FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can read a list of the most common questions and problems our clients ask to our laboratory.

What is the composition of this component?

Our Laboratory has developped a standard procedure with the purpose of determining the composition of an unknown material that is composed of three types of analysis such as: FT-IR, DSC and Ash analysis + Optical microscopy.

FT-IR analysis is supported by databases that contain thousands of spectra as reference. DSC analysis state the polymer matrix of the analysed sample.

The determination of the material composition can be stated with the analyse of the presence of fillers and/or reinforcements such as glass fibre, inorganic fillers, etc which is a characteristic of thermoplastics.

Ash Analysis is carried out by burning plastic materials in a muffle and then it is analysed through the optical microscope in order to determine whether inorganic filler are contained in burned material. This procedure enables us to determine type, percentage and chemical composition of the material.


We are able to provide you with the full composition of the material.

Why do two different lots of the same material give rise to different products?

The answer to this question can be given by making a comparison between two or more materials.All the samples are analysed with specific methods that are planned in advance by firstly stydying the type of material.By comparing the results that are obtained from these samples we will be able to determine any composition differences in order to state why two different lots of the same material give rise to different products.

As an example, here two of our laboratory case study that we have carried out:

1. Comparison of two samples of ABS which show different characteristics: by investigating the rubber that is contained in the sample, we have found out that these samples contained polybutadiene rubber but with significantly different quantity of content.

2. Comparison of two batches of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA): the analysis of the vinyl acetate (VA) content determined that two samples shoed different vinyl acetate content.

Why does a manufactured component break while using it?

The causes of breakage of a thermoplastic manufactured component can be various.

In order to provide a full answer it is necessary to carry out an investigation of the material together with the customer in order to assess all the aspects as following:

• Conditions of the material usage;

• Different types of material usage;

• Changes in the working processes of the material;

• Supplier Changes.

After this investigation we will have all the information required in order to recommend you with the types of tests that could be applied and in short time we will provide you with a full report of the causes of material breakage.

Is the sample RoHS compliant?

The RoHS directive places limits of use that involve six substances: Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent chromium (Chrome VI), Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).

Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) are added to plastic polymers as flame retardants.

The maximum concentration of these substances is 0.1%, except for cadmium which is limited to 0.01%, by weight for each homogeneous material that is contained in the product.

The procedure that we perform in order to check the compliance with RoHS regulations related to components and/or materials consists of two stages:

Stage 1: Routine Analyses

The first stage of this procedure is sample screening with ICP-OES analysis in order to determine the total Cd, Pb and Cr. Through ion-exchange chromatography (IC) we are able to determine the total quantity of Br. This first stage allows us to investigate the presence of Pb, Cd, Cr total, Br total.

When values near the limits are assessed, we are able to move to the analysis of stage 2.

Stage 2: More accurate analyses that are necessary for the following circumstances:

• Measurement of Cr total near limits;

• Measurement of Br total near limits.

As Cr total content of the sample is near to the limit, it is necessary to check the Cr6+ content through extraction and subsequent analysis with colorimetric or polarographic methods. As for flame-retardant brominated compounds, when the Br total value determined in stage 1 reachs the limit we will be able to carry out an accurate report of the PBB and PBDE content by involving GC-MS analysis.

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