Currently, Inorganic laboratory is one of the chemistry laboratories in testing department. The laboratory has three sections: Wet Chemistry, Electrochemical and Spectrometry.
The role of the laboratory is to carry out analysis on chemical and food products for the purpose of implementation of Kenya Standards by Quality Assurance, Import Inspection and Standards Development Officers. Analysis is also carried out on request for external customers. The laboratory participates in research and development work that deals with inorganic analytes.Inorganic laboratory is the focal point for Inorganic Chemical Metrology work in the country. The laboratory also provides and coordinates proficiency testing and inter-laboratory comparisons.
This section uses analytical chemistry based on classical methods such as colorimetry, titrimetry, and gravimetry to analyze samples.Analytical tests are performed after careful sample preparation, and weighing and mixing of reagents.Wet chemistry techniques are used to determine qualitative and quantitative measures. These processes use specialized equipment such as balances, centrifuges, desiccators, oven and analytical instrumentation such as flame photometers.
This section focuses more on analysis of anions (e.g. fluorides, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites etc) in aqueous solution of samples using Potentiometry technique. Equipment in use here are pH meters, ion selective meters, conductivity meter among others.
This section uses a wide array of techniques for analysis, i.e. atomic absorption, atomic emission, atomic fluorescence and mass spectrometry. This section is a service laboratory as it determines main elements, trace elements and ultra-trace elements in almost all products. Microwave digestion is used for sample preparation to minimize loss of analytes of interests. Specialized equipment in use is X-ray fluorescence (XRF), atomic absorption/emission spectrometers (AAS/AES), inductively coupled plasma spectrometers (ICP) among others.
Inorganic chemical metrology
Inorganic Laboratory represents KEBS in the consultative committee working group for inorganic analysis i.e. CCQM-IAWG. The laboratory has participated in 3 pilot studies and several key comparison studies. Calibration and measurement capability has been proven for cadmium in rice and this can be confirmed through the BIPM website. Participation in the studies has enabled the lab gain international recognition and provides a foundation of confidence to all our customers. Traceability of analysis to the international system of units is also guaranteed.
Proficiency testing and inter-laboratory comparisons
Inorganic laboratory is the local coordinator for the SADCMET WATER PT provided by Namibia Water Corporation Ltd. The parameters offered are both anions (pH, sulphates, chlorides, nitrates and fluorides) and cations (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, cadmium, lead, arsenic, aluminium, copper). About ten laboratories in Kenya participate in this water PT as an external quality control for their water analysis.
Inorganic laboratory also prepares and provides an inter-laboratory comparison (ILC) for black tea (Moisture, total ash, crude fibre, acid insoluble ash, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc) as per requirements of KS 65 (Specification for black tea). Cement ILC is also provided for analysis of chlorides and sulphates.
The various products tested in inorganic chemistry laboratory include, but not limited to:
- Food products (water, sugar, salt, beverages, confectionery, flour etc)
- Steel (cast iron, stainless steel, low alloy steel etc)
- Aluminium products (cooking pots, sheets etc)
- Plastics (toys, buckets, food storing containers etc)
- Animal feeds and fertilizers
- Cement and lime samples
- Polymer products (paints, inks, syringes etc)
The lab uses both in house developed test methods and standard test methods (ISO, IS, EN, BS, ICUMSA) on the various products. A pool of qualified scientists undertakes the tests. Continual expansion and investment in new technologies, instrumentation and laboratory personnel has led to accreditation by SANAS, for accreditation scope click here (link)
We pride ourselves on customer service and believe that the best way of retaining our customers is to provide:
- Quality assured, cost effective service
- Fast and on time delivery of accurate results
- Ease of communication
- Complete customer confidentiality
- Knowledgeable and helpful staff
Head of Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory