Infrared spectroscopy is a widely used industrial tool for the structural and compositional analysis of organic, inorganic, or polymeric samples and for quality control of raw materials and commercial products. The increased sensitivity of Fourier transform infrared has greatly enhanced the problem-solving opportunities for infrared in research and development laboratories. Examples are given where FT-IR has been particularly effective in the rapid identification of very small quantities of product from unusual chemical reactions without the necessity of separating the product from the reactants. The good SNR attainable with FT-IR, with the data processing capability, has increased the ability to observe very small differences between the spectra of supposedly similar polymers. These differences have been related to changes in processing conditions and polymer physical properties. FT-IR has been used successfully to characterize structural changes in petroleum products, which may occur as a result of chemical and physical treatment. FT-IR spectra of a series of acrylonitrile-containing copolymers have also been correlated with NMR monomer sequence data to delineate sequence-sensitive infrared bands.
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