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News

DARTS improves process control through formulation characterisation

CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory : 29 September, 2004  (New Product)
Using the skill and expertise of the DARTS team and the high intensity X-rays produced by the Daresbury synchrotron, a major player in the oil industry has been able to improve the formulation control of its oil additive quickly and effectively.
Inorganic particles coated with detergent are added to lubricant oils to prevent corrosion and to enable the oil to achieve the desired long-term lubrication performance. The additive neutralises acidic by-products from fuel combustion and acids formed by oxidation and degradation of the oil. Designing the optimum formulation required detailed characterisation of the structure of the detergent additive in a timescale that minimised loss of production.

Using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), the DARTS team were able to determine particle size, shape and size distribution in a range of oil formulations with different particle/detergent compositions of the additive. DARTS researchers overcame the difficulties of interpreting the subtle changes arising despite a weak signal to noise ratio - often a limitation of laboratory X-ray equipment. Typical particle sizes of 2050 were easily accommodated by the SAXS analysis which can be used effectively on sizes as low as 10.

Accurate characterisation of formulation is the essential bridge linking tight process control to reliable product performance. The speed and high quality results which SAXS produced saved the company lost operating time and preserved their reputation by ensuring optimisation of the product and its manufacturing process. Manufacturers across a range of industries including plastics, cosmetics and food could improve their products and processes by acquiring detailed information on formulation structures through DARTS.
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