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The application of the mass spectrometry capabilities in EMSL for the analysis of polymers and their degradation products

EMSL Project ID


Upcycling large volume of common polymers (e.g., polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)) is one of the great challenges our environmental science research is facing. We are initiating research efforts to catalytically convert polymers to energy carriers. The complex reaction mixture (containing gas. liquid and solid products) requires the development of accurate, quantitative product analysis. Solid starting materials and products pose particularly difficult challenge. This proposed research will take samples of the PE and PP starting materials and solid products and analyze them with MALDI coupled to either a quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) or Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass analyzer. Either detector should yield the required molecular weight information. Furthermore, FTICR, with its high mass accuracy and resolution, will offer insight into the chemical speciation of the product compounds including with regards to their double bond equivalence distributions, thus informing the saturation of the products by the acid-catalyzed process.

Project Details

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Principal Investigator

Janos Szanyi
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory