Before working at CRS, I spent many hours in various laboratories in academia and the industry. I conducted some of my more memorable series of experiments in an organic chemistry lab. It was the most typical o-chem lab you can imagine: solvent cabinets, rotary evaporators, lab hoods with beakers, flasks, and packed columns. Basically what you would see if you googled “organic chemistry laboratory”, except it was always dark because the organometallic compounds we synthesized were photoactive.
I specifically remember working with classic Williamson Ether Synthesis reactions, using sodium hydride (NaH). It was crucial that these reactions were performed in inert environments. When using reactive chemicals, such as NaH, I meticulously degassed all the solvents and liquid reagents by bubbling pure nitrogen or argon through the liquid.
Most organic chemistry labs distribute inert gas in the hood using a glass Schlenk line, and this lab was no different. The purity of gas flowing through the Schlenk line was critical for my experiments. The presence of water greatly diminished the reactivity of the NaH, and the presence of oxygen degraded many of the organic solvents and reagents. Furthermore, it throws stoichiometric balancing out the window and causes side reactions to occur, which lowers yield. More detrimentally, those side reactions produce unwanted side products that make separation a nightmare.
CRS gas purifiers have traditionally been used for scrubbing GC carrier gases to ppb impurity levels. More and more, we are seeing their use in wet chemistry lab applications. Using ultra-high purity (UHP) gases simply reduces the number of variables in air-sensitive reactions. It boils down to peace of mind, and the last thing you want to do when troubleshooting an experiment is worry about a lackluster Schlenk line.
For more information on how our gas purifiers remove Oxygen, please check out our blog on “The Fundamentals of Oxygen Scrubbing.”
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