Contaminants Analysis

The range of contaminants cases in which SMS Analytical has been involved is very large but some of the interesting ones are described below.

Oil contamination of brake fluids

Insurance investigators approached SMS to see whether oil could be found in brake fluid samples from a manufacturers servicing dealership. It was supposed that a member of staff had accidental contaminated the brake fluid dispensing reservoir. By examining a range of brake fluid samples across several vehicle service timelines, SMS helped narrow down the date on which the error was made and therefore which staff worked on the date in question.

Adblue contamination of diesel fuel

SMS were contacted by a small taxi company who wanted to know if we could detect the presence of Adblue in a sample of their diesel from a vehicle’s tank. When topping up the adblue tank,  some helpful person was thought to have used the diesel filler instead of the adblue tank’s filler. The result of this error was an unusable vehicle and the corresponding loss of income for the taxi driver. SMS were able to conclusively show that adblue was indeed present in the diesel and as the result the taxi company won a legal case against the garage in question. SMS also received much thanks and a glowing recommendation from the taxi company.

Synthetic oils in coffee

Some synthetic oil from nearby machines was thought to have contaminated the production of instant coffee.  SMS were asked to find evidence of such contamination by sampling different batches of the product from the production sequence.  A GC-MS method was developed to determine the levels of contamination with respect to an appropriate reference oil.

Capsaicin quantification of chillies

A catering outlet over dried some chillies and the fumes then caused respiratory problems for members of the public.  SMS were asked to investigate the strength of the chillies that were left and so developed a GC-MS method for quantifying the capsaicin in chillies with respect to a reference capsaicin standard.

Smoke taint in fruit and veg

Some commercial growers greenhouses were exposed to smoke from adjacent bonfires and there was a concern that the smoke would affect the quality of the produce.  We developed a GC-MS method to determine the levels of the smoke taint chemicals in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.  Our analysis report helped the insurance investigators with the extent of the claim.

Pipe Lagging

When insulated copper pipes became corroded SMS were asked to help find the cause by examining the foam insulation.  An HPLC method was developed for determining the levels of organic acids found in the foam.

Wood Laminate ‘White Bloom’

A variety of different techniques were used when SMS were asked to find out the cause of a ‘white bloom’ that had appeared on items made from laminated wood.  Samples of the bloom were examined using SEM-EDX, FTIR, GC-MS and Colourimetric tests.  Visual microscopy was also used to establish whether a fungal growth might be responsible.