Category - Science

​Creating Hydrogen through Electrolysis

Hydrogen, a versatile element with a myriad of applications, serves as a crucial feedstock for various chemical processes. Beyond its role in chemical synthesis, hydrogen also holds promise as a cleaner energy alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Its clean-burning properties make it an attractive option for power stations, offering a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. In transportation, it also offers a cleaner fuel alternative for heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and construction machinery. There is even the potential for hydrogen-powered ships navigating our seas. The current method of creating hydrogen, however, steam methane reforming (SMR), raises environmental concerns due to its carbon emissions. This prompts a closer examination of alternative hydrogen production methods, particularly water electrolysis. In this article, we compare the established method of hydrogen production, SMR, with emerging water electrolysis techniques. By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, we aim to shed light on the quest for a more sustainable hydrogen production process that aligns with our collective goal of a greener future.

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FPLC Explained

Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography or FPLC (formerly called Fast Performance Liquid Chromatography) is an advanced technique used in biochemistry and molecular biology to separate, and sometimes purify, biomolecules, in particular, proteins. As with other types of liquid chromatography, FPLC employs a liquid mobile phase and a fixed stationary phase. The mobile phase, containing the molecules of interest, runs through the stationary phase which consists of one or more specialized resins or matrices responsible for the chromatographic separation. In addition, the flow rates and elution conditions in FPLC are all controlled automatically through a system of pumps, interconnecting tubes, and columns to achieve the desired result. In fact, FPLC is similar to a better known type of liquid chromatographic technique called High Performance Liquid Chromatography or HPLC. However, FPLC operates at relatively low pressure but with a relatively fast flow rate, which is the reverse of how HPLC works. Significantly, FPLC is pivotal for various downstream applications in medical diagnostics and scientific research. 

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The Mechanics Behind Measuring Electrical Conductivity of Solutions

Electrical conductivity of a solution refers to its ability to conduct electric current. The metric is used in several real-world applications including the monitoring of water supplies for purity, and when measuring the concentration of plant nutrients in a feed solution. It is also a component of some scientific tools like Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) where it is used to monitor the ionic strength of the mobile phase or buffer.  

Electrical conductivity occurs because of the presence of charged ions within a solution. Applying an electric potential across the solution causes the charged ions to migrate towards their respective oppositely-charged electrodes. As a result, the flow of ions mediates the passage of the electric current. Significantly, the conductivity level of the solution depends on a number of factors, the main ones being the concentration of ions in the solution as well as its temperature.

In this post, we investigate the units normally used to quantify this electrical phenomenon, how to actually measure the conductivity of solutions, and finally, its relationship to the TDS metric.

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Thermionic Emission

Thermionic emission is the process whereby charged particles (usually electrons), known as thermions, are emitted from the surface of a heated material, usually a metal. The process is driven by the extra thermal energy that is added to the system. As a result, energised electrons can overcome the surface barrier of the material and escape into the surrounding space. This phenomenon has been used in various applications, including vacuum diodes, cathode ray tubes and, more recently, mass spectrometry. 

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