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Development of analytical methods for quality control in recycling of industrial coolants
Goal: Goal of the project is to develop analytical separation methods for identification and determination of compounds present in industrial coolants before and after their recycling. The method will serve as a quality control tool in development and routine operation of a new recycling line in one of the Czech companies.
Novelty: The methods to be developed will help to launch first electrodialysis recycling line for coolants in European Union. Especially samples of recycled material can contain only traces of the contaminants, their determination will thus present a great analytical challenge.
Broader impacts: Results of visiting students’ work will contribute to introduction of technology that is very promising and can help to significantly increase the current very small fraction of industrial coolants being recycled. This in turn can reduce the amount of waste disposed of and help to protect the environment.
Background: Coolants are routinely used across practically all fields of industry. Their lifetime is naturally limited , which leads to production of immense amounts of waste that should be recycled. There are several approaches to recycling of spent coolants. One of them aims at reduction of waste amount by recycling the water contained in the coolant [2-4]. Nevertheless, this approach only reduces the volume of the waste and does not recycle the glycols that are, apart from water, major constituents of the coolants. Other published technologies include filtration and distillation , vacuum distillation , reverse osmosis  or magnetic purification . Complex processes employing many sequential steps have been proposed as well . In spite of that, only negligible part of industrial coolants is recycled in reality. The main reason is the high energetic demand of most of the processes. Electrodialysis  seems to be a promising technology that could change the current situation as it fulfills both, environmental as well as economic criteria. Introduction of a recycling line into practical use is a complex process that requires quality control of the spent coolant entering the recycling line as well as the recycled material. Coolants consist mostly of water and glycols, nevertheless, other compounds such as corrosion inhibitors (organic acids, triazoles, alkanolamines), dyes or inorganic ions are introduced to them during their manufacturing and use. The recycling line should produce mixture of glycols free of other contaminants. Only such material can be subsequently used for preparation of new coolant. Analytical methods for determination of potential contaminants are thus indispensable for quality control of the resulting product.
Methods: The visiting student will work on development of analytical methods for identification and determination of compounds such as triazoles, alkanolamines or inorganic ions in coolants. Depending of the nature of the analyte, capillary electrophoresis or high-performance liquid chromatography with UV/VIS, conductivity or mass spectrometry detection will be used. Methods developed will be validated using real-life coolant samples. The student will benefit from broad experience of our group in the field of capillary electrophoresis, high-performance liquid chromatography and their applications.
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