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Identification of Polymers

DART can be used to analyze polymers, cements, resins, and glues by increasing the gas temperature to 450-550° C to induce pyrolysis. This has been applied to a variety of polymers including Nylons, polypropylene and polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyesters, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), polycarbonate, phenoxy resin, polystyrene, and cellulose. Examples are shown here for standard samples of Nylon, polystyrene, and cellulose.

The DART source was operated with helium in positiveion mode. The gas heater was set to 475° C. Resins were cured in an oven for several hours before analysis; some resin samples had been cured for longer periods of time (months or years). Exact masses and accurate isotopic abundances were used to assign elemental compositions for peaks in the mass spectra. Nominalmass spectra were exported into a library database in NIST format to facilitate identification of unknowns. Figure 2.

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