A variety of methods can be used to analyze solid materials. What they all have in common is the necessity to use a representative, homogeneous analysis sample which needs to have a particular fineness, depending on the analytical method used. The size reduction and homogenization of solids is usually carried out with laboratory crushers and grinders.
Use of laboratory grinders for size reduction of human bones and bioceramics
Bone implants and substances for bone regeneration are used in surgery to replace degenerated bone material by implants or to “re-build” it with specific substances. The material used in implants varies from autogeneic (supplied by the patient) through allogeneic (supplied by a donor) bones to replacement materials such as hydroxylapatite (HA) and tricalcium phosphate (TCP). Bovine bones and corals are used in conjunction with synthetically produced foamed materials to form a basis for the regeneration of bone substance. Various RETSCH mills are suitable for the preliminary and fine grinding of human bones as well as bioceramic materials.
Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking or climbing are very popular. As a result, the textile industry offers a huge variety of functional outdoor clothing made from synthetic high-tech materials which are wind- and waterproof as well as breathable. In 2013 Greenpeace published a study proving that hazardous substances such as perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were used in weatherproof clothing as protection against water or dirt.
This article describes the sample preparation process with cutting mills and cryogenic mills of high-tech fibres.
The SM 300 excels especially in the tough jobs where other cutting mills fail. It has a freely selectable speed range from 700 to 3,000 rpm with high torque. The mill is convenient to operate and easy to clean. Reliable and extremely efficient sample preparation in the laboratory is now guaranteed with the SM 300.
Sample preparation of vegetable-based raw materials with laboratory mills
Thanks to the increasing usage of biomass as a source of energy, the analysis of these materials in the context of R&D and quality control gains importance, too. Due to the complex properties of plant materials, adequate sample preparation can be rather a challenge.
The prevention of environmental pollution is a prime issue of today’s industrialized societies. Important instruments in this context are regular checks using the latest analytical methods. Beside air and water analysis the focus is also on environmental remediation and declaration analyses as well as examination of soils, construction waste, sediments, secondary fuels and many more. Prevention and ecological recycling and disposal are the key words of a modern environmental policy. If the production of waste cannot be prevented, the primary objective is its material or energetic recycling. Residuals which cannot be recycled have to be disposed of in an ecologically friendly way.
With ever increasing socio-economic and geo-political demands, the use of secondary fuels in cement manufacture is a well-established practice for reducing both costs and CO2 emissions. The depletion of resources, combined with an increasing demand for primary fuels such as oil, gas or coal, make it paramount for energy consuming industries to search for alternative energy sources.
In the beverage industry plastic bottles – or rather their performs - are analyzed for their acetaldehyde content to prevent any health risk for consumers. The acetaldehyde must be extracted from the preforms prior to analysis. To ensure correct results, the bottles first have to be crushed and homogenized by laboratory mills. Care must be taken that the volatile substance acetaldehyde does not escape during the process due to heat build-up inside the grinding chamber. To preserve the acetaldehyde, part of the sample preparation is carried out under cryogenic conditions.
Due to decreasing resources and increasing market prices for primary fuels like oil, gas or coal, it is paramount for the cement industry to search for alternative energy sources. With regard to the CO2 emissions trading, a switch to energy sources which have a neutral CO2 balance can be rather profitable. Usually, these are non-fossil fuels. Industries with high energy consumption have made increasing use of alternative fuels during the last years. Accordingly, the use of so called secondary fuels (also waste derived fuels/wdf or refuse derived fuels/rdf) has gained importance. These are mostly combustible fractions of domestic or industrial waste which cannot be recycled.
Reliable and accurate analysis results can only be guaranteed by reproducible sample preparation. This consists of transforming a laboratory sample into a representative part sample with homogeneous analytical fineness. Retsch offers a comprehensive range of the most modern mills and crushers for coarse, fine and ultra-fine size reduction of almost any material. The product range also comprises a wide choice of grinding tools and accessories which helps to ensure contamination-free preparation of a great variety of sample materials. The selection of the correct grinding tool depends on the sample material and the subsequent method of analysis. Different grinding tools have different characteristics, such as required energy input, hardness or wear-resistance.
Plastic is an inherent part of our everyday lives; it is used in a huge variety of things such as, for example, packaging, furniture, clothing or electronic devices. Though the utility of the material is undoubted, consumers are increasingly unsettled by recurring news about hazardous substances detected in plastics. Substances such as plasticizers, which are not firmly bound in the material, are absorbed via the skin and can influence the hormonal balance. Plasticizers contained in food packaging, for example, penetrate into the food and thus into the human body when the food is eaten. Plasticizers in toys are a particularly serious problem; children tend to take toys into their mouths thus absorbing the dangerous chemicals. Equally hazardous are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The family of PAH comprises more than 100 compounds most of which have been found to be carcinogenic.
The homogenization of fish is a challenge; scales, skin and bones are fairly resistant to size reduction so that the sample still contains some larger pieces after grinding in most mills. A high fat content of the fish makes the process even more difficult, as fatty particles stick together to form large lumps which block the mill and keep the sample inhomogeneous.
A solid sample material should always be sufficiently prepared by size
reduction and homogenization before it is subjected to chemical or physical analysis. Care should be taken that the analysis sample fully represents the original material and that the sample preparation process is carried out reproducibly. Only then are meaningful results guaranteed. Most sample materials can be reduced to the required analytical fineness at room temperature by choosing a mill with a suitable size reduction principle (impact, pressure, friction, shearing, cutting).
From cell disruption to homogenization and pulverization of a great variety of biological samples
Biological samples exist in all shapes and sizes: hard bones, tough and fibrous plants, tough and viscous sputum, soft muscles, tumor or liver tissue. Not to mention the millions of cells such as yeast, bacteria or algae, which have to be disrupted for applications such as DNA or RNA isolation or protein extraction. For research in genomics, transcriptomics or metabolomics, all kinds of biological samples are prepared. Sample preparation is the first step of every analytical process. Retsch offers a range of mills and grinders for easy and reproducible pulverization of solid sample materials some of which are also suitable for cell disruption and homogenization of biological sample materials.
A faultless and comparable analysis is closely linked to an accurate sample handling. Only a sample representative of the initial material can provide meaningful analysis results. Rotating dividers and rotary tube dividers are an important means to ensure the representativeness of a sample and thus the reproducibility of the analysis. Correct sample handling consequently minimizes the probability of a production stop due to incorrect analysis results. Thus correct sample handling is the key to effective quality control.
How to turn a laboratory sample into a representative part sample with homogeneous analytical fineness -
Food occurs in a great variety of consistencies and is often inhomogeneous. Food testing labs require representative samples to produce meaningful and reproducible analysis results. Therefore, food samples must be homogenized and pulverized to the required analytical fineness, ideally with as little time and effort as possible. Furthermore, reliable analytical results can only be obtained if the entire sample preparation process is carried out reproducibly.
Why Size Reduction? A reliable and accurate analysis can only be guaranteed by reproducible sample preparation. The "Art of Milling" describes the process of turning a laboratory sample into a representative part sample with homogeneous analytical fineness.