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Microwave Digestion Buyers Guide

Microwave digestion is an efficient method used to break down samples for elemental analysis

by Lab Manager
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Microwave digestion is an efficient method used to break down samples for elemental analysis. Because of the high temperature and pressure created by microwaves within the instrument, it takes minutes to complete. From soil and sediment to plastics and biological materials, microwave digesters can save you valuable time during sample preparation.

5 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Microwave Digester

  1. How many samples and what volume of samples can the instrument accommodate?
  2. What is the maximum microwave power output of the digester? How long will it take to digest your samples?
  3. What type of samples will you be digesting?
  4. Which heating method does the instrument use? e.g. closed chamber, single reaction chamber, open vessel
  5. Does the instrument have safeguards to protect users against high pressure and temperature?

Safety Tip

While the high temperature and pressure in microwave digesters make them more effective at breaking down samples, it also makes them dangerous for users. Look for an instrument with probes that monitor temperature and pressure during the reaction and with software that will allow for automatic adjustment of these parameters accordingly.

Maintenance Tip

When choosing a location for your microwave digester in your lab, be sure to keep it out of the fume hood and away from any corrosive chemicals. While the instrument is designed to be airtight against the vessel contents, the electronics still need to breathe and will be affected by heavy acids in the air.

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