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ITC’s Laboratories – Among the Best in the World

The laboratories of the Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC) have been among the 16 best in the world in the prestigious Reynolds Cup Competition, which this year reached its 9th edition and being the first time that the ITC took part in this international “examination”. ITC, in its first participation in this competition, has positioned itself in the first quarter of the best international laboratories for chemical and mineralogical characterization.

Dr Pilar Gómez-Tena, Head of the Physical and Structural Characterisation Laboratory, explains that the good results are due to ITC‘s continuous work in the improvement of analytical methods, such as those developed in the ESPECTROMET project (IMDEEA/2017/119) of which she is the main researcher, a project co-financed by the IVACE and the European ERDF Funds, within the ERDF Operational Programme of the Valencia Region 2014–2020. This researcher points out that the success lies in the teamwork of the entire ITC Analysis and Tests Area, for which Dr Fernanda Gazulla is responsible, and in continued work and collaboration with the raw materials sector and ceramic tile manufacturers in the ceramic industry in their quest for excellence.

During 2017, ITC worked in the area of analysis and tests, with a total of 177 companies, of which 106 belonged to the Valencia Region and 15 to foreign and/or multinational companies. The Reynolds Cup competition, named this way for Bob Reynolds, a pioneer in quantitative mineralogy and known for his great contributions to the knowledge of clays, was established in 2000 by Douglas McCarty and Jan Srodon of Chevron Texaco, and Dennis Eberl of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), to test, through the characterisation of complex samples, the ability of laboratories worldwide in the discipline of quantification of crystalline phases.

This year, nearly 90 laboratories from 28 countries took part in the event, of which only 73 presented their results, given the complexity of the samples. The bulk of the participation was led by USA with 20 laboratories, followed by Germany with 11. Spain, on this occasion, with four participating laboratories, improved its presence from previous editions. The samples under examination were three, with an average of 16 crystalline phases per sample, out of a total of 42 different crystalline phases, specifically prepared to put the skills of the best laboratories in this discipline under severe strain. The next edition of this tough competition will be held in 2020 and in it ITC will once again strive to be present among the first places by further improving the techniques and methodologies available to it, thanking the Generalitat Valenciana through the IVACE and the EU for the funding received to continue its research in this field, which has as its ultimate aim, to make all this knowledge available to companies to improve their positioning at the international level.

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