Chemistry and Compatibility: How They Work Together in Creating an Effective Fluid Handling Setup

Valentine’s Day seems the perfect opportunity to discuss chemistry and compatibility—at least when choosing items for the laboratory. To create a chemically compatible setup, read below.

Sized_mixer144Preparing to set up a system for an experiment? Before pushing the start button, consider chemical compatibility. To avoid a nightmarish disaster in the laboratory, chemical compatibility should be assessed for all equipment choices, including the fittings. The wrong choice can sacrifice time and money, so selecting the correct equipment should be a priority.

To check chemical compatibility, all of the chemicals or fluids used need to be checked against the “wetted” materials in the application. The term “wetted” is used to describe all the parts of a system that come into contact with a fluid. For example, for the simple mixing setup shown here, only these components are considered “wetted” parts:

  • Glass beaker
  • 316 stainless steel mixing shaft
  • 316 stainless steel impeller/propeller

This setup is effective for any chemicals and solutions compatible with both glass and 316 stainless steel. Both of these materials are compatible with many chemicals. Likewise, switching out the propeller and shaft to one made of glass or a fluoropolymer plastic would make the solution compatible with many more chemicals that would react with 316 stainless steel.

The mixer setup seems pretty basic but with fluid handling systems it can be much more complex. Consider the following filtration setup. In this case, a centrifugal pump is used to push fluid through a filtration apparatus to remove particles larger than five microns.

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