PEFTEC 2021

PEFTEC - Abstract

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Abstract Title: Polymer characterization using pyrolysis 1D and 2D GC-HR-TOFMS
Abstract Type: Poster
Session Choice: Multidimensional and Comprehensive Separation Science
Presenter Name: Mr Eric Brander
Company/Organisation: SABIC
Country: Netherlands

Abstract Information :

Polymer characterization is an essential step to understand polymer chemistry and functionality in the process of development of new plastic materials. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a valuable technique with superior resolution (the ability of a mass analyzer to separate or distinguish ions of similar flight times into separate signals) and identification abilities of volatile compounds by library searching and mass measurement accuracy. However, it is not directly applicable for polymers due to their high molecular weight. Analytical pyrolysis in combination with GC-MS (PyGC-MS) can offer a solution for detailed characterization of non-volatile materials including plastics[1]. During pyrolysis, material is decomposed at high temperatures to produce smaller volatile fragments which are consequently analyzed by GC-MS. PyGC-MS technique does not require any solvent and very small amounts (ca. 50-100µg) of a polymeric material are enough to obtain detailed information on both polymer backbone and additives. This study covers several pyrolysis approaches: direct pyrolysis, double-shot pyrolysis, and derivatization for polymer characterization under different thermal conditions and different chromatographic conditions (conventional and two-dimensional GC) combined with high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The latter was found to be a powerful identification tool for polymer analysis. Characterization of bio-based polyolefin material and polyethylene/ polypropylene polymers with highly substituted methyl groups will be discussed. Pyrolysis followed by chemical hydrolysis assisted by tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) generated methylation products revealed valuable information about the polymer backbone and presence of branching agents.