Laboratories are always searching for innovative ways to improve their analysis efficiency.Most of that comes from the equipment they use. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machines allow labs around the world to improve efficiency on routine tests and make new discoveries. Using HPLC machines means maintaining them and their components. The machines can’t operate without a column, so it shouldn’t be surprising that lab techs must maintain them. Our professionals are going to discuss proper column care and maintenance in the list below, so continue reading to learn more.
There are several factors to consider during the equilibration process. First, the lab technician should always filter and de-gas the mobile phase. Then, the lab worker can run their solvent through the machine before inserting the column to prevent debris clogging. Once the column is installed, the lab technician can slowly increase the pressure. (Gradual pressure is needed to prevent spikes and machine damage.) Next, prepare the column for analysis by flushing it with the solvent (or mobile phase). Columns won’t last or perform optimally if lab officials don’t properly follow the equilibration process.
Depending on the column’s reverse phase or normal phase packing, the guidelines for column regeneration may be different. Lab officials must follow the column manufacturer guidelines to avoid damaging the column. For instance, a C18 RP packing may require flushing the column with five volumes of Isopropanol to prepare it for use.
For overnight storage, labs may keep columns in the last used eluent. For short term storage, labs should wash the column with pure water to avoid contaminating it with bacteria. For long term storage, the columns should be in Acetonitrile, with their buffers removed before flushing. If not removed, the buffers may suffer permanently damage.
Proper column care and maintenance is standard practice. Each lab varies with its practices, but HPLC column care remains constant. As lab equipment professionals, you need equipment that supports your lab’s goals and experiments.
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