Free radicals are unpaired electrons found on molecules, and can be the result of incomplete chemical reaction, radiation exposure, oxidation, or mechanical stress. Normally, free radicals are highly reactive and immediately react with other free radicals, oxygen, or other available chemical species. In some materials, however, free radicals can be temporarily stable, sometimes for years, waiting for the appropriate conditions to react. Knowing the free radical content of a material can sometimes be used to predict long term oxidative stability of the material. Identifying the type and location of the free radical on the material can help determine how to stabilize it and know how it was formed.
Cambridge Polymer Group offers electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR), also known as electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR), to identify and quantify free radical content in materials. This technique is useful for evaluating antioxidants, shelf-life stability, and the effect of chemicals on materials.
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