Here at UVM we have recently moved into a new STEM building (currently containing all of our chemistry and physics labs and a handful of engineering labs) with a central vacuum pump. We previously used tap water aspirators in the old chemistry building. Currently, a Rotary Claw is installed that I'm told is the same as at SUNY Buffalo, George Mason, Harvard FAS, and U Mass Boston. Since we use this to pull vacuum on apparatus containing various solvents, we are being advised to switch to a rotary vane pump like the ones in use at U Pittsburgh, U Maryland, Duke, and Boston College. The risk, as I understand it, is based on certain chemicals' high vapor pressure and low concentration to achieve LEL. Diethyl ether is the usual example here, but hexanes and other common lab solvents also fit this description. I have three questions in particular:
Thanks for your time and help!
Laboratory Safety Coordinator, CAS/RSENR
UVM's Risk Management and Safety
Environmental Safety Facility
667 Spear Street
Burlington, VT 05405
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