Hope College Physics Department
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Summer 2012
Project Summary


Project Title: PIXE Analysis of Automobile Foam
Student Name: Michael Trier
Student's Home Institution: Hope College
Research Advisor: Dr. Paul DeYoung and Dr. Graham Peaslee
Source of Support:

This research was generously funded by the National Science Foundation under NSF-REU Grant No. PHY/DMR-1004811.

Automobile seats contain foams that have been treated with organohalogen flame retardants which make them fire resistant. The ingredients that are of primary concern within these flame retardant foams are chlorine and bromine, for they are believed to cause many serious health problems. Through the use Particle Induced X-ray emission as well as the peak-fitting program GUPIX, it can be determined whether or not these elements are present within the foam in a semi-quantitative manner.

Publications and Presentations: