16 Jun 2016

Specac and rubber analysis applications

In 2016 the Guardian ran a story discussing how a father blames 3G ‘crumb-rubber’ football pitches for his son’s cancer.

“Nigel Maguire said his 18-year-old son Lewis has Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to the 'crumb rubber' on the surface, telling the BBC: 'Lewis would be training on this stuff once or twice a week for four or five years, and he would come back telling me how he swallowed a lot of it, how it got into his eyes, and in cuts and grazes.'”


ATR spectroscopy is ideal for analying rubber

The Football Association maintain that extensive analysis has been carried out and the rubber used in these 3G pitches has been confirmed as not harmful. Whether consumed or rubbed into wounds, they claim there is no danger to human health.

Whether analyzing the rubber for potential dangers or ensuring that a safe rubber hasn’t been contaminated by harmful substances during quality control, spectroscopy is a fast and accurate analysis method.

The Specac Golden Gate ATR spectrometer accessory

The consistency of rubber is ideal for Specac’s Quest or Golden Gate ATR spectrometer accessories.

In Natural Rubber Materials: Volume 1: Blends and IPNs, the Specac Golden Gate is used to analyze a Carbon Nanotube-filled rubber gel. These rubber blends are used for applications such as producing tire tread compounds.

“We indirectly characterized the gel composition by investigating the extracted part using an FTIR spectrometer S2000 (Perkin Elmer) equipped with a single diamond Golden Gate ATR cell (Specac).”1

Our Golden Gate ATR being demonstrated in a Perkin Elmer spectrometer.

“The ATR cell was pressed on a shapeless piece of rubber-filler gel with a measuring area of 2mm & 2mm. Five spectra were recorded for each sample.” 2

Analyze powder with ATR

The Golden Gate was also used to analyze Dyneon polymer processing additive Dynarmar FX 5920A, which is a fluoropolymer used for melt fracture-elimination in blown polyethylene film applications.

“The spectrum was recorded of the additive powder using a Specac Golden Gate internal reflection attachment fitted with a diamond prism.

“This type of accessory enables spectra of all types of liquid and solid samples to be obtained very quickly and negates the need to prepare for example potassium bromide disks.” 4

Preparing samples for analysis

There are also examples of our sample preparation products being used and recommended for analyzing inorganic materials such as rubbers.

For Nanoimprint Lithography, silicon moulds intended for analysis “were contacted at 40 bar pressure using a hand-press (Specac) at 180 ℃ (PMMA) or at 130 ℃ (mr-I 7020E)” 3 in Yilmaz’s Orthogonal supramolecular interaction motifs for functional monolayer architectures.

In Synthesis, Properties and mineralogy of important inorganic materials, Warner advises the reader that evacuable die “should be inserted into a suitable press, such as, a Specac 15 Ton Manual Hydraulic Press” 5 for analyzing with ceramic monoliths.

Check out #SpectroscopySolutions for more.


  1. H. H. Le, x. T. Hoang, A. Das, U. Gohs, K.W. Stockelhuber, R. Boldt, G. Heinrich, R. Adhikari and H.-J. Radusch, Kinetics of filler wetting and dispersion in carbon nanotube/rubber composites, 2012.
  2. H. H. Le, M. Parsaker, M. N. Sriharish, S. Henning, M. Menzel, S. Wießner, A. Das, Q. K. Do, G. Heinrich and H-J. Radusch, Effect of rubber polarity on selective wetting of carbon nanotubes in ternary blends 2015.
  3. M. D. Yilmaz, Orthogonal supramolecular interaction motifs for functional monolayer architectures, 2012.
  4. J. M. Chalmers, R. J. Meier, Molecular characterization and analysis of polymers, 2008.
  5. T. E. Warner, Synthesis, properties and mineralogy of important inorganic materials, 2012.