Cold traps are often used in vacuum applications that contain a range of vapors. Cold traps are used to condense the vapors into a solid or liquid state. The cold trap stops contamination in the vacuum pump, decreasing maintenance requirements and extending the vacuum pump life.
How Does a Cold Trap Work?
Cold traps work by condensing gases onto an adequately cold surface. The vacuum pump removes gas from a chamber and it moves from the chamber and into the cold trap where the gases are condensed or sublimated, preventing these gases from reaching areas of the system that could lead to malfunction.
Sometimes cold traps use temperature monitoring equipment to purposefully condense materials with temperature monitoring equipment. Cold traps maintain their temperatures by an active material such as dry ice or liquid nitrogen.
Cold traps are usually made up of two parts and look like a U-shaped test tube. The bottom of the cold trap is much larger than the top part, with a thick round tube that is safeguarded by surrounding ground-glass joints with a leak-proof cap on top.
Why Use a Cold Trap?
Cold traps come in a range of specifications, and the specifications are dependent on the chemical composition of the process. Some processes involve gasses traveling in a vapor form that can be trapped easily and cooled quickly. This causes the vapor to condense and the condensation collects inside the trap.
Cold traps are also used for experiments that use extremely low temperatures for distillation and condensation. Cold traps in these instances contain a blend of acetone and coolant and work as the condenser.
The Downsides of Cold Traps
Cold traps are often used with rotovaps to capture vapors that move through the condenser. Traditional versions were highly inefficient, using lots of energy to protect the vacuum pump. Cold traps need to be extremely cold meaning they use lots of materials such as liquid nitrogen, tape water, or anti-freeze to safeguard the temperature.
Using these costly materials can be a challenge for companies, increasing overheads and overall carbon footprint.
Rather than using traditional cold traps to stop the gases from getting into vacuum pumps, Ecodyst uses a technology that does not require costly and time-consuming processes. The condenser cooling system developed by Ecodyst provides continuous cooling, fast condensation, and decreased evaporation time.
Should You Choose a Cold Trap for Your Application?
Cold traps are beneficial for many applications, minimizing downtime and maintenance needed for vacuum pumps. However, the inefficiency of traditional cold traps can negate this cost-saving benefit.