We have all heard this expression from time to time, and I guess to a degree, it is true. If you put good things into your body, you are healthy. If you put bad things in your body, bad things happen. Well it’s the same in the analytical world with sensitive equipment like Gas Chromatographs (GC), Mass Spectrometers (MS), and so on. So what do they eat? Thank goodness they have a voracious appetite for gases. Good, clean, pure, uncontaminated gas. Helium, Nitrogen, Zero Air, its all like prime-rib to these laboratory animals.
Now lets go back to my opening statement. “We are what we eat” right! So have you ever ordered a prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and had it delivered to your table with a side of carpet tacks! We as humans have an option to send the carpet tacks back with a stern complaint to the chef.
Analytical equipment is not so lucky as it has no option but to consume what the operators feed it. In the world of analytical equipment the carpet tacks are moisture, hydrocarbons and other various elements of contamination. Feed a GC a good dose of moisture via a contaminated cylinder of Helium and the results would be catastrophic. Failed test results, repeat testing, down time, extra expense in parts etc. Here is your side of carpet tacks hard at work giving the lab technician a good case of heartburn.
Try delivering contaminated gases into a $300,000.00 Mass Spectrometer and see who gets the heartburn! I can assure you that the heartburn will flow downhill if the source of the contamination was the gas. The gas supplier that delivered the contaminated gas will surely share the burn.
Analytical equipment has a very sensitive “stomach” and will not perform well at all, if we feed it fouled gases. Sometimes it is appealing to purchase gases from a supplier because the prices are cheap. I can assure you that cheap gases comes at a price – “carpet tacks”.
True Ultra High Purity Gases are filet mignon at the analytical table. Don’t sell your equipment short buy buying questionable gases at a cut rate. You have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on the equipment in your labs. Why would you feed the equipment an inferior gas product to save a few dollars? It will cost you more in the long run.
Gases should be purchased from a supplier who has also invested in some of the same equipment that is found in the pharmaceutical or research lab. A supplier that knows what the value of that investment is to the end user, will be sure to follow the appropriate procedures to ensure the integrity of the gas delivered. An ultra high purity gas that is produced and packaged properly will work flawlessly with analytical equipment, the way it was intended to. No carpet tacks, no heartburn.
The burden of the quality of the gas falls on the gas supplier. It is up to the customer to choose the supplier with the appropriate product, not the lowest price. Quality comes at a price. Buy smart.