Chemical waste testing

wty

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Summary
Is it possible to conduct the chemical waste testing if there are no testing parameters given to the lab? Only little information can be provided for the feed of the process, such as material safety data sheet (MSDS) and certificate of analysis (COA) of the chemicals used in the feed of the process. If not possible, could someone please give me some suggestions to solve this problem? Thank you.
Hi
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.
 

jrmichler

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I'm not sure that I understand your question. It sounds like you are feeding Chemicals A, B, and C into a reactor, and getting out Chemical D plus waste. It sounds like Chemicals A, B, C, and maybe D are all mixtures of chemicals. And your concern is the amount and (maybe) composition of the waste.

If correct, the first step to solving this problem is to write down the chemical composition of the desired output. That includes the chemical names, isomers, concentrations, and anything else needed to completely specify the desired output. Then everything else is waste.

The technology is available to make the measurements and find the amount and composition of the waste. The second step is to decide whether to have the analyses done by an outside lab or to set up your own lab to do it. I suggest starting with an outside lab, then make the decision after getting some actual costs and turnaround times.
 

wty

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0
Hi jrmichler
Sorry that I didn't give a detailed description of my problem.
Actually this is a plate making process in lithography printing industry. In that process, we mix developer, baking gum and water together to wash off the coating of a plate. The waste is then generated by the so-called washing solution. And we want to conduct a waste testing to determine the composition of the waste in mol/L or wt%.

The question is that:
1) We have too little information about the feed of the process (i.e. developer, baking gum, water and plate).
For example, by referring to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) of the developer provided by its manufacturer, we only know that 6-12 wt% sodium hydroxide is present in the developer but there may have more than 5 chemicals used to produce the developer.
(The manufacturer definitely cannot give us the complete formula of their products.)

2) We don't know what can come out in the waste because there are too many unknowns for the composition of the feed. Thus, most of the chemists we contacted said it's too general and they can't perform the testing without any given testing parameters. I know it's quite silly that we want to do testing but we cannot provide any testing parameters. That'why I am wondering if there is any lab testing like this or it's impossible to conduct with the current technology?

Hope that my explanation is clear for you. Thanks for your help!
 

Tom.G

Science Advisor
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jrmichler

Science Advisor
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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.
This is a production optimization task. The place to start is to look at how accurately you are measuring and controlling the proportion and amounts of feed chemicals. You may not know exactly how much of each chemical is desired, but you need to be able to get exactly the amount specified Every.Single.Time. A rule of thumb in the control industry is that you want to be able to measure ten times more accurately than your desired maximum error, but you can get away with three times more accurately. Usually.

Is there some indicator of off specification mixture ratio? Developing time, product quality, something that you can observe and measure? If the plate quality varies from plate to plate, then your process control needs improvement before lab testing. Accurate control of quantities and mixture ratios, plus accurate records, allow you to optimize the process without knowing the exact chemistry. This is where I would start.

That'why I am wondering if there is any lab testing like this or it's impossible to conduct with the current technology?
Considering that today's lab technology has no trouble measuring PFAS concentrations in the single digit parts per trillion concentration, I am certain that there is a lab somewhere that can measure everything that you want. Finding that lab is clearly a challenge. I cannot direct you to a specific lab, but keep trying. There is one out there somewhere.

BTW, I spent four years in the US Air Force working in a photo lab. And, about ten years ago, headed a team that developed a heavy duty high speed wide web flexographic printer.
 

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