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The distribution (heterogeneous or homogeneous) of inorganic additives within an organic polymer phase is important because it directly influences the physical and chemical properties of the polymer. Heterogeneity must also be assessed when producing reference materials. When producing a polymer reference material certified for the concentrations of its inorganic additives, assessment of heterogeneity is crucial. In this work the use of LA-ICP-MS to demonstrate the occurrence of heterogeneity in polymers, and polyethylene in particular, is described. The polymers studied were candidate reference materials. The conclusions reached correspond well with those obtained by means of solid sampling-Zeeman atomic absorption spectrometry (SS-ZAAS). As LA-ICP-MS is a multi-elemental technique the data was obtained in a fraction of the time required by SS-ZAAS. Hence, LA-ICP-MS can be used as a screening tool to quickly reject materials on the basis of unacceptable heterogeneity, thereby avoiding unnecessary time-consuming SS-ZAAS analyses.

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Authors: DOBNEY A, DSM Research, Geleen (NL);DE KOSTER C, DSM Research, Geleen (NL);MANK A, Philips CFT, Eindhoven (NL);GROBECKER K, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Geel (BE);CONNEELY P, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Geel (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: ART 90441. Analytica Chimica Acta 423 (2000) pp.9-19
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