FTIR sample preparation: thin film makers

The study of polymer films in transmission by means of FT-IR spectroscopy is a highly efficient method for evaluating the properties of polymers and additives and obtaining quantitative information on these substances. The film maker enables polymer films to be pressed with repeatable thicknesses from 15 µm to 500 µm.

The sample (polymer granulate or powder) is placed directly in the film maker without prior sample preparation. The desired film thickness is selected with the help of a sizing ring. The granulate or powder is then pressed into a film at the respective melting point and a pre-set pressure (typically around 1 t) with the help of a hydraulic laboratory press.

The Specac Mini Film Maker Kit was developed specifically for producing thin films of polymer and plastic materials for infrared transmission analysis. The system enables quick and easy hot pressing of sample films at temperatures of up to 250 °C, producing films with a repeatable diameter of 15 mm diameter and thicknesses of 50, 100, 250 or 500 µm.

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This film maker can only be used in conjunction with heated platens and a hydraulic press. The heated platens are mounted in the press and the film maker is positioned between the heated platens. After pressing, the complete film maker is briefly placed in a cooling mould (water cooling). The finished film can then be removed and placed in a magnetic film holder or Specacards for analysis in an IR spectrometer. The maximum pressure for this film maker is 4 t, satisfactory results can however be achieved at pressures from around 1 t.

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The high-temperature film maker for temperatures up to 400 °C is designed with integrated heated platens and cooling system. Only an additional hydraulic press is required. The complete film maker is simply placed in the press.

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The electrically heated platens are mounted directly in the hydraulic press. The upper platen is attached to the lead screw of the press and moves up and down with the latter. The lower heated platen simply rests on the lower contact surface of the press. The heated platens can be used with Specac and Perkin-Elmer hydraulic presses.

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The magnetic film holder offers an alternative method for fastening thin films. The film is held against the retaining plate by a magnetic ring.

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Specacard enable the convenient storage of KBr pellets and polymer films. Samples are placed between the open halves of the self-adhesive card and the card is folded. The front side provides space for labelling.

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