Polymers and Plastics.
BEAR's high-tech Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) can quickly identify almost all plastic, rubber, other non-metallic materials and their additives. The pipe fitting shown to the right is an example; it was found to be made of Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. PVC is commonly used in construction and can be made softer and more flexible by adding phthalates. Without adequate amounts of these additives, PVC is quite brittle, leading to unwanted cracking, leaks and failure. By knowing what are the constituent of the product, we determine if the product is manufactured with the poor selection of materials, which will lead of the premature failure of the products.
FTIR spectroscopy uses a laser to measure the absorption and transmission of test specimen of various wavelengths of infrared light. The absorption spectrum shown is for pure PVC.
The quick reliable turnaround, as testing only takes a few minutes, provides a valuable capability at BEAR for performing the failure analysis of a wide variety of product and equipment made out of polymer.