Want to know how our analysis methods can support your research in chemistry and applied chemistry? Whether you’re a student, a researcher, or a professor, we’ve put together a selection of relevant application examples – covering a wide range of chemistry research areas including applied chemistry, forensic science, inorganic and organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry.

Chemistry and applied chemistry research covers a huge range of application areas. What’s more, the materials researched and analytical equipment used overlap significantly with Biological Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. So, feel free to check out those pages for additional information! Otherwise, take a look at these examples to see how we can support your chemistry education, research, and practice. The method abbreviations are explained at the bottom of this page.

Applied chemistry

Applied chemistry encompasses a vast range of subjects. Some of the more common industrial applications include:

  • Detergents
  • Batteries
  • Catalysts
  • Inks
  • Textiles
  • Polymers


Applied chemists often need to consider process engineering and formulation, and may have to deal with chemicals in several forms, including powders, granules, suspensions, solutions, and exotic mixtures. Below, we’ve put together a selection of application notes and articles on applied chemistry topics. Take a look to find out more!

Applied Chemistry

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (link)

Catalysts - sample preparation for XRF/ICP

SPE

Alumino-silicate, zeolites

Sample preparation by borate fusion of catalysts and high silica samples for ICP-OES analysis: method development and results

Catalysts - residual impurities

XRF

Residual catalyst impurities in carbon nanotubes (Si,Cl,K,Ca,Ti,Cr,Mn,Fe,Co,Ni,Br,Sr,Mo,C)

Easy, cost-effective and non‑destructive quantification of carbon nanotubes

Catalysts - particle size

LD

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Catalysts

Analysis of catalyst materials using laser diffraction particle size analysis

Catalysts (recycling) - elemental composition

XRF

Pt, Pd, and Rh

Zetium - Trace analysis of Pt, Ph and Rh in automotive catalysts

Catalysts (recycling) - sample preparation for ICP

SPE

Pt, Pd, Rh in automotive catalysts

Peroxide Fusion Solution for the Determination of Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium in Automotive Catalytic Converters by ICP Analysis

Colloidal gold - particle size, aggregation

DLS

Colloidal Gold

Characterization of Colloidal Gold Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Detergents - demicellization

ITC

Nonionic detergent n decyl-ß D Maltoside (DM)
zwitterionic detergent 3 ([3 cholamidopropyl]dimethylammonium)-2 hydroxy-1 propane sulfonate (CHAPSO)

Analysis of demicellization data from isothermal titration calorimetry

Detergents - size, Zeta potential

ELS / DLS

Surfactant assembly as micelles, soaps, and detergents

The Size and Zeta Potential of Laundry Detergent

Emulsions - droplet size

LD

Typical emulsion (discussion rather than data)

Controlling droplet size in emulsions using on-line particle size analysis

Ferrofluids - particle size, aggregation

DLS

Ferrofluids: coated and uncoated nanoparticles of Ferric Oxide in hexane

Ferrofluids: Characterisation Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Latex standards - particle size, Zeta potential

ELS / DLS

Latex standards

Effect of Angle on Resolving Particle Size Mixtures Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Lipase - particle size, Zeta potential

ELS / DLS

Enzyme Candida rugosa lipase, perfluorinated surfactants Krytox FSL™ and KDP 4606 from Dupont in perfluoro methyl-cyclohexane solvent

Size determination of a modified Lipase soluble in Perfluorinated solvents

Micelles - hydrodynamic size, Zeta potential

ELS / DLS

Soluble complexes of PDADMAC with mixed micelles of SDS and TX-102

Influence of Temperature on Micelle-Polyelectrolyte Complexes

Micelles - shape and size

SAXS

Micelles: Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) in aqueous KCl solution

Performance validation of ScatterX78 against a weakly scattering sample

Micelles - size, concentration, aggregation

DLS

Surfactant micelles, Triton XL-80, Triton X-100, Tween 20, Tween 80, nonidet P40

Surfactant micelle characterization using dynamic light scattering

Micelles - micellization temperature

DLS

Polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polypropylene oxide (PPO) PEO-PPO-PEO

Critical micellization temperature determination using multi-angle dynamic light scattering

Micronized powders - particle size

LD

Green pigment, micronized lactose,

Measuring the particle size of small sample volumes using laser diffraction

Minerals - particle size

LD

Barium Sulphate, Baryte

Watching paint dry: relating paint gloss to the particle size of extender pigments

Minerals - Zeta potential

ELS

Titanium Dioxide

Zeta Potential Characterization of Concentrated Titanium Dioxide Slurries

Minerals - particle size

LD

Titanium Dioxide

Particle size analysis of titanium dioxide using the Mastersizer 3000 laser diffraction particle size analyzer

Minerals - particle size

DLS

Blue pigment from a bead mill

Monitoring pigment milling processes using Dynamic Light Scattering

Nanoparticles - size vs temperature

XRD

Nanoceria (cerium oxide, CeO2)

In situ monitoring of the hydrothermal synthesis of nanoceria. Time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering at variable temperature

Nanoparticles - size vs temperature

XRD

Nanoceria (cerium oxide, CeO2)

In situ monitoring of the hydrothermal synthesis of nanoceria. Time-resolved small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering

Nanoparticles - size vs time

XRD

Nanoceria (cerium oxide, CeO2)

In situ monitoring of the hydrothermal synthesis of nanoceria. Time-resolved total X-ray scattering for pair distribution function analysis

Nanoparticles - particle and pore size

XRD

Titania nanopowder, aqueous dispersion colloidal silica, Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) +silica nanoparticles, porous silica

SAXS: Nanoparticle size distribution analysis on a multi-purpose X-ray diffractometer platform

Non-ionic surfactant - phase change

SAXS

Non-ionic surfactant (TritonX-100, (poly(ethylene glycol)- tert-octylphenyl)) in deionized water

Temperature controlled capillary holder for SAXS/WAXS

Polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes - structural changes

DLS

Polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes

Studying Structural Changes of Rod-like Nanoparticles Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Powder coatings - particle size, Zeta potential

ELS / DLS

Epoxy polyester cathodic electrophoretic coating particle dispersions

Studying the stability of coating particles using the Zetasizer Nano

Powder coatings - particle size distribution

LD

Thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer, polyester, polyurethane, epoxy, and epoxy-polyester hybrid powders,  

Measuring the particle size distribution of powder coatings using laser diffraction

Powders - particle size

LD

Carbon (milling)

On-line particle sizing of carbon for electrode production

Powders  - particle size

Imaging

Toner

Rapid particle size and shape characterization of toners using the FPIA-3000 image analysis system

Powders - particle size

LD

Toner: polyester (or previously carbon powder and iron oxide)

Applying image analysis to support the development of particle sizing methods

Suspensions, polymer - particle size

LD

Inks

Measuring the particle size of small volume nanoparticles samples using the Mastersizer 3000 and Hydro SV

Suspensions, polymer - polymer size

GPC

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), low-branching, medium-branching, high-branching

GPC/SEC analysis of polymer solutions used in inkjet printing

Suspensions, polymer - particle size

LD

Inkjet inks

The measurement of ink jet inks using laser diffraction particle size analysis

Suspensions, polymer - oversized particles

LD

Inkjet inks

Detecting over-sized particles in ink-jet inks using laser diffraction particle size analysis

Suspensions, polymer - molecular weight

GPC

Inkjet polymers Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), low-branching, medium-branching, high-branching

GPC/SEC Analysis of Polymer Solutions Used in Inkjet Printing

Sprays - particle size distribution

LD

Twin-fluid nozzle (Schlick 970S1)

Coating nozzle characterization using the Malvern Spraytec

Suspensions, mineral

ELS / DLS

Microcrystalline silicon dioxide

Suspension Stability: Why Particle Size, Zeta Potential and Rheology are Important

Suspensions, non-aqueous

ELS / DLS

Carbon black in toluene, decane, chloroform, trichloroethane, tetrahydrofuran, butan-2-one and propan-2-ol

Non-aqueous zeta potential measurements of carbon black powders

Suspensions, non-aqueous

ELS / DLS

Carbon black in Isopar G, inks,

Zeta Potential Measurements of Non-Aqueous Particulate Suspensions

Forensic science

The core scientific disciplines of forensic science are shared with other chemistry subjects, as well as biological sciences. We’ve outlined the forensic-specific applications of our solutions in the table below. Enjoy exploring them!

Forensic Science

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Link)

Counterfeit drugs - overview

XRD

Various examples

The technological solution for combating counterfeit drugs - whitepaper

Hoax Powders -  identification, quantification

Imaging

Saccharin / dextrose and  sucralose / dextrose

Forensic analysis of an artificial sweetener commonly employed in hoax powder attacks

Narcotics - identification, quantification

XRD

Narcotics

Easy and fast analysis of complex street drugs

Narcotics - identification and quantification

Imaging

Narcotics

Identify, quantify & characterize adulterants and diluents in illicit drugs using Morphologi G3-ID

Toxins – elemental identification

XRF

Pb in paint film

Analysis of Pb (lead) in paint films using Stratos

Toxins – particle-phase identification and quantification

XRD

Respirable Silica

Respirable silica

Inorganic chemistry

Inorganic chemistry research covers the understanding, synthesis, and identification of all inorganic materials – and one of its key components is crystallography. Our powder diffraction methods, such as Bragg-Brentano XRD and XRD performed under non-ambient conditions, play a significant role in this. Crystal phase identification and crystal structure refinement are the most common applications, while pair distribution function analysis is an increasingly popular way to investigate defective crystals and push the limits of inquiry.

Examples of XRD analysis in chemical crystallography are ubiquitous in research literature. We’ve selected just a few to show you – explore them for illustrations of the different analysis types!

Inorganic Chemistry

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Link)

Carbonates – particle size

LD

Calcium carbonate

Particle size analysis of calcium carbonates by laser diffraction

Glasses - boron content

XRF

Boron in glass

Analysis of boron in glass using a PX7 multi-layer crystal

Inorganic crystals - structure refinement

XRD

Fe(IO3)3. Fe(z) 

Hard radiation for crystallography - PDF

Inorganic crystals - structure refinement

XRD

Olivine (e. g. LiMnPO4), arcanite (β-K2SO4), glaserite, tridymite, α-K2SO4, β-Na2SO4 and γ-Na2SO4

AgCaVO4: structure solution from a benchtop X-ray powder diffractometer

Spinels - pair distribution analysis

XRD

Nano-spinel ZnAl2O4

PDF measurements with GaliPIX3D

Organic chemistry

Organic chemistry has a wide-ranging application field – sharing analysis methods with polymer science, petrochemical engineering, and biochemistry. Check out those sections for further application examples! Here, we’ve put together a selection of application notes particularly relevant to organic chemistry research and development.

Organic Chemistry

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Link)

Micelles - size, concentration, aggregation

DLS

Triton X-100 (polyoxyethylene p-t-octylphenol), sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), in NaCl,

Characterization of mixed micelles

Polymer mix - mix fractions

GPC

Polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)

How to use GPC/SEC for compositional analysis

Polymers - molecular weight

GPC

PET, PBT, Nylon

FIPA of polymers in HFIP

Urea formaldehyde - particle size

LD

Urea-formaldehyde

Is your sample dispersing or milling? Hydro Sight’s in-line insight

Polymer chemistry

The core scientific disciplines of polymer chemistry are part of polymer science. In particular, it overlaps with polymer engineering – take a look at Materials Science and Engineering for those examples. Otherwise, check out the polymer chemistry research articles and application examples below to find out more!

Polymer Chemistry

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Link)

Additives - elemental concentration

XRF

Additive elements in plastics and polyolefinic polymers,

Zetium - Analysis of additives in polymers using ADPOL

Additives - elemental concentration

XRF

Additives in polyethylene

Analysis of additives in polyethylene using the ADPOL standards

Block copolymers - impurity detection

GPC

Block copolymer of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA) PEG-b-PLA,

The detection of impurities in block copolymers

Block copolymers - intrinsic velocity and molecular weight

GPC

Polystyrene block with polybutadiene block or polyisoprene block

FIPA of block copolymers (SBS and SIS)

Copolymers - backbone modification

GPC

Methyl methacrylate-based copolymer structure

Backbone modification - polymer structure analysis

Copolymers - branching and molecular weight

GPC

Linear copolymer (low branching-, medium branching-, high branching) in THF

Characterization of branched copolymers by triple detection GPC

Elastomers - intrinsic velocity and molecular weight

GPC

Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer (EPDM) elastomers in cyclohexane

FIPA of EPDM elastomers

Fluro-polyester - intrinsic viscosity and molecular weight

GPC

Fluoro-polyester (PMTFMA) in acetone and THF

Solvent Enhanced Light Scattering (SELS) of Fluoro-Polyester

Medical Polymers - cleaving and molecular weight reduction

GPC

Medical-grade polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)

Effects of gamma-ray sterilization on high molecular weight PMMA for biomedical applications

Nitrile Rubbers - hydrodynamic radius, intrinsic viscosity, and molecular weight

GPC

Acrylonitrile-butadiene copolymers (NBR)

Triple Detection of Nitrile rubbers

Nylon - intrinsic viscosity and molecular weight

GPC

Nylon in Formic Acid

GPC Characterization of Nylon using Formic Acid for Reduced Cost per Analysis

Phenolic resins - molecular weight, coiling, and branching

GPC

Phenol formaldehyde resins

Characterization of modified phenolic resins

Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) - polymer size vs temperature

DLS

Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM)

Automated size and intensity trend measurements

Polyacrylamide - molecular weight and size

GPC

Polyacrylamide (PAAm)

Triple detection GPC of high molecular weight polyacrylamide

Polycaprolactone - low molecular weights

GPC

Polystyrene, polycaprolactone, in THF

Enhanced resolution of low molecular weight samples using Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) in combination with advanced multi-detection

Polymer analysis by XRF - sample preparation

XRF

Polymer granules, chips, and powders

Compression molding of polymer samples for XRF analysis

Polymer degradation - molecular weight

GPC

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) degradation with grinding and printing

GPC/SEC Analysis of Polymer Degradation

Polymers - introduction to DLS

DLS

Polystyrene, Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM),

Characterization of polymers using light scattering techniques

Polymers – Advanced Polymer Chromatography

GPC

NIST Polystyrene Standards,

Combining advanced polymer chromatography with advanced detection for complete polymer characterization

Polymers - introduction to GPC

GPC

Polymers generally

Determination of polymer structure by GPC

Polymers - measurement accuracy by GPC

GPC

Polystyrene (PS), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), polyvinylchloride (PVC)

How to maximize absolute molecular weight measurement accuracy: synthetic polymers

Polystyrene - branching and molecular weight

GPC

Polystyrene (PS)

Universal calibration to study star-branched polystyrene

Polystyrene - branching and molecular weight

GPC

Polystyrene (PS)

Differentiation of polymer branching and composition using the Mark–Houwink plot

Polystyrene - structure definition, branching

GPC

Polystyrene in Tetrahydrofuran (THF)

Using multi-detector Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) to better differentiate samples by structure

Polythiophenes - intrinsic viscosity and molecular weight

GPC

Polythiophenes in THF

GPC of polythiophene

PS and PMMA - blend analysis

GPC

Polystyrene (PS) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

Polymer blend analysis by GPC-PDA

PS and PMMA - introduction to GPC

GPC

Polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)

How to use GPC/SEC for compositional analysis

PTFE - Zeta potential

ELS

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polycarbonate

The influence of ionic strength on surface zeta potential

PTFE - Zeta potential

ELS

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surface

Determination of the zeta potential of the surface of PTFE

PTFE and Latex - Zeta potential

ELS

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surface and latex particles in 1mM NaCl

Measuring Surface Zeta Potential using the Surface Zeta Potential Cell

Purity - elemental analysis

XRF

Cr, Cd, Br, Hg, and Pb in polyolefin polymers

ROHS-3/WEEE/ELV analysis of polyolefins in accordance with ASTM F2617-15

Residues - elemental analysis

XRF

Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Ca, Ti, and Zn catalyst residues in polymers

Analysis of additives and catalyst residues in polyethylene using ADPOL standards

Residues - elemental analysis

XRF

Mg, Al, P, Ca, Ti, and Zn in polymers

Zetium - Trace element analysis of Mg, Al, P, Ca, Ti and Zn in polymers using Zetium

PET resins - solution viscosity

GPC

Polyester terephthalate (PET) resins in  two solvents, o-chlorophenol (OCP) and 3:2 Phenol:TCE

Dilute solution viscosity of polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Thermoplastics - elemental analysis

XRF

Thermoplastics

Zetium - Proficiency testing for elemental analysis of thermoplastics according to ASTM D6247 using ADPOL and TOXEL

Toxic elements - elemental concentrations

XRF

Lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and bromine in PVC polymers

Polymer analysis in accordance with ASTM F2617-08 using PVC Calibration standards

Toxic elements - elemental concentrations

XRF

Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Cd, Ba, Hg, and Pb in polyolefins (PE and PP)

Zetium - Analysis of toxic elements (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Cd, Ba, Hg and Pb) in polymers using TOXEL standards

Abbreviations explained

Our products and technologies are described on the Products pages. Below you can find a quick reference to the properties measured by our instruments, together with the measurement name and its abbreviation. Click on each method to find out more about it! 

Abbreviation

Method Name

Instrument(s)

Measured Property

DLS

Dynamic light scattering

Zetasizer

Molecular size, hydrodynamic radius RH,  particle size, size distribution, stability, concentration, agglomeration

ELS

Electrophoretic light scattering

Zetasizer

Zeta potential, particle charge, suspension stability, protein mobility

ITC

Iso-thermal calorimetry

MicroCal  ITC

Binding affinity, thermodynamics of molecular reactions in solution

DSC

Differential scanning calorimetry

Microcal DSC

Denaturing (unfolding) of large molecules, stability of macromolecules

IMG

Automated Morphological Imaging

Morphologi 4

Imaging of particles, automated shape and size measurement

MDRS

Morphologically directed Raman spectroscopy

Morphologi 4-ID

Imaging of particles, automated shape and size measurement, chemical identification and contaminant detection

LD

Laser diffraction

Mastersizer

Spraytec

Insitec

Parsum

Particle size, size distribution

NTA

Nanoparticle tracking analysis

NanoSight

Particle size, size distribution, and concentration

SEC or GPC

Size exclusion chromatography /

Gel permeation chromatography

OMNISEC

Molecular size, molecular weight, oligomeric state, polymer or protein size and molecular structure

SPE

Sample preparation by fusion

Le Neo

LeDoser

Eagon 2

The OxAdvanced

M4

rFusion

Fused Bead Sample preparation for XRF, Peroxide solution preparations for ICP, Flux weighing for beadmaking

UV/Vis/NIR/ SWIR

Ultra-violet / visible / near infra-red / short wave infra-red spectrometry

LabSpec

FieldSpec

TerraSpec

QualitySpec

Material identification and analysis, moisture, mineral, carbon content. Ground truthing for airborne and satellite spectroscopic techniques.

PFTNA

Pulsed fast thermal neutron activation

CNA

In-line elemental analysis

XRD-C

X-ray diffraction (crystallography)

Aeris

Empyrean

Molecular crystal structure refinement,

crystalline phase identification and quantification, crystalline to amorphous ratio, crystallite size analysis

XRD-M

X-ray diffraction (microstructure)

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Residual stress, texture

XRD-CT

X-ray absorption imaging by computed tomography

Empyrean

3D imaging of solids, porosity, and density

SAXS

Small-angle X-ray scattering

Empyrean

Nanoparticles, size, shape and structure

GISAXS

Glancing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering

Empyrean

Nanostructured thin films and surfaces

HR-XRD

High-resolution X-ray diffraction

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Thin-films and epitaxial multilayers, composition, strain, thickness, quality

XRR

X-ray reflectometry

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Thin films and surfaces, film thickness, surface and interface roughness

XRF

X-ray fluorescence

Epsilon

Zetium

Axios FAST

2830 ZT

Elemental composition, elemental concentration, trace elements, contaminant detection

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