Infinitely versatile in their applications and diversity, polymers such as plastics, rubbers, elastomers, paints, and coatings, play critical roles in every industry including transportation, medical materials, aerospace, consumer products, chemical processing, and even construction.
Element experts uniquely qualified in polymer analysis
To test polymers in all their configurations requires specialized training and cutting edge instruments and equipment. Element operates several advanced polymer testing laboratories, staffed with scientific teams who have experience in polymer and elastomer characterization and processing, additives, impact modifiers, alloys, and blends.
Testing lab capabilities
Some of the methods used for testing in our polymer analysis labs are described below.
- Chemical Analysis: Element operates chemistry laboratories that specialize in chemical analysis of plastics and polymers, as well as other materials. Tests and capabilities include: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy - FTIR, Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy - EDS, Beilstein halogen determination, plastic moisture content, and melt flow rate.
- Thermal Analysis: To determine plastic or polymer properties, Element experts measure changes to the materials in response to time and temperature testing and thermal analysis methods. Tests and capabilities include: Differential Scanning Calorimetry - DSC, Thermogravimetric analysis - TGA, Thermomechanical Analysis -TMA, and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis - DMA.
- Mechanical Testing: Plastic tensile testing evaluates a plastic or polymer material's ability to withstand the force required to break it, stretch it, or elongate it to that breaking point. Tests and capabilities include: tensile testing, compression testing, flexural testing, proof load testing, durometer hardness testing, plastic Rockwell hardness testing, compression set, and falling weight impact testing, tensile strength at yield, tensile strength at break, tensile modulus, tensile strain, elongation at yield, percent elongation at yield, elongation at break, and percent elongation at break. View a video on plastic tensile testing at right.
- Weathering & Aging Studies: Element experts subject plastic and polymer materials to impact, weathering, temperature, humidity, ultraviolet light, heat, and other environmental tests to measure these effects on its properties and performance. Tests and capabilities include plastic heat testing, thermal cycling, humidity, chemical resistance, environmental stress cracking, and UV testing and weathering.
- Paints and Coatings: Element operates paint testing labs to evaluate the performance and properties of surface treatments like paints and coatings. Tests and capabilities include: paint and coating cross-hatch adhesion, coating thickness measurement, coating pull-off strength, color and gloss measurement, taber abrasion, aging studies, chemical resistance, electrochemical corrosion studies, plastic salt fog, humidity, QUV aging, coating thickness, metallography, and pencil hardness.
- Testing with Scanning Electron Microscopy - SEM: Scanning electron microscopes in Element locations are used by our plastic and polymer experts to analysis failure of plastic or polymeric materials and determine properties. Tests and capabilities include: low and high magnification, fractography, chemical attack, and particulate evaluation.