Automotive case study using ICP analysis

Problem: An automotive company requested analysis of an unknown white material that had developed on some of their dashboard assemblies. 

Solution: Impact Analytical performed quantitative analysis to scan for over 30 elements and compared the results to some solutions used in the manufacturing process. 

Techniques: Inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)

Intro: Impact Analytical was asked to help identify an unknown contaminant which had developed on several dashboard skins after their manufacturing.  The automotive company also submitted a few solutions used during the manufacturing process that could also be analyzed for comparison.

Analysis: The unknown white material was extracted from the dashboard skins and acidified for analysis.  These solutions and the additional manufacturing solutions were analyzed by ICP-OES, quantifying 34 elements from aluminum to zirconium. The robustness of the ICP-OES allows for minimal sample dilution which enables quantification of trace metals down to the low parts-per-billion range (ng/g). 

Solution/Results: The ICP-OES analysis detected significant amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfur, and silicon in the white dashboard contaminant.  Similar results were obtained by analysis of a mold release agent which the automotive company used during the manufacturing process. In this case, the ICP analysis helped the customer determine the source of their contamination problem. 

Use ICP-OES analysis to help identify and quantify unknowns present in your materials.