The truth about freeze drying safely


Knowing these three important tips will make your freeze drying process safer for you and others in your lab.

Be aware of etched chamber lids

If the standard acrylic lid on your lyophilizer is etched or foggy, replace it immediately before starting the freeze dry process. Some solvents, such as acetonitrile, will etch or fog acrylic. Replace the acrylic lid with a chemical-resistant lid such as glass or stainless steel. Although it’s rare, using an etched lid could even cause the lid to implode under the deep vacuum required for freeze drying.

Vent vacuum pump exhaust

Some solvents will bypass the freeze dryer’s collector and go right through the pump. If the pump is not vented into a chemical fume hood, these vapors may exhaust into the lab. Labconco offers three types of pumps. Standard rotary vane pumps and a hybrid oil/dry vacuum pumps can trap vapors and exhaust them into the room through the filter. The scroll pump, which is an oil-free dry pump, will vent the vapors directly into the room. Vent the pump into a hood to protect lab personnel from breathing in harmful vapors. 

Examine glassware for weakness

Freeze drying glassware is typically made of borosilicate glass. If there are any defects, no matter how slight, extreme temperatures and deep vacuums can break your glassware. Always check your glassware for small cracks or chips. If you see them, stop using that glassware and replace it . To prevent breaks when pre-freezing, remove the lid and pre-freeze on a slant to inhibit glassware expanding during the freezing process.

Take these steps to make the lyophlizer in your lab safer, and contact our application specialists with questions about using your Labconco equipment.

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