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The Gas Chromatograph
A few years back, we were able to acquire a GC-Mass Spec unit that had originally been owned by the University of Oregon Chemistry Department. Time passed on and it was eventually declared obsolete. That's an accurate description of the unit, but fortunately, we don't need a modern machine, much less a state of the art machine, in order to move the B2M project forward.
While the Mass Spectrometer part of the unit is interesting, it's the Gas Chromatograph part that we can put to good use generating immediate feedback on reactor output. The key there is that we already know what gases we're working with; what we need to know is their relative amounts so that we can tweak the process to improve yields. Having that ability on site will greatly enhance our ability to tailor the process to suit village-scale operations and a variety of feedstocks.
We understand that this piece of equipment is a throw-back to the early days of instrumental analysis, but that's part of why we'd like to salvage it. Along the way, it wouldn't surprise us if it proved necessary to fabricate some of the control and detector functions using intelligent controls such as the Arduino that we'll be using to monitor and control other parts of this project. If so, then we're up for that drawing confidence from the fact that the basic structure of the unit is sound. Also, it's been our experience that it's often the older equipment that allows access to the fundamentals.
Our hope is that we'll be able to make contact with someone who has worked with this sort of first-generation gas chromatograph, and can offer some direction on getting it up and running well enough to suit our needs. To see a set of introductory pictures of this unit, Click Here.
We're also hoping to make contact with someone who's familiar with the the analysis of the constituents of smoke and able to put us on the right track as to what sort of column and carrier to use. If you're familiar with that area of chemical analysis, we'd love to hear from you at b2m (@) gorge (dot) net .