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Chemical waste testing

Chemical waste testing

Chemical waste testing

Recently my company has wanted to conduct waste testing to determine the composition of the wastes in concentration or wt%. This testing will help us to determine whether there are any excess chemicals in the feed of the process, which in turn can also be used to identify the effective composition of chemicals in the feed needed to produce the least waste or zero waste. However, we can't provide any parameter for the waste testing because we don't know what will present in the waste and too little information is given for the feed of the process. Besides, by referring to the Material safety data sheet (MSDS) and certificate of analysis (COA) of each chemical used in the feed of the process, we can only know one to two active components of each chemical used in the process due to the confidential policy of the manufacturers. Thus, due to all these constraints, may I know if it is possible to conduct this kind of testing with the current technology available in the lab testing? If not, could someone please give me some suggestions to solve this problem? Thank you.

RE: Chemical waste testing

There are ways to determine unknown material composition to certain points, but having at least a basic knowledge of what it might contain will make your efforts much less painful.

Are they solids, liquids, gases, or vapors?

Are you dealing with petrochemicals, organic, or inorganic materials?

If you have a feed system and you know the reaction that is taking place, you should be able to work out the by-products, or at least the type of material you are producing as both product and by-product. If not, consult with someone who can work out the chemistry for you so you don't go chasing information you don't need to.

- You can use EDXRF analysis for elemental concentrations
- You can use ICP for elemental concentrations
- You can use infrared spectroscopy to narrow down what types of materials you are dealing with
- You can use mass spec to determine some components
- etc.

Once you identify the basic categories your waste falls into, you can probably narrow down more specific tests for those particular materials. But for a complete unknown where you don't know your feed or your wastes in mixed streams, it is going to take some digging to get to the answers you want.

Andrew H.

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