Common Faults And Troubleshooting Methods In HPLC Column
The hardware of the HPLC column includes the column tube and fittings which contain the chromatographic packing material used for the effect of the separation. The hardware not only needs to strong enough to stand back-pressure in the process of separation, but also needs to be well-controlled, acting leak-free, minimum-volume, and zero-dead-volume. It provides a flowing path for the sample at the inlet and the analyte bands at the outlet。
The hardware of the HPLC needs to be chemically inert relative to the separation system, including sample, mobile, and stationary phases. The columns which are made of stainless steel have the character of the highest pressure resistance. If you need to complete the special chemical or biological applications, where the inert surfaces are required, the engineered plastic and glass columns with less pressure tolerance, will be the better choice.
The chromatographic resolution shows the degree of how two compounds are separated. The ability of mechanical and chemical separation of the HPLC column are the key factors to determine the separation. The ability of mechanical separation is created by the length, particle size, and packed-bed uniformity of the HPLC column. The ability of chemical separation is created by the physicochemical competition for compounds between the packing material in the column and the mobile phase.
Operating Conditions of HPLC Column
HPLC column is preferably constant temperature and humidity. The temperature is between 15-30 degrees Celsius, relative humidity is less than 80%, the room should be well ventilated, and air flows generated by air conditioning or other equipment do not directly below the instrument. What’s more, it is better to avoid direct light, stay away from high electrical interference and high vibration equipment.
Common Faults and Troubleshooting Methods in HPLC Column
One common fault is that HPLC column pressure is too high. In this situation, the following methods can be adopted:
1. Remove the protective column, see if the column pressure is still high, otherwise it is the protection column problem, if column pressure is still high, re-check;
2. Take the column from the instrument, if the pressure is still not down, it is pipe blocked, to be cleaned, if the pressure drop, the column inlet, and outlet in turn connected to the instrument, with 10 times the volume of the column flow phase washing column, if column pressure still not down, re-check;
3. Replace the column inlet sieve plate, if column pressure drop, indicating that the solvent sample contains solid particles if column pressure is still high, can be connected between the sampler and the protective column on-line filter.
Another problem is that baseline is instability, fluctuation, or drift, in this situation, the following methods can be adopted:
1. The mobile phase has dissolved gas, ultrasonic degassing can be used for 15-30 minutes;
2. single-way valve blockage can remove the ultrasonic plug;
3. There are leak points in the system, determine the leak location and repair;
4. Column balance is slow, especially when the mobile phase changes, it can be washed with a medium strength solvent. When changing the mobile phase, it is washed with 10-20 times the volume of flow relative column before analysis.