External Filtration System (EFS)

An automated and compact instrument that filters carbon black and other small-particle fillers from polymer samples at high temperature.

External Filtration System (EFS)

EFS: Main Module Overview

The EFS System consists of the EFS Main Module and the EDO Module.

The External Filtration System (EFS) is an automated device that filters polyolefins and other polymers at high temperature, eliminating carbon black, catalyst residue, fillers, additives, and any other small-sized particles that may be present in the sample.

The EFS transfers the solution through a disposable filter cartridge that removes any undesired particles. The whole process takes around two minutes, and the result is a clean sample that is ready to be injected into the analytical instrument.

Thanks to its smart design, the solution only comes into contact with the filter. The filter is replaced after each use, leaving a clean system ready for the next filtration, and ensuring that no cross-contamination occurs.

As the solvent circulates through an airtight circuit, the EFS does not let any vapors escape to the ambient, unlike the manual and traditional method using glass fiber filters, or the available semi-automated equipment from other providers.

The process is fast and easy, and it minimizes user dedication to filtration tasks, which are usually tedious and require significant manpower amongst the daily tasks of all laboratories.

The EFS is a breakthrough in external filtration, being the only automated system in the market capable of eliminating carbon black and other undesired particles in an effective, fast, and safe manner.


External Dissolution Oven (EDO) Module Overview


Prior to filtration, the sample should be dissolved using the External Dissolution Oven. The EDO is a compact and independent oven that can hold up to six samples in vials of either 10 mL or 20 mL for the external dissolution of samples. Pairing these two modules (EFS+EDO) results in major convenience gains because it eliminates the need to transfer the solution as the whole process – dissolution in EDO, filtration in EFS, and analysis in Polymer Char’s instrument – is done with the same vials. Moreover, having a standalone dissolution module separate from the analytical instrument makes sample dissolution independent from instrument availability.

The EDO can also be used as an auxiliary oven for dissolution testing to find out whether samples are soluble in specific solvents compatible with IR detection. Another convenient use of EDO is for optimizing sample concentration and reaching an ideal point without saturating the solution for specific applications.


EFS Features

Facilitating Laboratory Operations

· Automated and fast filtration of carbon black, catalyst residue, additives, or other fillers of small-particle size
· No manual handling of solvents
· Safe and clean filtration in a few minutes
· No cross-contamination
· No transfer of vials
· No vapors or odors are released to the ambient thanks to its airtight design, which includes a vapor collecting bottle
· The vial with the filtered solution can be directly analyzed in any Polymer Char instrument with autosampler
· Compatible with 10mL and 20mL Polymer Char vials
· An External Dissolution Oven with 6 positions is included. Dissolution time, shaking intensity, and temperature (from ambient temp up to 160ºC) are all programmable
· The maximum concentration to be filtered is 4-5mg/ml per cartridge

EFS Video


Samples with carbon black, additives, or other fillers of small-particle size can cause significant damages to your analytical instrument and its detectors, such as:
· Damage to the chromatographic columns, especially in GPC systems, decreasing the lifespan of the columns
· Obstructions in the analytical instrument
· In-line filters can get plugged too often
· Noise in the Light Scattering detector signals
Therefore, it is highly advisable to filter those kinds of samples to eliminate the undesired particles.

First, dissolve the sample in the External Dissolution Oven (EDO). Then, place an empty vial, a new cartridge, and the vial with the dissolved sample in the EFS cylinder. Finally, press the Start button. The EFS will transfer the solution through the filter into the empty vial, removing all additives, fillers, etc. in the process.

The solution doesn't come into contact with the EFS, only with the cartridge. Replacing the cartidge after each filtration avoids sample cross-contamination.

The maximum concentration is 4-5 mg/mL in 10mL or 20mL vials.

If your instrument uses Polymer Char vials, you will not need to transfer the solution to another vial. The resulting vial containing the filtered solution can be used for analysis in any of Polymer Char's analytical instruments. However, replacing the septum with a new one is recommended.

The filters are not reusable unless you are filtering more than one vial with the same sample. In such case you may reuse them a few times as long as the total concentration does not exceed 4-5mg/ml.

There is no need to leave the EFS switched-on unless you plan to filter more samples during the day, in which case it is advisable to leave it on so it remains hot and ready to start working straight away. The EFS heating time is between 20-30 minutes, depending on the required filtration temperature.

Even though the EFS does not release any vapors thanks to its airtight design and disposable filters, it is advisable to place the system under a fumehood for an even safer manipulation of the vials and to replace the septum after filtration.

The temperature range of the EFS is between 40ºC and 180ºC. For polyolefin samples using TCB as solvent, the filtration is usually done at 160-170ºC, a little higher than the dissolution temperature.

The External Filtration System can filter carbon black particles, which can be as small as 0.05µm

Experimental tests have shown no differences between the filtered sample and the original one when analyzed by GPC. The chromatograms of both samples are identical, which means that there is no loss of the high molecular weight part of the sample, which is the most sensitive to the sample preparation process. Read more

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