There are a large number of commercially available additives that enable polymers to perform important functions over a wide range of conditions. These additives include
- stabilisers (UV, heat, chemical)
- actives (anti-fungal, pharmaceutical actives)
- stiffeners (fibres, cross linkers)
How the polymer and the additives are combined to produce a final formulation is obviously very important and the distribution of components within the system can be critical to the desired functionality. In many instances homogeneity is critical, ie colour to avoid patchiness, pharmaceutical active to produce a constant release rate. Sometimes, however, a degree of phase separation can be advantageous, eg lubricants at a surface, pharmaceutical active requiring a rapid release.
Within the Polymers, Composites and Spectroscopy Group we have used FTIR and Raman microscopic techniques to look at a wide selection of polymer formulations, polymer coatings (paints) and polymer pharmaceuticals.