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What You Need to Know When Buying an Evaporator

Find out how readers use this technology and more from the latest evaporator survey results. Brought to you by:    

by Ryan Ackerman

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

Rotary evaporators 64%
Vacuum system evaporator 42%
Nitrogen blowndown evaporator 22%
Vortex evaporators 9%

Primary purpose of evaporator as reported by survey respondents:

Concentration of substances 60%
Sample preparation 44%
Extractions 37%
Distilling of low-boiling solvents 35%
Distilling of temperature-sensitive substances under vacuum 25%
Recycling of solvent waste 7%
Separation of material mixtures 7%
Chemical synthesis under reflux 7%
Distilling of oxygen-sensitive substances under inert gas 1%
Other 1%

Nearly 36% 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
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing Evaporator:

Reliability 69%
Safety 65%
Ease of use 62%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 61%
Low operating cost of ownership 52%
Price 48%
Ease of installation 43%
Fully integrated - The evaporator, the vaccuum pump, the vacuum controller, and the recirculating chiller 37%
Service and support 37%
Built-in vacuum controller 36%

Need more information on evaporators? Download the free Lab Manager Evaporator Resource Guide

See survey results from previous years: