Plastics inspection

Plastics inspection is a sub-area of chemical analytics that assesses and analyses polymer materials and products.

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Plastics can also be examined during quality analysis
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What is plastics inspection?

Plastics must have completely different characteristics depending on the application so that they can be used reliably. During plastics inspection, it is ensured that the required characteristics are always present.

Plastics inspection at Quality Analysis

During plastics analytics and inspection, we analyse plastics to characterise their thermal characteristics and decomposition behaviour. We determine the water content of your sample, identify and quantify decomposition products released, as well as the material composition.

We compile the results from our accredited test laboratory in a comprehensible, practical test report that answers your questions and assists you with clear recommendations. Do you need our assistance at short notice? That is also not a problem, simply call us.

Which methods are used for plastics inspection?

The inspection methods applied are as varied as the samples to be analysed. For this reason only a small selection of the methods related to practice are presented at this point.

Karl Fischer Titration: Method for testing samples for their exact water content

Karl Fischer titration

With the aid of Karl Fischer titration (KFT), the exact water content of a sample can be determined. Because the quality of plastic products is only assured up to a specific water content, the so-called processing moisture, KFT is of major importance in quality assurance. In general, Karl Fischer titration is probably best known for the determination of the water content of crude oil.

Chemical analysis using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry coupling (GC-MS)

Gas chromatography

Gas chromatography is used if the quantification and identification of solvents or plasticisers is required, or an analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is necessary. In principle, GC is a variant of partition chromatography of which a key feature is that the stationary phase is a liquid.

FTIR spectroscopy for structure elucidation and determination of substances

FTIR spectroscopy

For the rapid and straightforward characterisation of plastics, Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy, FTIR spectroscopy for short, is used. This method is used both in the analysis of the structure and in the quality assurance of plastic products, however also the distribution of solids in mixtures can be determined with the aid of FTIR spectroscopy.

DSC for the determination of plastics

Differential scanning calorimetry

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is of major importance, among other areas, in the characterisation of polymers. With its aid, both the melting and crystallisation behaviour and also other characteristics of a plastic sample can be analysed. Worthy of particular mention here is the glass transition temperature at which the solid polymer changes to a rubber-like or viscous state.

DSC: Thermal measurement method for plastics analysis


Thermogravimetry is also a thermal analytical method. It is also primarily used to analyse the decomposition behaviour of plastics. Using this method, a sample is heated and its change in mass determined using a microbalance. This method can, like DSC, be coupled to other methods such as FTIR spectroscopy or gas chromatography.

Industrial computed tomography for the analysis of plastic components

Computed tomography in plastics inspection

If industrial computed tomography (ICT) is used in plastics inspection, the interest is less in the characteristics of the material as such and more in the component made from it. With the aid of ITC, nominal-actual comparisons can also be undertaken and freeform surfaces or bearing tolerances measured.

In summary: plastics inspection

Plastics inspection covers all methods for the assessment and analysis of polymer material. A very wide range of methods is used for this purpose. The information obtained in this manner plays an important role particularly in quality assurance for the plastics industry.

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Julia Banzhaf


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