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Vacuum Pumps Dos and Don't Episode 1

Posted on January 19 2021


Chem Kong’s Vacuum Pump Dos and Don’ts Series brought to you by Chemtech Scientific:




Do Make sure you are operating oil sealed vacuum pumps in their designed pressure ranges – Monitor with gauge, if needed.


A primary cause of two stage oil sealed vacuum pumps operating too hot, leading to excessive maintenance needs or premature failure is due to operating the vacuum at pressures too high for the pump’s intended use. Higher pressure operation allows the higher-pressure gasses forcing their way through the vacuum pump to displace oil from mechanisms requiring oil for lubrication. The higher-pressure gas also forces oil though tiny orifices (oil ways) of the vacuum pump, aerosolizing the pump oil, which mists from the exhaust port of the vacuum pump, creating a smoke like aerosolized emission of potentially contaminated oil into the lab. Operate two stage oil sealed vacuum pumps below one Torr vacuum pressure to avoid pump failure and lab contamination.


Don’t Operate a vacuum pump when oil is contaminated with hazardous chemicals and flammable solvents. Change oil before operating or risk safety hazard and mechanical damage.


Contaminants will react with oil initiating polymerization of the vacuum pump oil. The contaminated oil will lose lubricity leading to hotter operation. As the reaction progresses the oil will become too viscous for the mechanisms to operate as intended leading to pump failure.


Contaminated oil may mist into the work environment or into the fume hood system leading to unsafe working conditions or heavily contaminated fume ventilation system. The viscous contaminants may solidify causing blockages and be difficult to remove from the fume system.


Stay tuned for Chemtech Scientific’s Vacuum Pump Dos and Donts Series.


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