Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 15:08:12 -0400
Reply-To: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: Flash column chromatography
In-Reply-To: <F78074E5CA3141BBAA62B4610F31F723**At_Symbol_Here**>

Disclaimer/whatever: my company is a Chemglass (now Chemglass Life Sciences) distributor.

There are older chromatography columns out there made out of standard wall tubing.  Flash chromatography first came into vogue the late 1970's, so it's possible you may have some thinner wall ones circulating at your organization.  A true flash chromatography column should be constructed out of medium wall tubing to provide an extra margin of safety.   Chemglass not only makes theirs out of medium wall tubing, they are also available from the factory with a clear plastic coating by special order (if anyone wants quotes on these, contact me off list).

Many columns use a fritted glass disc at the bottom.  The maximum differential pressure rating on those is 15 psi.  So 15 or 20 psi should be established as the safe working limit, yes.

Relatively safe pressure control on columns can be achieved by making sure that the gas flow control adapter at the top is not secured **too** tightly.  A Keck clip or such is more than enough to secure the adapter, but can still provide some pressure relief.    It is, of course, more reliable and desirable to provide a pressure gauge and/or some sort of relief system teed into the gas supply line so that researchers know exactly how much pressure they are achieving.   The best solution would be a regulator can be used on the gas/air supply line.

Your written SOP for chromatography should include a discussion of the pressurization hazards, "safe" pressure ranges, and how to mitigate the risks.   The SOP should also explain that proper PPE (lab coats with sleeves, goggles) and engineering controls (fume hood sashes, blast shields etc.) can also go a long way in minimizing any injury should an accident occur.

Rob Toreki

On Jun 17, 2009, at 2:14 PM, Yung Morgan wrote:

Dear DCHAS group,
I was wondering if anyone had an idea or can direct me to literature on =93Flash chromatography=94 whereby air is directed the solvent column to speed up its elution of the compound wanted. One of our researchers had gotten a cut from the glass column breaking and cutting him on the arm.
Again, when asked, he said: everybody uses this technique! Being an old analytical chemist, I did not remember this method. However, an organic professor had informed me that this method is also called =93Flash chromatography=94 and recommended the air pressure to be no more than 20PSIG and to wrap the column in plastic tapes to protect from breakage! . The lab in question use air spigots on lab benches which runs more than 20PSI if fully opened.
Any thoughts or comments you all have are welcome. Thank you in advance and enjoy your summer.    

Yung Morgan, MsPH
Laboratory Safety
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