EDXRF / XRF for Rubber, Plastics & Polymers

Qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis of
additives, UV-stabilizers, flame retardants and modifiers

Polymer and plastics are materials composed of repeating hydrocarbon structural units, typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. Today polymers can be found everywhere, a range of applications that far exceeds that of any other traditional material from packaging materials, adhesives, foams, plastic containers, textiles, fibers and construction parts in airplanes and automobiles. The list of polymers includes: Rubber, Bakelite, Neoprene, Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), High impact polystyrene (HIPS), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polyester (PES), Polyamides - Nylon (PA), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyurethanes (PU), Polycarbonate (PC), Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), Polyethylene (PE), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyetheretherketone  (PEEK), Polyetherimide (PEI), Phenolics (PF), Urea-formaldehyde (UF), Melamine formaldehyde (MF), Polylactic acid (PLA), Silicone, and many more.

Stabilizers, fire retardants, pigments and fillers

During development and production, the compounds in polymers have to be controlled strictly to meet the national and international regulations avoiding potential danger due to hazardous and toxic substances. Directives for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), as well as End of Life Vehicle (ELV), include restrictions for the use of cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), chromium (VI) (Cr) and poly-brominated (Br) flame retardants (PBB and PBDE) in order to mitigate potential risks to health or environment. For all tasks in polymer R&D and production, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy can identify and quantify concentrations of the aforementioned additives - as well as antimony, barium, calcium, copper, phosphorus, titanium, zinc and all other elements from sodium through uranium.

Semiquantitative elemental analysis without standards

The Rigaku NEX CG energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer is powered by a new qualitative and quantitative analytical software, RPF-SQX, that features Rigaku Profile Fitting (RPF) technology. The software allows semi-quantitative analysis of almost all sample types without standards — and rigorous quantitative analysis with standards. Featuring Rigaku's Scatter FP XRF method, the software can automatically estimate the concentration of unobserved low atomic number elements (H to F) and provide appropriate corrections.

RPF-SQX EDXRF software greatly reduces the number of required standards, for a given level of calibration fit, as compared to conventional EDXRF analytical software. As standards are expensive, and can be difficult to obtain for newly developed materials, the utility of having a Rigaku NEX CG EDXRF spectrometer can significantly lower costs and reduce workload requirements for routine elemental analysis needs.

Plastics/polymers information and resources

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