Plastic/Polymer Identification

Spectroscopy is well-suited for measuring polymer identities. It provides rapid, accurate, and non-destructive material analysis for industrial and research applications.

The SM-3500 is a portable, full range UV/VIS/NIR spectrometer that can be used to:

  • Accurately identify plastics for recycling to avoid contamination and potential processing problems
  • Correctly sort polymer resins
  • Sort and identify raw materials
  • Measure raw material purity
  • Analyze moisture content

The SM-3500 delivers a number of benefits for plastics identification:

  • Rapid, reliable, and non-invasive measurement
  • Cost-effective analysis
  • Portability – take the analyzer to the application
  • No sample prep necessary
  • Easy to use DARWin SP Data Acquisition software
  • Easy to use with 3rd party chemometric software for more in-depth analysis

NIR spectra can be attributed to the five major groups of plastic resins:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • High density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Polypropylene(PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)

NIR spectroscopy can be performed on starting materials, materials in process, and finished product, off-line in the lab, on- line separated from the processing stream, or in-line within the process itself.

Plastic identification applications can include:

  • Accurately identifying specific plastics in recycling
  • Measuring quality in thermoplastic production
  • Incoming raw materials quality control
  • Analysis of physical attributes including density and viscosity
  • Final quality assessment of finished product
  • Quantifying the constituent parts of polymers, including residual solvents and monomers
  • Measuring and identifying additives
  • Measuring water content
  • Determining physical and chemical properties

SM-3500 Spectrometer

No sample prep required, highly reliable with no moving parts, easy-to-use – the SM-3500 is a good match for plastic/polymer analysis and identification.

Transreflectance of three different plastic films measured with the SM-3500. Each scan took less than one second. DARWin SP Data Acquisition software allows for the combination of multiple scans in a single plot for comparison. Scans represent polyester (red trace), polystyrene (blue), and acetate (green) films.