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Determining the Distribution of Additives in Polymers

EDS is one of the best methods for the direct analysis of the dispersion of additives in polymers. Other imagining methods such as BSE imaging in the SEM is challenging due to the relative lack of atomic number contrast between polymers and many additives. SEM-EDS can image elemental contrast directly, and is particularly effective for additives which contain different elements to those that make up the polymer itself.

Examples of where SEM-EDS is actively contributing to research into the preparation and effectiveness of different additives include:

Polymers are used as bio-degradable implanted hosts for the delivery of drugs. However the distribution of the active biomacromolecule (drug) is critical as aggregation reduces the activity and reliability of delivery as the implanted polymer breaks down. SEM-EDS directly shows the distribution of additives by analysing unique constituent elements. This provides an important tool for studies of different stabilisation additives and preparation methods for polymer implants

For more information see: Lee et al. (Macromol. Biosci 2015, 15, 1332-1337)

Similarly the distribution of green alternatives to traditional flame retardants can be imaged directly by SEM-EDS, providing important evidence to support direct testing of the effectiveness of alternative additives.

For more information see: Isarov et al. (Polymer 2016, 97, 504-514)

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