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LANL: Chemistry Division



Applications for Supercritical Fluids

The research at the Supercritical Fluids Facility focuses on materials modification, solvent replacement, supercritical fluid extraction and processing, and the development of environmentally friendly manufacturing and cleaning processes.

Analytical Uses of Critical Fluids
The diversity of experience in analytical chemistry not only in the Supercritical Fluids Facility, but in the C-ACT Group at LANL, permits the development of analytical methodology utilizing supercritical fluids.

Extraction of Natural and Agricultural Products
The Los Alamos Supercritical Fluid Facility has capabilities to span a wide scale of processing, from gram quantities of material to single batch processing of up to 60L in volume.

Materials Modification
Treatment with upper-dense fluids can modify materials by increasing strength, controlling morphology, and manipulating other physical properties.

Multi-Tasking Processing with Critical Fluids
Traditionally super- and sub-critical pressurized fluids have used carbon dioxided as the processing fluid in the liquid or supercritical state. The capabilities of the Supercritical Fluid Facility at LANL expand the possibilities for using multiple or linked processing steps; such as extraction, fractionation, or reaction; coupled with interchange of the fluid type.

Precision Cleaning
CO2 has also been demonstrated to be very effective in precision cleaning, and it can be used on everything from silica wafers for integrated circuits to large engine parts.

Processing with Supercritical Fluids
The staff at LANL has considerable experience in the design and scale-up of processing equipment to assist clients in developing different scales of production plants as shown by the inset figures. This includes partnering with other equipment vendors or companies specializing in building pilot and production scale plants as well as scaled up toll refining services.

SCORR (need a short paragraph) (view video on CO2 Snow Gun Machining Experiment)

Solvent Replacement
Finishing agents are an important part of a wide variety of industrial processes. In the fabric industry, many materials are "finished" by coating the fibers with polymers, which add strength and stain resistance and other characteristics as well.

Subcritical Water Processing
The staff in the Supercritical Fluids Facility at LANL has experience in designing equipment for subcritical water processing as well as utilizing analytical scale equipment such as an ASE (Accelerated Solvent Extraction) instrumentation equipment to screen the efficiency of subcritical solvents for extraction, fractionation, or as a reaction medium.

May 21/2008

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