TGA-IR-GC-MS: A powerful evolved gas analysis technique

The TGA-IR-GC-MS analysis is an analytical method that integrates three powerful techniques: thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), infrared spectroscopy (IR), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). When combined, they form an analytical synergy that provides comprehensive information on a material’s chemical properties. TGA-IR-GC-MS analysis is a powerful evolved gas analysis technique which we are using at PTG/e for many different applications.

Some examples of projects we have carried out for our customers are:

  • Polyurethane characterization: Identifying the building blocks of polyurethanes, which can be valuable for material development.
  • Ink formulation analysis: Determining the composition of unknown cured ink formulations.
  • Polymer analysis: Identifying plasticizers and additives in polymers, which is essential for understanding polymer properties.
  • Thermal degradation studies: Investigating the thermal degradation of various polymers, which gives information about their use in various applications.


How does it work?

The TGA-IR-GC-MS analysis is an analytical method that integrates three powerful techniques: thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), infrared spectroscopy (IR), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Each of these techniques offer unique insights into a material’s composition, molecular structure, and thermal behavior. However, when combined, they form an analytical synergy that provides comprehensive information on a material’s chemical properties.

At this photo you see the TGA-IR-GC-MS setup at PTG Eindhoven. A powerful gas analysis technique for many different applications.

TGA-IR-GC-MS setup with the TGA (right), the infrared gas cell (middle) and the GC-MS (left), coupled by the transfer line.

Within PTG/e’s infrastructure, TGA, IR, and GC-MS equipment can be combined with a heated transfer line. The TGA technique quantifies a sample’s weight change as a function of temperature or time. It subjects the sample to a precisely controlled temperature program while continuously monitoring its weight. This enables the determination of critical information related to a material’s thermal stability and decomposition behavior.

In this graph you see the thermogram of a polymer material, showing the weight percentage as a function of temperature. TGA-IR-GC-MS is a great analysis to combain 3 powerfull techniques. We, at PTG Eindhoven, are very experienced in TGA-IR-GC-MS.

Thermogram of a polymer material, showing the weight percentage as a function of temperature.Β 

The gas that evolves from the sample by evaporation or thermal decomposition during the TGA measurement, is transferred via the heated transfer line through the IR gas-cell to be measured with IR spectroscopy. IR spectroscopy uses the interaction between infrared light with the molecular bonds within the evolved gas, which is unique for each type of material. The spectrum that results from this technique reveals valuable details about the functional groups within the evolving gases, aiding in the identification of chemical bonds, molecular structure, and functional groups of the original sample.

In the next graph, you see the overall absorbance during the online IR measurement (left), with the IR spectrum at the peak of the thermal decomposition (right). Graph TGA-IR-GC-MS by PTG Eindhoven.

The overall absorbance during the online IR measurement (left), with the infrared spectrum at the peak of the thermal decomposition (right).

The gases that evolve from the sample at a specific temperature during the TGA measurement, can be collected to inject into the GC-MS. In GC the gasses (which are likely to be mixtures of various components) pass through a separation column, separating the individual components based on their volatility and column affinity. Then, MS analyzes these separated components, providing information regarding their molecular mass and fragmentation patterns. This helps identify the components released during thermal degradation of the material, providing further insight into the original composition of the material.

Graph TGA-IR-GC-MS analysis, a powerful technique which combines 3 different analysis.

Gas chromatogram of the injected gas. The peaks indicate the response of the MS detector, showing the mass spectrum of the eluted component.

The flexibility of the whole evolved gas system offers several combinations of techniques including: TGA-IR, TGA-MS, TGA-GC-MS and TGA-IR-GC-MS analyses. This makes it possible to select the best combination of techniques to answer the material questions.

In conclusion, the combination of the TGA, IR, and GC-MS techniques presents a potent analytical tool capable of resolving complex and unknown material challenges.

For further information on how this analysis can benefit your specific material analysis needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

TGA-IR-GC-MS analysis technique is a combined analysis of 3 different techniques.

PTG Eindhoven SusInkCoat partner

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PTG Eindhoven partner of NWO consortium SusInkCoat.
We are proud to announce that we are a partner in the consortium SusInkCoat. The consortium has received a grant of 35 million euros from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for the project “Sustainable Inks and Coatings.

” Comprising companies such as AkzoNobel, Evonik, and Canon, along with academic institutions like Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RuG), TU Eindhoven (TU/e) and the University of Twente (UT), the consortium aims to collaborate on developing ‘switchable and adaptive functional polymers and additives’ with a lower environmental impact.

Infographic from SusInkCoat. PTG is partner is this consortium.

The objective is to pioneer new materials, processes, and applications to improve the sustainability, functionality, and recyclability of coatings, thin films, and inks. The project places a strong emphasis on making coatings and inks more sustainable, with a focus on reducing environmental impact and promoting circularity.
For more information about SusInkCoat click here.Β 

PTG Eindhoven partner of consortium SusInkCoat. Making coatings and inkts more sustainable.

NEW UV-vis Spectroscopy

We are excited to announce a new addition to our infrastructure, UV-vis spectroscopy. UV-vis spectroscopy is a powerful tool for determining how molecules and materials interact with light. For a range of wavelengths, a beam of monochrome light is passed through the sample.

Suitable samples absorb part of the light within a specific wavelength range, which provides information on the concentration of certain molecules in a sample when compared to a reference of known concentration. Additionally, UV-vis spectroscopy can be used to follow the kinetics of (chemical) reactions occurring in a sample over time.

Curious about what UV-vis can do for you? Feel free to reach out and discover the possibilities

Small-Scale Polyolefin Reactors

Polyolefins are among the most widely used plastics in the world. With roughly 80 million tons being produced every year, polyethylene is the most well-known and most important polyolefin in the world. Other well-known polyolefins are polypropylene (PP), polybutylene (PB) and polyisobutylene (PIB). The properties of these polyolefins are crucial for the role they need to fulfill in all sorts of products such as packaging materials, furniture and electronics.

To be able to reach certain properties, the synthesis parameters must be controlled precisely during polymerization. In order to achieve the best settings, a lot of research is still being done. Because every system is different and requires its own set of parameters, optimization on small scale synthesis is a mandatory step before getting a pilot plant followed by industrial scale up.


Small-Scale Polyolefins reactors at PTG Eindhoven
Polymer Technology Group Eindhoven (PTG/e) BV


PTG/e owns a unique platform of not one but five small scale polyolefin reactors. The reactors are designed for testing homogeneous as well as heterogeneous catalysts in slurry or solution. The four 125 mL and one 1 L autoclaves can be used to optimize the olefin polymerization process for different monomers, catalysts as well as synthesis conditions as they are equipped with extensive parameter monitoring. With such a setup, we can perform different experiments simultaneously, making it a highly efficient and quick way to test various parameters, such as temperature, pressure and ethylene/propylene uptake. In addition, olefin polymerization reactions can be quenched with carbon dioxide and the catalysts can be rejuvenated or can undergo chain transfer via the introduction of controlled small amounts of hydrogen.

If you are interested, please feel free to reach out, to discuss how our small scale olefin polymerization platform can benefit your projects.

Small-Scale Polyolefin Reactors at PTG Eindhoven.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) – Explained

Scanning Electron Microscopy is a technology that empowers researchers to delve into the intricate world of materials, providing valuable insights. The Scanning Electron Microscope can provide high resolution images of your material like you have never seen before. β€œReady to elevate your project to new heights with Scanning Electron Microscopy? Contact us and find out how we can benefit your projects!” Watch the movie here!

Scanning Electron Microscopy

NEW THF Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) system!

We are excited to announce a new addition to our infrastructure with the integration of our new Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) system of Agilent. This new SEC system utilizes tetrahydrofuran (THF) as the mobile phase, combined with a highly sensitive Refractive Index (RI) detector.

This THF-SEC is meticulously calibrated using Polystyrene (PS) standards, empowering us to determine the molecular weight of polymers within a wide range, from 200 up to 400,000 Da.

Our team at PTG/e is highly experienced with polymers of all kinds. By expanding our existing SEC systems line-up with this THF-SEC, we can now tackle molecular weight determinations of almost any polymeric material with utmost efficiency and reliability.

Need to know the molecular weight of your materials? Contact us!

Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) this new SEC system utilizes tetrahydrofuran (THF).