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Chemical Engineering

Polymer Characterization Lab

The Advanced Polymeric Materials Characterization facility, located on the 4th floor of Dupuis Hall, was established in 2002 with financial support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust. The instrumentation was purchased to help provide the fundamental insight into the molecular and bulk physical properties of polymers needed to design novel materials and optimize their properties.

The equipment can be grouped into the following broad categories:

  • Equipment to characterize the mechanical properties (tensile, flexural and impact) of polymers according to industry standards.
  • Equipment to characterize the thermal properties and stability of polymers.
  • Equipment to characterize the rheological behaviour of polymers.
  • Equipment to characterize the molecular size and structure of polymers.

More details can be obtained by following the links on the listing below.


Please contact Ying Zhang (613-533-2774, yz40@queensu.ca) to find out more about the equipment capabilities, pricing information, or to become trained on a particular piece of equipment.

Equipment Listing

Universal Tester (Instron) - Instron 3369 Series load capacity 5kN equipped with long travel extensometer and 0 to 25mm extensometer.

  • The Instron 3369 electromechanical test instrument can test a wide range of materials in tension or compression. The load frame is designed to secure a test specimen between the rigid frame base and the moving crosshead. The drive system moves the crosshead up to apply a tensile load on a specimen, or down to apply a compressive load on the specimen.
  • The applied load is measured by a load transducer (load cell) mounted between the specimen and the crosshead. The load cell converts forces into an electrical signal that the control system measures and displays. http://www.instron.com

Pendulum Impact Tester - BLI series Impact Testing Machine capable of Charpy Testing and Izod testing equipped with DL-300 digital impact display.

Falling Wt Impact Tester - The Dynisco FWI falling weight impact tester determines the impact resistance of paints, lacquers, varnishes and other coatings on metal panels, along with plastics, laminates, plating and sidings. FWI was designed in compliance with ASTM Test Standards D2794 and D5450.

  • The test procedure consists of lifting a weight in a slotted guide tube to a specific height and dropping it onto a steel impactor, which is resting on a flat, rigid polymer specimen. The weight and drop height are adjusted until the approximate failure energy value is determined. Then the Mean Impact Resistance is determined by the energy required to produce 50% failure.
  • The FWI is supplied with 0.9, 1.8 and 3.6 kg drop weights.

Polymer Process Analyzer - APA 2000, Alpha Technologies - The APA 2000 analyzer is a dynamic mechanical rheological tester, specifically designed to test viscoelastic materials at a wide range of temperatures, strains, and frequencies. www.alpha-technologies.com

DSC - DSC Q100 equipped with a 50-sample pan/5-reference pan carousel autosampler and refrigerated cooling system capable of reaching temperature of -90oC- TA instruments- DSC measures heat flows and temperatures associated with transitions in a material. It also has modulated DSC mode, temperature range -90oC to 550oC. www.tainst.com

TGA - TGA Q500 equipped with a 16-sample pan carousel autosampler -TA instruments, has modulated TGA mode, temperature range; room temperature to 1000oC. www.tainst.com

UV-Vis Spectrophotometer - Cary 100 scan, Varian, www.varianinc.com, is capable of scanning 190nm to 900nm. It is equipped with SCAN, CONC, BIO packages.

FTIR - Avatar 360 FT-IR system, Nicolet, 4000-400 cm-1 spectral range, equipped with multi-bounce HATR and Diffusion Reflectance accessories. www.nicolet.com

Spectrofluorometer - PTI Fluorescence Master Systems, Photon Technology International equipped with LPS-220B Xe arc lamp light housing, two identical 814 photomuliplier detection systems and Ex7 Neslab temperature silicon oil bath capable of increasing temperatures up to 230oC for the polymer and nanocomopsite materials. The fluorometer is controlled by Felix 32 software.

Surfase Tensiometer - KRUSS tensiometer K12.

GC - CP-3800 Varian Gas Chromatograph equipped with FID detection system, Varian CP-8400 AutoSampler and CP-8400 AutoInjector with split injection capabilities.

GPC/LS - Waters 2695 GPC separation module with guard and 4 columns, Waters 410 Differential Refractometer, Waters 474 Scanning Fluorescence Detector and Wyatt-Dawn EOS 18 light detecting system. http://www.wyatt.com

Capillary Rheometer - RH2200, Bohlin Instruments - Rheology involves many different types of measurement. The Rosand RH2000 is able to provide information on a very wide range of parameters including; shear viscosity, extensional viscosity, thermal stability, wall slip, PVT (Pressure-Volume-Temperature), stress relaxation, melt fracture, and slit die (shear viscosity and first normal stress). This is a twin-bore capillary rheometer with two bores in the barrel, one with a long die and one with an orifice die. Each bore has its own piston and pressure transducer, allowing experiments shear viscosity and extension viscosity to be carried out simultaneously.

Mastersizer 2000 - Malvern Instruments particle analyzer. It can be used with a variety of sample dispersion units that allow it to measure wet and dry samples. The range for particle size is 0.02 to 2000µm. Follow this link for more details.

Nanosizer ZS - Malvern Instruments particle analyzer fitted with laser 633nm laser. This instrument provides the ability to measure three characteristics of particles or molecules in a liquid medium. These three fundamental parameters are particle size, zeta potential and molecular weight. The range for particle size is 0.6nm to 6µm and 1000 to 2x107 Daltons for molecular weight. Follow this link for more details.

GPC-Viscotek Dual Detector (Solvent THF): The ViscoTek 270 Dual Detector offers the options of a viscometer detector and a light scattering detector in this dual detector platform for the Viscotek 270max Gel Permeation Chromatography / Size Exclusion Chromatography system. For this link for more information.

GPC-Viscotek TDA (Solvent DMF): In a single GPC/SEC experiment, the TDA provides: Absolute molecular weight, molecular size expressed as Hydrodynamic Radius (Rh) to less than 1 nm and Radius of Gyration (Rg), intrinsic viscosity or molecular density. Also, provides information on structure, conformation, aggregation and branching. More details here.

Optilab REX-Refractive Index detector: For absolute refractive index measurements using a combination of cutting-edge semiconductor photodiode technology and proprietary computer algorithms, and a combination of sensitivity and range. It can measure the dn/dc of a solvent at the same wavelength of light as the light scattering instrument. For details visit this link.

LS 13 320 Particle Sizer (Beckman Coulter): The LS 13 320 MW is a versatile and sophisticated laser diffraction particle size analyzer. It uses the Fraunhofer and Mie theories of light scattering and offers high resolution, reproducibility and accuracy. The laser-based technology permits analysis of particles without the risk of missing either the largest or the smallest particles in a sample.

Single Screw Extruder (Yellow Jacket): It is available to external clients from May-August.

Twin Screw Extruder (Coperion): Research instrument.

Nissei Injection Molder: Electric injections molder with 20 ton clamping capacity. Recently has mold for ASTMD-638-IV tensile strips. It is available to external clients from May-July.

Morgan Press: Single shot injection molder. Also, used for impact test. ASTMD-638-V Mold 62 mm. for tensile impact, strip impact tests is available for external use from May-August.

Diffusion Permeameter-DP-100 ACTROX (PMI): The PMI Diffusion Permeameter provides fully automated analysis of diffusion and gas permeability. PMI's Diffusion Permeameter tests materials that typically have very low permeability and are therefore difficult to measure by conventional means. The user-friendly PMI Diffusion Permeameter features nondestructive testing and can test a wide variety of samples and gases over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. For details follow this link.

Capillary Flow Porometer-CFP-1500-AL (PMI): The PMI Capillary Flow Porometer provides fully automated through-pore analysis including bubble point, pore size distribution, mean flow pore size, hydro-head, integrity, and liquid, gas, Frazier, Gurley, and Rayl permeability. PMI's Capillary Flow Porometer is versatile -- it allows the user to test samples under compression, tension, or elevated temperature, thereby simulating operating conditions. For details follow this link.

Autosorb-1 (Quantachrome): Automated analyzer for surface area and pore size measurements. It offers simultaneous analysis and sample preparation. For more information follow this link.

Poremaster (Quantachrome): It provides pore size, pore volume, bulk and apparent density, porosity, particle size and related properties for a wide range of powdered and bulk solid materials. For more information follow this link.