Many aspects of gas chromatography can only be learned from experience and repeated use of the equipment. Below, we’ll explain some common dos and don’ts of gas chromatography operations that operators learn from frequent experience with the instruments.
Confirm Gas Purity
The carrier gas is crucial to the function of a gas chromatography operation, and along with having the correct carrier gas for the operation, operators must confirm the gas’s purity. Gas chromatography operations should only utilize gas with 99.99 percent purity—otherwise, it could cause accelerated degradation and damage to the hardware.
Plus, it ensures that the lab gets the high-quality, pure gas it is paying for, and they’re not being bilked. Labs should confirm the gas quality by testing it with gas panels and gas filters to prevent any potential contaminations of the pure gas with hydrocarbons and oxygen.
Install Quality Pressure Regulators
Another aspect of gas chromatography operators frequently cutting corners is the pressure regulator. The gas-delivery services are integral to the success and accuracy of gas chromatography operations, but they’re often not given a second thought.
High-quality dual-stage regulators are much better than single-stage gas regulators, considered old and unsuitable for scientific accuracy. Dual-stage regulators incorporate durable seals that prevent atmospheric oxygen and even include a safety vent to direct away high-pressure gas into the atmosphere in the case of emergency failure.
One of the most common mistakes labs make with their gas chromatography instruments is neglecting critical preventative maintenance. Periodic maintenance too often falls away as operators and labs become busy and develop a mentality of fixing problems as they arise instead of preventing them.
But neglecting minor and seemingly insignificant issues delays inevitable major failures later on and often makes the damage worse. Labs must clean gas chromatography equipment and its components after every use to prevent contaminant buildup and perform any minor repairs immediately.
Overwrap Gas Fittings
Another common mistake that many inexperienced gas chromatography operators make is overwrapping the seals and other components of the equipment, particularly the gas fittings. It does make some sense to be more safe than sorry regarding tape and sealing fittings, but it’s too often a waste that does more harm than good.
Too often, operators put tape on fitting threads that don’t even provide a seal or on parts that could damage the equipment instead of sealing a leak. Two layers of sealing tape should be sufficient for any threaded portion of fittings and pipes—any more is likely unnecessary.
We hope our explainer on the dos and don’ts of gas chromatography operations has been helpful and informative. If your lab needs new, affordable gas chromatography equipment or other lab instruments, browse GenTech Scientific’s wide selection of used lab equipment today.