Ion chromatography, or IC analysis, is an analytical technique that is used to identify the molecular make-up of materials. This materials analysis technique is often used in the environmental, industrial, biological, pharmaceutical, chemical and food sectors. IC analysis is a simple, fast and accurate materials analysis technique with applications that range from quality control to environmental analysis. Get an overview look at Ion chromatography or keep reading for information on service details and common applications.
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Advantages and Disadvantages to Ion Chromatography
The principle advantage of ion chromatography is its versatility, which provides a quality control and cleanliness testing option for manufacturers in many industries. Ion chromatography is a highly-sensitive and accurate materials analysis technique that detects both organic acids and inorganic ionic contamination. Ionic contaminants are typically residues such as chlorine, sulfates, phosphates and ammonia that are left behind during the manufacturing process, and can lead to product failure or malfunction.
In addition, not only is this technique sensitive enough to detect ionic contaminants, but the process can be done easily and quickly by a materials testing lab. Innovatech Labs can often deliver results in just one business day.
While IC is an incredibly sensitive testing method, sample size and matrix will ultimately determine how sensitive the technique is on a specific sample.
Ion Chromatography Applications & Uses
- Quality control
- Ensuring product cleanliness
- Water analysis
- Environmental analysis
- Identifying food additives
Quality Control & Product Cleanliness
Before a manufactured product is ready to ship out, it has to go through a rigorous quality control process. As a cleanliness testing technique, ion chromatography can provide manufacturers with a useful quality control tool that will help ensure product quality, product safety and proper function. IC is particularly useful for manufacturers of medical devices, electronics and hard drive components because of its ability to detect ionic contaminants that are leaching from a product or that have been left behind during some step in the manufacturing process.
As an example, an electronics manufacturer was experiencing electrical shorts in their circuit boards. Suspecting that the rinse water used was to blame, IC analysis was used to extract a sample from the material. The results were consistent with hard-water residue and the manufacturer was able to change out the water during the rinse cycle.
Environmental Analysis & Water Analysis
Since ion chromatography is such a versatile testing method, in recent years it’s become a valuable environmental analysis tool. Broadly speaking, ion chromatography can be used as an environmental monitoring tool, but most often it’s used to test all types of water for pollution and contaminants. For manufacturers, ion chromatography can be used to test the water used in rinse cycles for contaminants.
Identifying Food & Beverage Additives
Consumers are increasingly concerned about additives in food and beverage products. Ion chromatography can be used by food manufacturers to test foods or the ingredients they use for additives, as well as determine salt content.
Ion chromatography allows the separation and detection of:
- Trace ionic species such as F-, Br-, Cl-, NO2-, NO3-, HPO4-2, SO4-2, Li+, Na+, K+, Mg+2, Ca+2, Sr+2, Ba+
- Ammonium and low molecular weight amines
- Quaternary ammonium compounds
- Weak organic acids
- Aliphatic and aromatic sulfonic acids
- Amino acids
Contact one of our highly skilled analysts to discuss your IC analysis needs.
Ion Chromatography Lab Services Details and Requirements:
- Sample must be able to go into solution with a solvent compatible to the ion chromatography system, or the components of interest must be able to be extracted from the sample.
- Components of interest must cause a change in the conductivity of the solute to be detected.
IC analysis can be completed in as little as one business day:
- The typical analysis time takes about 1 hour for setup and analysis of one sample, and 15-30 minutes for each additional sample
- Sensitivity achieved is dependent on sample size and matrix
Contact one of our highly skilled analysts to discuss to discuss your materials analysis needs.