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10-11-2017

Networking Plastics

Quick Determination of Curing and the Degree of Cross-Linking

Cross-linking plastics is a common method to obtain mechanical, thermal and chemical properties in standard polymers, which are similar to those in high-performance plastics. The best-known examples are cross-linked polyethylene (PE-X) in pipes as well as cross-linked polyamide in the automotive sector. In addition, there is a wide range of material systems, which cure through cross-linking.

The German Plastic Center SKZ, Würzburg, Germany, is testing the use of single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for the determination of the degree of cross-linking of thermoplastics and thermosets. This method shall enable non-invasive material testing in a significantly shorter period of time compared with current standard testing and thus allow for inline process control.

Determination of the degree of cross-linking by single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance (© SKZ)

Determination of the degree of cross-linking by single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance (© SKZ)

Thermosets are used as matrices in fiber-reinforced composites or in thermoset injection molding and adhesives. The degree of cross-linking and curing is a decisive quality feature with this but it is still mainly determined by means of wet-chemical analysis. The long time period (more than 8 hours in the case of standard testing) until a quantitative result is received along with the elaborate sample preparation in this standard measuring procedure, however, do not allow for a 100% complete control.

One possible solution is measuring with a single-sided NMR system. In a research project conducted by the SKZ, potentials and limitations of the measurement method for a process-oriented, non-destructive determination of the degree of cross-linking are studied. This will be done for a broad range of cross-linked and cured material systems taking into account the respective distinctive features. The aim of the project is to determine if single-sided NMR is suitable as an alternative for the standard testing method due to the comparatively simple handling and greater mobility as well as the significantly shorter measuring times.

Company profile

SKZ - KFE gGmbH

Frankfurter Straße 15-17
DE 97082 Würzburg
Tel.: 931 4104-235
Fax: 931 4104-707

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