Identification of the nature of an unknown powder in a laboratory

Your needs : to identify a powder deposited on a material

What is a deposit ?

Being in constant interaction with its environment, a material’s surface is a vulnerable and instable area. Attacks can lead to the formation of residual particulates on the material’s surface. These form what are called deposits.

A deposit or pollutant can be metallic, organic or inorganic in origin. The cause of a deposit is not always easy to identify : it could have been present in the raw materials, it might have appeared during the production process or could even be due to something in the product’s environment.

When a deposit is made up of a powder, it is important to identify its nature to assess its impact on the production process.

What impact can a powder deposit or pollutant have on the reliability of a material ?

The performance of a material is directly linked to its surface properties. Therefore, the formation of a deposit or the presence of a pollutant on a material can lead to a product failure whether it be visual (stain, irregular shape, discoloration…) or functional (adhesive problems, toxicity…).

Qualifying the cleanliness of a surface in accordance with legal or internal standards is an essential part of the production or maintenance processes of a material. The identification of the chemical nature of a powder deposit by an analytical laboratory makes it possible to determine if any actions are needed before the product can be put on the market.

Our solution : reliable expertise and analysis techniques for deposits and powder pollutants

Our technical services for powder deposits

For over 20 years, FILAB laboratory has had the experience and specific analytical fleet to be able to fulfil its client’s needs for surface analysis and characterization as well as deposit analysis. Thanks to our tailored support program, FILAB is able to analyze your problems and guide to up till the interpretation of results by providing the following services :

  • Characterization of a deposit or pollutant
  • Verification of surface compliance
  • Detection of trace amounts of a specific compound
  • Layer thickness measurement
  • Audits and training on methods for characterizing deposits

Scanning Electron Microscopy paired with a microprobe (SEM-EDX) will first be used to identify the nature and chemical composition of a powder deposit. The sample is then studied using other techniques to more specifically identify its nature :

  • Metallic deposits or pollutants : inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP-AES and ICP-MS) used to identify and quantify chemical elements 

  • Organic deposit or powder : chromatography (GC-MS, LC-MS) or spectroscopy (FTIR, µ-FTIR) are used to decompose the deposit so it can more easily be analyzed. 

  • Inorganic deposits or pollutants : X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) to identify and quantify the crystalline phases of a sample to determine its composition.

Our experts will then draw up a complete report encompassing the analyses having been carried out, the interpretations of results along with photographs, and depending on your request, a proposal to assist in the development of quick solutions to eliminate the impurity.

Why chose FILAB for your powder deposit analyses ?

As an independent laboratory with a team made up of highly qualified personnel, FILAB guarantees the reliability of its results, a quick turnaround for requests and tailored support for clients.

Thank you !

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