Rotary evaporator systems are advanced devices commonly used in chemical laboratories to facilitate fractionation. This separation process allows the solvents in a heterogeneous substance to be removed gently through evaporation and the precise control of the thermal gradient. Such a process has proved to be vital for a large number of laboratory applications which has resulted in the widespread popularity of rotary evaporator systems. While such systems are often essential, however, they aren’t failproof. Being aware of these common issues with rotary evaporator systems will help you better prevent them from occurring so that your lab’s processes can continue uninterrupted.
It Won’t Hold A Vacuum
During the process of rotary evaporation, a vacuum is used to reduce the pressure in the rotary evaporator to decrease the boiling point of the solvent so that it will evaporate more quickly. In some cases, however, the system may not be able to hold a vacuum which will prevent the process from being carried out efficiently.
There are several reasons why a rotary evaporator system may not hold a vacuum. If your system is unable to maintain pressure and outside air seeps into the system, then the integrity of the vacuum pump may be compromised or there could be a leak in your system. Common areas where leaks may occur include joints, seals where the condenser connects to the body of the system, or in glassware.
Its Motor Won’t Rotate
Another common issue with rotary evaporator systems is a faulty motor. To facilitate a quicker evaporation process of the solvent, a rotary evaporator will rapidly rotate and increase the solvent’s surface area. If the system’s indicator light is on but the motor isn’t rotating, there are several potential causes.
For example, the motor may be prevented from rotating because the bearing is rusted or there is a malfunction in the system’s circuit board. Another potential reason is that the motor itself is malfunctioning. Regardless of the cause, if the motor of a rotary evaporator system won’t rotate, stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer to avoid causing further damage.
It Makes Abnormal Noises When in Use
Strange noises are rarely a good sign when operating equipment. If a rotary evaporator is making abnormal sounds other than those associated with its normal operation, then there is likely an issue with the system.
Some of the most common causes of strange noises when operating a rotary evaporator include a motor failure, a lack of oil in the driving section, or a worn internal gear. Such issues should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage. Another potential cause is that the sealing ring is worn down. Such an issue can be easily resolved by simply replacing the ring.