Main Types of Laboratory Gas Generator
Jun 10 2022
From supplying chromatography instruments with hydrogen to funnelling nitrogen into In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) incubators, laboratories around the world rely on gas generators. Fast, reliable and cost efficient, they allow scientists to produce pure, laboratory-quality gas at the touch of a button.
Below, we take a closer look at the main types of laboratory gas generators, as well as some different applications and benefits.
Nitrogen gas generators
Colourless and odourless, nitrogen is one of the most common elements in the universe. In cellular research laboratories, nitrogen is used to control atmospheric conditions and create a stable environment with no changes in humidity, temperature and oxygen levels.
Pharmaceutical labs rely on nitrogen gas generators to ‘blanket’ active ingredients during the manufacturing process. Nitrogen is also used to remove atmospheric oxygen and prevent oxidation of packaged products, and to create a chemically inactive environment inside vaccine vials. Nitrogen is also an important element in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) facilities, where the gas is used to stabilise incubator environments and support embryo growth.
Hydrogen gas generators
Gas chromatographs are bona fide workhorses in scientific laboratories. They’re used for analysis and quality control in the food and beverage sector, and for product development in the pharmaceuticals industry. Environmental laboratories use gas chromatographs to test air quality and monitor pollution levels, while forensics labs rely on the instruments to produce toxicology reports. Hydrogen generators make it easy to produce onsite gas for all these applications.
Most hydrogen generators are powered by electrolysis, a process that splits water (H2O) into hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). The oxygen is discarded, and the hydrogen is captured and used to operate gas chromatographs.
Other types of laboratory gas generators
As well as nitrogen and hydrogen gas generators, many laboratories invest in other specialised instruments. Zero air generators are used to purify ambient air and remove hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and natural gas. The filtered air is used to supply gas chromatographs, flame ionisation detectors and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analysers with air that’s pure, dry and free from contaminants.
Laboratories that operate Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometers use purge gas generators to purify compressed air and remove contaminants such as CO2 and water vapour. FT-IR Spectrometry is used across a wide range of industries, including polymer and plastics product development.
Specialised Total Organic Carbon (TOC) gas generators transform compressed air into carrier gas needed to operate TOC instruments. From analysing the quality of municipal water sources to assessing the sterility of pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, applications for TOC instruments are vast.
This overview of the main types of gas generators just scratches the surface of applications for these laboratory instruments. Find out more in our complete guide, ‘Laboratory Generators - Everything You Need to Know’. Or read 'Optimising Bioreactor Yields with Smart Sensors' for more on the latest laboratory developments.
Lab Asia 30.2 - April 2023
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