FORCE Technology’s newest characterisation equipment is applied for condition assessment of polymer products. Thus, critical material break downs with catastrophic consequences may be avoided.

FORCE Technology’s newest characterisation equipment within polymers is a GPC Gel Permeations Chromatographic system. 

The GPC system is based on an analytical technique, which may be applied to determine the molecular weight and the molecular weight distribution in polymer, rubber and composite materials and other highly molecular materials such as paints and coatings. 

By this technique and small sample of the material is dissolved in a suitable solvent, which is subsequently injected in a system of columns, separating the dissolved molecules (polymer chains, softeners, processing aids etc.) according to size, which will then finally be detected with one or several detectors (refractive index, viscosity or light scattering) as to which component or parameter is to be determined. This way, the components in the polymer material and the polymer itself can be characterised.

This technique is used in i.a. the oil industry

”We welcome the new equipment warmly”, says polymer specialist Afshin Ghanbari-Siahkali, National Oilwell Varco. ”We will make use of the expertise in connection with assessment of the service life of polymer materials in pipes for the oil industry”.

Among other things, the company manufactures flexible pipes to be applied when extracting oil. Thus, it is important to know the service life, as material breakdowns are highly critical and may have catastrophic consequences.

Prediction of service life in a given usage situation

Especially, when we speak of decomposed, aged or even fractured polymer products, a reduced (or increased) molecular mass will help us evaluate, to what the polymer has been exposed, and how degraded it is. And this is how the service life in a specific application may be predicted.

Many fields of business will benefit from the GPC technique. The medical industry, the energy sector and the apparatus industry all apply polymers, where the service life is important and failures and damages are critical.