Trent Biomaterials Research

Polarized and Fluorescence
Microscope (PFLM)
Leica Microsystems, (Wetzlar, Germany)
The PFLM comes with a digital camera and 46 components
including specialty filters, eyepieces and light source.
This instrument is equipped with a temperature controlled stage
(Linkam LTS 350).
It is used to help quantify the structure of the biomaterials that
are being developed.
This is an integral piece of equipment which will help to elucidate
the role of structural design and processing conditions on final
physical properties of the materials.
We are able to do time and temperature resolved microscopy on
this instrument, so as to observe directly the formation of the
network structure of our materials.
Controlled Temperature Stage
for Microscope
Quorum Technologies Inc. (Guelph, ON)
The Linkam LTS350- Variable Temperature Stage for
Microscope comes with Liquid Nitrogen-Automated Cooling
system and 2 litre dewar.
The stage consists of a large area temperature controlled
element with simple microscope slide mounted sample
It is a heating and freezing stage, designed for accurate
temperature measurements.
It’s temperature programmer allows for sophisticated
temperature profiles that are critical to process the samples.
It is also used to process samples for x-ray diffraction and
hardness measurements.
Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic
Resonance Spectrometer (pNMR)
Bruker Optics Ltd. (Milton, Ontario)
The minispec mq20 is one of the latest of a series of NMR
It comes with control and magnetic units which allow very high
flexibilities in experimental design and measurement handling.
It comes with a probe unit and a variable Temperature Control
Unit, suitable for high and low temperatures.
It is an NMR instrument for time and temperature resolved
liquid to solid analysis, such as solid fat content (SFC) analysis.
The instrument is equipped to analyze biomaterials, polymers
and fats that are being developed.
X-Ray Diffractometer
D8 DISCOVER, Bruker AXS Inc. (Madison, WI USA)
XRD is a non-destructive analytical technique which
reveals information about the crystallographic structure
and physical properties of materials ranging from
simple inorganic solids to complex macromolecules.
Our XRD is a system of the highest quality used to:
Characterize the crystallographic structure, crystallite
size (grain size), and preferred orientation of our
Characterize heterogeneous solid mixtures to determine
relative abundance of crystalline compounds.
Determine strains in our crystalline materials.
Solve the complete structure of our materials.
Provide structural information on unknown materials.
Differential Scanning Calorimeter
Q200, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE)
The DSC instrument comes with 4 components including a
refrigerated cooling system, a gas dryer and a DSC Sample
It has patented temperature modulation capability with
amplitude and period selections.
It is used to probe the thermodynamic properties such as
crystallization, melting, glass transitions, or exothermic
decompositions of the biomaterials.
These transitions involve energy changes or heat capacity
changes that can be detected by DSC with great sensitivity.
It is used to elucidate the phase behavior of the materials.
Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer
Q800, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE)
DMA can be simply described as “applying an oscillating force to a sample
and analyzing the material’s response to that force”.
Our DMA is equipped with a gas cooling accessory with auto-fill capability
and allows the study of our materials’ response to stress, temperature,
frequency and other values.
It is one of the most powerful tools available for the study of the thermo
mechanical behavior of the materials.
It used to measure stiffness (storage modulus) and damping characteristics
of our materials.
The storage modulus is the measure of the sample’s elastic behavior.
Damping is a measure of the energy dissipation of a material.
It is used to measure the glass transition temperature.
The DMA high sensitivity and low starting temperature of -190 °C allows us
easily to look for the small molecular motions and detect other subtler
transitions that occur in the glassy or rubbery state.
Temperature Controlled Oscillatory
AR 2000ex, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE)
Our AR 2000 ex comes with 7 components including
Peltier plates for low and high temperature
measurement and fixtures.
It provides controlled stress, direct strain and
controlled rate measurements and is appropriate
for a wide range of applications.
It is used for rheology measurements.
It can be used for the characterization of delicate
structures in fluids with a wide range of viscosities,
polymer melts, solids and reactive materials.
Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer
Q500, TA Instruments, (New Castle, DE)
This instrument comes with High Resolution and
Modulation Modes
It is used to measure weight changes in a material as a
function of temperature (or time) under a controlled
It is commonly used to measure a material's thermal
TGA used to determine degradation temperatures,
residual solvent levels, absorbed moisture content, and
the amount of inorganic (noncombustible) filler in our
polymers and composite materials.
Texture and Mechanical
TA.HD Plus, Texture Technologies Corp. (NY, USA)
The TA.HD Plus comes with 18 components including 3
interchangeable load cells (5kg, 50 kg, 750 kg), a heavy duty
plateform, a Peltier plate with Cabinet: 20 °C below ambient to
70 °C and probes and fixtures.
This instrument is used to perform a variety of tests in both
tension and compression.
It measures the texture and hardness of our biomaterials.
It is able to measure the rheological characteristics of extremely
soft materials such as lipid networks (e.g. butter) and the
compressive and tensile strengths of hard plastic materials.
It is also capable of precisely quantifying a wide variety of
physical parameters such as hardness, break strength
compaction, strength consistency, friction, spreadability, and
curing, tube extrusion energy and behaviors.
Custom Built
Azco (Langley, BC, Canada)
Designed by the Biomaterials Team.
Built by Ken Singh (National Oil Levels, Edmonton,
AB, Canada).
Patent pending.
Allows unique crystallization related separations of
lipid components.
FTIR Spectrometer
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Mississauga, ON)
This is a Dual Mode FT-IR - fitted to TGA and stand
The Nicolet 6700 FT-IR Spectrometer comes with 7
It is used for the spectral characterization of the
biomaterials that are being developed.
It is a chemically-specific analysis technique used to
identify chemical compounds and substituent groups.
Combined with TGA, it provides in-time characterization
of the products of the degradation process.
Ozonator and
Oxygen concentrator
Azco (Langley, BC, Canada)
The system comes with an oxygen concentrator (AS12) and an ozone generator (RMU16-DG3).
This system is used to generate the ozone necessary
to perform the ozonolysis step of the technology
developed to synthesize the monomers which are
building blocks of the biomaterials that are
Our Parr hydrogenator is used for treating chemicals with
hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst at pressures up to
600 psi.
It is equipped with several features to control reaction
pressure, reaction temperature and the quantity and flow of
hydrogen injected.
It's used primarily for synthesizing or modifying organic
compounds by catalytic hydrogenation, reduction or
We are primarily using it to transform feedstock from
vegetable oils into polyols and straight chain alcohols for
polyurethane production and high-value chemical
Hydraulic Laboratory Press
Carver (Walbash, IN, USA)
This Carver hydraulic press comes with safety shield
and heated/cooled platens
It is used for compression molding of the
biomaterials that are being developed (elastomers,
plastics and polymer composites sheets) for physical
property measurements.
It is also used to cut dumbbell-shaped specimens for
tensile measurement
Sciencewave (NJ, USA)
The Micro-Mill™ Grinder is equipped with a
stainless steel blade that allows high-speed
pulverizing of 20–50mL samples
Its housing accepts tubes for circulating water,
methanol/dry ice liquid, or liquid nitrogen.
It is used to grind our biomaterials such as our
bioplastics and other dry samples.
One can add dry ice to the grinding chamber to
process softer samples.
Programmable, Temperature
Controlled Circulating Baths
Julabo (NJ, USA)
Models are equipped with various size reservoirs
and refrigeration capacities.
The temperature control system is capable of
maintaining uniform temperatures for long periods.
The programmable refrigerated and heating
circulating baths provide precise temperature
control of fluids for circulation to external
equipment or to be used as standalone baths.
The reservoir may be used for immersing samples
while the unit is connected to an external device.
Vacuum Pump and Vacuum Oven
ILMVAC GmbH, Lemenau, Germany
These are versatile instruments used to create the
contaminant-free atmosphere needed to perform
several important tasks related to the synthesis and
analysis of the biomaterials being developed.
Precision Temperature Controlled
Storage Devices
Sheldon Manufacturing Inc. OR, USA
Incubator LI5
Wiped Blade Molecular
Distillation Unit
ICL -04, Incon Process Systems LLC (Batavia, IL)
The Wiped-Blade Molecular Distillation unit separates
low-molecular weight compounds from a mixture.
It is used where the distillate has a high boiling point.
It has high vacuum capability hence reducing
operating temperature, excellent mass and heat
transfer and handles viscous fluids.
This process is used in many areas, including
oleochemicals, biodiesel and polymers.
In the Biomaterials Research Group, it is particularly
useful to distil our own polyol product.
Rotary Evaporator
RV10 Digital, IKA (NC, USA)
The RV 10 Digital rotary evaporator ("rotavap")
removes solvents from reaction mixtures and can
accommodate volumes as large as 3 litres.
It is equipped with a Chiller (Rotacool from
Heidolph, Kelheim, Germany) and a heated bath.
The solvent is removed under vacuum, below its
normal boiling point, which avoids over-heating the
compound of interest, and is then trapped by a
condenser and collected for reuse or disposal.
Gas Chromatograph with Flame
Ionization Detector (GC-FID)
Agilent Technologies, (Mississauga, Ontario)
The GC FID is used to analyze volatile lipid
molecules and small modified lipid molecules.
Compounds ‘race’ through a column; some travel
faster than others so the various groups exit the
column at different times.
FID is a good general detector for organic
compounds, able to detect at the nanogram level.
Typical uses of GC include testing the purity of a
particular substance, or separating the different
components of a mixture.
Analytical Balance
An analytical balance is used to measure mass to a
very high degree of precision and accuracy.
The weighing pan of a high precision (0.01 mg or
better) analytical balance is inside a transparent
The enclosure is fitted with doors so that dust does
not collect, and so any air currents in the room do
not affect the balance's operation.
Desiccators are sealable enclosures containing
desiccants (drying agents) used for preserving
moisture-sensitive items.
The items to be stored are placed on a platform,
with desiccant in the space under the platform. A
stopcock may be included to permit the desiccator
to be evacuated.
A common use for desiccators is to protect chemicals
which react with water from humidity; it also can be
used to remove traces of water from an almost-dry
Small Scale Simple
Simple Distillation is a method of separating
mixtures based on differences in their volatilities in
a boiling liquid mixture.
Distillation is a physical separation process, and not
a chemical reaction.
It is used to separate a compound into more
fractions for specific uses and also to remove
Column Chromatography
A method for the separation of compounds from
mixtures. Each compound is a fraction of the mix.
Eluent plus a stationary phase powder (such as silica
gel) is poured into a glass column and organic
material is added on top.
The individual components separate from each
other while they are running through the column with
the eluent, and each ‘fraction’ is collected.
Enables purification of synthetic products.
Thin Layer
Chromatography (TLC)
Thin layer chromatography is another separation
TLC is performed on a sheet of glass, plastic, or
aluminum foil, which is coated with a thin layer of
adsorbent material (silica gel, aluminum oxide, or
Solvent is drawn up via capillary action; compounds
ascend the plate at different rates and are
This method is simple and capable of determining
how many compounds are in the mixture.
UltraViolet (UV) Lamp
An Ultraviolet Lamp is often used to visualize the
compounds which have been separated by Thin
Layer Chromatography.
A small amount of a fluorescent compound, usually
manganese-activated zinc silicate, is added to the
adsorbent that allows the visualization of spots
under a blacklight.
The adsorbent layer will thus fluoresce light green
by itself, but spots of analyte quench this
Soxhlet Extractor
An apparatus for extracting compounds according
to their solubility in differing solvent systems.
The solvent vapour travels up a distillation arm and
floods into the chamber housing the solid. Some of
the desired compound will then dissolve in the warm
solvent. When the Soxhlet chamber is almost full,
the solvent returns to the distillation flask by a
siphon side arm.
It is an effective way to separate polymers from
insoluble monomers, which have a limited solubility
in certain solvent systems.

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