Radical Plastics Lab
To support and expedite its product development cycle, Radical Plastics has built a state-of-the-art laboratory that includes the most important processing equipment and testing capabilities. Carefully selected, in some cases custom-made, testing equipment provides the required quality control information for incoming, in-process and final inspections. The collected data provides Radical Plastics insight into the materials service life and biodegradation performance.
The Radical Plastics laboratory is located in the Cummings Center in Beverly, MA, around 30 minutes north of Boston.
The 10mm lab-scale twin-screw compounding extruder converts the incoming ingredients - resin, catalyst, inhibitor, pigments, fillers and UV stabilizers - into pellets which are then compression molded using the Carver Press. These molded sheets or films are sent for either artificial or natural weathering. After exposure, the sheets are returned to the lab for analysis using infra-red spectrometry (FTIR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), chemiluminescence (CL) and respirometry (OxiTop bottles).
Rondol 10mm twin screw compounding extruder.
QSun, Xenon light source-based Weatherometer.
Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) is used to confirm the reduction of the polymer’s molecular weight.
The Carver press is used to make compression molded samples for testing.
Attenuated total reflection or transmission FTIR is used to monitor the chemical composition of plastics to verify their transformation in the abiotic phase of degradation.
CL is used to assess the stability of unaged polymers, (run in oxygen-containing environment) or of weathered plastics (run in N2). CL can be also used to monitor the quality and degradation profile of recycled plastics coming from multiple feedstocks and waste streams (post-industrial, post-consumer).
Respirometry OxiTop bottles placed in a constant temperature cabinet measure the change in pressure that occurs during the biodegradation process, which is known to be tied to the biological activity of the microorganisms living in the test medium (soil, fresh water or seawater).