Near infrared spectroscopy is widely used in the polymer industry. This is because it is a rapid technique that eliminates sample preparation and costly consumables. NIR is non-destructive, capable of simultaneous analysis of multiple components, and can be used for online monitoring. With flexible sampling mechanisms, NIR can analyze solids, liquids, and gasses.

Compared to traditional methods such as wet chemistry and HPLC and gas chromatography, NIR spectroscopy provides considerable advantages in process and quality control (QA/QC) applications such as:

  • Cost Effectiveness: NIR eliminates the need for consumables such as solvents, columns, and reagents
  • Speed: NIR provides real time analysis – generally less than 10 seconds’ measurement time; it also eliminates sample preparation time
  • Flexibility: portable NIR spectrometers can be used in the field as well as in the lab, and can measure multiple components per analysis
  • Approachability: Our NIR spectrometers are user-friendly, providing point-of-need analysis
  • Repeatability: NIR means the elimination of many sources of systemtic error, particularly during sample and test preparation

Applications of NIR in polymer manufacturing include:

  • Incoming quality control, like hydroxyl number analysis of polyols
  • Polymerization process monitoring, such as inline, real-time hydroxyl number and isocyanate number monitoring during a polyurethane reaction
  • Finished product quality assurance; for example, checking the percentage of styrene in polystyrene copolymers
  • Sorting and recycling applications such as plastic identification and waste carpet sorting

Galaxy Scientific offers offline/inline/atline FT-NIR solutions for analysis of polymers. QuasIR™ 2000 can couple with transmission or diffuse reflectance probes for inline/offline/atline measurements. The QuasIR™ 4000 is equipped with both integrating sphere and sample compartment, which can be utilized for off-line solids and liquids measurements.