Syringe Care and Maintenance for Chromatographers
Many chromatographers rely on syringes every day to do their work. They need to be accurate and consistent, but also reliable and dependable whether you use them manually or in an autosampler.
In this Restek Tip, we cover syringe care and maintenance. What steps can you take to guarantee a long life for your syringe? And how should you properly maintain it to keep it in tip-top condition?
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Many chromatographers rely on syringes every day to do their work. They need to be accurate and consistent, but also reliable and dependable every time you use them.
In this Restek Tip, we are going to cover syringe care and maintenance. What steps can you take to guarantee a long life for your syringe?
And how should you properly maintain it to keep it in tip-top condition?
We’re going to start with daily inspection.
Starting with a Daily Inspection is an easy way to maintain a high-quality syringe. This lets you notice and fix minor issues before they develop into major problems. Your daily inspection should cover the barrel, the plunger, needle, and needle point.
Barrels that are cracked or damaged should be replaced. Plungers should be checked for smooth operation.
If the plunger is not smooth, check for bends or debris in the barrel. Bent plungers can sometimes be fixed by removing the plunger from the barrel and gently but firmly applying a reverse bend.
For debris, remove the plunger from the barrel and clean the plunger with a wipe dampened with solvent. Then, flush the barrel with solvent using a second syringe to ensure all the debris has been cleared.
Bent needles or needle points with burrs should not be used as these can damage septa, liners, and other parts of your GC’s inlet. Bent needles can be common, especially on smaller gauges. We recommend replacing them with a new needle or a new syringe.
Understanding Your Sample
Some samples, such as those with suspended solids and particulate matter, can build up over time and cause issues with your syringe. Using a syringe filter is a great way to remove these larger particles to stop them from being drawn up into your syringe.
Some compounds may corrode the construction within your syringe. Be sure to check information provided by your syringe manufacturer.
While your exact technique can vary depending on your syringe, instrument, and use, there are a few things to consider.
Always insert the syringe in a slow and steady motion, especially when entering GC septa. Applying too much force can damage the plunger or needle tip.
Always keep pressure on the top of the plunger during insertions—pressure differences may cause the plunger to be ejected from the barrel, leading to potential damage.
Finally, remember to guide the needle either by hand or using a syringe guide. This helps you maintain the insertion angle, reducing the chances of bending the needle.
Sample carryover can result in low-quality and inaccurate chromatography.
Properly cleaning your syringe requires a solvent, such as acetonitrile or methanol. But be careful to avoid dichloromethane and similar chlorinated solvents as they may corrode steel plungers. Alternatively, you could use a specialized cleaning solution suitable for your syringe.
For best cleaning practices check the instruction materials provided by your syringe manufacturer, but in general, proper syringe cleaning involves the following process:
Start by discarding any remaining sample. Your chosen solvent or cleaning solution should be flushed through the syringe multiple times, with the exact amount depending on the nature of your sample. Discard the first few flushes to stop them from entering the cleaning solvent.
Then, rinse the syringe with acetone; this will help ensure any adhesives used in the manufacture of the syringe will remain intact. If the exterior of the syringe is dirty, gently wipe it with a clean and lint-free wipe.
By following these recommendations, you can help ensure your syringe continues to be accurate and reliable throughout a long lifetime.
If you have any questions about syringe care and maintenance, please contact us at Restek.com. We’ll be happy to help.
Thank you for joining us for this Restek Syringe Tip.