Polarized and Fluorescence Microscope (PFLM) Leica Microsystems, (Wetzlar, Germany) • The PFLM comes with a digital camera and 46 components including specialty filters, eyepieces and light source. • This instrument is equipped with a temperature controlled stage (Linkam LTS 350). • It is used to help quantify the structure of the biomaterials that are being developed. • This is an integral piece of equipment which will help to elucidate the role of structural design and processing conditions on final physical properties of the materials. • We are able to do time and temperature resolved microscopy on this instrument, so as to observe directly the formation of the network structure of our materials.
Controlled Temperature Stage for Microscope Quorum Technologies Inc. (Guelph, ON) • The Linkam LTS350- Variable Temperature Stage for Microscope comes with Liquid Nitrogen-Automated Cooling system and 2 litre dewar. • The stage consists of a large area temperature controlled element with simple microscope slide mounted sample loading. • It is a heating and freezing stage, designed for accurate temperature measurements. • It’s temperature programmer allows for sophisticated temperature profiles that are critical to process the samples. • It is also used to process samples for x-ray diffraction and hardness measurements.
Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (pNMR) Bruker Optics Ltd. (Milton, Ontario) • The minispec mq20 is one of the latest of a series of NMR instruments. • It comes with control and magnetic units which allow very high flexibilities in experimental design and measurement handling. • It comes with a probe unit and a variable Temperature Control Unit, suitable for high and low temperatures. • It is an NMR instrument for time and temperature resolved liquid to solid analysis, such as solid fat content (SFC) analysis. • The instrument is equipped to analyze biomaterials, polymers and fats that are being developed.
X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) D8 DISCOVER, Bruker AXS Inc. (Madison, WI USA) • XRD is a non-destructive analytical technique which reveals information about the crystallographic structure and physical properties of materials ranging from simple inorganic solids to complex macromolecules. • Our XRD is a system of the highest quality used to: • Characterize the crystallographic structure, crystallite size (grain size), and preferred orientation of our biomaterials. • Characterize heterogeneous solid mixtures to determine relative abundance of crystalline compounds. • Determine strains in our crystalline materials. • Solve the complete structure of our materials. • Provide structural information on unknown materials.
Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) Q200, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE) • The DSC instrument comes with 4 components including a refrigerated cooling system, a gas dryer and a DSC Sample Press. • It has patented temperature modulation capability with amplitude and period selections. • It is used to probe the thermodynamic properties such as crystallization, melting, glass transitions, or exothermic decompositions of the biomaterials. • These transitions involve energy changes or heat capacity changes that can be detected by DSC with great sensitivity. • It is used to elucidate the phase behavior of the materials.
Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA) Q800, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE) • DMA can be simply described as “applying an oscillating force to a sample and analyzing the material’s response to that force”. • Our DMA is equipped with a gas cooling accessory with auto-fill capability and allows the study of our materials’ response to stress, temperature, frequency and other values. • It is one of the most powerful tools available for the study of the thermo mechanical behavior of the materials. • It used to measure stiffness (storage modulus) and damping characteristics of our materials. • The storage modulus is the measure of the sample’s elastic behavior. • Damping is a measure of the energy dissipation of a material. • It is used to measure the glass transition temperature. • The DMA high sensitivity and low starting temperature of -190 °C allows us easily to look for the small molecular motions and detect other subtler transitions that occur in the glassy or rubbery state.
Temperature Controlled Oscillatory Rheometer AR 2000ex, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE) • Our AR 2000 ex comes with 7 components including Peltier plates for low and high temperature measurement and fixtures. • It provides controlled stress, direct strain and controlled rate measurements and is appropriate for a wide range of applications. • It is used for rheology measurements. • It can be used for the characterization of delicate structures in fluids with a wide range of viscosities, polymer melts, solids and reactive materials.
Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA) Q500, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE) • This instrument comes with High Resolution and Modulation Modes • It is used to measure weight changes in a material as a function of temperature (or time) under a controlled atmosphere. • It is commonly used to measure a material's thermal stability. • TGA used to determine degradation temperatures, residual solvent levels, absorbed moisture content, and the amount of inorganic (noncombustible) filler in our polymers and composite materials.
Texture and Mechanical Analyzer TA.HD Plus, Texture Technologies Corp. (NY, USA) • The TA.HD Plus comes with 18 components including 3 interchangeable load cells (5kg, 50 kg, 750 kg), a heavy duty plateform, a Peltier plate with Cabinet: 20 °C below ambient to 70 °C and probes and fixtures. • This instrument is used to perform a variety of tests in both tension and compression. • It measures the texture and hardness of our biomaterials. • It is able to measure the rheological characteristics of extremely soft materials such as lipid networks (e.g. butter) and the compressive and tensile strengths of hard plastic materials. • It is also capable of precisely quantifying a wide variety of physical parameters such as hardness, break strength compaction, strength consistency, friction, spreadability, and curing, tube extrusion energy and behaviors.
Custom Built Crystallizer/Fractionator Azco (Langley, BC, Canada) • Designed by the Biomaterials Team. • Built by Ken Singh (National Oil Levels, Edmonton, AB, Canada). • Patent pending. • Allows unique crystallization related separations of lipid components.
FTIR Spectrometer Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Mississauga, ON) • This is a Dual Mode FT-IR - fitted to TGA and stand alone. • The Nicolet 6700 FT-IR Spectrometer comes with 7 components. • It is used for the spectral characterization of the biomaterials that are being developed. • It is a chemically-specific analysis technique used to identify chemical compounds and substituent groups. • Combined with TGA, it provides in-time characterization of the products of the degradation process.
Ozonator andOxygen concentrator Azco (Langley, BC, Canada) • The system comes with an oxygen concentrator (AS-12) and an ozone generator (RMU16-DG3). • This system is used to generate the ozone necessary to perform the ozonolysis step of the technology developed to synthesize the monomers which are building blocks of the biomaterials that are developed.
Hydrogenator • Our Parr hydrogenator is used for treating chemicals with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst at pressures up to 600 psi. • It is equipped with several features to control reaction pressure, reaction temperature and the quantity and flow of hydrogen injected. • It's used primarily for synthesizing or modifying organic compounds by catalytic hydrogenation, reduction or condensation. • We are primarily using it to transform feedstock from vegetable oils into polyols and straight chain alcohols for polyurethane production and high-value chemical production.
Hydraulic Laboratory Press Carver (Walbash, IN, USA) • This Carver hydraulic press comes with safety shield and heated/cooled platens • It is used for compression molding of the biomaterials that are being developed (elastomers, plastics and polymer composites sheets) for physical property measurements. • It is also used to cut dumbbell-shaped specimens for tensile measurement
Grinder Sciencewave (NJ, USA) • The Micro-Mill™ Grinder is equipped with a stainless steel blade that allows high-speed pulverizing of 20–50mL samples • Its housing accepts tubes for circulating water, methanol/dry ice liquid, or liquid nitrogen. • It is used to grind our biomaterials such as our bioplastics and other dry samples. • One can add dry ice to the grinding chamber to process softer samples.
Programmable, Temperature Controlled Circulating Baths Julabo (NJ, USA) • Models are equipped with various size reservoirs and refrigeration capacities. • The temperature control system is capable of maintaining uniform temperatures for long periods. • The programmable refrigerated and heating circulating baths provide precise temperature control of fluids for circulation to external equipment or to be used as standalone baths. • The reservoir may be used for immersing samples while the unit is connected to an external device.
Vacuum Pump and Vacuum Oven ILMVAC GmbH, Lemenau, Germany • These are versatile instruments used to create the contaminant-free atmosphere needed to perform several important tasks related to the synthesis and analysis of the biomaterials being developed.
Precision Temperature Controlled Storage Devices Sheldon Manufacturing Inc. OR, USA • Fridges Incubator LI5
Wiped Blade Molecular Distillation Unit ICL -04, Incon Process Systems LLC (Batavia, IL) • The Wiped-Blade Molecular Distillation unit separates low-molecular weight compounds from a mixture. • It is used where the distillate has a high boiling point. • It has high vacuum capability hence reducing operating temperature, excellent mass and heat transfer and handles viscous fluids. • This process is used in many areas, including oleochemicals, biodiesel and polymers. • In the Biomaterials Research Group, it is particularly useful to distil our own polyol product.
Rotary Evaporator RV10 Digital, IKA (NC, USA) • The RV 10 Digital rotary evaporator ("rotavap") removes solvents from reaction mixtures and can accommodate volumes as large as 3 litres. • It is equipped with a Chiller (Rotacool from Heidolph, Kelheim, Germany) and a heated bath. • The solvent is removed under vacuum, below its normal boiling point, which avoids over-heating the compound of interest, and is then trapped by a condenser and collected for reuse or disposal.
Gas Chromatograph with Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID) Agilent Technologies, (Mississauga, Ontario) • The GC FID is used to analyze volatile lipid molecules and small modified lipid molecules. • Compounds ‘race’ through a column; some travel faster than others so the various groups exit the column at different times. • FID is a good general detector for organic compounds, able to detect at the nanogram level. • Typical uses of GC include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture.
Analytical Balance • An analytical balance is used to measure mass to a very high degree of precision and accuracy. • The weighing pan of a high precision (0.01 mg or better) analytical balance is inside a transparent enclosure. • The enclosure is fitted with doors so that dust does not collect, and so any air currents in the room do not affect the balance's operation.
Desiccator • Desiccators are sealable enclosures containing desiccants (drying agents) used for preserving moisture-sensitive items. • The items to be stored are placed on a platform, with desiccant in the space under the platform. A stopcock may be included to permit the desiccator to be evacuated. • A common use for desiccators is to protect chemicals which react with water from humidity; it also can be used to remove traces of water from an almost-dry sample.
Small Scale Simple Distillation • Simple Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in their volatilities in a boiling liquid mixture. • Distillation is a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction. • It is used to separate a compound into more fractions for specific uses and also to remove impurities.
Column Chromatography • A method for the separation of compounds from mixtures. Each compound is a fraction of the mix. • Eluent plus a stationary phase powder (such as silica gel) is poured into a glass column and organic material is added on top. • The individual components separate from each other while they are running through the column with the eluent, and each ‘fraction’ is collected. • Enables purification of synthetic products.
Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) • Thin layer chromatography is another separation technique. • TLC is performed on a sheet of glass, plastic, or aluminum foil, which is coated with a thin layer of adsorbent material (silica gel, aluminum oxide, or cellulose). • Solvent is drawn up via capillary action; compounds ascend the plate at different rates and are separated. • This method is simple and capable of determining how many compounds are in the mixture.
UltraViolet (UV) Lamp • An Ultraviolet Lamp is often used to visualize the compounds which have been separated by Thin Layer Chromatography. • A small amount of a fluorescent compound, usually manganese-activated zinc silicate, is added to the adsorbent that allows the visualization of spots under a blacklight. • The adsorbent layer will thus fluoresce light green by itself, but spots of analyte quench this fluorescence.
Soxhlet Extractor • An apparatus for extracting compounds according to their solubility in differing solvent systems. • The solvent vapour travels up a distillation arm and floods into the chamber housing the solid. Some of the desired compound will then dissolve in the warm solvent. When the Soxhlet chamber is almost full, the solvent returns to the distillation flask by a siphon side arm. • It is an effective way to separate polymers from insoluble monomers, which have a limited solubility in certain solvent systems.