We must bear in mind that polymeric materials, with the best presentation, are increasingly demanded by the industry. Therefore, in this blog we will focus on talking about the necessary analysis tools focused on the research and quality control of polymers and composites used in the industry.
When observing nature, we realize that there are few materials made up of a single element since most of them are a mixture of different components that, when combined, produce a composite material that presents a better performance than that of each of the materials separately. Basically we are talking about a material system composed of a combination of two or more micro or macro structures that differ in shape and chemical composition and are essentially insoluble to each other. Composites or composite materials retain the properties of their constituent systems, at least partially, and are designed to present the most favorable combination of properties.
We can categorize them according to their form:
- Particulate materials (formed or reinforced by particle aggregate)
- Fibers (fiber reinforced materials)
- Structural materials (Laminar or sandwich type)
From the point of view of structural engineering, composite materials offer decisive advantages compared to conventional structural materials. What are these advantages? Well, the basis of their structural superiority lies in their high rigidity and specific strength modules, as well as in the heterogeneous and anisotropic nature of the material, although of course, the latter characteristics can be seen as a disadvantage due to their The need for complex analysis provides greater freedom for its design and an optimal configuration of the structural material.
Looking at some of the important points of the composites, now I will focus on talking about some tools that will help you during your analysis. Most of the analytical instruments I will mention will help you determine characteristic thermal effects and material data. For example; melting / crystallization of thermoplastics , glassy transitions, thermo-stability and composition of rubber mixtures, healing behavior of thermoforming materials, and the coefficient of elasticity values of anisotropic compounds, among others.
The thermoanalytical method par excellence for polymers is the DSC , which allows to investigate the thermal effects and magnitudes derived from properties such as mixing, crystallization, entanglement, glass transition, specific heat and oxidation.
While the TG method provides information on the composition and thermostability of polymer blends and combinations. In addition, gas analysis can also be performed with QMS or FTIR.
The dilatometry together with the TMA allows to obtain the coefficient of thermal expansion. DMA also provides the coefficient of elasticity values and information on viscoelastic behavior, aging, creep and relaxation.