new laboratory is center for research on fertilizers and inorganic chemicals

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  • LABORATORY OF THE MONTH

    N e w Laboratory Is Center for Research on Fertilizers and Inorganic Chemicals

    Microscopic examination is used as an adjunct to x-ray diffraction procedures in identification of unknown materials. Accessory vacuum hot stage enables observer to follow visually recrystalli-zation occuring during phase transi-tions or dehydration. The camera adapter makes rapid picture-taking available for record purposes. Polar-izing microscope and phase contrast add more versatility to the laboratory

    ARMOUR AGRICULTURAL CHEMICAL COMPANY'S research fa-cility is located in suburban Decatur, Ga., eight miles from the company headquarters in downtown Atlanta.

    The laboratory, dedicated in April 1963, is the center of Armour's research and development activities for new and improved fertilizers and inorganic chemicals. These involve problems in the manufacture of three basic fertilizer mate-rialsphosphate, nitrogen, and potashand the conversion to a suitable marketable plant nutrient . The laboratory is centrally located between Armour's phosphate rock mining and production in Florida and the ammonia-nitrogen deriva-tive facilities in Alabama and Missouri.

    In 1962, new manufacturing facilities were placed into op-eration, which approximately tripled the company's capacity to produce concentrated phosphoric acid and triple super-phosphate in Polk County, Fla., and also nitrogen manu-facturing facilities near Cherokee, Ala., producing ammonia, nitric acid, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, and nitrogen solutions.

    Research at the center involves laboratory synthesis of inorganic fertilizers, greenhouse evaluation and testing of new formulations, pilot plant preparation of finished ferti-

    lizers, utilization of by-products from fertilizer manufacture, and technical information for manufacturing and sales.

    The analytical section is engaged in methods of analysis of these chemicals in the research and development program. Raw phosphate materials are analyzed by a combination of classical chemical methods: colorimetric, spectrometrie, x-ray fluorescence and diffraction, differential thermal analy-sis, flame spectrophotometric, and atomic absorption analy-ses. Pilot plant products are analyzed for composition and chemical compounds present.

    Phosphates are analyzed for the species present. Paper chromatography is used to separate and identify the chain and metaphosphates present. These are further substan-tiated by ti trat ion combined with controlled hydrolysis to determine end groups and average phosphate chain length.

    The phase changes in ammonium ni t ra te fertilizers are determined by differential thermal analysis and dilatometri-cally in studies to improve the stability of ammonium nitrate prills in storage.

    Plant foliage from the experimental greenhouse is analyzed for the trace elements essential to plant nutrition tha t are required as fertilizer additives.

    VOL. 35, NO. 12, NOVEMBER 1 963 9 3 A

  • Instruments such as the automatic Karl Fischer titrator and ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer find use in the routine analysis of fertilizers and basic materials. The flame attach-ment is used for trace element and alkali metal ion analysis. Moisture analysis is important in storage prob-lems. These analyses are provided as service to research and agronomy groups

    All regions of major interest in absorp-tion spectrometry are covered by these recording spectrophotometers. Fa-cilities are provided for analysis of gases, liquids, and solids. Quantita-tive and qualitative analysis for pesti-cide formulations, troubleshooting, and customer service are performed, as well as structural and functional group analysis for research purposes

    The Atlanta Research Center of Armour Agricultural Chemical Co., located in suburban Decatur, Ga., contains research, pilot plant, green-house, and analytical facilities for ful l coverage of agricultural chemical and by-product investigation

    X-ray diffraction and spectrometry equipment are used in a wide variety of projects. The vacuum spectrom-eter is particularly adapted to quanti-tative and qualitative analysis of light elements, down to magnesium, com-monly found in fertilizer materials. Interchangeable crystals and detectors enable similar work on heavy metals, of considerable importance in process-ing and marketing of agricultural chemicals. Attachments include a unit for high-temperature diffraction studies. Identification of minerals and chemical mixtures is accom-plished by a powder diffraction unit

    Differential thermal analysis and ther-mogravimetric studies provide data on storage stability and chemical compo-sition of basic fertilizer chemicals. New chemical phases in mixed fer-tilizers may be detected and identified in conjunction with other data. The instrument provides three channels for thermal analysis and one for recorded thermogravimetric data

  • LAB OF THE

    MONTH

    Atomic absorption spectrometry pro-vides rapid, precise, and simple de-terminations of trace nutrients in fer-tilizers, soil, and plant tissue. Minor elements of interest in processing of phosphate rock are also readily de-termined. Data are recorded directly in absorbance to simplify calculations

    COOLS HEATS

    Heats and'Coolsalmost dou-ble the range of the average visibility bath. Accuracy constant tempera-ture at any level from 10C to + 6 5 C . 0 1 C ideal where precise temperature con-trol is required. Large Capacity coils fit snug against the bottom, the entire volume of the jar is usable. Glass jar permits fast observa-tion.

    Compact only 20V" wide 27 V" high. Saves space. Fits on any lab table or desk. Self-contained heating con-trols, cooling compressor, all parts are housed in this com-pact unit. Low Maintenance W a c o Lo-Temp has been proved trouble-free by laboratories from coast to coast. Low Price $440.00 . Specify: No. 882 Waco Lo-Temp Refr igerated Bath , complete with Pyrex jar 12" in diameter, for 115 volt 5 0 / 6 0 cycle AC

    Other sizes and accessories available to fit your needs. Write for Waco Bath Bulletin for complete information.

    LABORATORY SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT

    WlLKENS-ANDERSON CO. 4525 W. DIVISION ST. CHICAGO 5 1 , ILL.

    Circle No. 103 on Readers' Service Card

    VOL. 35, NO. 12, NOVEMBER 1963 9 5 A

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