There is a wide range of methods available for testing and characterizing polymers.
- Polymer Chemistry: Polymer Density
- Polymer samples usually are irregular in shape, making it difficult to measure their volume directly. There are four routine methods for determining the density of a polymer55. In the PCOL polymer project we will use one of these methods, called pycnometry. The density can be used to calculate the percent of a polymer that is crystalline.
- Polymer Chemistry: Tensile Testing
- In a tensile test, a sample of known dimensions (including thickness) is held between two clamps. As the sample is stretched, the force exerted by the instrument and the length (and sometimes cross-sectional area) of the sample are measured.
- Polymer Chemistry - Differential Scanning Calorimetry
- A differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) measures the amount of energy (heat) absorbed or released by a sample as it is heated, cooled, or held at a constant temperature56. DSC has become the method of choice for quantitative studies of thermal transitions in polymers.
David Whisnant (Wofford College). Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education through grants DUE #9950809 and DUE #9950296. Additional support was provided by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.