Analytical Laboratory Services


The Analytical Laboratory in the Chemical Engineering Department is an analysis facility specialising in elemental determination and particle characterisation on a variety of materials. The Analytical Laboratory primarily provides support for Undergraduate training to Post Doctorate research, while working together with other South African Universities and private sector clients.

The laboratory is equipped with state of the art equipment by reputable manufacturers such as Varian, Micromeritics, Leco, Bruker and Malvern, and employs specialized analytical chemists and interns to ensure day-to-day operation and data integrity.

Our vision is to provide quality data on a wide range of materials by applying high confidence criteria through quality management systems, on both the instruments and procedures used for analysis.

Analysis Offered:

The routine analysis performed by the Analytical Laboratory is provided in the table below.




Sample Introduction

Elemental Determinations



Mg, Zn

Ag, Al, As, Au, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Pd, Ti, Zr

0.5ppm – 2ppm

5ppm – 100ppm


Diluted aqueous liquid samples (minimum 7mℓ/element)



Ag, Al, Au, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, Ga, Ge, In, Ir, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Pd, Pt, Rb, Re, Rh, Ru, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, Th, Ti, Tl, U, V, W, Zn and Rare Earth Elements

100ppb – 5000ppb


Diluted aqueous liquid samples (minimum 5mℓ/sample)




Merensky Calibration,

Nkomati Calibration,

Multi-element internal calibration



Cu: 0.001 – 17.0%

Ni: 0.001 – 11.0%


Cu: 0.03 – 4.9%

Ni: 0.19 – 8.0%

Powder, solid and liquid samples (minimum 5g/5mℓ)


S Analysis (Leco S Analyser)


Total Sulphur content in solid samples


Calibration Standards:




Milled powder samples (minimum 0.2g)


Particle Characterisation

Particle size distribution (Malvern Mastersizer)

Particle size distribution of non-aqueous soluble solid samples

0.02µm to 2000µm

Non-aqueous soluble solid samples (minimum 5g)

Physisorption (BET) Surface area and pore size distribution (meso and macro pores) Surface area: 0.05m2/g to 1000m2/g (N2) Dried powder and solid samples (minimum 0.1g)


Metal dispersion using hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide

5% to 100% metal loading


Powder and solid samples (minimum 0.1g, dependent on active concentration)

Density (Pycnometer)


Density determination on solid samples using helium displacement

1.5g/cm3 to 9.8g/cm3


Powder and solid samples (minimum 40g)

Sample Preparation



Microwave and Cu Leaching


Ore, mineral samples, catalysts, precipitates, paper, dried organic materials such as leaves, manure, organ tissue

Powder, residue, suspensions and solid samples (50mg)