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The determination of the chemical structure of a polymer is often accomplished by FTIR or NMR.

The two most common techniques for the analysis of polymer structure are FTIR spectroscopy and NMR spectroscopy.  FTIR is the starting point for contamination analysis but also for many deformulation,  competitive analysis, or supply chain de-risking projects.  Once the type of polymer is identified, we can customize the project to your specific needs in those circumstances.  NMR allows us to probe deeper to determine the monomer ratios of polymers like ABS which is a terpolymer or the branching of polyethylene polymers.


At the simplest level, a polymer identification can be made using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy with a sample as small as 3mm in diameter.

When a client requires additional details, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy is utilized.  This is typically carbon or proton NMR but silicon, fluorine, and phosphorus NMR spectra can also be acquired.

Sample Considerations

Our scientists are able to analyze particles as small as 3mm in diameter by FTIR and can utilize less than a gram of material for NMR analysis. We encourage you to contact an expert with your needs and to discuss the testing protocol that will be suit your end goals.

Cosmetics are often tested for polymer structural analysis


We have performed polymer structural analysis for a variety of purposes. Some examples of the reasons our clients routinely need polymer structure analysis include:

  • Critical comparison for patent claims
  • To evaluate misappropriation of trade secrets 
  • To assist with identifying additional material suppliers
  • For determining root cause of product failures.
  • To narrow the source of a particle contamination

Products we’ve tested include:

  • Microplastics
  • Cosmetics
  • Impact resistant polymers
  • Bioabsorbable polymers
  • Epoxy compositions
  • Polyester films
  • Contamination particles