Process intensification and energy savings require the development of better materials. New techniques developed with high pressure fluids allow to reach new fields of properties and performances as shown on some examples developed by SEPAREX.
Aerogels are promising new materials with incredible properties related to very high nanoporosity and specific area: Applications are developed for Thermal & acoustics insulation (houses, pipes), catalyst supports, chemical adsorber. SEPAREX has been involved in the development of aerogels production methods for many years and can propose its services both as an aerogel manufacturer on our own facilities or for the supply of a lab scale to production scale aerogel equipment.
Binder extraction of a ceramic piece before its thermal treatment is a key step in ceramics production. Traditional processes using solvent or pyrolysis are expensive due to high temperature required and long process time (pyrolysis: Temperature gradient of 1°C/min), need of well controlled parameters to avoid dimension changes and cracks, use and recovery of organic binder solvent. Moreover, these processes are not adapted to complex geometry. Supercritical CO2 allows to remove efficiently and smoothly the binder from ceramic molded parts in a very short time compared to traditional processes. Separex can propose both process development, equipment demonstration and production equipment supply. SEPAREX Ceramic debinding system allows high-capacity production and high output with improved flexibility over traditional debinding processes.
MicroParticle and Nanoparticles
Specific area of a solid is often the limiting factor of its reactivity or dissolution rate. Making uniform micro or nanoparticles, or manufactring stabilized formulated powder forms is possible using supercritical fluids. Sensitive organic or mineral compounds can be processed using our cristallization and particle engineering system according to well established RESS, SAS and other particle formation, impregnation or formulation processes. SEPAREX can provide high-pressure dedicated systems, from lab to production scale, GMP production systems with both engineering and system construction and validation services.
Polymer Foaming, swelling, impregnation, purification and fractionation
CO2 lows glass transition temperature of many polymers. It can be used as a foaming or swelling agent but also as a vector to bring a solute, (chemical for functionalisation, dye, active principle, etc…) into a matrix.
It can also be used to purify a matrix from contaminant, grease, oligomers, CO2 acting as a solvent with high diffuvity. From a process perspective it can be implemented in extrusion, moulding or just by contacting the material with CO2 continuously or in batch mode.
When soluble in CO2 , polymers can be fractionated and purified to produce very high quality and low molecular weigh dispersivity fractions. SEPAREX has been manufacturing speciality polymers of narrow polydispersivity for the micro-electronic industry (Hard disk lubricants).