What does gas vortex shearing do in evaporation? Why should I care?

It is question and answer time and we are starting with TurboVap® evaporators and their use in an environmental lab.  The TurboVap® evaporation system by design utilizes a patented gas vortex shearing technology. You may be asking yourself, “what does that mean?” I know I did when I first heard about it!  Read on to learn more about what this does for your lab evaporation.

First, what exactly is this mysterious gas vortex shearing?

The gas vortex shearing action is a patented function that makes the TurboVap® concentrator products so popular!  The water bath and the nitrogen flow in the TurboVap® are the same as any other water bath concentrators, but the path of the nitrogen flow is what sets the TurboVap® apart.

How does it work?

The set nitrogen flow (mL/min) exits the angled needle and flows down and around the inside of the TurboVap® evaporation tube in a helical motion (like a strand of DNA).  Once the nitrogen reaches the solvent extract, the extract begins to cyclone.  This function protects your extracts, especially the lighter end compounds.  The vortex is so important because it is constantly mixing your extracts ensuring complete homogenization throughout the entire concentration process.  Without the gas vortex shearing action, your extracts would be sitting in a warm water bath, undergoing a blowdown from much cooler nitrogen risking the losses of the lighter end compounds.  No part of the extract ever stays in the same spot of the evaporation tube during the process which helps prevent compounds from over-heating or being blown away.

Now, you may be wondering, “how do the evaporated solvent vapors escape the concentrator tube?”

Well, since the inner walls are utilized by the nitrogen flow down, there needs to be a place where the solvent vapors escape.  The good news is that the inner core of the concentrator tube is unobstructed by any nitrogen flow, so the solvent vapors can evaporate upward out the inner core of the tube.  There is an internal fan that pulls the solvent vapors out the back of the instrument and into the hood.  Pretty cool right?

Finally, why should I care about the gas vortex shearing action?

Well, for starters, it looks really cool in action and is rather mesmerizing, but that is not the real reason why you should care about it.  This action protects your extracts ensuring good recoveries and improves concentration times, which are very good and important reasons to care about it!  If you do not find it entertaining to watch the gas vortex shearing action like me, then you should certainly love the fact that your extracts are safer and concentration times are more efficient!

Here are some fun facts and information to keep in mind about the TurboVap® II automated solvent evaporation system!  In conjunction with the gas vortex shearing action, the TurboVap® II can be equipped with endpoint sensors (0.5 mL or 0.75 mL endpoint).  The nitrogen flow will halt once the sensor senses that the extract reached the desired endpoint.  It is very important that even though the nitrogen flow halts, that the extract must be removed from the warm water bath immediately or as soon as possible because it will continue to concentrate due to the heat of the water bath.

Feel free to take a look at this previous blog post about how to maintain your water bath concentrator with nitrogen blowdown!

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