3D-printed metal column for micro gas chromatography

July 28, 2020

Sooyeol Phyo (1,2), Sung Choi (1), Jaeheok Jang (3), Sun Choi (1,4), Jiwon Lee (1)

Lab on a Chip, July 2020. DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00540A


In this work, a 3D-printed metal column was developed for micro gas chromatography (GC) applications and its properties and gas separation performances were characterized. By using a Ti6Al4V grade 23 powder, a square spiral one meter-long column (3D-column) was 3D-printed on a planar substrate of 3.4 x 3.3 x 0.2 cm and then perhydropolysilazane (PHPS) was deposited as a pre-treatment agent, followed by a coating of stationary phase (OV-1) onto the inner wall of the micro-channel. The 500 um-diameter circular channel and two 800 um-wide ports of the 3D-column were confirmed to be uniform by 3D X-ray microscopy without any distortion. The physical and thermal properties of the 3D-column were found to be very similar to that of the standard Ti6Al4V grade 23 alloy with near zero porosity (0.07%). The 3D-column with pre-treatment and stationary coating demonstrated efficient separation performance of gas mixtures containing alkanes, aromatics, alcohols, and ketones compared to a bare or only pretreated 3D-column in terms of the peak shape, broadening, and resolution (R > 1) within 2-3 min. The well-matched thermal responses to the target temperatures were demonstrated at the ramping rates of 10-20 °C min?1 upto 200 °C with uniform heat distribution over the 3D-column. In addition, the column bleed profiles showed that the 3D-column with PHPS had a 71% lower baseline intensity at 350 °C than that without PHPS. The 3D-column was then employed to separate a gas mixture of twelve alkanes (C9-C18, C22, C24) without any significant column bleeding and peak tailing. Therefore, the thermal responses and stability of the 3D-column promise its applicability in high temperature GC applications.

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Author Affiliation

(1) Center for Environment, Health, and Welfare Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul, Republic of Korea
(2) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
(3) Department of Manufacturing Science Design Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, Republic of Korea
(4) Division of Energy & Environment Technology, Korea University of Science and Technology (UST), 217 Gajeong-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Republic of Korea