Volume 49, Issue 3 (May 2004)
Thermogravimetric Analysis as a Polymer Identification Technique in Forensic Applications
This paper investigates the potential of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) as a tool for determination of different species of polymers. Materials analyzed include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), polystyrene, polypropylene, nitriles, and nylon. Analyses showed excellent discriminating results even when samples were contaminated with silicates, organics, moisture, and char. The techniques developed were designed with a forensic-type analysis in mind, such as analysis of blast fragments and arson debris. Techniques were developed that gave satisfactory results even when sample sizes were less than five milligrams.