Laboratory vacuum pumps are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of laboratory equipment, and also one of the most difficult to choose. Vacuum pumps come in many different designs with an array of features, and it is important to carefully consider the applications for which the pump will be used before selecting a particular model.
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Use the following decision tree to help narrow your equipment selection.
What level of vacuum do you require?
Standard vacuum covers a wide range of pressures from roughly 200 mbar to 10
-3 mbar. Such systems are common for a wide range of laboratory applications. Consider the absolute vacuum required for your application when selecting. What type of primary vacuum pump do you require?
These are the traditional vacuum pump are widely used. However, they are only required for application where a greater vacuum is required.
These are an excellent alternative to rotary vane pumps where oil-free pumping is desirable. These pumps are suitable for noncorrosive liquids and deliver low ultimate pressure at high speed.
Diaphragm pumps are appropriate for most laboratory applications. They are easy to maintain and, if pumps with chemical-resistant diaphragms and valves are selected, may be used for corrosive solvents without the use of a cold trap.
Do you require a suction or evaporation vacuum?
Vacuum depths appropriate for suction will be typically above 50 mbar (38Torr) and are suitable for filtration and aspiration techniques.
Evaporative applications typically require vacuum as low as 1 mbar (0.7 Torr) in order to evaporate or distill solvents at or near room temperature.
High and Ultra-High Vacuum
High and ultra-high vacuum is characterized by pressures between 10
-3 to 10 -9 mbar. It is used for specific applications including atomic physics, field emission microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy among others. It is recommended that these systems have a backing pump. What type of high vacuum pump do you require?
Diffusion pumps use a high speed jet of vapor to direct gas molecules in the pump throat down into the bottom of the pump and out the exhaust. The diffusion pump is widely used in both industrial and research applications. Most modern diffusion pumps use silicone oil or polyphenyl ethers as the working fluid.
An ion pump (also referred to as a sputter ion pump) is a type of vacuum pump capable of reaching pressures as low as 10−11 mbar under ideal conditions. An ion pump ionizes gas within the vessel it is attached to and employs a strong electrical potential, typically 3kV to 7kV, which allows the ions to accelerate into, and be captured by, a solid electrode and its residue.
These pumps work on the principle that gas molecules can be given momentum in a desired direction by repeated collision with a moving solid surface. In a turbomolecular pump, a rapidly spinning turbine rotor 'hits' gas molecules from the inlet of the pump towards the exhaust in order to create or maintain a vacuum.
VACUUBRAND ME 16C VARIO®
ME 16C NT oil-free diaphragm vacuum pumps are an excellent solution for continuous evacuation and pumping of corrosive gases in larger applications. The eight-cylinder, one-stage design provides an ultimate vacuum down to 70 mbar combined with high pumping speeds: and 30 percent higher than the most comparable prior models. The highly flexible, fabric-reinforced fluoropolymer double diaphragms are ideal for extended operating life and very long service intervals - 15,000 hours in typical applications - with corrosive vapors and gases. The ME 16C NT dry vacuum pump features a low vibration operation and a very compact design with smooth and easy-to-clean surfaces. For non-corrosive applications, consider the ME 16 NT.
VACUUBRAND PC 3001 VARIO®
This VARIO® chemistry pumping unit optimizes vacuum conditions automatically by precisely and continuously adjusting the diaphragm pump´s motor speed. Thanks to the motor speed control the pump operates only when vacuum is needed, saving energy and reducing maintenance. The integrated vacuum controller enables fully automatic evaporation at a push of a button. Low space requirements, light weight and low operational noise contribute further to this unit’s flexibility and popularity for laboratory use. The PC 3001 VARIOpro is ideal for vacuum applications with high boiling point solvents. The inlet separator, made of glass with a protective coating, prevents droplets and particles from entering the pump. The highly efficient insulated exhaust vapor condenser has a very compact design and provides near-100-percent recovery of solvents.
VACUUBRAND PC 3010 VARIO®
The PC 3010 NT VARIO® pumps and pumping units feature a very high pumping speed of 6.8 cfm and attain an outstanding ultimate vacuum of 0.6 mbar. They are ideal for high vacuum requirements, e.g., for evaporation of most high boiling solvents even at low temperatures in larger applications, such as pilot plants and kilo labs. They provide precise vacuum control by adjusting the diaphragm pump´s motor speed. The controller provides fully automatic evaporations without any need of parameter input. The pump design offers exceptionally high chemical resistance supporting almost universal usage in chemistry and pharmaceutics. The PC 3010 NT VARIO pumping unit relies on a well-proven operating concept for example for evaporation of large amounts of solvents. The inlet separator (AK) retains particles and liquid droplets, the waste vapor condenser at the outlet (EK) is highly efficient and compact. The condenser enables near-100-percent solvent recovery, efficient recycling, and active protection of the environment.