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Bench Scale Column Testing


The fastest and most cost effective path to developing an optimal water processing method is to screen a range of conditions at small scale (flow rates of 0.5-10 mL/min, generally), to determine lead methods. Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) materials are different from conventional resins in that there are over a thousand different materials we have designed, each with different web structures, binding, and solvating environments. This variety enables us to provide SPE materials uniquely tailored to the metal separations, pH, EH, concentrations, and ion environments that are unique for each process stream. Precise chemical engineering, as well as inherently superior physical properties, make results with SPE materials far superior to other resins.

In addition to the selection of core materials, other aspects of the process are important, such as determing process reagents (i.e., acids, bases, salts), reagent strength and concentration, loading volumes, column regeneration and preparation, and raffinate recycling. Optimization is performed in both the loading and elution phases of the process, since metal separation can occur in both these process phases. The target of optimization is to achieve maximum separation and purification while minimizing process costs such as column turnover, reagent, and power consumption.


Metals U.S. works with IntelliMet, our partner research company, to provide state of the art bench scale testing programs. IntelliMet has a fully equipped, world class lab in Missoula, MT, with the equipment and expertise to provide excellent process results. The Missoula facility offers state of the art automation and detection capability with our Waters High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system equipped with precision Waters 510 pumps and Waters 2996 Diode Array Detection for precision process operation and results detection, as well as KD Scientific Model 220 12 Barrel Hi Precision Syringe Pump for multi-material screening and process automation purposes. We use state of the art Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Inductively Couple Plasma (ICP), and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) for analysis and quantification. “High Throughput Screening,” a method developed by the pharmaceutical industry to narrow in on drug candidates from vast chemical laboratories, is used to interrogate a wide range of matrix materials and process options and arrive at optimal results in a rapid and cost effective manner.

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