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- X-ray computed tomography used to image packed beds in 3D.
- Cellulosic and ceramic 1Â mL columns used for investigation.
- Porosity, tortuosity and other factors quantified from geometry based upon position.
- Differences observed depending upon closeness to column edge.
Physical characteristics critical to chromatography including geometric porosity and tortuosity within the packed column were analysed based upon three dimensional reconstructions of bed structure in-situ. Image acquisition was performed using two X-ray computed tomography systems, with optimisation of column imaging performed for each sample in order to produce three dimensional representations of packed beds at 3Â Î¼m resolution.Two bead materials, cellulose and ceramic, were studied using the same optimisation strategy but resulted in differing parameters required for X-ray computed tomography image generation. After image reconstruction and processing into a digital three dimensional format, physical characteristics of each packed bed were analysed, including geometric porosity, tortuosity, surface area to volume ratio as well as inter-bead void diameters. Average porosities of 34.0% and 36.1% were found for ceramic and cellulose samples and average tortuosity readings at 1.40 and 1.79 respectively, with greater porosity and reduced tortuosity overall values at the centre compared to the column edges found in each case. X-ray computed tomography is demonstrated to be a viable method for three dimensional imaging of packed bed chromatography systems, enabling geometry based analysis of column axial and radial heterogeneity that is not feasible using traditional techniques for packing quality which provide an ensemble measure.
Journal: Journal of Chromatography A - Volume 1487, 3 March 2017, Pages 108-115