Gel dryer

Gel electrophoresis is a very common method in life science laboratories for separation and determination of DNA fragments or proteins. Depending on the nature of the samples, these gels have to be produced with specific separation properties. Vacuum is typically used to gently dry the gels so that they are available for gel electrophoresis, or storage for later usage. Gel dryers make more limited demands on vacuum system than many lab applications. The ultimate vacuum requirement depends on the gels used and the degree of drying needed. In most cases two-stage diaphragm pumps with 7 mbar ultimate vacuum are ideal.

Process requirements

  • medium vacuum requirements
  • relatively high flow rates. There may be high leakage rates in gel drying, so the flow rate should be determined at the operating pressure
  • condensate and droplet separation between the gel dryer and pump
  • vacuum regulation is beneficial to keep the gels from tearing

Pump requirements

  • excellent chemical and condensate compatibility
  • ultimate vacuum as much as 7 mbar or 1.5 mbar
  • sufficient volume flow rate: 2 m³/h or higher
  • vacuum inlet catch pot (AK) recommended to protect the pump from particles and liquid droplets
  • for major condensate accumulation it is helpful to have a vacuum inlet separator (AK) and if necessary one at the outlet, too. An exhaust emission condenser (EK) ideally electronically operated (Peltronic, without coolant) can minimize environmental and laboratory air pollution with solvent vapors
  • vacuum regulation, such as with a manual flow-control valve