Polymers and plastics, polymerization

Plastics Polymers, PANalytical

Turnkey solution for accurate analysis of toxic heavy elements in polyethylene using TOXEL standards

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy has emerged as a powerful technique for both process control and regulatory compliance in the polymers and plastics industry.

Quantitative monitoring of the concentration of remaining catalysts by XRF provides accurate control of the polymerization process. Process efficiency is improved. PANalytical’s TOXEL package provides certified standards against which to perform XRF analysis.

Manufacturers of plastics and polymers are obliged to meet RoHS/WEEE regulations and ASTM F2617-08 international standards. Legislation defines the maximum allowable concentration for several restricted elements.

XRF delivers important advantages compared to other techniques. Sample preparation is straightforward, with no dissolution required. Measurements are non-destructive and results are accurate and reproducible. Thanks to the integral smart monitor program, time-consuming and costly re-standardizations are unnecessary and the resultant data are consistent over long periods, saving time and money.

Automated analysis reduces measurement times to a matter of minutes and efficient sample preparation methods support high throughput. Userfriendly software allows routine analysis to be carried out by factory operators.

Expertise program: XRF – Polymers and plastics, polymerization

This Expertise program delivers a complete methodology from sample preparation to quality assurance for elemental analysis in polyolefins (all kinds of PP and PE, including iPP, HDPE, LDPE, mPE, ULMWPE etc.). It can be applied to all PANalytical XRF systems including Zetium, Axios, Epsilon 5, Epsilon 3X and MiniPal4. This methodology program includes:

  • Advice and consultation on efficient preparation of samples including hot pressing
  • Optimized application program, which enables high throughput and accurate results, whilst accounting for the influence of sample thickness
  • XRF analysis workflow and quality assurance, using quality samples and an automatic monitor program, enabling easy maintenance of application performance
  • XRF system calibration setup for accurate quantitative analysis of a range of relevant elements in relevant concentrations (see table below). Lower limits of detection depend on the element and on the XRF system employed. Other polymers can be discussed on request.
Elements ppm
Cr 0 - 22
Ni 0 - 11
Cu 0 - 25
Zn 0 - 5
As 0 - 6
Br 0 - 160
Cd 0 - 30
Ba 0 - 600
Hg 0 - 5
Pb 0 - 22


  • System: Any PANalytical XRF spectrometer including Zetium, Axios, MagiX (Pro), PW24xx, Epsilon 5, Epsilon 3X and MiniPal 4
  • Standards: TOXEL
  • Other: Sample preparation equipment


  • Application Support Contract: For continuous prioritized advice and support at application level.
  • Software: SuperQ module SPC

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