toys