Cleaning NMR tubes
Considering how research and lab work has dominated my life for the past week, it’s not surprising that my photos will continue to be lab based for a little while – spending twelve to fourteen hours in this building a day doesn’t leave much daylight for much else. I’ve mentioned before that my biochemistry research thesis centers around a technique called nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and shown several photos of the special NMR tubes that I use. These, of course, must be cleaned and reused since they are fairly expensive. The first part of the cleaning process involves soaking them in special organic soap (Day 53), and afterwards we use the set-up seen above to finish them off. This is a farily common set-up in an organic lab, for those of you who have ventured into one, with an erlenmeyer flask secured by a ring stand and clamp to prevent it from falling due to the weight of the connecting tube, which pulls a vacuum when the water is on.
The piece of glassware above the erylenmeyer flask is fairly specialized, with the main chamber containing a thin hollow rod through the center. When an NMR tube is placed over this hollow rod, capped with a rubber top that allows for an air-tight seal, any water that is squirted into the side chamber is drawn (via vacuum, when the sink is on!) up the inside of the NMR tube and down the hollow center rod to reach its resting place in the flask.
Here’s my attempt to clarify with a photo:
Path of water through the glassware