Maintenance Tip: Stirrers & Mixers
Stirrers are very robust, and generally withstand the demanding laboratory routine. However, in general, they should still be handled with care and users should always follow the instructions in the user’s manual. To ensure those directions are followed, lab managers must properly train staff in the handling of stirrers or mixers.
Will sensitivity to temperature changes influence the type of stirrer or mixer that should be used?
For samples sensitive to changes in temperature, there are a few considerations to think of before purchasing. For samples which require heat to be applied during the mixing process, you can purchase a stirrer which has a hot plate attached to the system to control the temperature. Alternatively, there is the option to immerse the vessel in a water bath for samples being mixed via overhead stirrer. To keep track of changes in temperature, many vendors now also offer stirrers with a temperature sensor built in, allowing researchers to monitor the temperature of their samples in real time.
How does the volume of sample affect which type of stirrer or mixer should be used?
As volumes can vary from sample to sample, purchasing the right size of stirrer or mixer is an important consideration. For overhead stirrers, ensuring the rotor speed and available agitator shaft sizes are robust enough to mix the lowest and highest required volumes is important. For magnetic stirrers or vortexers, making sure the plate size is large enough to accommodate the maximum volume of sample required will ensure the ideal mixer is purchased.
Will samples being time- or agitation-sensitive affect the type of stirrer or mixer that should be used?
With laboratories always increasing in scope and size, the ability to automate any process can free up technician and researcher time so they may accomplish other tasks. As a result of this, many modern magnetic and overhead stirring systems are able to be programmed to carry out specific stirring patterns, depending on the needs of the samples and process.
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