Materials Testing Laboratory, Innovatech Labs, Helps Customers Identify Foreign Materials that May Cause Product Contamination with Testing Technique, FTIR

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) diagnoses contamination issues by providing composition details

Minneapolis, MN, June 12, 2009 --( - Innovatech Labs, a leading materials testing laboratory, is helping ensure product cleanliness and composition for engineers and manufacturers with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) testing.

FTIR analysis is valuable for identification of contaminates such as particles, residues, films or fibers. FTIR can also be used for comparison of a good and failed part, reverse engineering to identify the material makeup of a product and identification of additives in materials.

"FTIR analysis is ideal for identifying unknown contaminants and foreign materials on a product. You can’t figure out the why, without understanding the what,” said Gary Smith, President of Innovatech Labs. “Once the contaminant is identified, then the customer is able to determine where the contamination is happening and find a solution."

Using the microscope attachment to the FTIR, samples as small as 10 microns may be effectively analyzed. Samples can be tested in various forms including liquid, solid or gaseous.

The FTIR testing process measures wavelengths in the infrared region that are absorbed by the material being tested. The absorption bands identify molecular components and structures according to the frequencies and by searching the FTIR Spectrum against a large database of reference spectra.

FTIR in Action
Two plastic parts were submitted to Innovatech Labs for analysis. Of the two plastic parts, one had fractured during use.

The purpose of the analysis was to determine the difference between the ‘good’ and ‘failed’ parts. A sample of the material comprising each part was analyzed by FTIR and compared. The bulk of the materials comprising both plastic parts were found to be very similar by FTIR.

The next step then, was to soak them in isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol was decanted, then evaporated. The remaining residues from the two extracts were then analyzed using attenuated total reflectance (ATR) FTIR. Each of the extracts contained dioctylphthalate (DOP, a common plasticizer), however the amount extracted from the ‘fail’ part was much less than that extracted from the ‘good’ part. The failure was due to not enough plasticizer present in the part that had fractured.

In another test, FTIR was used to support manufacturing when plastic packaging trays for medical devices had fibers present. The fibers were removed and analyzed using FTIR which identified the fibers as cellulose.

In working with the manufacturer, it was identified that the fibers matched the cardboard inserts used in the production process. The manufacture eliminated the cardboard inserts in the process line and the fibers disappeared.

To learn more about how FTIR testing can ensure the integrity and viability of your products by identifying the components of foreign materials visit

With most projects, Innovatech Labs provides quick turnaround, typically five business days or less.

About Innovatech Labs
Innovatech Labs is a contract materials testing lab specializing in materials characterization. Our rapid turnaround times (typically 5 business days or less) eliminate lengthy downtimes waiting for testing lab results for our customers in manufacturing. We pride ourselves on being our customer's first resource for analytical testing lab services. We will help you decide which analytical technique best suits your needs. If we don't have that technique in house, we will help you locate a lab that does.

Innovatech Labs offers a broad range of analytical techniques in our testing lab, including surface spectroscopy (ESCA/XPS, AUGER, SEM/EDS), organic spectroscopies (FTIR, GC/MS), ion chromatography (IC), and liquid particle counting (LPC).

Innovatech Labs, LLC
Jennifer Mathias
(763) 231-0150