Varichem Co Ltd: Measurement of Polymer Particles

Project Description

Varichem and Aberystwyth University collaborated on a CPE project to develop a new multilayer polymer system using particle size analysis to validate the manufacturing process.

Project Details

  • Company: Varichem Co Ltd
  • CPE partner: Aberystwyth University
  • Location: Blaenau Gwent

Varichem is an independent UK manufacturer of fine and speciality chemicals for applications in such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, cosmetics and graphic arts.

Varichem are developing a novel multi-layer polymer system. Each layer of the polymer requires tightly defined particle size limits somewhere in the 50 to 500nm range. They required a method of measuring these particles during the growth stage, which due to the scale of particles is difficult. Aberystwyth has a Dynamic Light Scatterer (DLS), purchased through CPE funds, which can measure from 0.3nm up to 10μm. Use of the DLS will allow Varichem to track the growth of each polymer layer during processing. This support will help them to successfully control the chemical process and make ‘real-time’ decisions to stop growth of each layer when it has reached the target particle size limit.

The Aberystwyth CPE team collaborated with Varichem to set up the Dynamic Light Scatterer (DLS) in the chemical labs at Varichem, such that measurements of the particles during the manufacturing process could be undertaken and the process could be stopped if the desired layer thickness was met, or restarted if the layer was too thick. This has allowed Varichem to develop a new product for market by reducing development time and resource costs.

If Varichem wish to measure particles of such sizes in the future, due to the requirements of accurate and quick measurement times, Varichem will ultilise CPE for this, and also have expressed interest in working with other partner’s should the requirement arise.