Chemical Analysis and Spectroscopy Laboratory

faculty expert

A Service Center for Raw Materials Testing

Chemical Analysis LabThe Chemical Analysis and Spectroscopy Lab (CASL) acts as a service center, offering a range of chemical testing services to both academic and industry partners. From instrumental to classical wet chemistry techniques, our services provide solutions to challenges in raw materials testing, chemical impurities, solvent testing and more.

Routine CASL Tests

  • Environmental assessment of effluent streams, air quality and water quality
  • Identification of chemicals or contaminants in products for quality control
  • Thermo-analysis of wood, thin films, foams, gels, surfactants and biopolymersChemical Analysis Lab
  • Rheometric measurements of stress and strain in solid polymers
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis of the viscoelastic properties of materials
  • Klason lignin analyses of pulps and other lignocellulosic samples
  • Carbohydrate compositional analyses of pulps and other polysaccharides-based materials
  • Quality control of paper products
  • Molecular weight distribution determinations

    Chemical Analysis lab

Available Instrumentation

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometery (FTIR) – Perkin Elmer Frontier

This instrumental technique detects functional groups and the characterization of covalent bonding and provides information about the molecular structure of materials.

Common applications of molecular spectroscopy include:

  • Chemicals and Materials: Troubleshoot manufacturing problems, identify product contaminants, analyze fuels, gain deeper insights into the properties of novel and advanced materials
  • Pharmaceuticals: Analyze product formulations and package coatings; rapidly screen the quality of raw materials, intermediates and formulated products; qualify nutraceuticals
  • Food: Screen for known and unknown adulterants.

Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrometry (UV-Vis) – PerkinElmer LAMBDA XLS

PerkinElmer LAMBDA XLS

UV-Vis is an analytical technique that measures the absorbance of visible or ultraviolet light at a specific wavelength or a spectral range. By measuring the absorbance of the compound in a solution and calculating its molar extinction coefficient, the concentration of it can be quantified.

Common applications of UV-Vis analysis include consumer care products, pigments, coatings, organic conjugates (proteins, DNA, RNA) and metallic ions.

Gas Chromatography (GC) – HP6890 (FID Detector), Agilent6890N (FID Detector), Agilent7820A (Mass Detector)

Gas Chromatography

Gas chromatography is an analytical technique used to determine if organic components can be volatized. Several detectors are available for partner use, including a Flame Ionization Detector (FID) that can easily quantify separated analytes and a mass spectrometer, which is useful for identifying components.


Gas Chromatography

With our expertise in Gas Chromatography Method Development, our lab can analyze a broad range of sample types, including volatiles, hydrocarbons, glycols, fatty acids, flavors and fragrances or develop a GC or GC/MS method for unique analysis needs.


Ion Chromatography – Dionex ICS-5000

Dionex ICS-5000
Dionex ICS-5000

Ion chromatography, or ion-exchange chromatography, is a chromatographic process that separates ions and polar molecules based on their affinity to an ion exchanger. It works on almost any kind of charged molecule, including anion-exchange and cation-exchange. The water-soluble and charged molecules bind to moieties, which are oppositely charged, by forming ionic bonds to the insoluble stationary phase.

The CarboPac PA1 column, which is a specialized anion-exchange capillary column, can determine a wide pH range from 0 to 14 at all concentrations of buffer salts. It is ideal for the separation of neutral and acidic monosaccharides.

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) – Shimadzu2 0

Shimadzu2 0

The Shimadzu GPC system is designed specifically to provide superior data reliability consists of an LC-20AD, CTO-20A, SPD-20A (Diode Array Detector), RID-20A (Refractive Index Detector) and LabSolutions GPC Software. Gel permeation chromatography is essential in polymer chemistry for measuring the distribution of molecular weights and is often used for the analysis of the molecular weights of polymers dissolved in THF.

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography – Agilent1200 and Agilent1220


High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC, formerly referred to as high-pressure liquid chromatography) is a technique in analytical chemistry used to separate, identify and quantify components of high boiling point mixtures. It relies on pumps to pass a pressurized liquid solvent, containing the sample mixture, through a column filled with a solid adsorbent material. Each component in the sample interacts slightly differently with the adsorbent material, causing varied flow rates for the components, leading to the separation of components as they flow out of the column.

The Agilent HPLC consists of a pump, autosampler, thermostatted column compartment, and a multiwave/refractive index detector that

Agilent 1220

allows for the various analyses of liquid samples. It is primarily used to assay active ingredients in a product, providing assurance that the product meets labeled specifications.

With our expertise in HPLC, we can analyze a wide range of sample types, including pharmaceuticals, organic acids, industrial chemicals, cosmetics, dietary supplements, food and beverages or develop an HPLC method for unique analysis needs.

Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) – TGA500


TGA takes a closer look at changes in physical and chemical properties of materials, specifically an increase in temperature with a constant heating rate, or time with constant temperature and/or constant mass loss. It is especially useful for the study of polymeric materials, including thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, composites, plastic films, fibers, coatings and paints.

Common TGA applications:

  • Materials characterization through analysis of characteristic decomposition patterns
  • Studies of degradation mechanisms and reaction kinetics
  • Determination of organic content in a sample
  • Determination of inorganic (e.g. ash) content in a sample, which may be useful for corroborating predicted material structures or simply used as a chemical analysis

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) – DSC2000


DSC is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature. Both the sample and reference are maintained at nearly the same temperature throughout the experiment. Generally, the temperature program for a DSC analysis is designed so that the sample temperature increases linearly as a function of time. The reference sample should have a well-defined heat capacity over the range of temperatures to be scanned.

DSC is often used to determine melting points, glass transition temperatures, crystallinity and crystallization temperatures of primarily polymeric compounds. Isothermic runs can also provide info about kinetics for extrusion experiments.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) – DMAQ


DMA is a technique used to study and characterize material properties as a function of temperature, time, frequency, stress, atmosphere or a combination of parameters. This technique applies a constant static force to a material and monitors the material change as temperature or time varies.

DMA is useful for studying the viscoelastic behavior of polymers. A sinusoidal stress is applied and the strain in the material is measured, allowing us to determine the complex modulus. The temperature of the sample or the frequency of the stress are often varied, leading to variations in the complex modulus. This approach can be used to locate the glass transition temperature materials, as well as identifying transitions corresponding to other molecular motions, and is helpful in determining the composition of polymers.

TA_Rheometer – AR2000


A rheometer measures the manner in which a liquid, suspension or slurry flows in response to applied forces, and is used for fluids which cannot be defined by a single value of viscosity and requires more parameters to be set and measured than viscometer. Cone and plate modes provide a variety of shear rates and viscosity ranges, which can be further extended by the use of interchangeable cone spindles to meet the specific range of viscosities and shear rates.

Major uses of rheometry include:

  • Acquisition of steady-state flow curves
  • Measuring the impact of particle size, volume fraction and polydispersity on dispersion flow properties
  • Determination of polymer melt rheology
  • Determination of time-dependent flow behavior and the yield of stress dispersions and its relation to Zeta Potential, thixotropy, and structure recovery