In-situ Magnetometer: a cutting-edge research tool
21 May 2013
Unlike conventional magnetometers, which are based on quartz sample holders,and only capable of varying the operating temperature, the UCT Magnetometer can characterise ferro- and super-paramagnetic materials at actual industrial operating conditions (e.g. temperatures between 25 and 500°C and pressures of up to 50 bar). Using magnetisation, the magnetometer provides information on the degree of reduction, sintering and crystal size distribution in super-paramagnetic samples.
UCT’s Centre for Catalysis Research Professors Michael Claeys and Eric van Steen, and Sasol Technology's Jan van de Loosdrecht and Kobus Visagie invented an In-situ Magnetometer that arose from their long-standing joint research efforts. Although originally designed for the study of catalysts, the In-situ Magnetometer is in fact a generic research tool for the characterisation of nanoparticles in a diverse range of fields such as: Fischer-Tropsch catalysis, novel magnetic materials for water treatment, metal extraction, nano magnet and recording devices.
This product is an analytical tool that will primarily find its application in industries where catalysts are used, specifically the petrochemical industry. Its fundamental benefit is the ability to derive more detailed characterisation of catalysts and to use this knowledge to improve catalyst efficiencies and design. It will be used by companies specialising in catalyst development, processors in the petrochemical industry as well as research organisations, such as universities.
The development of an even more advanced instrument is underway that will couple it with Raman spectroscopy. This will greatly extend its capabilities and enable characterisation of material virtually down to an atomic scale, all at realistic industrial working conditions involving gas/liquid flows of up to 550°C and 100 bar pressure. Initial requests for Magnetometers, which are already being received from Europe, will be met by the university, but UCT is seeking a commercial partner to fulfill this role in the longer term. The ideal commercial manufacturer of the UCT Magnetometer will be a company that is already supplying similar equipment to these potential end users.
Should you be interested in pursuing this opportunity, or finding out more about it, please contact Dr Andrew Bailey at RC&I or phone 021 650 2425.