Thursday, September 27, 2007
NMR tube cleaner
I have a lot of NMR tubes and as a result I don't clean them very often and when I eventually decide to do something about it I'm faced with something like 30 dirty tubes. Now firstly if you work this way you have to soak the NMR tubes as soon as you are done with them. If you just let them evaporate to dryness you are in trouble. I normally just empty the tube and fill it to the lip with acetone and cap it. This way it wont dry out for months.
When I was cleaning my tubes the other day I had three synthetic organic chemists from three different countries walk up to me and ask what I was doing. This was somewhat surprising so I've decided to share with you what I thought was common knowledge: The NMR Tube Cleaner. These things are commercially available (expensive) or you can have your glass blower make one at a reasonable price. You can see my set up on the picture above. This is how it works:
(1) take the cap of your NMR tube and attach it to its base
(2) stick the tube in the cleaner (see picture) so that the cap seals the opening at the top
(3) squirt solvent(s) into the solvent opening (see picture).
The system is under vacuum and the solvent gets sucked through a thin tube that goes to the bottom of the NMR tube. It is very effective and I usually do a combination of solvents to get rid of everything. Its smart to have a three way tap between the cleaner and the pump so that you can let air into the cleaner without having to turn the vacuum off all the time. There's an NMR tube entry at Wikipedia that also describes the NMR tube cleaner. D!