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INFRARED (IR) SPECTROSCOPY IS ONE OF THE most powerful analytical methods available in the coatings industry. It can be applied to both liquid and solid samples, and can be used to analyze both bulk samples and surfaces. Although perhaps the most fundamental uses of infrared spectroscopy are the elucidation of molecular structure and the identification of unknowns, it has great utility in the coatings industry as a problem solving tool. For instance, IR spectroscopy can be used not only to determine if the specified epoxy coating was actually used on a project experiencing coating failure, but can also be used to determine if the coating was mixed in the proper ratio of Part A to Part B, and maybe even to determine if it was applied over an organic contaminant such as grease or oil. In some cases, it can be used to determine a coating's degree of cure, or to examine surfaces for exudates, or to determine if the correct amount of plasticizer is present in a brittle lacquer. In short, IR spectroscopy is an essential component of the modern coatings laboratory.
Weldon, Dwight G.
President, Weldon Laboratories, Inc., Imperial, PA