Five Star DEF’s Lab Part 1

Oct 10, 2013

When we decided proceed with Five Star DEF and offer an alternative to liquid DEF by packaging technically pure urea in a container for mixing with commonly available distilled water, Erich put his Aerospace background to work and set up a small Five Star DEF Lab to conduct research, manufacture our alternative product, verify our product quality, test commonly available distilled water, and provide data on DEF that is sold in prepackaged containers and in bulk at truck stops.

We did not want to establish a lab for full quality verification of DEF per ISO 22241-2 (Not yet at least. This could happen in the future since there seems to be a big market for testing and the market price for testing is $600-$1000). We use Amalgatech for our ISO22241-2 testing of our production verification samples and publish those results on our website. But we needed good, affordable, real time testing to conduct experiments and produce a quality product. We also needed a contamination controlled, humidity controlled, temperature controlled, and efficient place to work, and store 2000 lb of urea.

Kathryn took on a complete remodel of an existing 250 square foot shop in our house, including taping and mudding, painting, tiling, task lighting, floor painting, rewiring, and a complete cleaning of every surface. She purchased clean room shelving, work table, and other furnishings. We added HEPA filtration, a dehumidifier, HVAC and bulk urea storage. Temperature and humidity are sampled 6 times per hour and recorded using a data logger. We’ll set up a duplicate work area in our winter home in Morristown, AZ

Here is our list of equipment we use to make and test DEF, and test distilled water. There are 2 ISO Specifications applicable to DEF: ISO 22241 AUS 32, and ISO 3696 “Water for Analytical Laboratory Use”. Each specifies simple criteria such as “Urea Content”, and “Electrical Conductivity”. Commonly available instruments are available at reasonable cost for most of these criteria. So we bought them. Commodity distilled water (such as Rereshe by Safeway) has published test data for Insoluble matter, metals, phosphate, and calcium.

ISO 22241 Requirement Test Instrument
Urea Content Digital Refractometer
Density Hydrometer
Refractive Index Digital Refractometer
Alkalinity as NH3 None (Coming Soon)
Biuret, Aldehydes None
Insoluble Matter None
Phosphate, Calcium None
Metals None
Identity None
ISO 3696 Requirement Test Instrument
Ph Value Ph Tester
Electrical Conductivity EC Meter
Oxidizable Matter None
Erich and Kathryn are retired engineers with over 65 years of combined experience in engineering, manufacturing, and management. They started Five Star DEF to help families like them who travel and use DEF for their trucks and campers.