2016 Microwave Digesters Survey Results

Find out how readers use microwave technology and more from our latest survey results

By Ryan Ackerman

Microwave-acid digestion is a common sample preparation step for atomic absorption, atomic emission, or inductively coupled plasma analysis of metals. Microwave digestion takes minutes, compared with hours for conventional hot plate digestion.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Microwave Digester

  1. What is the system’s maximum microwave power output? Microwave energy heats substances quickly to high temperatures. The higher the temperature, the faster and more completely substances are digested. Extractions also need sufficient power, as some solvents can act as a heat sink and are difficult to heat.
  2. Can the system monitor and control every vessel? Temperature and pressure monitoring and control are extremely important. Inadequate safeguards can result in damaged vessels and equipment, and a lack of temperature and pressure control can pose a safety hazard to lab personnel.
  3. How many samples can be processed per run? Though the number of samples processed is dependent upon your laboratory’s needs, planning for growth is always a good idea.
  4. Does the company offer free applications support? Do they offer dedicated, direct service support and local factory- trained field service technicians? Dependable applications and service support are essential since you never know what may go wrong.
  5. How user-friendly is the system? As with many instruments, if a system is very complicated to operate, it generally becomes either a glorified shelf to store things on or a headache to those having to operate it. The easier a microwave system is to use, the better off you will be. Also make sure the vessels are easy to handle and set up.

Acid types used by survey respondents for microwave digestion:

Nitric acid 87%
Hydrochloric acid 75%
Sulfuric acid 40%
Hydrofluoric acid 37%
Perchloric acid 15%
Phosphoric acid 12%
Borofluoric acid 5%
Other 5%

Microwave digestion applications as reported by survey respondents:

Trace metal analysis 38%
Analyzing metals 26%
Material analysis 13%
Biological sample analysis 10%
Soil analysis 3%
Agri-waste analysis 3%
Oil and lubricant analysis 3%
Other 5%

Nearly 45% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new microwave digester. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging systems
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase
Replacement of a damaged

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Microwave Digester:

High Durability 78%
Service and Support 63%
Low Maintenance 61%
Intuitive Controls and Software 54%
Vendor Reputation 47%
Price 46%
Speed of Heating 42%
Large Capacity 34%
High Sample Weight Capacity 32%
Short Cool-Down Time 30%

Need to change your digestion parameters on the fly?

Here are some examples of important upgrades in microwave digestion technology. LabManager.com/microwave-upgrade

For more information on microwave digesters, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/microwave-digesters

See the most recent survey results here

Categories: Surveys

Published In

The Optimized Lab Magazine Issue Cover
The Optimized Lab

Published: July 14, 2016

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