Lab reduces water usage

Asynt reports how the implementation of CondenSyn waterless air condensers throughout the teaching labs at the Department of Chemistry at the College of the Sequoias (Visalia, CA) is benefitting the wider community whilst providing outstanding performance for the students.

Due to ongoing water shortages, California water officials recently had no alternative but to impose new drought rules throughout the state to discourage wasteful water practices. Whilst unaffected by the new regulations, scientists at the College of the Sequoias decided to evaluate an alternative waterless condenser from Asynt, the CondenSyn. The product proved to be the ideal alternative to traditional water condensers previously used for reflux reactions.

The college's proactive investment in 22 CondenSyn waterless condensers has already drastically reduced water usage by the Department of Chemistry and eliminated the risk of lab flooding accidents that are a potentially costly drawback of using water condensers and something that can be difficult to avoid.

Andrea Smith, a chemistry lab technician at the College of the Sequoias, commented “Our area (the central valley of California) has been in drought-like conditions for quite a few years. Households and businesses are under severe water restrictions, having had to reduce water consumption yearly. While the college was not under the same restrictions, it only made sense that we should also strive to reduce our water usage/waste. It was laboratory supply company - Quark Glass - that suggested that the Asynt CondenSyn waterless condensers offered us an elegant eco-friendly but effective alternative to water-cooled condensers.”

She added: “We are currently using the waterless condensers for our teaching labs that require students to perform reflux reactions in water, methanol or ethanol. This semester, we will use them in the preparation of methyl salicylate/oil of wintergreen (an esterification using salicylic acid and sulfuric acid refluxed in methanol), and the preparation of the analgesic benzocaine, another esterification using p-aminobenzoic acid and sulfuric acid in ethanol. Not only are the waterless condensers making the labs eco-friendlier, but they are also saving money as the department’s rate of water consumption has been reduced dramatically. For example, with every single overnight reflux run, a lab can save almost 3,000 litres of water – times that by 20 students and it is around a staggering 60,000 litres. Our students have found the units to be easy to use as there are no water connections to make, we can use them open to atmosphere, and the 19/22 ground glass joints are perfect for our commonly used round bottom flasks”.

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