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Purchasing Guide: Evaporators

Evaporators remove water or organic solvents from samples

by Lab Manager
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Evaporators remove water or organic solvents from samples for concentration, solvent recycling, or separating solvent mixtures. They are widely used in pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries, as well as many chemistry and life science laboratories. There are different types of evaporators. Rotary evaporators are often used to remove low boiling organic solvents, and the addition of vacuum can lower the boiling point. Nitrogen evaporators apply a steady stream of nitrogen to remove moisture. Centrifugal evaporators, ideal for high-volume sample processing, use vacuum centrifugation to evaporate samples. For a list of evaporator manufacturers, see our online directory:

7 Questions to Ask When Buying an Evaporator:

  1. How much space is available? Is a compact benchtop model or a floor model a better fit for the space?
  2. Will it be used primarily for separation, cleaning, or concentrating? 
  3. Will you be working with heat-sensitive samples? Keep in mind a vacuum concentrator will add heat through friction.
  4. What type of samples will you be working with? A -50°C cold trap is ideal for aqueous samples, whereas most solvents require a -85°C cold trap, and -105°C is recommended for alcohols.
  5. What sample volumes will you be working with? Nitrogen blowdown is ideal for small sample volumes <50 ml.
  6. Will you be processing many samples at once? If so, a centrifugal evaporator may suit your needs best.
  7. What safety features are available?

Operating Tip

Foaming, a common problem in evaporation, can compromise sample integrity. There are multiple measures you can take to curb foaming, such as using an anti-foam agent like certain alcohols or oils, a large flask, or a dedicated glass condenser that provides more space for foam to expand. Additionally, foam sensors can detect foam buildup automatically and then aerate the system to collapse the foam.

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Innovative Features

In recent years, lab equipment manufacturers have introduced innovative changes to their evaporators, such as dual functionality (evaporation and concentration), digital controllers, and concurrent sample processing. Learn more about what current-gen evaporators are capable of at