Questions answered

  • Is my ‘raw material A’ contaminated?
  • What is the contamination in ‘product B’?
  • What is the concentration of ‘contaminant C’?

Determination of source, type and concentration

Contamination is the unwanted presence of a minor constituent in a material that causes issues with the specified properties or function of the final product.

Contamination analysis tells manufacturers the type and concentration of contaminants in their products and the source of contamination in their production process. This data helps them in taking corrective actions as fast as possible.

The analysis of product contamination typically involves determination of components at low concentrations, often at (sub-)ppm levels.

The exact analytical approach is very much case dependent, but always starts with understanding the nature of the contamination, preferably in close consideration with the requester.

We take a look at the properties of contamination. Does it manifest itself via a different color or odor, presence of particles, different product morphology or other chemical behavior?

Residue analysis

A standard residue analysis strategy is based on analytical comparison of contaminated samples with a reference sample. Depending on sample properties we can select from a wide array of gas and liquid chromatographic separation techniques that are coupled with mass spectroscopy and other type of detectors.

The fraction with the contaminant will be taken to the identification stage, typically applying FT-IR, Raman or NMR spectroscopy. After identification, the concentration of the contaminant in the product can be determined.

Sources of product contamination

The following sources of contamination have been encountered in past contamination analysis:

  • new source of raw material (other provider or new batch) with a new chemical species
  • different formulation characteristics (particle size distribution)
  • storage or shelf life issues
  • exogenic contaminants introduced by the production process (metal particles, carbonized material, corrosion, lubricants, contaminated containers etc.)

In order to identify the source of contamination, AgfaLabs works closely together with the requester.

Request your contamination analysis

We have a long record of successful contamination analysis, such as dispersions and finished products (coatings and bulk materials) in the plastics and printing industry, but also in environmental contexts.

Does your product or production process seem to suffer from an unknown contamination?

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