How does SOLAS function?

The principle

SOLAS is based on the combination of:

  • a smart pneumatically operated sample conveying system, in which the sample material is transported directly by the air stream, and
  • the analytical method of the energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis (EDXRF) which has been designed for the use under rough conditions.

The smart sample transport system of SOLAS will make it possible to take samples from different sampling points and convey them to the analytical unit of SOLAS. There are applications, to name just one example, where SOLAS takes samples from various sampling points (with plants of up to 6 sampling points being implemented so far). apc analytics also offers additional modules, such as an automatic laboratory sampler, with SOLAS being used for the fast and automatic analysis of the sample composition that have been taken manually under operating conditions.

The energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDXRF) makes it possible to speedily and simultaneously analyse chemical elements, including aluminium and uranium. Depending on the field of application, other parameters and variables can be calculated on the basis of the element content thus established, and derived therefrom, such as the calorific value of lignite/coal, the sulphur and ash contents as well as the composition of the ash.

 

The function

A sample will be suctioned into a stainless steel tube by an air stream of SOLAS and, first of all, fed into a turbo mill (AIRMILL 6000), where the sample material will be ground to dust within seconds (grain size: 200 microns or less). After the milling process the sample material will be divided, in order to reduce the sample mass to be actually analysed. Following that, the sample will be separated from the air stream in a sampling cyclone and collected in a pre-sampling chamber, where a level sensor monitors the sampling process and stops it as soon as sufficient material has been sampled for an analysis. This sample will then be automatically channelled into a vertically installed measuring cell, with the measuring head of an x-ray fluorescence analyser (EDXRF analyser) being located upstream of it. The next sample will already be collected in the pre-sampling chamber, while the earlier one is being analysed, so that it is ensured that the sampling material’s quality can be monitored virtually continuously.