Elements, phases and particle sizes to molecular structure
For all tasks in polymer research, product development, and production quality control, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis can identify and quantify the concentrations of additives (pigments, fillers, flame retardants, stabilizers) like antimony, barium, bromium, calcium, chromium (for the RoHS/WEEE regulations), copper, phosphorus, titanium or zinc.
In addition, many plastic polymers have some order and can be identified and studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods. These polymers are, at least in part, crystalline or pseudo-crystalline with partially ordered structures which cause diffraction peaks. The percent crystallinity is often related to processing methods and is of great importance in polymer chemistry. Other uses of XRD in plastics and polymers research and production include: determination of unit cell type and lattice parameters, determination of the microstructure, and determination of crystallographic orientation through pole figures.
Polymers can also be investigated by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Either dissolved or as a solid, the SAXS technique can characterize polymers according to large-scale internal structure. Rigaku technology and expertise are combined to provide a number of X-ray analytical products for these applications.