Case Study: Investigative Analytical Services

This is the first in a series of posts that will share more about the services Tetramer offers and the types of customers we serve.


With a world-class analytical laboratory on site staffed by full time analytical chemists, Tetramer offers investigative analytical services for our industrial customers.

Although many of our relationships are proprietary, the below case study can help you better understand how we can serve your company.

CASE STUDY: A manufacturer of a functional coating material needed help understanding the key compositional differences between their material and a competitor’s.

The Tetramer Analytical Services lab was approached by a manufacturer who produces a flame retardant material. They were interested in understanding the superior performance of a competitor’s product. 

Tetramer was asked to identify the chemical composition (type and molecular weight of polymeric binder and any additives), metals content and type, density, glass transition temperature, solids content, and possible chemistries that enabled the enhanced performance of the product. 

Tetramer leveraged a variety of analytical capabilities and our deep understanding of materials science and chemistry to develop a comprehensive materials analysis report for the customer. 

  • Identified the chemical composition

  • Determined metals content

  • Analyzed physical properties

  • Concluded the possible chemistries that allowed the competing product to have better performance

Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive x-ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) – provides analysis of microstructure and elemental composition.
Attenuated Total Reflectance – Fourier Transform InfraRed Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) – provides spectroscopic information about the types of chemical species that comprise solid or liquid samples.
Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) – measures weight loss as a function of temperature and can be used to identify organic vs. inorganic content, decomposition temperature, and relative mass of formulated components.
TGA-FTIR – measures weight loss as a function of temperature and simultaneous FTIR spectra of the gasses evolved from a sample while heating.
Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) – provides chromatographic separation of organic species extracted from the sample. Different components are separated based on their molecular weight (Mw, Mn).
Elemental Analysis – measurement of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and halogen content in a sample.
X-ray Diffraction (XRD) – provides information about crystal structure of materials and can be used to identify minerals, oxides, and compound materials.
X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) – provides ppm-concentration measurements of individual elements in a sample.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) – measures heat flow in/out of a material versus temperature. Can provide information regarding Glass Transition, melting point, and decomposition temperatures.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy – provides analysis of chemical environment for individual types of protons, carbons, or other atoms in a sample. This information can be used to identify what molecular species are present.
Helium Pycnometry –provides a highly accurate volume measurement for a sample of material by helium gas displacement which is then used to calculate the mass-to-volume ratio for total density.
Automatic pH Titration – measurement of total H+ ions in a solution as a direct measurement of the pH for a dissolved material.
Flash Chromatography* – a high-throughput, semi-preparative process for separating chemical species based on their relative interaction with a stationary phase (alumina or silica powder) and a mobile phase (solvent).
Solubility Testing – a solubility test was carried out to identify appropriate solvents for extracting organic compounds from the sample.
Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) – atomic spectroscopy-based analysis used to measure metals content down to ppm levels.

Conclusion Map Tetramer provided to our Partner

Visit the Analytical Services page or Contact us for further information about how Tetramer Analytical Services can help solve your materials problems.