Measurements of the physical properties and structure of plastic materials are performed in order to facilitate the development of useful new projects and processes, to determine the suitability of selected materials for specific applications, to identify the limitations and causes of failure of plastic materials, and to assist the manufacturing operators in the area of quality control. In particular, effects of processing and orientation on the structure and properties of plastic materials are determined in order to identify optimum conditions for the production of plastic containers and other plastic articles.
Institute capabilities in property measurement include: determination of mechanical properties such as tensile strength, rigidity, creep resistance, and impact resistance; measurement and characterization of thermal transitions, stability and crystalline structure; evaluation of accelerated weathering characteristics, environmental aging and stress crack resistance, and determination of haze, transparency and color.
Structural characterization capabilities include measurement of polymer molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, degree of crystallinity, and degree of molecular orientation. The microstructure of polymeric materials and the nature of defects and inclusions are determined with the aid of microscopy and laser light scattering, thermal analyses and spectroscopy. Advanced characterization techniques and instruments are developed to meet specific needs as required.