Pollution in polymeric samples come in various kinds and shapes. The Partisol technique (Particles In Solution) first dissolves the polymer matrix after which a steady flow through a small cuvette is established. A microscope is placed perpendicular on the cuvette so the tiniest particles can be detected (down to 1μm). By making 25 frames per second the amount of pictures is vast. Special software analyzes 5000 images on the amount, size, shape and type of contaminants in the dissolved polymer. Examples of shapes and types of contaminants are: spherical, rectangular, fiber shapes, gel and bubbles.
This method can be used to determine the amount of masterbatch in a polymer. The only condition is that the masterbatch must be insoluble in the solvent used to dissolve the polymer matrix. When a good contrast between the particle and the matrix can be achieved, detection limits can be as small as 0.1%.
Practical examples where this technique proved indispensable:
The breaking of yarns during spinning was solved after the presence of dust was detected
An unknown amount of mineral content in compounds has been elucidated
Presence of aggregated oligomers confirmed