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Extraction of Additives from Plastics

July 4, 2019
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The EDGE® automated extraction system is the most advanced extraction system available for the extraction of additives from plastics. The EDGE combines pressurized fluid extraction and dispersive solid phase extraction to dramatically reduce the sample preparation time and the potential of human error. The extraction is fast, simple, and repeatable in under 20 min, including sample cooling and system washing.

Extraction of polypropylene and polyethylene were performed with the EDGE, using sonication per ASTM methods D6043-09 and D6953-11. Recovery results are published and discussed.



It is important to know the composition of plastic materials from both quality and safety perspectives. Plastic materials are a staple in our world and we have contact with these materials on a daily basis. From packaging to cell phone cases, to medical devices, plastic materials are everywhere. Plastics performance can be affected based on the amount of antioxidants and erucamide slip additives present. As manufacturers and consumers, it is important that we have confidence in the quality of our plastic products. Furthermore, from a safety perspective, it is important to ensure that no contaminants are leaching from these materials to which we are continuously exposed. The ability to extract additives from plastics with a quick and simple process is crucial to the plastics industry.

The extraction of additives from plastics is difficult for a number of reasons. The notably low melting point of the plastic makes it difficult to extract in a heated system. The plastic must be transformed to extract, but not melted. Reaching that balance can be challenging. Furthermore, some traditional extraction techniques, such as soxhlet and sonication, can be time-consuming and require large volumes of solvent.

The EDGE is capable of producing a cooled extract that is ready for analysis in less than 20 min, using no more than 40 mL of solvent. The EDGE is also capable of a single or dual-solvent wash that cleans the system and mitigates risk of carryover.