Erica Tennenhouse, PhD
Evaporators have for decades been staples in labs and industries performing chemistry, including labs in the chemical, environmental, materials, life science, and forensics industries. Key applications include sample concentration, solvent recycling, extractions, and separation of solvent mixtures.
Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an Evaporator
- What are your sample sizes? Microtiter plates and micro centrifuge tubes work best in a centrifugal vacuum concentrator. For large samples up to 450mls, a vortex evaporator is recommended.
- What are your samples? Acids require an acid resistant system. Solvents damage plastic and rubber components; an appropriate system to prevent damage is recommended. A -50°C cold trap is ideal for aqueous based samples, a -85°C cold trap traps most solvents, and a -105°C cold trap is recommended for alcohols.
- Are your samples heat sensitive? Even at ambient set point, vacuum concentrators add heat through friction. A concentrator that has refrigeration built into it will give you the temperature control recommended to maintain the viability of heat liable samples.
- Do you have limited space? A floor model with casters or small all-in-one benchtop model can be moved out of the way when not in use.
- Do you prefer vacuum evaporation or nitrogen blow down? Some samples require evaporation under nitrogen (which is more gentle) for volatile solvents.
Types of laboratory evaporators used by survey respondents:
|Vacuum system evaporator||33%|
|Nitrogen blowndown evaporator||19%|
Primary purpose of evaporator as reported by survey respondents:
|Concentration of substances||60%|
|Distilling of low-boiling solvents||36%|
|Distilling of temperature-sensitive substances under vacuum||17%|
|Recycling of solvent waste||15%|
|Separation of material mixtures||8%|
|Chemical synthesis under reflux||6%|
|Distilling of oxygen-sensitive substances under inert gas||1%|
Nearly 35% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new evaporator. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:
|Replacement of aging system|| |
|Addition to existing systems, increase capacity|| |
|First time purchase|| |
|Setting up a new lab|| |
Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing Evaporator:
|Ease of use||72%|
|Low maintenance / easy to clean||67%|
|Service and support||48%|
|Ease of installation||44%|
|Low operating cost of ownership||44%|
|Built-in vacuum controller||42%|
Need more information on evaporators? Download the free Lab Manager Evaporator Resource Guide
See survey results from previous years: