Maintaining your Agilent GC and GC/MS Systems .Maintaining Your Agilent GC and GC/MS Systems

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  • Maximize your efficiency. Minimize your downtime.Get the results you need.

    Maintaining your Agilent GC and GC/MS Systems

    Operate your lab at peak performance

    Troubleshoot difficult problems

    Select the right Agilent supplies

    Plan preventative maintenance


    This icon denotes a video that is available to view on our website.Just visit to view how-tovideos and obtain more information.

    1 800 227 9770

    Maintaining Your Agilent GC and GC/MS SystemsMaximize your efficiency. Minimize your downtime.Get the results you need.

    2 Gas Management3 Gas Types

    4 Contaminants & Purities

    4 Gas Purification Systems

    12 Regulators

    13 Tubing

    14 Leak Detection

    15 Flow Rates

    18 Sample IntroductionConsumables & GC InletsSample Introduction

    19 Vials

    21 Syringes

    Inlet Types

    26 Packed-Column

    28 Split/Splitless

    31 Cool On-Column

    34 Programmed TemperatureVaporizer PTV

    Inlet Accessories

    36 Septa

    42 Ferrules

    47 Liners

    52 Flip Top Inlet Sealing System

    54 Parts & Supplies

    56 Columns57 Column Maintenance

    57 Column Selection

    58 Column Installation/Setup& Conditioning

    59 Column Performance

    63 Columns Types andCharacteristics

    68 Detectors69 Flame Ionization Detector (FID)

    Thermal Conductivity Detector(TCD)

    72 Electron-Capture Detector(ECD)

    74 Thermal Conductivity Detector(TCD)

    76 Flame Photometric Detector(FPD)

    78 Nitrogen-Phosphorus Detector(NPD)

    82 GC/MS Systems83 Maintaining Mass Selective

    Detectors (MSDs)

    87 Mass Spectrometer Symptoms

    88 Ion Source

    93 Vacuum Systems & Pumps

    96 Electron Multipliers &Replacement Horn

    97 Maintaining the MS Engine

    99 Ion Source Parts & Supplies

    100 General GC/MS Supplies

    101 Test & Performance Samples

    104 Services & Support105 Expert Service, Training

    & Support

    Dont MissGC Maintenance Schedule (inside back cover)

    Our GC and GC/MS Maintenance Guide puts nearly 40 years of Agilent knowledge at your fingertips.

    At Agilent Technologies, we understand that many of todays labs face the challengeof operating with a reduced staff. Thats why were committed to bringing you theworlds best GC and GC/MS systems plus the critical information you need to keepthem running properly.

    In this newly updated Maintenance Guide, we share everything from essential serviceschedules to invaluable troubleshooting tips and problem-solving methods.

    Weve even included easy guides to help you order Agilent parts and supplies which have 40 years of high quality and technical experience built right in. So you cankeep your downtime to a minimum, and get the results you need.


    This icon denotes a helpful hint that provides useful information you can find throughout this guide and online at

  • Gas ManagementThe use of quality carrier gases is essentialfor consistent and accurate GC analyses.Proper gas management is key to achievingthis goal. Agilent provides a diverse line ofhigh quality gas management products gas purifiers, regulators, leak detectors and flowmeters all designed to preventcolumn damage, improve detector life, andimprove the quality and consistency of yourGC separations. This section explains howcommon contaminants like oxygen, moistureand hydrocarbons can damage your GCcolumn, and helps you understand how toprevent it. Also, look for practical informationabout regulators, the importance of clean GC-tubing, and minimizing the likelihood of GC system contamination.

    Gas management is more than just selecting the highest quality carrier gas available. Its about selecting the appropriate carrier gas for your needs,and taking steps to prevent system contamination. Agilent understands this and provides products that make gas management easy to implement in your lab.

    Kenji YamaguchiApplications Support Manager


    For a complete selection of gas management supplies, see Agilents2005-2006 Essential Chromatography Catalog. Or, visit our onlinecatalog at 800 227 9770 2

  • 3 800 227 9770


    Gas Types

    Carrier GasesThe most frequently used carrier gases arehelium and hydrogen, although nitrogenand argon can be used. Purity is essentialfor these gases since they sweep thesample through the column where it isseparated into its component parts andthen through the detector for componentquantification. Carrier gas purity is alsocritical to prevent degradation ofchromatographic hardware.

    Contaminants in carrier gases can have a significant effect on column life andsubsequent analyte detection. Harmfuleffects of impure gases includecontaminant peaks and elevated column

    bleed, along with column and/or detectordamage. The following sections describethe gases and purities that are necessaryfor gas chromatography carrier gases, aswell as other support gases.

    Support GasesSupport gases may be specific fordetectors or for applications. These gasesinclude fuels, oxidants, coolants, detectorgases, and pneumatic gases. The degree of purity required for support gases isdependent on how that gas is being used,and whether or not it will make contactwith the sample. Coolant gases (carbon

    dioxide) and pneumatic gases (air ornitrogen) generally do not come in contactwith the sample or detector. Therefore,these non-contact gases do not have to be the highest purity available.

    Fuels, oxidants and detector gases, in mostcases, do come in contact with the sampleand detector, and require higher puritygases. Unfortunately, gas nomenclature asit relates to purity is not consistent acrossspecialty gas suppliers. It is important torecognize the impurities in your gassuppliers products, and to utilize theappropriate Agilent gas purificationproducts (see next section).

    Sample Gas Type Function Contact Purity Required*

    Air Pneumatics No Low Grade

    Nitrogen Pneumatics No Low Grade

    Limit of Detection required:

    Trace (0-1 ppm) 1-1000 ppm 1000 ppm-1% 1%-100%

    Hydrogen Carrier or fuel gas for detector Yes Research Ultra-Pure Ultra-Pure UHP/Zero

    Hydrogen/Helium Mix Fuel gas for detector Yes Research Ultra-Pure Ultra-Pure UHP/Zero

    Methane/Argon Carrier or make-up or Nitrogen for ECD Yes Research Research Research N/A

    Air Oxidant for detector No Ultra-Pure Ultra-Pure UHP/Zero UHP/Zero

    Nitrogen, Helium, Carrier or or Argon make-up gas Yes Research Ultra-Pure Ultra-Pure UHP/Zero

    *Purities of gases depend upon the type of detector that is used. Use this table as a general guide only and refer to your detector manual for specific gas purities that are needed.Low Grade = Specialty or industrial gases (99.998%)UHP/Zero Grade (99.999%)Ultra-Pure Grade (99.9995%)Research Grade (99.9999%)

    Carrier and Support Gases

  • 800 227 9770 4


    Contaminants in gases are majorcontributors to capillary columndegradation and detector noise, and can interfere with chromatographic results. Concentration of thesecontaminants vary by the grade of gas.

    Analytical gases are available in manygrades of quality, from high purity(99.995%) to chromatography grade purity(99.9995+%). The higher the purity, thehigher the cost.

    Identifying ContaminantsTo make a proper purity choice it is helpful to understand the contaminantsmost common in GC gases and how they can affect your analysis. Commoncontaminants are:

    Hydrocarbons and Halocarbons

    decrease detector sensitivity byincreasing detector background noise

    can also cause baseline drift or wander,contaminant peaks, and noisy or highoffsets of baselines

    Moisture can be introduced by improper handling

    and/or installation of plumbing

    a common cause of column stationaryphase degradation

    can damage instrument

    Oxygen most common contaminant

    a common cause of column stationaryphase and inlet liner degradation

    can cause decomposition of labileanalytes

    opportunity for introduction at everyfitting present in the gas line or duringuse of gas permeable tubing.

    In some cases it may be difficult todetermine which contaminant presents the biggest problem in a given analysis. Ifunsure, a call to your gas supplier may behelpful. Once the problem contaminantshave been identified and a generalcontaminant level is determined, the nextstep is to choose a gas purity level thatcomes closest to these requirements.

    Keep in mind that higher grades of gasgenerally cost more. The greatest costsavings can be achieved by using thelowest purity gas which will neitherinterfere with the analysis nor damage your equipment. Using the proper gaspurification equipment to remove commoncontaminants and achieve the desiredpurity level is essential.

    Agilent brings the highest performance and largest variety of gas purifiers (traps) to gas chromatographers. Purifiers areavailable in a variety of sizes andconfigurations to remove commoncontaminants like oxygen, moisture, and hydrocarbons. In-line gas purifiers,including refillable, indicating, S-shaped,and metal body types, are made to removespecific contaminants. Agilent also offersgas purification systems with removablecartridges. These systems provide theability to design the right combination of filters needed for your application toachieve the proper gas purity.

    The illustration on the next page shows the most common gas purificationconfigurations used in gas chromatography.

    Regardless of which purification system is