Paper and Packaging Materials Analysis

For packaging materials, also see: Plastic / Polymer Testing & Analysis and Electronics / Semiconductor Materials Analysis

Metallographic / Optical Microscopy / SEM:

    • Examine surface texture and gloss
    • Fiber thickness, orientation, and density
    • Detect the presence of foreign particles
    • Examine particles added to brighten the paper
    • Check for evidence of an organic or polymer coating
    • Examine whether an organic or inorganic material is distributed evenly on the paper

XPS Analysis:

    • Determine the surface elemental composition and surface chemistry
    • Identify the causes for printing and collating problems
    • Identify the causes for adhesive bonding problems
    • Determine the chemical nature of stains or aging and degradation
    • Analyze surface coatings and surface treatments
    • Analyze materials adsorbed onto the surface (adsorbants)
    • Identify surface brightening particles
    • Identify and measure surface contaminants
    • Identify lubricants and anti-static coating materials
    • Analyze filler inorganic particles after combustion of paper/polymer

FTIR Analysis:

    • Fingerprint matching of papers
    • Determine if an organic coating or binder is present
    • Identify an organic coating, whether for printing, tack, water-retardation, separation, or adhesive purposes
    • Identify an ink
    • Identify the fibers of high performance papers which may be glass, alumina, ceramic, asbestos, carbon, vinylon, aramid, fluorocarbon, polyester, polyolefin, or cellulosic fibers
    • Identify lubricants or waxes as surface coatings and treatments


    • Measure surface roughness and waviness
    • Surface integrity
    • Surface texture

Thermogravimetric Analysis or TGA:

    • Measure water content
    • Measure weight of coating
    • Measure outgassing as a function of temperature
    • Measure drying time
    • Measure weight loss due to high temperature to characterize paper heat resistance
    • Measure inorganic solids content, such as weight of calcium carbonate, Kaolinclay, titanium dioxide, silica, etc.
    • Concentrate inorganic solid particles for XPS analysis by burning paper in air or cissioning polymers in high temperature nitrogen
    • Distinguish starch and latex copolymer binders, where latex is usually combined with styrene, butadiene, acrylic, and vinyl acetate monomers

Differential Scanning Calorimetry or DSC:

    • Measure glass transition temperature of organic coating
    • Measure melting temperature and heat of fusion of organic coating
    • Characterize paper heat resistance and aging
    • Measure exothermal heat of combustion
    • Distinguish starch and latex copolymer binders
    • Measure thermal expansion or CTE
    • Measure glass transition temperature of organic coating
    • Measure melting temperature of an organic coating
    • Measure crystallization melting temperature & determine amount of crystallization

RGA Mass Spectroscopy:

    • Measure outgassing as a function of temperature
    • Measure desorbed vapors
    • Measure combustion products