Polymers are the macromolecules which consist of several monomer units linked together repeatedly. Polymers can be classified into two main groups-natural and synthetic depending upon their source of origin. Some examples of natural polymers are cellulose, wool, natural rubber and synthetic polymers like Bakelite, poly vinyl chloride etc. Polymers have taken an indispensable part in our lives because of their countless applications and are thus used so widely. They are used in everyday life so it is very important to have knowledge about their durability and lifespan. Such kind of information about a polymeric material can be obtained by polymer testing. Different types of polymer have different unique properties and we can modify their structure and properties according our needs. One single disordering in their structure can alter their properties thus their quality control is one of the basic necessities thus this field has achieved a great interest in research and production.
Polymer testing is done with a goal to provide accurate and reliable results. The microscopic methods include SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and light microscopy by which we can determine the composition and topography of a particular polymeric material. SEM being expensive have lot of advantages over light microscopes providing high resolution and three-dimensional images.
The thermal properties can be tested through DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry), or TGA (Thermogravimetric Analysis). DSC can measure the crystallization and fusion points and glass transition temperature by which we can classify a polymer as amorphous or crystalline material. Through TGA we can evaluate the thermal stability of a polymer which is the most important property and its knowledge plays a key role in production of polymer.
FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), Gel Permeation Chromatography and TGA Mass Spectrometry are those instruments which are used to test the electrical properties. FT-IR is used for screening and profiling a sample of polymer which gives information about its purity.