Proper Care and Handling of Quartz Consumables

Extreme care must be used when handling quartz glassware – especially if the item is a torch or injector tube an Inductively Couple Plasma spectrometer (ICP).   The quartz glass used in the production of our torches, spray chambers and nebulizers is one of the most pure substances on earth.   As such, it has a powerful affinity for any element or compound.  Surface contamination, such as fingerprints caused by oil on your hands, can lead to the onset of devitrification.

Caution!

Contaminants will bind with the quartz and cause crystallization of the glass when heated, such as when a torch is being used in an ICP.  This crystallization degrades optical transmittance and significantly shortens the service life of the torch.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to handle the glassware in such a way as to minimize contamination.  Once contaminated, it is impossible to completely remove.  Thus glassblowing procedures are designed to minimize handling.

Recommendations:

  1. Wear POWDER FREE latex gloves when handling quartz.  Wash the gloves after putting them on, in the same manner as doctor preparing for surgery.  Use soap and water, then dry with a brand new paper towel until absolutely no water is left on the gloves. Water (except distilled water) is a contaminant and will leave spots on the glass.   Wash them again when finished handling the glassware and place them into a clean baggie and seal. You will have a clean pair ready to go for the next time!  We recommend Microflex Ultra One (UL-315) as these are very tough and have great gripping pads on the fingers.
  2. Even when wearing the gloves, don’t touch the torch in the areas that will be directly exposed to the ICP plasma.  Generally, try to keep to the ball joint or the argon inlet tubes. Torches that are designed to fit into a base usually have a ground or etched surface area and this is a good area to hold it.
  3. Before installing the torch, inspect it in a bright light environment for fingerprints or contamination.   If contamination is present, wipe with a damp (deionized water) paper towel until clean or better yet wipe with acetone.  Let dry completely before using the torch.
  4. It is a good idea to handle ALL glassware using the same precautions. This way you develop proper handling procedures and avoid having to determine if the glassware is quartz or borosilicate ( Pyrex).  Borosilicate glassware is much less susceptible to contamination.

We hope this helps extend the life of your ICP torches and injectors.  Don’t hesitate to call us at 888-268-6037 if you have any questions.

Here are some quick links to find products in our web shop:

Manufacturers Major Categories
Agilent/Varian Standards
Horiba/Jobin-Yvon Acids & Reagents
Perkin Elmer Pump Tubing
Spectro Sample Vessels
Teledyne/Leeman Bottles
Thermo Sample Preparation Equipment
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