Today’s polymer manufacturers operate within an increasingly dynamic market space where a growing demand for high-performing materials, bio-material innovations, and intense competition create a heightened sense or urgency. The combined Waters and TA branded portfolio of polymer analysis solutions enables scientists to more effectively characterize new and increasingly complex polymer samples while improving the operational efficiency of their laboratories. By advancing the understanding of polymer synthesis, architecture, functional properties, and how material responds to temperature and stress, manufacturers can better position themselves to accelerate product innovation, enhance productivity, improve processing, and meet sustainability goals

Polymer characterization with chromatography, mass spectrometry, rheology, and thermal analysis

Synthesis & Formulation

Determining the composition of polymers using mass spectrometry

Developing complex polymeric materials for industrial applications requires confirmation of the chemical identity of polymers since these will impact physical properties such as density, strength, viscosity, and glass transition temperature. An analytical solution that combines time-of-flight mass spectrometry partnered with statistical software tools can aid in product development by providing critical information on polymer architecture and end groups.

Xevo G2-XS QTof MS – Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

eXtreme Sensitivity, eXtraordinary Selectivity, eXceptional Solutions.

Proven technology, Flexible to your needs, The complete solution for your lab.  Matching the quantitative performance of many tandem quadrupole instruments without compromising mass resolution. Maximizing ion transmission while removing contaminants. Generating accurate mass, high-resolution spectra at very high data acquisition rates.

UNIFI Scientific Information System

A single platform for chromatography, mass spectrometry, data management, and laboratory workflow.

Waters UNIFI Scientific Information System is the first software platform to merge LC and high-performance MS data (both quadrupole and time-of-flight) into a single solution that encompasses data acquisition, processing, visualization, reporting, and configurable compliance tools within a networked laboratory environment. When deployed as a network, UNIFI’s impact extends beyond the workstation, delivering significant value in the laboratory and throughout the organization.

Ensuring product quality and performance through accurate and reliable analysis of polymer additives

In manufacturing, a synergistic blend of polymer additives is incorporated into polymer and plastic products to influence specific processing and functional characteristics such as color, shape, and mechanical strength. Additives are also used to enhance resistance to heat, flame, oxidation, aging, and light degradation. Small differences in additive mixture can dramatically impact the functional properties of products. Using chromatographic techniques to accurately and reliably measure that the intended amount of additive is in the polymer solution is critical to ensuring that a product meets both safety and performance parameters.


Complex challenges, solved.

With industry-leading separations performance, the ACQUITY UPLC I-Class PLUS provides new possibilities of maximizing the resolution and sensitivity of your methods; enhancing the characterization of your samples, while improving productivity to advance the science of your laboratory.


Ground-breaking technology takes PDA detection to the next level

The ACQUITY UPLC PDA Detector provides highly sensitive spectral information to aid in making better decisions about your analysis.


See more of what you need, and see it faster with ELSD for UPLC

Increase peak confidence across a wide application range with optimal UPLC/ELS (ELSD) performance in a small footprint.

Increasing the chemical information obtained in a polymer industry quality control environment combining UltraPerformance Convergence™ Chromatography (UPC2) with single quadrupole mass detection

Many Quality Control (QC) laboratories routinely use HPLC or UPLC® chromatographic separation coupled to analog detectors, such as a PDA Detector or a Refractive Index (RI) Detector. While such analysis techniques can provide valuable QC data, some components under investigation may not be detected. Mass detection offers a powerful and flexible tool for the QC analyst and can be used in conjunction with analog detectors. The ability to easily change the ion source on a mass detector means that a wide range of different classes of compounds, with different structures and properties, can be analyzed on a single instrument. From quick and simple implementation of QC protocols with a single quadrupole mass spectrometer to high volume, repetitive measurements, UltraPerformance Convergence Chromatography offers manufacturing companies valuable financial and time savings while maximizing return on investment.


The ease of reversed phase meets the power of normal phase.

Unique in its capabilities, the pioneering ACQUITY UPC2 System delivers what the rest of the industry never could – a system, based on the principles of normal-phase LC, with the ease-of-use of reversed-phase LC, and purposefully built for analytical performance, placing convergence chromatography atop the list of separations tools in the kit of all analytical chemists.

SQ Detector 2 System

Designed for the routine, prepared for the unexpected

Designed for optimum compatibility with multiple chromatographic separation techniques, the SQ Detector 2 is perfectly placed to help you extract more knowledge from your analyses. The SQ Detector 2 is compatible with UPLC, UPC2, HPLC, GC, preparative HPLC and preparative SFC, as well as direct analysis with the ASAP probe.

Atmospheric Solids Analysis Probe (ASAP)

Rapid Direct Analysis of Volatile and Semi-Volatile, Solid and Liquid Samples

The Atmospheric Solids Analysis Probe* (ASAP) is a useful tool for the rapid direct analysis of volatile and semi-volatile, solid and liquid samples using atmospheric pressure ionization. The ASAP technique utilizes the heated nitrogen desolvation gas to vaporize the sample and a corona discharge for sample ionization. This allows low polarity compounds not amenable to ESI, APcI and APPI to be ionized with a high degree of sensitivity. Furthermore, complex mixtures can be analyzed without the need for any sample preparation.

Structural Analysis

Overcoming polymer heterogeneity with ion mobility mass spectrometry

Demand for the accurate characterization of polymer flexibility and their 3D structures and attributes that can affect functional properties continues to grow as synthetic polymers become increasingly complex and are used in highly regulated industries. Unlike traditional techniques such as GPC, RI, and NMR, ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) is an effective technology for rapidly differentiating and characterizing these polymers.

SYNAPT XS High Resolution Mass Spectrometer

Without discovery, decisions are made in the dark

In the arena of scientific discovery, the slow pace of advancement and escalating costs of research can prove to be a challenge. The SYNAPT XS mass spectrometer shatters these barriers by providing ultimate flexibility and greater freedom of analytical choice to support scientific creativity and technical success for any application.

Solvent Flexibility for Size-Based Polymer Analysis Using the Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) System

Traditional GPC/SEC methods are limited by insufficient resolution for novel and complex polymeric entities, slow separation speeds, and lengthy equilibration times. Ultra-high-performance size exclusion chromatography (UHPSEC) significantly improves resolution, which is particularly advantageous for analyzing low-molecular-weight polymers. In addition, using the low-dispersion ACQUITY APC System in combination with robust APC Columns, high backpressures can be accommodated, allowing the use of faster flow rates. This results in significant time-savings for polymer sample analysis, but also in considerable resource savings through faster overall system equilibration and by using the same bank of columns for multiple applications.

ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) System

The Next Era in Polymer Separation

Research in the polymer industry has accelerated in recent years, resulting in a wealth of new and innovative polymers.  The ACQUITY APC Systems delivers the ultimate in size-based characterization of these polymers, with analysis times 5-20 X faster than was possible with traditional GPC/SEC technology.

Empower 3 Chromatography Data Software

Ground-breaking technology takes PDA detection to the next level.

The Empower 3 Chromatography Data Software (CDS) makes it easier than ever to run samples and produce meaningful results without experiencing downtime for training, re-engineering workflow, or adding new software to support instruments or advanced chromatographic techniques.

Functional Analysis

Applying rheology to polymer development and process control

Developing and maintaining a smooth operation process for polymers requires precise control of material rheology within a specified range. The structure–rheology relationship is critical to the development of polymeric materials for processing. Rheology is also a highly effective tool for control of polymer processing since the technique can help insure product quality, reduce production downtime, and limit the quantity of off-specification material.


Advancing material research and development

Rheology is the study of flow and deformation of materials. Deformation and flow are referred to as strain or strain rate, respectively, and indicate the distance over which a body moves under the influence of an external force, or stress. For this reason, rheology is also considered to be the study of stress-strain relationships in materials. TA Instruments has the world’s most versatile platform for rheological measurements. A full range of environmental systems and measurement accessories are powered by SmartSwapTM Technology for fast exchange & automatic configuration.

Using thermal analysis to innovate high-performing plastics

With the push in recent years for the development and manufacturing of stronger, more durable, and more environmentally friendly plastics, polymer researchers have broadened their innovation research and increased the level of testing required to validate polymer performance. Using thermal analysis to thoroughly understand material properties becomes an essential factor in the future development of new materials and their applications.

Thermal Analysis

Unrivaled performance, superior accuracy, exceptional reliability.

Thermal Analysis is important to a wide variety of industries where the structural analysis of polymers is critical in ensuring product quality and performance. Thermal Analyzers typically measure heat flow, weight loss, dimension change, or mechanical properties as a function of temperature. Properties characterized include melting, crystallization, glass transitions, cross-linking, oxidation, decomposition, volatilization, coefficient of thermal expansion, and modulus. These experiments allow the user to examine end-use performance, composition, processing, stability, and molecular structure


Performance, Reliability, Ease of Use

TA Instruments’ Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), and Isothermal Calorimetry systems are powerful analytical techniques for in-depth characterization of molecular binding events and structural stability. Thermodynamic binding signatures not only reveal the strength of a binding event, but the specific or nonspecific driving forces involved. Structural stability profiles from DSC reveal strengths and weaknesses in higher order structure and define the behavior of individual domains and their interactions. The TA Instruments Affinity ITC, Nano ITC and Nano DSC provide the performance, reliability and ease-of-use required for the most demanding applications in structure-function characterization and more.

Related Products

ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography Calibration Kits