Thermal treatment hyphenated with gas chromatography is a versatile and powerful tool in the study of polymer characterization. An inexpensive system where thermal treatment at different temperatures occurs inside a Programmable Temperature Vaporization injector (PTV) is described. The samples investigated, commercial plastics, are complex mixtures that contain several polymers and additives. These plastics as well as their pure constituents are subjected to multi-step thermal treatment. The individual chromatograms of the various constituents of the polymeric sample are correlated with those of the final material in order to identify additives (thermal desorption) and degradation products (pyrolysis). Results obtained with the new method indicate the interesting potentials of the technique for the characterization of polymer compositions. Reproducibility of absolute and relative peak areas has been considered and found to be acceptable. The absence of a heated transfer line and switching valves, which are always present in conventional set-ups, eliminates the risk of losses of high molecular weight components. Further advantages of the technique proposed are simplicity, versatility, and its inexpensive nature.
Lieshout, van, H. P. M., Janssen, J. G. M., Cramers, C. A. M. G., Hetem, M. J. J., & Schalk, H. J. P. (1996). Characterization of polymers by multi-step thermal desorption/programmed pyrolysis gas chromatography using a high temperature PTV injector. Journal of High Resolution Chromatography, 19(4), 193-199. https://doi.org/10.1002/jhrc.1240190404