Monthly Archives: October 2017

Storage Guidelines for Flammables and Combustibles in Your Lab

FlammableDanger comes in many forms. In labs, danger can hang out quietly on a shelf, waiting for just the right set of circumstances to occur. If you don’t have proper lab storage procedures in place and appropriate cabinets installed, you could run the risk of developing unseen lab safety issues.

For example, hazardous liquids require specialized cabinets for safe lab storage. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Fire Protection Association have approved specific types of furniture that can safely store combustible liquids. It’s one of the reasons why we always recommend dedicated lab furniture as a way to address appropriate lab safety needs.

Defining Combustible Materials

First things first: What do lab safety experts consider flammable? The two key concerns here are the flashpoint and the boiling point. Flashpoint is the minimum temperature at which a flammable liquid releases sufficient vapor, in combination with the air adjacent to the liquid’s surface, to spontaneously ignite. OSHA defines flammable liquids as those with a flashpoint at or beneath 93 °C or 199.4°F.

If the flashpoint is at or below 23°C or 73.4°F, the boiling point of the liquid (above or below 35°C or 95°F) is also considered in determining its flammability. Other elements that affect flashpoints include vapor density and pressure, specific gravity, and ignition temperature. Lab storage of any material considered flammable must follow certain procedures to prevent a lab safety incident.

Lab Storage Containers for Flammable Materials

OSHA recommends using safety cans for lab storage of flammable materials. They define a safety can as a container “of not more than 5-gallons capacity, having a spring-closing lid and spout cover, and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.” Naturally, over the years, many such containers have shown up on the market. Numerous insurance companies’ lab safety recommendations (along with municipal laws) require that such safety cans carry either FM (Factory Mutual) or UL labels. Depending on the flashpoint range, these cans must range in maximum size between two and five gallons.

Other types of lab safety containers are also evaluated, both for storage and for transport. Glass or approved plastic containers range in size from one pint to one gallon, while metal drums with DOT specs are approved at 60 gallons and portable tanks are approved at 660 gallons.

Specialized Storage Cabinet Parameters Promote Lab Safety

In addition to storing flammable liquids in approved containers, those containers also need to be placed in lab storage cabinets specially designed to safely hold the containers. The cabinets must be clearly labeled “Flammable: Keep Fire Away” and be constructed in such a way that after ten minutes of exposure to fire, the cabinets’ internal temperature will not exceed 163°C or 325°F.

Such storage cabinets designed to these parameters are most frequently constructed of at least 18-gauge sheet iron on all sides and are double-walled with a 1.5-inch airspace between the walls. The wall joints are most often riveted or welded, although other appropriately strong bonding options can be approved. Doors on these lab storage cabinets must have a three-point latch, and the bottom of the door must be at least two inches above the bottom of the cabinet itself, so the cabinet will retain any liquids that might spill during a lab safety accident.

Dedicated to the Best and Safest Lab Furniture

Being dedicated to lab safety means we are constantly educating ourselves and striving to inform you about all the best practices for your lab. Supplies and furniture that meet safety requirements are part and parcel with those practices—whether we sell them or not. Every task in your lab brings with it some possibilities for danger. With safe containers and lab storage, as well as our IonBench solutions for safely using your MS and HPLC, you will minimize many lab safety risks.

To learn more about our dedicated lab furniture, and how it can configure into your lab safety game plan, contact us today.

Mass Spec Technology Advances Open Doors in Research and Clinical Applications

PioneeringWe like keeping up with what’s happening in the world of mass spectrometry. After all, support for the technology means more than a safe and solid bench to place your MS on. In the century since its invention, mass spec technology advancements keep on coming. In this post, we want to celebrate three specific ways in which MS continues to evolve.

Expanding LC-MS/MS into Routine Clinical Settings

Mass spec technology advancements are increasingly arriving in local clinical settings. Instrument design has downsized significantly, allowing for simplified, standardized diagnostic kits to replace lab testing. This past summer, two instruments were launched that provide “industry-first” clinical lab results.

After six years in development, Thermo Fisher Scientific is close to launching the premier fully integrated LC-MS/MS clinical analyzer: Cascadion SM. Its specially designed reagent kit requires minimal interaction by people who are not experts with MS technology. SCIEX also launched an LC-MS system designed particularly for clinical diagnostics. They have adapted their existing Topaz™ system to allow LC-MS to be more accessible and comprehensible to staff in clinical labs.

Standardization is key to the success of both these mass spec technology advancements, especially since the FDA is guiding away from LDTs. By moving toward automation in a clinical setting, med techs can be more easily trained in operating and sustaining clinical processes. Improvements in procedures are already forecast for renal cell carcinoma diagnostics and genetic testing for opioid addiction risk.

Bruker’s New Tech Platform: TimsTOFTM

Bruker has created a flexible mass spec that optimizes separation and analysis using Ion Mobility Expansion that has the highest ion mobility resolution in the industry. Previously, research and practical applications were limited by the physical size of IMS systems, but they created a compact TIMS with resolution greater than 200. TIMS also allows accurate assessment of collisional cross sections and gas-phase protein structure and aggregation. Users can also develop their own analytical algorithms because their platform employs the *.tdf open data format based on SQLite. Bruker also supplies data analysis software to maximize interactive analysis of higher-resolution ion mobility data.

Mass Spec Technology Advancements for 2D-LC Methodologies

Two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) is evolving from lab-constructed jury-rigged type systems (hopefully well-supported on our dedicated lab furniture) to commercial 2D-LC instruments that allow more robust performance and integration with other processes. Techs can now easily switch between selective and comprehensive 2D-LC with enhanced instrument control. Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical laboratories are taking note.

Commercial 2D-LC has previously transformed small-molecule analysis, usually focused on single-peak heart cutting. Problems remained, however. For example, orthogonal selectivity in the second dimension was limited to using simple heart-cutting LC–LC for single peak transfer. Researchers were challenged by the slow speed of chiral separations, which limited the use of chiral stationary phases (CSPs) as the second dimension, particularly when using the comprehensive mode. Now, however, multiple groups of researchers have proven that chiral separations in either or both dimensions of 2D-LC pharmaceuticals separations produce excellent division of mixtures that were difficult to resolve.

Supporting Mass Spectrometry Evolution

We celebrate these mass spec technology advancements and trust that more are on the way. At this point, mass spec technology permeates every genre of science and is used in a seemingly endless variety of helpful applications.

As mass spec technology evolves, you may find that your lab configuration needs change. Secure and customizable solutions for supporting your equipment are available. Our IonBench MS provides more than adequate support for all MS equipment, and help further the research being done and the advances made. If you know of further mass spec technology advancements we should celebrate here, please contact us today.