Lab Wishlist

I have what I need to do my job. There’s always something else though. I found myself wishing today.

What I’d like is something to monitor my rotavap so I can see when it is done. So I know when it is time to get up from my desk and add more solvent or take it off. I don’t know how many times I’ve been about ready to go home, but not until this stuff has had all the solvent removed. I’m imagining a little web cam type thing, with a feed to my computer. I can look to see if it has bumped or if it is actually removing the solvent properly. Anyone else ever done that? Left a flask on the rotavap over a seminar and come back to find it has removed precisely 3 mL out of the 250 mL in the flask. And if I increase the vacuum just a tiny bit, it is suddenly flying off.

And when it is done (but not before) I can spring into action, do what needs to be done and then get back to updating my note book or reading papers or other important business that I conduct from my desk.

Oh, and a way to alert me when my TLC is done. That would be great too.

(and right after I pressed submit on this post, I went into the lab and found my solvent had hardly gone down at all – see how useful this invention would be?)

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One comment on “Lab Wishlist

  1. milkshake says:

    what you need is not a webcam but a good vacuum regulator. Buchi, KNF and Chemglass sell them. It works like this: you set the vacuum level to the point when a distillate starts dripping in the condenser. You want to start gently because there is air dissolved at the beginning of evaporation and often also lower-boiling co-solvents are present – thats why the bumping happens more likely at the beginning. (For example with ether what you want is about 320 Torr and for DCM about 250 Torr and for ethyl acetate 60 Torr on ambient bath). Then after few minutes you improve the vacuum to the point when the condensing is steady but no bubbles/foam form in the evaporation flask; you can also raise the bath temperature by 3-5 degrees. And then you may walk away and eat some donuts on the meting with peace of mind.

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