If you work in any kind of lab space, you probably already know about the solvent filtration process. If you run a small lab or if you’re a student, you may not have had the chance to operate multiple types of filtration systems yet, though. Keep reading to discover the differences between vacuum and gravity filtration and the benefits of each for your experiments.
Vacuum Filtration Process
As the name implies, vacuum filtration utilizes the power of a vacuum source. Vacuum filtration most commonly uses a Buchner funnel and flask as well as some specialty filter paper. You also need thick-walled tubing to connect your Buchner filter and vacuum source. If you wish to collect a solid material through the filtration process, vacuum filtration is a fast and effective method. However, don’t use vacuum filtration if you want to collect a liquid material afterward. Any solvent tends to boil off during the reduced-pressure process.
Gravity Filtration Process
Gravity filtration relies on gravity to do most of its work. This process involves setting up a funnel and paper filter on top of a flask. Gravity filtration is vital for separating a liquid from a solid when you want to preserve the liquid material. When decanting isn’t an option, gravity filtration is the go-to method. Gravity filtration is a slower process, but lab technicians still rely on it to this day for experiments.
The Differences Between Filtration Methods
The main difference between vacuum and gravity filtration is their timeliness and how they operate. One method uses a vacuum source to power the filtration while the other uses gravity. This results in vacuum filtration being faster and more convenient. Still, it doesn’t fit every experiment. Gravity filtration is the gentler of the two methods, and it can preserve both solid and liquid parts from a mixture. Each filtration method has its benefits and drawbacks.
As a lab technician, it’s pivotal to understand the differences between vacuum and gravity filtration to know which method to use for your tasks. If you need to stock up for either filtration system, check out USA Lab Equipment for everything you need.