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Capillary Column Installation Guide

Video transcript: Capillary Column Installation Guide

At Advanced Materials Technology, we are invested in bringing you cutting-edge technology and performance you can rely on.

We recognize that this capillary column looks, feels, and acts differently than standard analytical columns that you may be familiar with. For this reason, we’d like to provide you with this how-to video to ensure you get the most out of your capillary column.

Unpacking your capillary column

First things first, let’s get the column out of the box. Each of our columns is individually tested to ensure they meet quality standards before they leave AMT. We take great care to make sure you receive the performance you count on each and every time. To remove the column, carefully grab onto one of the end fittings and pull straight up. We’ve added these pull tabs on either end to help facilitate this. Rotate the column upwards and then grab the other end fitting and fully remove the column from the foam. Take care not to put excessive force on the column, or cause too much bending.

Your capillary column is comprised of two end fittings and a peak sealed tube. The tube itself is glass-lined. As you might expect, it is fragile and easily damaged. To help reinforce the column, the tube is lined with peak. This peak makes the tube more durable, but not indestructible. In general, extra care is required when handling these columns in comparison to their stainless steel counterparts.

On either side of your column, you have two 16th-inch ports. These ports work well with most fittings. However, we have seen best results with face sealing fittings as opposed to traditional ferrule-type fittings. If your system is designed around 32nd-inch tubing, we offer adapters. Although each of the end fittings on your column will come apart, they are shipped from AMT under the proper torque to ensure efficiency. These fittings also importantly retain the packing material inside the column. At no time should these be loosened or tightened. Doing so could result in failure of the column, or significant decreases in separation efficiency.

Each column is labeled with the column serial number ID, length, and packing material for easy identification. HALO capillary columns are available for all of our stationary phases in three different lengths; 50, 100, and 150 millimeters. And four different inner diameters; 75, 100, 200, and 300 microns. Did you know that the color of your capillary column indicates its inner diameter? Black is 75. Red is 100. Blue is 200, and gray is 300 micron.

Capillary column installation

Now that we have our column and learned about its components, let’s get it installed and in use. In order to install your column, first identify the arrow on your column tags. This indicates the direction of flow. Next, remove the plugs on either end of the column that prevent it from drying out. Now, install the inlet end of the column. The amount of force required to make this connection is very small. And the directions to the fittings you are using should be followed. Be sure to avoid over-tightening. Today we are connecting our column with Viper Fittings onto our ultimate 3000 LC system. Insert the Viper Fittings and gently begin to thread it. Be sure to hold the capillary column on the outermost flat of the end fittings. This ensures you don’t accidentally change the torque settings. Tighten the fittings down until it snugly seats. Perfect. Now do the same for the other end.

Now we are ready to run. We recommend ramping up and downflow rates. In practice, we do this at 25 microliters per minute squared. Capillary columns are significantly smaller in ID and can clog. This will cause an increase is system back pressure. Due to the delicate nature of your column, we do not recommend back-flushing, as it could cause irreversible damage. To help lengthen the life of your column, you may consider developing a method with a trap system prior to your separation. This will help to ensure the lifetime of your column and potentially prevent clogging from particulate in your sample. We also notice best results when the solvent delivery pump is constantly flowing once the column is installed. In between runs, we dial down to a very low flow rate. Typically, flow rates of a few microliters per minute are sufficient for this purpose. This helps prevent drying of the column and precipitation in the capillary system.

Removing the Column

When it is time to remove the column, first flush with an appropriate stored solvent as indicated on your care and use sheet. To remove the column, we want to ensure we do not manipulate the end fittings in a way that the torque is disturbed. Hold the outermost flat on your column, beginning with the outlet end and slowly remove the end fitting. Keep the column itself still, and rotate the fitting only. Once this fitting is removed, do the same for the inlet.

It is important not to create torque on the column to maintain the structural integrity of the peak sealed tube, as well as to prevent altering the set and fittings. Reinstall the column plugs to prevent drying. And reinsert your column into the box, where it will be ready for the next use.

We hope that this instructional video has helped you better understand your capillary column and how to handle it effectively. We thank you for choosing HALO Columns from Advanced Materials Technology. Delivering innovation you can trust and performance you can rely on.

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