Established in the sixteenth century and with its history as an educational establishment dating back to the seventh century, the University of Zaragoza (Saragossa) is one of the oldest universities in the world. Today it is a major centre of research and development, with people such as Professor Antonio Monzon at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Technologies undertaking world class research. For over 20 years, Professor Monzon’s laboratory has used microbalances manufactured in the UK by CI Precision.
In total the laboratory now has four microbalances, all of them purchased in kit form and built into instruments designed by Professor Monzon and his colleagues. These are used to study chemical reactions at temperatures typically in the range 600 to 900 degrees C. Currently the laboratory is investigating the performance of catalytic substrates to produce carbon nanotubes feeding the substrate with, say, hydrogen or nitrogen mixed with a carbon source as acetylene, methane or another low-weight hydrocarbon. By measuring the sample weight and recording the reaction time, the researchers can characterise the catalytic activity in terms of carbon nanotube growth rate.
Professor Monzon explains why he prefers the microbalance kits from CI Precision:
“There are two reasons: first is the price – which is significantly lower than other commercially available microbalances – and second is the versatile modular design that enables us to build the microbalance head into our own instrument designs. This modularity means, for example, that we can use the microbalances at higher temperatures than we could with alternative instruments.”
Despite the extreme operating conditions, the microbalances have proven to be very robust and reliable, as Professor Monzon reports:
“We are still using the very first microbalance that we had 20 or 25 years ago. It is probably the oldest piece of equipment in our laboratory and it is amazing the way it continues to operate faultlessly.”
As well as being pleased with the hardware, Professor Monzon is also complimentary about the service he receives from CI Precision:
“If I ever have any questions, I just need to send an email and I always receive a solution to the problem. The technical support is excellent.”
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