Morphological, spectral and chromatography analysis and forensic comparison of PET fibers

Shady Farah, Tsadok Tsach, Alfonso Bentolila, Abraham J. Domb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fiber analysis and comparison by spectral and polymer molecular weight determination was investigated. Plain fibers of PET, a common textile fiber and plastic material was chosen for this study. The fibers were analyzed for morphological (SEM and AFM), spectral (IR and NMR), thermal (DSC) and molecular weight (MS and GPC) differences. Molecular analysis of PET fibers by Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) allowed the comparison of fibers that could not be otherwise distinguished with high confidence. Plain PET fibers were dissolved in hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) and analyzed by GPC using hexafluoroisopropanol:chloroform 2:98 v/v as eluent. 14 PET fiber samples, collected from various commercial producers, were analyzed for polymer molecular weight by GPC. Distinct differences in the molecular weight of the different fiber samples were found which may have potential use in forensic fiber comparison. PET fibers with average molecular weights between about 20,000 and 70,000 g mol-1 were determined using fiber concentrations in HFIP as low as 1 μg mL-1. This GPC analytical method can be applied for exclusively distinguish between PET fibers using 1 μg of fiber. This method can be extended to forensic comparison of other synthetic fibers such as polyamides and acrylics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Fiber analysis
  • Fiber forensic comparison
  • GPC analysis
  • Poly(ethylene terephthalate)


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