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Analysis of Coatings Using Pyrolysis-GC/MS

SpecialChem / Feb 11, 2009

Because they are complex formulations of both organic and inorganic materials, coatings offer a special challenge to the analytical chemist. The high concentration of opaque materials that give paints their ability to cover a surface may also make the application of some typical analytical techniques impossible. Analytical pyrolysis is a technique that creates volatile compounds from organic macromolecules, making samples like polymers, adhesives and dried paint suitable again for analysis using gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and FT-IR. Application is simple; a small piece of the solid material is heated rapidly to a high temperature (generally 600 - 800 °C), causing it to degrade into smaller organic compounds, which then are delivered to the analytical device for processing as with any other sample. Interpretation of the resulting fragments requires an understanding of how various polymers behave at high temperatures, but once the basic theory of pyrolytic degradation is understood, the information is invaluable in understanding the molecular composition of these complex systems.

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