Characterization

  

Biodegradation

Micro-Oxymax Aerobic/Anaerobic Respirometer (Columbus Instruments)

This Micro-Oxymax system is a highly adaptable general purpose closed circuit respirometer. The system monitors the concentration of gas contained within an enclosed head space into which the material being monitored is respiring. Periodic sensing of the gas concentration, along with an equally accurate measurement of the volume of the head space, allows calculations of incremental and accumulated values for consumption and production. The Micro-Oxymax patented design principle provides a sensing threshold near 2 x 10-7liter per hour. This instrument meets the standards for determining the degradability of plastics in compost (ASTM D5271, ISO 14855, EN 13432), sewage sludge (ASTM D5209), controlled compost (ASTM D5338), soil (ASTM D5988), aqueous medium (ISO 14852), and under high solids (ASTM D5210).

Chromatography

Gas Chromatograph (Shimadzu)

Gas chromatography (GC) is based on a partition equilibrium of analyte between a solid stationary phase (often a liquid silicone-based material) and a mobile gas (most often Helium). The stationary phase is adhered to the inside of a small-diameter glass tube (a capillary column) or a solid matrix inside a larger metal tube (a packed column). GCs are widely used in quantitative analysis of various chemical compounds. The GC-2014 is equipped with advanced flow controller (AFC) technology and a newly designed FPD detector of holophotal construction. The GC-2014 also comes with computer software for process control, data acquisition and analysis. The current application is quantitative analysis of organic acids from treatment of biomass, co-products of the biofuel industry, and biodegraded products from biodegradation studies.

Gel Permeation Chromatography, GPCMax (Viscotek)

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is a separation technique based on hydrodynamic volume (size in solution). Molecules are separated from one another based on differences in molecular size. This technique is most often used for polymer molecular weight determination.

Mechanical Properties

Dart Impact Tester (Qualitest)

Dart Impact Tester is used to characterize the strength of a single, or multilayer polymer films, processed via chill roll, or blown film process, according to ASTD D1709 standard.

Monitor Impact Tester and Notching Cutter (Testing Machines Inc.)

This TMI impact tester is capable of performing both IZOD and CHARPY impact testing. Impact testing is used to quantify the impact strength of materials. Impact strength is the materials ability to resist failure under high rate strain. A notching cutter is used to notch all specimens before testing so that the material being tested undergoes straight line fracture so as to make tests more consistent and reproducible. All specimens are dimensioned and tested according to ASTM D256 specifications. The TMI impact tester comes equipped with three CHARPY and IZOD hammers, respectively. The hammer sizes are 0-5x0.05 ft.lbs, 0-10x0.1 ft. lbs, and 0-30x0.2 ft.lbs.

Rockwell Hardness Tester B2001R (Wilson Instruments, an Instron Company)

The Wilson Instruments Rockwell Hardness Tester measures the hardness of materials according to ASTM Standards D-785 (and E-18 for metallic materials) on an electronic closed-loop control system, where a motor/encoder control and a load cell or force transducer applies and regulates a test force. The applied force is constanlty monitored at 500x/sec and adjusted to increase the test's accuracy and repeatability.

Thermomechanical Analyzer (TA Instruments)

This TMA measures sample dimensional changes under conditions of controlled temperature, time, force, and atmosphere. Sample deformation of materials such as solids, foams, films, and fibres, can be characterized. Measurement of expansion, penetration, tension, compression, 3-point bending (or flexural) and a dilatometer probe kit allow determination of a material’s coefficient of thermal expansion, glass transition temperature, compression modulus, softening and melting behaviour, viscoelastic parameters, and coefficient of volume expansion to name a few. The Q400 has an operating temperature between -150oand 1000oC, and is equipped to operate under an inert, oxidizing, or reactive gas atmosphere.

Universal Testing Machine (Instron)

The Instron 3382 is equipped with a 5 kN Flexure Fixture, 100 kN Wedge-action tensile grips, 5 N Pneumatic-action tensile grips for thin specimens such as films, and 100 kN, 150 mm diameter Compression grips. The Instron is also equipped with an extensometer and environmental chamber which allows for tests to be conducted at temperatures between -90° and 250°C. The Bluehill 2 software allows for process control, data acquisition, and analysis of the mechanical tests.

Physical Properties

Autolab Potentiostat/Galvanostat Electrochemical System (Metrohm Autolab/Eco Chemie)

Autolab/PGSTAT302N is a modular high power potentiostat/galvanostat with a maximum current of 2 A (with BOOSTER20A20 A) and compliance voltage of 30 V. The PGSTAT302N is the benchmark for high speed digital potentiostats/galvanostats. The Autolab instruments can study the following electrochemical processes: corrosion, semiconductor electrochemistry, energy, interfacial electrochemistry, analytical and environmental electrochemistry, electrodeposition, nanotechnology, ultra-fast electrochemistry, and biotechnology/biosensors.

Electronic Densimeter (Alfa Mirage)

This densimeter uses Archimedes principle as its measuring method and has a measurable weight of 0.01-300g and a density resolution of 0.001g/cm3. The densimeter can measure both solid density and liquid density. This equipment conforms to standards: K6350, K6268A, K7112, ASTM D297-93-16, and ASTM D792-00-16. This instrument has accessory for measuring liquid density kit.

Gardner Extra Heavy Duty Impact Tester (Qualitest International, Inc.)

The Gardner Impact Tester measures the impact resistance of coatings and construction materials such as plastics, resins, fibreglass, sheet metals, plywood, etc., according to the test methods: ASTM D 2794, D 5420, D 3029, D 4226 and G14. This Gardner impact tester model IG-1142 can determine the impact resistance of rigid sheets of PVC and other materials exceeding the limit of the Gardner Heavy Duty Impact Tester model IG-1120. The tester consists of a vertical tube which guides an 8 lb weight, dropped against a punch from heights of up to 101.60 cm (40 inches). By gradually increasing the distance the weight drops, the point at which failure occurs can be determined. Failure is usually defined as a clearly visible rupture of the target area.

Horizontal Vertical Flame Chamber (R.B. Atlas)

The R.B. Atlas HVUL2 Horizontal Vertical Flame Chamber is designed for testing the flammability of plastic materials and comparative burn rates and resistance of textile and plastics according to ASTM standards D635, D3801, D4804, D5048 and D4986, which is required for predicting material behaviour in fire conditions. This flame chamber measures the flammability of plastics in different ignition conditions and temperatures.

Moisture Analyzer (Denver Instrument)

The IR-35 is an electronic moisture analyzer used to quantify the moisture content of materials. The operating temperature is between 40° and 160°C (adjustable in 1°C increments) with heating provided by infrared radiation from a tubular metal heating element. The IR-35 has a readability of 0.01%, a weighing capacity of 35 g, and a weighing accuracy of 1 mg.

OX-TRAN Oxygen Permeability (Mocon)

This OX-TRAN 2/21 system uses a patented coulometric sensor (COULOX®) to detect oxygen transmission through flat materials and packages, providing parts-per-billion sensitivity even in the presence of water vapour. Flat film samples are clamped into the diffusion cell, which is then purged of residual oxygen using an oxygen-free carrier gas. The carrier gas is routed to the sensor until a stable zero has been established. Pure (99.9%) oxygen is then introduced into the outside chamber of the diffusion cell. Molecules of oxygen diffusing through the film to the inside chamber are conveyed to the sensor by the carrier gas.

PERMATRAN-W Water Vapour Permability (Mocon)

This PERMATRAN-W 3/33 system uses a patented modulated infrared sensor to detect water vapour transmission through flat materials and packages, providing parts-per-million sensitivity. When testing flat films, the sample material separates two chambers. The inner chamber is filled with nitrogen (carrier gas) and the outer chamber with water vapour (test gas). Molecules of water diffuse through the film to the inside chamber and are conveyed to the sensor by the carrier gas. An increase in water vapour concentration in the carrier gas is reported as the water vapour transmission rate.

Ultramicrotome with Cryo Chamber (Leica Microsystems Inc.)

The Leica Microsystems ultramicrotome with cryo chamber facilitates the preparation of semi- and ultra-thin sections with perfectly smooth surfaces which are required for optical and scanning electron microscopy, in addition to atomic force microscopy. The cryo chamber system prevents temperature-sensitive deformation of polymer and composite samples, mitigating the viewing of potential artifacts.

Veeco Atomic Force Microscope (Bruker Corporation)

This AFM allows nanoscale visualization of material surface topography. The probe used in an AFM is a sharp tip (generally 5 µm tall, 10 nm in diameter at the apex). The tip is located at the free end of a cantilever that is usually 100 to 500 µm long. Forces between the tip and the sample surface cause the cantilever to bend or deflect. A detector measures the cantilever deflections as the tip is scanned over the sample. These deflections allow a computer to generate a map of surface topography.

Rheology

Melt Flow Indexer (Qualitest/Chengde Jinjian Testing Instrument Co.)

The MFI-2000A Melt Flow Indexer is used to quantify the melt mass-flow rate of thermoplastic polymers, which is the mass of polymer flowing through a capillary during a specified time. The capillary is of a specific diameter and length with a pressure applied by alternative gravimetric weights at various temperatures.
This equipment conforms to GB/T 3682-2000, BS 2782, ASTM D1238, and ISO 1133:1997 specifications.

Rheometer (Anton Paar)

Spectroscopy

Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer (Thermo Scientific )

FTIR spectrometry is used to characterize the molecular species present in an analyte. This is based on the principle that molecular species vibrate at different wavelengths and absorb infrared energy differently. FTIR can be used to help determine the molecular structure of polymers or view changes that have occurred, such as during thermoset curing. The Nicolet 6700 is equipped with a Smart Orbit ATR and Near-IR Integrating Sphere accessories. The Nicolet 6700 is also equipped with a PIKE GladiATR with a heated diamond crystal plate that is capable of reaching 210°C. The Nicolet 6700 is also interfaced with the TGA Q500 for FTIR analysis of evolved gases.

Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrometer (Varian)

Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) spectrometry is an analytical technique for quantitative determination of different analytes. The concentration of analytes can be determined based on the Beer-Lambert Law. The CARY 300 Bio is equipped with computer software for process control, data acquisition and analysis.

Thermal

Differential Scanning Calorimeter (TA Instruments)

Differential Scanning Calorimeters (DSC) are used to study thermal transitions in polymeric materials. DSC measures heat flows and temperatures associated with the thermal transitions in materials. Properties measured by DSC include glass transitions, "cold" crystallization, phase changes, crystallization, melting point, cure behaviour/ kinetics, product stability, and oxidative stability. It is specifically meant for investigation, selection, quality control and end-use performance evaluation of materials in research and commercial production applications. The DSC Q200 has a temperature range from -90° to 725 °C. The Q200 can also be setup to test specimens under an oxygen atmosphere for Oxygen Induction Tests.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (TA Instruments)

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) measures the mechanical properties of materials as a function of temperature, time and frequency. Materials, including polymers, behave both like an elastic solid and a viscous fluid; thus viscoelastic behaviour is an important property of polymeric materials. DMA is an extremely powerful piece of analytical equipment and provides a great deal of information about the characteristics of the material, such as its modulus, glass transition temperature, heat deflection temperature, and stress/strain behaviour to name a few. The Q800 has an operating temperature between -150° and 600°C and can be equipped with a variety of clamps, such as dual/single cantilever, 3-point bending, tension, compression, and shear to provide varying modes of deformation depending the specimen type.

Polarized Optical Microscope with hot stage (Nicon)

Polarized optical microscopy is designed to observe and photograph specimens that are visible due to their optically anisotropic character. Hot stage accessory from Linkam enables observation and recording of polymer chystal size under controlled heating and cooling conditions.

Thermal Constants Analyzer (ThermTest, Inc.)

This TPS 500 is a Transient Plane Source Thermal Conductivity System. It measures the thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity of solids, pastes, viscous liquids and small particle powders over a temperature range of -160oC to 300oC. These characteristics can be determined simultaneously from a single measurement.

Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TA Instruments)

Thermogravimetric Analyzers (TGA) are used to measure weight changes in a material as a function of temperature or time under a controlled atmosphere. The purpose of thermogravimetric analysis is to measure a materials thermal stability and/or composition. The TGA Q500 is equipped to operate under an air, nitrogen, or oxygen atmosphere. The Q500 has a temperature range from ambient to 1000°C, a heating rate of 0.1-100 °C/min, and a sensitivity of 0.1 μg.

Thermomechanical Analyzer (TA Instruments)

This TMA measures sample dimensional changes under conditions of controlled temperature, time, force, and atmosphere. Sample deformation of materials such as solids, foams, films, and fibres, can be characterized. Measurement of expansion, penetration, tension, compression, 3-point bending (or flexural) and a dilatometer probe kit allow determination of a material’s coefficient of thermal expansion, glass transition temperature, compression modulus, softening and melting behaviour, viscoelastic parameters, and coefficient of volume expansion to name a few. The Q400 has an operating temperature between -150oand 1000oC, and is equipped to operate under an inert, oxidizing, or reactive gas atmosphere.