Plastics and polymers must have defined properties to function perfectly in their intended purpose and to withstand the planned load. Quality assurance or identification is therefore highly important for the many applications of the materials.

GERSTEL pyrolysis allows you to analyze the chemical composition and structure of a polymer. GERSTEL pyrolysis is used to obtain information on the structure of macromolecules by means of gas chromatography (GC) analysis of their thermal decomposition products.

GERSTEL pyrolysis provides you with a breakdown of the chemical composition and structure of a polymer material. Pyrolysis is used to obtain structural information on macromolecules by analyzing their thermal decomposition products by means of gas chromatography (GC).

The samples to be examined are placed in pyrolysis vessels suitable for the sample type. The pyrolysis products released at pyrolysis temperatures of 350 °C - 1000 °C are then transferred to the gas chromatography (GC) column. Aside from pulsed pyrolysis, in which the sample is heated up to the end temperature at the maximum speed possible, pyrolysis can also be performed in accordance with a temperature program at heating rates of between 0.02 and 100 °C/min. A range of additional pyrolysis techniques can also be used, depending on the analytical requirements. All steps are performed using the GERSTEL MultipurposeSampler (MPS) and are fully automated.

Most polymer materials contain evenly distributed additives that are used to change the chemical or physical properties of the material. Methods for determining the potential of a material to yield unwanted compounds are greatly significant for many branches.

There are two important concepts here: leachables and extractables. Leachables means all compounds that seep out from packaging material into the packaged product under normal storage or usage conditions.

Extractable substances that are found in a certain packaging material are compounds that could be extracted from the material in extreme circumstances.

Preparing samples of the polymers that are to be checked for their additives is a vital part of overall analysis. One option is to dissolve the polymer in a solvent. The subsequently required steps for sample preparation such as precipitation or filtration can be easily automated with the GERSTEL Multipurpose Sampler (MPS). The MPS can also be deployed when simulants are used to determine the leaching potential, if necessary using the Gerstel Twister to enrich contaminants.

Direct thermal extraction (DTE) of polymer materials is another option. A small quantity of the sample is heated in a GESTEL thermal desorption system in a flow of inert gas to release volatile and semi-volatile compounds from the sample. The analytes are then evaluated using gas chromatography / mass spectrometry.