Wednesday 5 November 2014

Polymers: Burn them & find out!

As working with polymers you want to know what kind of compound you are dealing with. Later, you will be much faster sure about the polymer by just touching it.
But there is a simpler way to get to know: BURN IT DOWN!
Yes, grab a lighter and hold the piece with a clothespin and burn it. Then observe the flaming and burning behavior.

Basically, two paths of burning can happen:

  1. Polyolefins start melting and dropping. They behave like a candle wax.
  2. Polymers with an aromatic structure (e.g. Polystyrene) start producing blank smoke, because they consist mainly out of carbon.
To find out if you are dealing with a polymer that contains chloro (Cl) in its structure you have to burn it together with copper. A green flame will appear.


No comments:

Post a Comment