Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

How Flexible Gas Control Equipment Works

Problem: In almost any laboratory or scientific research facility today, there are numerous devices, instruments or processes that require cryogenic fluids or gases supplied from cryogenic sources. The past quarter-century has seen cryogenic liquid cylinders expand from a rarity in laboratories with relatively few applications, to become the dominant mode of supplying high-purity gas and cryogenic fluids.

Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

CONCOA’s IntelliSwitch II controls and monitors cryogenic supply systems.CONCOA

Inductively Coupled Plasma analyzers (ICP) would not be in such wide use without the storage and cost-savings of high-purity argon gas supplied from portable cryogenic or microbulk installations. They are now at every petroleum refinery, metal or ore process facility, water treatment plant, major food processor, and pharmaceutical manufacturer. The growth of industrial CO2 lasers can be directly linked to the ability to supply large quantities of nitrogen or oxygen gas vaporized from cryogenic sources.

Solution: Gas control equipment allowing these vastly different applications to optimize the economic benefits of gas derived from cryogenic sources satisfies this burgeoning need.

Such gas delivery systems handling the required flow at lower inlet pressures common to portable cryogenic cylinders or microbulk must be properly designed, sized, and located. A case in point is CONCOA’s second-generation IntelliSwitch II 538 gas delivery system (see image) utilizing Internet technology that expands to real time the control and monitoring of any cryogenic supply system.

In the medical field, mapping the human genome, stem cell research and advances in biopharmaceuticals might have been impossible without the exponential growth in cryogenic storage of biological samples. From cryoablation surgery to remove abnormal growths and harmful substances to in vitro fertilization, the advances in cryogenics are changing and saving lives. The shortage of helium can be directly linked to the increase in MRI installations at hospitals and the increasing demand for liquid helium.

The growth and diversity of applications now using cryogenic fluids for their thermal properties have gone beyond the laboratory setting and the futuristic world of cryonics. Industrial uses include shrinking turbine bearings, cryogenic CO2 cleaning of metals, electronics, and clothing, to environmental applications that include lead paint removal, plastic and rubber recycling. Cryogenics and food have evolved from flash-freezing meats to using liquid nitrogen in the kitchens of many restaurants.

Superconductors or liquefied natural gas (LNG) have not yet been mentioned here, begging the question: Where will cryogenics be used and applied next?

Companies such as CONCOA are actively engaged in developing the next level and generation of control for cryogenics, gas or liquid in what now appears to indeed be the cryogenic century.

Sustained and consistent supply, whether in gas phase at room temperature or cryogenic fluids at -196° C (77°K) and precision control of pressure and temperature are critical to further growth of cryogenic applications.

For more information, please contact Larry Gallagher, specialty gas products manager, CONCOA, Virginia Beach, VA 23454, at 800- 225-0473 or