Facilities

Please click on the link below for a list of scientific equipment at the IAST. In addition to laboratory equipment, the IAST has a number of demonstration pilot resources: glass blowing pilot plant; biodiesel pilot plant; tyre recycling; rubberized asphalt cement and hot mix asphalt pilot plant; wood-plastic composites pilot plant; briquetting pilot plant; steam extraction pilot plant; solar drying pilot unit; biogas pilot plant; food/feed pilot extruder, etc.

Please click on the lab / department names below to view the associated equipment.
  • Material Science Laboratory
    Differential Scanning Calorimeter
    • Measures the amount of energy absorbed or released by a sample when it is heated or cooled
    • Generate information about:
      • Amorphous and crystalline behavior
      • Polymorph and eutectic transitions
      • Curing and degree of cure
      • Many other material properties used to design, manufacture, and test products.
    • Has many industrial applications from pharmaceuticals and polymers, to nanomaterials and food products
    Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer
    • Measures the amount of weight change of a material, either as a function of increasing temperature, or isothermally as a function of time
    • Samples can be analyzed in the form of powder or small pieces so the interior sample temperature remains close to the measured gas temperature
    • Inorganic material, metals, polymers and plastics, ceramics, glasses, and composite materials can be analyzed
    • Can be used to determine evaporation rates, which is used to measure the volatile emissions of liquid mixtures
    • Helps to identify plastics and organic materials by measuring the temperature of bond scissions in inert atmospheres or of oxidation in air or oxygen
    Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer
    • Measures the mechanical properties of materials as a function of time, temperature, and frequency
    • Operates over a wide temperature range (-150 to 600°C)
    • Provides multiple modes of deformation including dual/single cantilever and 3-point bending, tension, compression, and shear
    • The clamps are individually calibrated for data accuracy
    rheometer.jpg Rheometer
    • Measures flow and deformation of materials under applied forces and varying viscosity and viscoelasticity depending upon the external conditions applied, such as stress, strain, timescale and temperature
    • Applicable to all materials:
      • From fluids such as dilute solutions of polymers and surfactants through to concentrated protein formulations, to semi-solids such as pastes and creams, to molten or solid polymers.
    Texture Analyzer
    • Measures texture and quantifies:
      • Hardness
      • Brittleness
      • Fracturability
      • Adhesiveness
      • Stiffness
      • Elasticity
      • Bloom Strength
    • Applicable for consumer products in:
      • Foods
      • Cosmetics
      • Pharmaceuticals
      • Chemicals
    Bomb Calorimeter Bomb Calorimeter
    • Measures the heat/energy created by a sample burned under an oxygen atmosphere in a closed vessel, which is surrounded by water, under controlled conditions
    • Generates information about:
      • Combustion
      • Calorific value
      • BTU value
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  • Analytical Instrumentation Laboratory
    Hanna pH meter
    • Measures the pH of a substance by its degree of acidity or alkalinity
    • Essentially calculates the electro-chemical potential between a known liquid inside the glass electrode (membrane) and an unknown liquid outside
    • It is a convenient measure of acidity / alkalinity of an aqueous solution at a specific temperature
    • Important for monitoring and controlling reactions, many of which only take place in a particular and sometimes narrow pH range
    UV- VIS

    UV- VIS Ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry

    • UV-Vis or UV/Vis refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region
    • Used in analytical chemistry for the quantitative determination of different analytes, such as transition metal ions, highly conjugated organic compounds, and biological macromolecules
    • One of the best methods for determination of impurities in organic molecules
    • Useful in the structure elucidation of organic molecules, the presence or absence of unsaturation, the presence of hetero atoms
    Conductivity meter
    • Measures the ability of a substance to conduct electric current
    • Conductivity measurements offer a rapid and non-destructive way to measure ion content in the sample
    • The measurement is made with an electronic sensor or meter in micro/milli-Siemens per centimeter or ppm
    • Conductivity is temperature sensitive and is typically standardized to 25°C
    • It is commonly used in hydroponics, aquaculture and freshwater systems to monitor the amount of nutrients, salts or impurities in the water
    Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
    • GC- Separation occurs as a result of unique equilibria established between the solutes and the stationary phase hence it separates the components of a mixture
    • This analytical method identifies different substances within a test sample by separating MS- Gas-phase ions  according to mass/charge ratio and are sequentially detected hence it characterizes each of the components individually
    SpectrAA-5
    • Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is a procedure for the quantitative determination of chemical elements using the absorption of optical radiation (light) by free atoms in the gaseous state
    • It measure how well a sample absorbs light at each wavelength
    • Provides quantitative determination of different analytes, such as transition metal ions, highly conjugated organic compounds and biological macromolecules
    Fume Hood
    • Serves to control exposure to toxic, offensive or flammable vapours, gases and aerosols
    • Exhausts hazardous gases, dusts, mists, and vapours from a confined location and helps protect workers from inhalation exposure
    Cyanide Analyzer
    • Performs flow injection analysis of available cyanide and total cyanide in drinking water samples as well as in wastewater samples
    • Applicable in mining and industrial operations
    Analytical Balance
    • Measures masses to four decimal places to the right of the decimal point (up to .0001 g)
    • Gives high degree of precision and accuracy in quantitative Chemistry
    • Extremely sensitive
    Low Temperature Incubator
    • Precision Temperature Controlled Storage Device
    • Commonly used for applications such as B.O.D. determinations, plant and insect studies, fermentation studies, and bacterial culturing
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  • Wet Organic Chemistry Laboratory
    Rotary Evaporator: Rotary Evaporator
    • Used mainly for continuous distillation under reducing pressures
    • Removes volatile solvent from non-volatile or less volatile samples in a:
      • Fast
      • Efficient
      • Environmentally friendly manner
    Wiped-Blade Molecular Distiller Wiped-Blade Molecular Distiller
    • Used where the distillate is of high boiling point
    • It has high vacuum capability and can reduce operating temperature; has excellent mass and heat transfer and handles viscous fluids
    • The Single Stage Distillation Plant runs at 0.1 to 2.0 liters per hour, with shorter run times possible
    • It is invaluable in developing formulations, generating products and proving process separations involving Molecular Distillation Technology
    • This process could be used in many areas, including oleochemicals, fatty acids, biodiesel, fine chemicals, polymers, and pharmaceuticals
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  • Wet Organic Chemistry Pilot Scale Facility
    Pilot Scale Reactor
    • Has the ability to heat and stir at specific set points
    • Use to scale up reflux reactions for the Coconut oil Production
    Parr Pressure Reactor
    • Can do reactions under pressure – like hydrogenations, carbonylations, formylations etc by adding hydrogen gas, carbon monoxide or a mixture or H2 & CO gases
    • Can be use to hydrogenate coconut oil to make coconut margarine
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  • Bio-Diesel Facility
    Boiler
    • This boils water out of the oil
    • Has the ability to boil 1.5 drums of diesel at once
    Kiln
    • Provides the heat needed for the biodiesel creation process
    • Uses briquettes and small amounts of wood, mixed with either sawdust or Glycerol (A waste product of the biodiesel processing)
    • Consists of a boiler that transfers the energy using an oil circulator
    Bio Diesel Reactor
    • Used to mix oil with methoxide
    • It is a two stage process
    • The reactor has a capacity of 120L of vegetable oil
    Separation Tank
    • Separates Biodiesel from Glycerol
    • Each has a capacity to hold 900L
    Wash Tank
    • Contains the Biodiesel from the Separation Tank
    • Contains aerators which uses air to wash (remove) sodium hydroxide from the biodiesel
    • This takes 48hrs and is repeated until desired quality is reached
    Clarifier
    • Removes any remaining water
    • Process usually takes 1hr
    • The oil needs to reach 100C in order for the process to work
    Storage Tanks
    • Stores biodiesel after the wash process and after the clarifier
    • Each has a capacity of 1700L
    Storage Tank Filter
    • One of this is attached to each storage tank
    • Filters are used to ensure the quality of the biodiesel at every step of the process
    Final Filter
    • Used at the fuel dispenser
    • The is to further ensure the biodiesel is of the desired quality and purity
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  • Composite Materials Pilot Scale Facility
    Biomass mill
    • Reduces biomass into powder
    Plastic Mill
    • This breaks down bottles and other waste plastic into small pieces
    Oven
    • Dries the material
    Mixer
    • Mixes the plastic and the biomass
    Extruder
    • Melts and converts mixture into continuous noodle-like extrudates
    Pellitizer
    • Compresses or molds the extruded material into pellets
    Injection Moulder
    • Melts the pellets and molds it into a shape
    • Currently used for molding roofing tiles
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  • Essential Oils Steam Extraction Pilot Facility
    Essential Oil Plant
    • Extract Oils from:
      • Lemon grass
      • Orange Peel
    • Takes 1 1/2 hour to run each batch
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  • Biogas Testing and Pilot Facility
    Biogas testing and pilot facility
    • Uses a slurry mix of 25% cow manure, 25% antelope grass and 50% water
    • Digester has a slurry capacity of 4800 Litres
    • Has the capacity to produce 2340 litres of gas (CH4) per day
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  • Fabrication Shop
    Drill Press Used for:
    • Drilling Holes into workpieces
    • Reaming – Enlarging holes
    • Tapping – Putting threads into a hole
    Metal Roller
    • Used to bend sheets of metal
    Welding Equipment
    • Used to join pieces of metal
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  • Glass Blowing Facility
    Training board
    • Used to display the different steps a sample of glass must go through before its final shape
    Glass Blowing workbench
    • Repairs and fabrication of small pieces of glass apparatuses are done on the bench
    Glass Blowing Lathe
    • This is for bigger repairs and/or fabrication jobs that are too large for the bench
    Lapping Machine
    • Used to grind glass
    • Applicable in smoothing the edges of the glass
    Glass Cutting Saw
    • This has a diamond-tipped blade for fast and accurate cutting of glass
    Stop Cork Grinding Machine
    • Another tool used for applying the finishing touches to a piece of glass
    Graduating Machine
    • Used for marking lines (gradations) or scribes on the glass
    Pantograph
    • Glasses are brought to this machine after the Graduating Machine
    • This is then used to scribe on numbers and/or letters on to the piece of glass
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  • Solar Dryer
    Solar Dryer Device that uses solar energy to dry substances, especially food
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  • Recycled Rubber Facility and Rubberized Asphalt Cement Pilot Facility
    De-beader
    • The Tire De-beader has been specifically designed to remove steel beads from tires
    • The de-beader is a two part unit power by an electrical motor that rotates the tires and an air compressor that provide air to active the knife engagement cylinder and the spool life cylinder
    • A minimum of 120 psi air pressure is critical for effective operation of the de-beader. The capacity of the de-beader depends on the size of tire de-bead
    Shredder
    • The primary shredder consists a hopper and two counter rotating shafts power by two high power electrical motor that rotate on parallel axes, each shaft contains a series of cylindrical cutters
    • Cutting teeth are proportionally spaced around the circumference of each cylindrical cutter; the cylindrical cutters are spaced at proportional distances on the rotating shafts such that a cylindrical cutter on the first shaft rotates within a space between two identical cylindrical cutters on the second shaft
    • The size of the tire shreds produced in the primary shredding process can vary from 460mm to 100mm long and 230mm to 100mm wide
    Granulator
    • The granulator is a rugged, low profile, rotary cutting machine design to cut, chip and granulate the toughest materials with minimum horse power
    • It consists of a hopper bolted on top of the cutting chamber, the cutting chamber is a rectangular enclosure that carries the bed knives
    • The screen is supported below the rotor and act as a barrier to retain the material in the chamber until it achieves the particle size that will allow it to pass through the screen
    • The rotor is driven by a 100Hp electrical motor through belts
    Conveyor Transports materials automatically between stages
    Blower
    • This blower utilizes impellers, which are typically flat plates with 4 – 10 blades arranged in a spoke pattern on one side, the flat plate mounts the impeller onto a shaft through a hub, or the point on the impeller from which the blades extend
    • The unit has a drive shaft, which is driven by a v-belt high speed electrical motor blowers
    •  The unit is housed by a circular welded assembly that is constructed from heavy-gauge sheet metal
    • When the impeller rotates, air is sucked into the input at the center of the centrifugal blower and forced out at a perpendicular outlet into the plenum, which is the airway through which air is forced out of the centrifugal fan’s output
    Cyclone Separator
    • The cyclone separator comprises a frame part, a cylindrical mantle part, an inlet outlet flow duct
    • The frame part of the cyclone separator is conical at its bottom portion; at the bottom of the conical portion, there is an outlet opening, which is provided with a paddle device power by an electrical motor, through which the rubber material is removed
    • Air and rubber first flows in a spiral pattern, beginning at the top of the cyclone and ending at the bottom end, the air and fibers exiting the cyclone in a straight stream through the center of the cyclone and out the top; the rubber particles in the rotating stream have too much inertia to follow the tight curve of the stream and strike the outside wall, falling then to the bottom of the cyclone where they can be removed
    Magnet Separator
    • This removes the ferrous metal (wire) from the rubber particles in free-flowing processing systems
    • The unit is self cleaning and consists of drum and housing normally of stainless steel
    • The drum of the separator is designed in such a way that only half of its side is magnetized and the other half is not
    • The rubber particles materials from the cyclone enter the top of the magnetic drum separator and flows across the surface of the drum, the rotating drum in the magnetic field captures the wire whereas rubber particles fall free from the drum into a chute, as the drum rotates, the wire captured is carried past the diverter and released outside of the magnetic field
    Gravity Separator
    • This separator is made on a porous deck surface of fabric woven wire
    • Upon this surface, the rubber material to be separated is stratified by air discharge through the deck from an air supply system built into the machine base
    • The heavy rubber particles sink to the bottom of the fluidized material bed on the deck, the straight line vibrating motion, imparted on the deck by the eccentric drive carries the heavy particles away from the light particle which floats in the air stream
    • The deck is sloped in two direction so that the lightest particles float down towards the lower discharge corner, the heaviest particles are conveyed up the slope and forced off the deck at its upper point
    Sieve Separator
    • This separator is a screening device designed to separate smaller particles from larger particles and to remove fibers
    • The separator consists of a screen, approximately 48 or 60 inches in diameter fited into a steel frame, the frames are attached to a spring supported table which contains the motor and eccentric weight system
    • The machine is driven by a motor designed to transmit vibration to the screen, this vibration causes smaller particles to drop through the screen while larger oversize particles pass off the top of the screen
    Reactor
    • Mixes asphalt and recycled rubber to form rubberized asphalt
    • Attached to the top of the kiln
    Kiln
    • Produces heat for the reaction process
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  • Biomass Briquette Pilot Facility
    biomass Dryer
    • Reduces moisture content of biomass
    • Processes 300 – 400kg/h
    Briquetting Machine
    • Compresses biomass to form briquettes
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  • Compressed Clay Block Pilot Facility
    Mechanized block making machine
    • Compresses the mixture from the extruder into blocks
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  • Fired Clay Aggregate Pilot Facility
    Clay Extruder
    • Mixes clay, stabilizers, water and sand
    • Also used to create clay aggregates for the fired clay aggregate project
    Fired Clay Kiln
    • Used to remove moisture from the clay
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  • Food Extruder
    KETSE 20/40 Lab Compounder State of the art multifunction co-rotating twin screw Extruder with:
    • Clamp barrel
    • Variable processing time
    • Interchangeable screw element
    • Electrical heating / water cooling
    • Processing temperature up to 400 0C
    • Vertical screw feeder
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