Ever wondered how your material looks inside?
New analytical methods like Microtomography (XMT) are able to generate image data we did not have before: huge amounts of data. In our case 2048 images per sample. Based on synchrotron based X-ray radiation and the computing power of today the sample is analysed in a few minutes or even seconds - with voxel sizes down to 325 nm and quantifiable image analysis.
Academic high-tech? Not at all! Industry is encouraged to use the facilities and Inolytix helps you to interact smoothly with researchers. Discover your own products, see what normally stays hidden!
Study of heterogeneous catalyst pellets
Combination of Methods: 3D-characterization + Microtomography
Conventional analysis: Scanning electron microscopy of one (1) image after sample preparation.
The Inolytix way: Synchrotron-based X-ray Microtomography with 2048 image slices in 4 minutes without any sample preparation. 3D-image analysis for structural quantification.
Are catalyst pellets homogenous?
Do the pelletising process and any treatments deliver uniform morphologies? Are there heterogenities or irregularities? These were the underlying questions of a recent study of catalyst pellets we performed.
Without any sample preparation, the 3D-characterization of catalysts pellets was possible with synchrotron based X-ray microtomography. Thanks to the additional quantitative image analysis of thousands of images, we could reveal that the catalyst pellets examined had heterogeneous inner structures with distinct differences. Surprisingly, the structural differences were clearly visibly at a scale above 300 nm, i.e. well beyond the scale of micro- and mesopores. Hidden aspects became visible - with new insights for our customer!
Find the appropriate analytics for your case
Inolytix is your expert to pick and choose the methods that make the most sense for your needs. We draw upon our +20 years of R&D experience to add a 360 degree interpretation of your results.
Your Partner for the entire cycle from experiment design to measurement to analysis and interpretation.
Contact us for a free consultation call for your specific request.
Video about optimizing your IGC measurements by Prof. Steven Abbott
After the series about IGC Steven Abbott added another video in which he explains how you can optimize your IGC measurements. You also find the text on his website
Use IGC to discover hair treatment and damages
Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) was the analytical tool of choice for surface characterizations of hair (and hair treatment), pigments (compatibility) and silica (for tyres). These were some of the interesting insights of the IGC Symposium, April 10th in Frankfurt organized by Adscientis and Inolytix, http://inverse-chromatography.com/.
Dr. von Vacano, BASF, showcased physical characterization studies of native, bleached and treated hair using AFM, XPS, ZP (surface charge) and IGC. The dispersive surface energy measured by IGC is the best indicator for surface damage with low statistical errors and the best quantification. Even the promotion of a new product uses the evidence by IGC. The combination of all methods provided a thorough understanding of hair damages and conditioning.
Measurements of pigment surfaces
Dr. Gebhardt, DSM Coating Resins, presented measurements of pigment surfaces by IGC and some surprising findings in term of acid/base character, nano-roughness and specific chemical interactions. The question behind this study was the compatibility to the resin matrix, the coating formulation and treatment of the pigments. The results, like basic properties and high affinities to nitrile, amide and carbamate groups, can be used to optimise pigment-coating systems. Pigment suppliers were encouraged to share information about surface treatment and potentially collaborate.
The next generation of energy saving tyres
Dr. L. Guy, Solvay, explained the challenges to develop next generation of energy saving tyres and the interactions between silica surface, carbon black and the polymer nature. The use of IGC is key to understand these interactions. Useful are the different techniques as IGC-ID (infinite dilution) to measure dispersive surface energy and IGC-FC (finite concentration) to measure the surface heterogeneity and e.g. BET with alkenes instead of N2.
Highly qualified experts delivering additional applications
Additional background information and further applications of IGC was provided by professors of different universities. The introduction was presented by Dr. H. Balard, who started using IGC in the year 1978 and published 52 articles on IGC.
Altogether, this was an inspiring symposium with highly qualified experts. There is no fancy new equipment behind IGC (which may explain the lack of broader interest…), but simply a really valuable methodology and expertise. Personally, I am certain that more and more R&D departments will take advantage of it – sooner or later.
That was my initial reaction when I first heard about iGC. I learned then, that the trick about „inverse“ is that particles and fibres of unknown surface characteristic are filled INSIDE the column of a GC and probes of well-defined gases are pulsed over them. The interaction of different gases with the surface provide the retention times and tailing – and thereby quantitative values for dispersive surface energy, polar contributions, acid/base properties at surface level or a „nanoroughness“ by comparing linear and branched alkanes – amazing!
OK, another method, but where can I use it and why?
Surfaces determine the quality of many products, the compatibility of silica in rubber, pigments in plastic or even (or especially) the feeling of hair. Most often the application is measured, but the real understanding of what changed at surface level is lacking. This is innovation by chance and product optimization by trial and error. And beside product invention or optimization there are often other obscure problems: batch-to-batch variations, dispersion behaviour or unexpected changes by milling. What happened to my product?
Is iGC complicated?
YES and NO. No, because the equipment is basically a GC - not more required. YES, because the preparation, experimentation and interpretation requires experience and a real understanding of the underlying theory. Especially with iGC the saying is true that real value is in the expert and not in the instrument. By chance I found Eric Brendle from Adscientis who explored iGC during his PhD more than ten years ago. Since then he has explored many different surfaces with passion and skills. Not surprising, we are collaborating!
Sure, iGC can not answer all questions, ...
... but it is truely an interesting method to characterize surfaces at molecular level. On April, 10th, 2014 a mini-Symposium in Frankfurt with speakers from BASF, DSM, Solvay and several professors will shed more light on a few applications. A good chance to talk to practitioners and academics. There is still the chance to register -> http://inverse-chromatography.com
Surfaces are truely remarkable.
Only a few layers of molecules in the range of nm determine the success – or the failure – of everyday products. Interesting how difficult it is to measure – and how little we know in many cases.