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Liners Every Lab Should Own (in my opinion)

3 Jan 2013

We often get asked in tech service which injection port liner we would recommend for a particular analysis. For this type of question, it would not be uncommon to receive different answers, as each person has had positive and negative experiences with different liner styles. As a result, the recommendations I provide below are based solely on my past experiences, and do not reflect those of the rest of the tech service group.

When doing splitless injections, I usually recommend a single gooseneck liner (no wool). Depending upon the expansion volume of the solvent (or the volume of a gas sample), a 2mmID to 4mmID should be selected. A Solvent Expansion Calculator can help you determine the proper liner internal diameter (ID).  Just remember that there are also other factors involved in determining back-flash, so use the information you obtain from this calculator as a guideline.

The liner below is a Restek Premium 4.0mm ID Single Taper Inlet Liner , which is typically the best choice for 1-2µL injections of non-polar solvents (like hexane), 0.5-1µL injections of polar solvents (like methanol), and gas injections approximately >250µL to 1mL.



The liner below is a Restek Premium 2.0mm ID Single Taper Inlet Liner , which is typically the best choice for 1µL or less injections of non-polar solvents (with low expansion volumes), or gas injections less than approximately 250µL.


Do I ever recommend a wool-packed splitless liner? Sure I do, but only when analyzing very dirty samples, when increased surface area is needed to properly vaporize the sample/compounds, or when doing water injections. However, I personally never recommend water injections be done in splitless (or direct) mode. I have been able to obtain better peak shapes and peak area count reproducibility using split mode, not to mention minimizing the possibility of column damage.

If you do prefer to use a liner with wool, make sure the wool plug is in the proper location.  

When doing split injections, I usually recommend a Cyclosplitter liner like the photo below: Restek Premium 4.0mm ID Cyclo Inlet Liner . I have found that this style of liner does a great job of vaporizing a sample through increased internal surface area and by introducing turbulence to the sample.  However, I will admit that I always put a small plug of wool (about the size of a small pea) on top of the cyclo section.  This made sure the standard/sample was completely vaporized for each injection and the wool plug also helped keep the cyclo section cleaner for much longer.



If you have very dirty samples, or those containing non-volatile residue, I would probably suggest the liner below instead of the Cyclosplitter shown above.  Restek Premium 4.0mm ID Straight Inlet Liner w/ Wool



Another split liner which many customers report positive feedback is the Restek 4.0 mm ID Precision Inlet Liner w/ Wool



If you are not using a syringe for sample introduction, but instead the sample is from a purge & trap unit or gas sampling valve, then the liner I usually recommend is a Restek Premium1.0mm ID Straight Inlet Liner



If your gas sample is from a headspace unit, you may wish to review my blog entitled: Which GC injection port liner to use for gas samples?


There is one more liner that I think every lab should own, a Uniliner. Although I usually don’t recommend this liner for any specific analysis, I think it’s a great troubleshooting tool because, when properly installed, it can help isolate & even eliminate injection port issues like activity. Just remember, these liners are designed for splitless injections only (if you experience carryover, try turning on the split flow at 5mL/min after the last compound elutes).

A Drilled Uniliner with the “hole near top” is typically the one I suggest (photo below).  Restek Premium 4.0mm ID Drilled Uniliner Inlet Liner with Hole near Top .


In summary, I believe every lab should have several, or all, of the liners I’ve listed above in their inventory. Will other liner styles provide even better analytical results than any of these liners? I think it would be safe to say “yes”, but only through trial and error would you know for sure. My suggestion, start with one of the liners listed above, and if the desired analytical results are not achieved, only then would I look for a different liner style. Thanks for reading.