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Posted: Monday, October 31, 2016

Fall 2016 Chemistry-Physics Seminar: 'An Alternative to Commercial Instrumentation' - November 10

Scot Abbott, manager of chemical labs at Phoenix First Response, will present "An Alternative to Commercial Instrumentation" at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, November 10, in Science and Mathematics Complex 170. This seminar series is sponsored by the Faculty-Student Association. An abstract of the talk appears below.

The availability of commercial instrumentation has made great advances possible in many areas, but instruments have become quite expensive and limiting in the kinds, types, and amount of experimental determinations that can be made. Consequently, in our laboratories we have made many different measurement devices ourselves, and have computerized experiments and built our own instruments. The talk today concerns the major aspects of that activity.

We found the true limitation was not sensors or the measurement device but rather the electronics and software support (“E&S”) of the measurement device. We sought to develop a high-performance, inexpensive “E&S” system, one that required no special programming or electronics support, and which could be widely applied. We have now developed such a system.

The system combines high-performance hardware with software based on Excel to make a high performance, very versatile addition to our lab. We use it to control experimental conditions, run the experiment, take data simultaneously, and generate data post-processing. We have used it for remote instrument control as well.

This approach has given flexibility in hardware selection and strategy of experimentation and data evaluation. It has freed us from most of the constraints of commercial instrumentation and let us routinely take measurements that were heretofore unavailable. This talk will discuss the structure of the approach and illustrate its applicability in gas chromatography, mechanical testing, thermal studies, high-performance relative viscometry, and performance evaluations.

Submitted by: Kelly A McNeight
Also appeared:
Monday, November 7, 2016