Latest News and Application Notes

Sulfur in the Fields: S832 and CNS928

August 26, 2022

Sulfur is an essential nutrient in crop production. It is vital for the production of chlorophyll and several amino acids that form protein, among other functions in plants. In recent years, the world has been paying more attention to sulfur emissions, trying to minimize SO2 in the air, which in turn minimizes the sulfur deposited naturally in the fields. When combined with the trend toward high-yield crop production in many areas of the world, knowing the actual level of sulfur in your fields has become even more important. Sulfur can also be measured in plant tissues, and then, of course, knowing the sulfur content of fertilizer is also necessary to correct any sulfur deficiencies or excess in your fields. All of these sulfur determinations can be handled with a single combustion instrument from LECO.

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Heavy Fuel Oil Requires Heavy Lifting

August 19, 2022

Heavy fuel oil, also known as bunker fuel or residual fuel oil, is a complex mixture used primarily in the shipping industry. Over the years, the regulations on heavy fuel oil have become more stringent to control sulfur emissions that were damaging to the environment. As a result, this type of fuel is frequently limited to 0.5% sulfur by mass, and it is therefore critical to know the composition of your oil. Such a complex sample requires the sort of heavy lifting that can only be provided by a high-tech, high-resolution GCxGC mass spectrometer.

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Escaping Helium: Helium Shortage 4.0

July 15, 2022

Many LECO analytical instrument rely on consumables like pure chemical and high purity gases to function. When supply chain issues affect these consumables, laboratory operations can quickly increase in cost or in worst case scenarios can even be shut down. One current issue that is plaguing the scientific community is the supply of helium.

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Smarter Savings: Fast GC-MS

July 8, 2022

Around the world and across the board, prices are rising. As we battle with the realities of post-COVID supply chain issues and international wars, companies struggle to keep their own costs low. One unscrupulous way to do this is to use lower-quality ingredients. The average customer may not be able to notice the difference between a genuine or artificial citrus essential oil, for example, but being able to determine the constituents of the oil is vital for determining its quality and safety, as most citrus essential oil uses involve direct contact with humans.

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Sulfur and Superalloys: the 844 Series

July 1, 2022

The very first alloys used by humans were meteoric irons, alloys of iron and nickel that fell to the earth in meteors. As smelting technologies were developed, humans began creating alloys such as bronze and brass, metals that were more flexible in their properties, depending on the proportions of their constituents. It wasn't until the 19th century that most metals were discovered, opening the doors for many more alloys such as aluminum alloys. At first seen as a novelty, aluminum alloys proved their worth when they were used in the Wright brothers' first airplane engine. Ever since, alloys have been vital to engineering advancements, but it wasn't until the advent of superalloys that very-high-temperature engineering technologies have become possible.

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Beer and Brats: A Protein-Packed Fourth of July Tradition

June 24, 2022

Alcohol is one of the oldest intentionally-crafted drinks in the world, with evidence of fermented drinks existing as early as 10,000 BC. It has remained an important cultural touchstone around the world, with most countries having some version of "going out for drinks" as a common social activity. While there are three main types of alcoholic beverages—wine, beer, and spirits—beer consistently remains the most popular alcoholic drink around the world and third most popular drink after water and tea. Recent Gallup polls find that 38% of Americans prefer beer to wine (30%) and spirits (29%).

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Designed for Speed: Fast GC

May 6, 2022

Even the best-trained experts can only move as fast as their equipment will allow, and as helium prices increase and supplies drop, the fast spectral acquisition speeds of GC-TOFMS instruments stand ready to reap the benefits of fast GC separations afforded by utilizing hydrogen carrier gas.

While the advantages of helium as a carrier gas for mass spectrometers have long been known, it is a limited natural resource. On the other hand, hydrogen gas generators can be installed in any lab for a constant supply and, conveniently, increased chromatographic speeds.

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Ferroalloy Factors: Oxygen and Nitrogen Determination

March 18, 2022

Most iron products these days are improved with the addition of ferroalloys, or iron alloys containing high levels of other primary elements. Ferroalloys are everywhere from cast iron to stainless steel. These extra elements help strengthen the metal by adding their own characteristics: silicon is used to deoxidize steel, manganese mitigates harmful effects of sulfur, and chromium increases corrosion resistance, to name just a few. But adding to iron is not without risk; if unwanted elements are part of the ferroalloy, they can weaken the resulting products.

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Calming Crude Oil with the CHN828

March 11, 2022

The price of crude oil is one of the great drivers of our economy. At a minimum, the price of all goods includes costs of transporting them from manufacturer to consumer. But the price of crude oil and other oil materials can feel fickle, increasing and decreasing with supply or demand or even just market sentiment. Natural disasters or humanitarian crises can drastically impact availability or demand, sending prices hurtling skyward or crashing down. No refinery can control the entire market. All a refinery can do is operate their facilities in the most efficient and optimized manner. Doing that, however, requires an accurate way to monitor their process.

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Fatal Fakes: The Counterfeit Drug Crisis

January 21, 2022

Prince. Tom Petty. Michael K. Williams. Lil Peep. Logan Williams. Daniel Mickelson. Jay Bennett. Bobby Brown Jr. The list of celebrities lost to fentanyl overdoses is long and growing alarmingly fast year after year. But it's not just celebrities falling victim to this potent drug. On January 13, 2022, a 13-year-old at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, Connecticut, was exposed to a lethal dose of fentanyl and died three days later. In 2016, fentanyl surpassed even heroin as the deadliest opioid. But why?

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