Desiccators are a type of laboratory equipment that is enclosed and contains desiccants. Desiccants are hygroscopic substances that are used to create or maintain a state of dryness in their vicinity. These desiccants are used to preserve chemicals and other highly reactive substances. Pass-through desiccators are those desiccators that allow the flow of chemicals or other substances from one chamber to another. So substances can pass through different chambers, and hence the name pass-through desiccators.
Need for pass-through desiccators
Desiccators are mainly used in laboratories and cleanrooms where research or experiments are conducted in a controlled environment. In such an area, it should be made sure that there is no contamination since we cannot allow moisture, dust, or other air-borne particles to come in contact with the preserved chemicals as these chemicals are highly reactive to external agents. If the entry of moisture is not strictly prohibited, then it may come in contact with the reactive chemicals and form toxic products or hazardous gases which can cause havoc. This is where desiccators come into the picture. Desiccators are such equipment that can prevent the chemicals from reacting with moisture. Now, for conducting experiments, there will be many times when a substance will have to be transferred from one chamber to another chamber. Pass-through desiccators allow the transfer of chemicals between chambers and also keep them away from moisture.
What are the constituents of desiccators?
The compartments of desiccators are stored with the following substances:
- Drierite: This is a drying agent which is used for various purposes. Drierite facilitates rapid as well as efficient drying of air and is used in refrigerants, industrial gases, and for many other purposes.
- Silica Gel: Silica gel is nothing but silicon dioxide in an amorphous form. Silica gel packets are also used to keep things dry by absorbing moisture.
- Calcium Chloride: Calcium chloride is a salt of an inorganic compound that is used for dust suppression. It also acts as a great desiccant that helps to increase dryness by removing dissolved water in liquids.
- Calcined Quicklime: This is another chemical compound used to regulate the moisture component since it absorbs moisture.
Working of pass-through desiccators
These desiccators are usually made from stainless steel or plastic. They have two doors on each side of the equipment. When we place an item in the storage box, only one door is opened. The other one is kept closed and cannot be opened. This closed-door is opened only while taking any item out of the box and this time the other door remains closed and cannot be opened. There are gaskets on the doors that seal the doors and make them air-tight. This working system makes sure that the required conditions are maintained while using the desiccators.
Uses of pass-through desiccators
Let us take a close look at the significant uses of pass-through desiccators.
- Pass-through desiccators allow chemical substances to pass through different chambers without any contamination. Even while the substances are transferred, these desiccators ensure that no other component can come in contact with the chemicals.
- Pass-through desiccators prevent the entry of any kind of unwanted garbage.
- Pass-through desiccators come with an interlock mechanism between various chambers. This prevents cross-contamination by not allowing the chemicals from one chamber to get mixed with the content of another chamber.
- Pass-through desiccators are corrosion-free and hence are durable and last longer when compared to other desiccators.
Additional points with respect to pass-through desiccators
- The humidity levels inside the pass-through desiccators should be checked along with the humidity of the item that is being transferred in the storage box.
- Although desiccators are made in such a way that one door is always locked, do not force open the other door of the box.
- The gaskets on the doors should be checked after certain periods in order to verify that the doors are tightly sealed.
- The door panels should also be checked after certain periods to ensure that they are intact. This is important because the door panels reduce the chances of electrostatic discharge.
- Although pass-through desiccators are free from corrosion, it is important to keep an eye for any signs of corrosion or rust. This is only applicable in the case of stainless steel desiccators.
In order to use pass-through desiccators to their maximum efficiency, the above points are very important. These would make sure that you are getting the best performance out of the desiccators. You may also seek professional help to test the performance of your Pass-through Desiccators. These professionals would visit your laboratory, test your equipment, and give you a detailed report of your desiccators’ performance. In this way, you can carry out your laboratory experiments in the best optimum conditions.