Zetium - Analysis of flame retardants (Sb and Br) in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) resins

This data sheet demonstrates the performance of the Polymers edition of the Zetium spectrometer for the analysis of bromine and antimony in ABS.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) resins is a widely used category of thermoplastics. They are found in vehicles, electronics, furniture and domestic appliances. Use in critical construction, electronics and transport applications mean that they have to meet fire safety standards, so fire retardants are added to plastics to meet these requirements.

Zetium Polymers edition 

Introduction

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins is a widely used category of thermoplastics. They are found in vehicles, electronics, (for example, computer and TV housings), furniture and domestic appliances. Use in critical construction, electronics and transport applications means that they have to meet fire safety standards, so fire retardants are added to plastics to meet these requirements.

The reaction between halogenated compounds (for example, tetrabromobisphenol) and antimony trioxide is well known in the plastic industry as the basis for flame retardation in thermoplastics.

This data sheet demonstrates the performance of the Polymers edition of the Zetium spectrometer for the analysis of bromine and antimony in ABS.

Instrumentation

The Polymers edition of the Zetium spectrometer is a fully integrated wavelength dispersive XRF analyzer, consisting of a spectrometer, X-Y sample handler and software.

The Zetium spectrometer, enhanced with dedicated solutions for the most demanding polymer and plastic applications makes the Polymers edition the ideal tool for this industry. It is designed to provide accuracy, precision and sub-ppm detection limits for many elements. The Polymers edition with the unique SuperQ software provides high-quality data in both production control and R&D environments.

Standards and sample preparation

The standards used to calibrate this application were in-house standards kindly donated by a PANalytical customer in the polymers industry. The composition of these standards is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Composition of the standards used for calibration

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These standards were prepared as hot-pressed discs with a diameter of 50 mm (analyzed diameter 37 mm) and a thickness of ~2 mm.

Analytical conditions

The measurement times used to obtain the data presented in this data sheet are given in Table 2.

Table 2. Total measurement time (peak + backgrounds)

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Precision and instrument stability

The precision, repeatability and reproducibility of the Polymers edition of the Zetium spectrometer are excellent, not only for short-term measurements (15 consecutive measurements, Table 3), but also for longer periods (8 measurements carried out over a period of 10 days). For comparison the counting statistical error (CSE in wt%) is also shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Analytical precision

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Accuracy

The accuracy of the calibrations is presented in Table 4. The calibration RMS values are a statistical comparison (1 sigma) of the certified chemical concentrations of the standards with the concentration calculated by regression in the calibration procedure.

Table 4. Calibration quality and accuracy

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Figure. 1 Calibration plot for bromine

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Figure. 2 Calibration plot for antimony

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Summary

The results clearly demonstrate that the Polymers edition of the Zetium spectrometer can analyze bromine and antimony flame retardants in ABS plastics. The stability of the Zetium spectrometer is such that individual calibrations can be used for many months.

Time-consuming re-standardizations are unnecessary and the resulting data are highly consistent over time.

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