High-temperature NMR for plastics analysis

In a joint project, the Fraunhofer EZRT and the SKZ Plastics Center are investigating the use of high-temperature NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) for plastics analysis. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of NMR measurements up to 300 °C and thus provide industry and SMEs in particular with improved quality control and thus a competitive advantage. In addition to technical thermoplastics, thermosets will also be examined in detail over the next two years and a material database will be compiled.

In future, the new measurement and evaluation methods of high-temperature NMR will achieve results comparable to those of established thermal analysis methods. In addition to significantly shorter measurement times, the new high-temperature NMR offers decisive advantages over previous methods, such as the elimination of time-consuming sample preparation and the ability to analyze larger sample quantities in each individual measurement.

New approaches to plastics analysis

Diagram of the measuring principle

Previous commercially available approaches allow measurements on polyolefins at sample temperatures of up to 200 °C. However, as these material types only allow low profit margins, they are often not tested in particular.

By increasing the sample temperature to 300 °C, it would be possible to measure technical thermoplastics such as PA, PC, PBT and PET. These have better thermal and mechanical properties than polyolefins and enable a significantly higher profit margin due to the higher price. Accordingly, the testing requirements are also higher and the amortization of new measurement technology is faster.

Participation in the project

The research project primarily benefits manufacturers and users of various high-temperature resistant plastics as well as suppliers of NMR measurement systems. Free participation in the project committee on the part of industry is expressly desired. Interested companies are welcome to contact Dr. Philipp Mörchel at the EZRT.