Rubber Consultants announces three new UKAS approved Methods of analysis
Rubber Consultants is always looking for new opportunities to expand its testing facilities. If new equipment offers the chance to extend capability to ISO17025, the Laboratory Accreditation Standard, then so much the better. Three very different additions to the UKAS-accredited list are described below:
Method 071c: Sample examination by stereo light microscope and digital camera.
This method involves the examination of samples in incident or transmitted light at magnifications ranging from 4x to 84x with an Olympus SZX7 stereo light microscope and the recording of micrographs with a Micropublisher 5.0 RTV digital camera. The method is particularly useful for examining flaws or impurities in samples and providing images for e-mailing or printing. It can often provide useful information prior to more detailed examination by electron microscopy. If the sample is rough in texture Image Pro Plus software can be used to merge a stack of micrographs taken at different focal lengths into a single totally focused composite image.
Method 081: Elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma - atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES)
The scope of the UKAS accredited procedure for elemental analysis by ICP-AES has now been extended to include the quantitative determination of the following elements:- Aluminium, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Boron, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Selenium, Silicon, Sulphur, Tin, Titanium, Vanadium and Zinc.
Using a variety of specific preparative techniques a wide range of sample types can be analysed to determine both major components and trace constituents. The Method is also valuable where confirmation of the 'absence' of a particular substance is required.
Analysis using ICP-AES may be used to reveal components of a formulation including trace additives and impurities. The techniques can also be of value when investigating suspected contamination problems at any level, down to ppb for some elements.
Method 031c: TG-IR method accreditation by UKAS
TG-IR is a coupling of the Thermogravimetric Analyser (TGA) to an Infrared (IR) spectrometer. Samples can be heated on the TGA in nitrogen and oxygen to observe weight losses related to volatile components and decomposition. The evolved products can then be identified from their IR spectral characteristics. This is turn can be related back to composition of the materials and the chemical processes that occur during decomposition.
The TG-IR can be used in a number of analytical investigations including:
Identification and quantification of components of blends and composites
Decomposition studies to access effects of different additives in a formulation such as modified fillers or flame-retardants.
Volatiles from curing reactions and assessment of the kinetics of the cure, related to cure temperature and conditions.
These analyses are not just limited to rubbers, and can be used to analyse a wide variety of blends and polymer composites and materials up to 900°C.
If you wish to know more about any of these methods or any other testing at Rubber Consultants please contact Sue Stephens.