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Infrared and Raman Analysis of In-Plane Microtomed Thermoplastic Olefins

Volume 53, Number 2 (Feb. 1999) Page 150-156

Coleman, Patricia B.; Ramamurthy, A.C.


The distribution of chemical composition of as-molded thermoplastic elastomers: polyolefinic (TEOs), commonly called TPO, has been studied. Fifty in-plane sections, each 10 mu m thick, were microtomed from the surface to a depth of 510 mu m into the sample. These sections were studied by transmission infrared to compare the level of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) at the surface and throughout the 510 mu m thickness. No compositional differences were observed. These same sections were studied by optical microscopy. Birefringent spherulites were observed beginning about 100 mu m into the sample. Deeper into the sample, these spherulites became larger, approaching 20 mu m. Infrared microscopy was used to analyze several 20 mu m by 20 mu m spots on these sections. Still no compositional difference could be found. A Raman microprobe using a 2 mu m diameter sampling spot was also used to analyze these sections. Once again no compositional differences in the amount of PP and PE were observed at the surface as compared to 500 mu m into the sample.