Lyophilization, also known as cold dehydration, is a method used in chemical laboratories to convert wet and/or volatile substances into a dry, stable material. Essentially, it involves freezing the sample, then reducing the surrounding pressure and adding heat to force the water or solvent to sublimate from the solid to the gaseous state. Freeze dryers are the equipment specifically designed for this process.
These are extremely valuable tools in chemistry laboratories. It should be noted that these equipment require proper use and maintenance to ensure safety and the production of high quality samples. In addition, each sample type may require its own optimized lyophilization process. A good knowledge of the sample chemistry and the lyophilization process is essential to obtain the best possible results.
Use of Freeze Dryers in Chemistry Laboratories
In the field of chemistry, freeze dryers are crucial. They allow the preservation of the molecular structure, which is essential in research and in the development of new products and drugs.
For highly fragile and temperature-sensitive biological products, such as vaccines, drugs and peptides, freeze-drying is an essential process for their long-term preservation without compromising their efficacy. This process allows these products to be stored at room temperature for long periods and reconstituted to a liquid state with the simple addition of water.
In chemical research, freeze-drying is used to remove low-boiling solvents from the final product or to avoid hydrolysis during solvent removal.
Recommendations for the Use of Freeze Dryers
It is essential to be careful and thorough when using a lyophilizer in a laboratory environment. The following are some useful recommendations:
Choose the Proper Freezing Technique: It is important to experiment and determine the optimal freezing technique for each type of sample. Each material has a preferred method that will best preserve its quality and stability.
Vacuum Pump Configuration: It is advisable to use a high capacity vacuum pump to ensure that all air and moisture are properly removed prior to the freeze drying process. This should be well maintained and checked regularly.
Avoid Sample Collapse: If the sample is heated too much during the drying process, it may collapse. The heating rate and final temperature should be carefully controlled to avoid this problem.
Sample Monitoring: Samples should be monitored during the lyophilization process to ensure that all solvent has been effectively removed. This monitoring can be done by observing sample conditions and testing for residual moisture or solvent.
Regular Calibration and Maintenance: Freeze dryers are complex pieces of equipment that require proper calibration and maintenance to ensure efficient and safe operation. Valves that control the internal pressure of the vacuum system in particular should be checked and calibrated frequently.
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