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Non-Routine Analytical Services

When your needs are extraordinary, so are your resources.
Products & Licensing Opportunities

Let Western Research Institute extend your capabilities with customized services.  WRI uses innovative problem-solving tools and skills along with state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation to address your specialized needs.  We deliver contract research, project support and troubleshooting to address development, production, manufacturing, energy, environmental and transportation materials needs.

Examples of work we’ve done:

Troubleshooting for an oil and gas company with premature corrosion of production wells.  WRI worked with the company to conduct an investigation of the type and extent of corrosion, developed specialized methods to analyze well fluids and evaluated corrosion inhibitor packages.  We used fluid phase separation, detailed gravimetric analysis, ICP/AES, and ESEM to determine the precise characteristics and magnitude of the problem and made recommendations for alleviating it.

Provided fast-turnaround analysis of glycol-based production plant heating system fluids. GC/MS and ICP/AES techniques indicated a solder failure in the plant’s heat exchanger units.  Fast turnaround by WRI helped prevent a costly plant shutdown.

Investigated the hydration kinetics of coal fly ash and compared them with those of Portland cement.  Large volumes of coal fly ash produced annually by electrical power plants must either be disposed of or put to practical use. One way it can be used is in cement products. An NMR study by WRI identified a predictor of compressive strength, which may contribute to further successful application of fly ash for construction purposes.

Developed a commercial dehydration unit for a gas production company.  This study, involving GC/MS methods development and analysis of stack gases and process condensates, enabled the gas producer to optimize production efficiency. 

Identified characteristics that contribute to highway cracking at low temperatures. Working with the Federal Highway Administration, WRI used solid-state 13C NMR to establish that methylene carbons play a major role in determining which asphalts are likely to become brittle, and therefore develop cracks, at low temperatures.  Such research will ultimately help highway departments select asphalts for longer-lasting roadways. 

Determined the three-dimensional solubility characteristics of a petroleum company’s crude oil blends.  We used WRI’s Automated Flocculation Titrimeter (AFT) to characterize the crude oil blends that had been fouling production processes.  With the offending blends identified, the company was able to avoid them and eliminate the problem. 

Investigated different coal drying techniques. WRI used solid-state and liquid-state NMR spectroscopy to identify the types of sorbed water and changes that occur in the molecular structure of coals subjected to different drying techniques.  This has given coal producers and others a broader fundamental knowledge with which to make informed decisions about the product.

Analyzed an unidentified greasy, black material leaking from a production process.   We used various sample preparation techniques for analysis by XRD, ICP/OES, and GC/MS.  We identified the material as having inorganic content related to corrosion and organic content related to the specific chemical process used in production.  With that knowledge, the company was able to safely clean it up and dispose of it.

What challenges are you facing?  Let us put our collective knowledge and experience to work for your team. 

A full range of specialized analytical and laboratory testing instruments supports WRI research programs.

  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), including microscopy, and attenuated total reflectance (ATR)
  • Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
  • Gas chromatography with various detectors including flame ionization detector (FID), photo ionization detector (PID), electron capture detector (ECD), and thermal conductivity detector (TCD)
  • Gel permeation chromatography (GPC)
  • High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Inductively coupled plasma/atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP/AES)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  • Particle size analysis system for determining particle size distribution
  • Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
  • Thermomechanical analysis (TMA)
  • Ultra-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (UPLC/MS)
  • Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) and fluorescence spectroscopy 

See also

Materials of Construction 


Contact :
Joseph F. Rovani, Jr.
Lead Scientist
Asphalt and Petroleum Technologies

(307) 721-2275
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