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Chromatography Vials & Closures: Can You Reuse Them?
- Dec 17, 2018 -

Many times our experts are asked by chemists and researchers if chromatography vials and closures can be re-used after an appropriate cleaning using laboratory dishwashers intended for the washing of lab glassware. To address this question, which turns out to be really important, two of our experts in the United States and the UK conducted a research study and presented the results in a technical note presented in this blog post.


Technical Note 20670, Results of Using Re-washed Vials and Closures, the two experts describe comparing the use of washed vials and septa compared with new vials using gas chromatography and HPLC instruments. They also did full mass range scans of the vials. The researchers have accompanied their work with numerous images and tables to demonstrate the problems they encountered. I found the photos of re-used vials showing glue remnants from labels, screw thread damage, and clouding of the glass really interesting. But, the really fascinating images were of the 100x magnifications showing the abraded surfaces of clear and amber glass vials before use and after cleaning of a used vial.


Some of their conclusions include the following findings:


Additional components were found in the GC-MS blanks in all the test cases.

Downtime for the GC instrument was increased due to an increased rate of injection liner replacement.

The introduction of even small volume injections showed the introduction of additional peaks in the UV mode for the HPLC instrument testing.

Contamination of the injection from the vials was measurably increased when re-using septa plus increased evaporative losses.

Their recommendation: “Time spent in retests and troubleshooting an assay failure that cannot be duplicated negates any perceived benefits of re-using vials and septa.”


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