Torch Care & Servicing

Torch care - a torch with a melting outer shield.
A torch with a melting outer shield.

Torch Care Tips Precision Glassblowing

Proper torch care and servicing are critical to ensure optimal performance and longevity of this essential component of your ICP instrument. In this article, we will share some tips and best practices from Precision Glassblowing, a leading manufacturer of high-quality glassware for analytical chemistry.

Avoid Contamination

The first and most important rule of torch care is to avoid contamination. Contamination can come from various sources, such as dust, dirt, oils, solvents, or acids. Contamination can affect the optical properties of the quartz, cause devitrification (the loss of glassy structure), and increase the risk of cracking or breaking.

To prevent contamination, Precision Glassblowing follows strict protocols throughout the production process. From the glassblower to the quality control technicians to the shipping department, everyone wears cotton or latex gloves and avoids touching the outer and inner shields of ICP torches. The torches are also cleaned and rinsed with deionized water (15 megohm or greater) using a state-of-the-art DI water system.

You should follow similar precautions when practicing torch care in the lab. Never touch the outer shield of an ICP torch with your bare hand. Also, do not rinse a dirty torch in water, detergent, or acid solution. This may cause thermal shock and breakage due to the heating and cooling cycle inherent to ICP operation.

Avoid Cleaning

Another common question that customers ask is how to clean their torches. While some customers swear by various methods such as hot aqua-regia, cold aqua-regia, sonication, or baking, Precision Glassblowing recommends that torches not be cleaned at all. This may sound counterintuitive, but the truth is that cleaning can do more harm than good. The constant strain of temperature changes and solvents used for cleaning can shorten the lifespan of a torch.

Of course, there may be situations where cleaning is necessary due to poor performance. In that case, Precision Glassblowing suggests baking the torch in a muffle furnace at 500 C for 30 minutes, followed by a simple rinse with DI water (15 megohm or greater). This is the best way to remove any deposits or contaminants without damaging the quartz structure.

Spider Cracking Outer Shield
Spider Cracking Outer Shield

Consider Repairing

If your torch breaks or cracks, you may think that you have to buy a new one. However, there is another option that can save you money and time: repairing. Precision Glassblowing offers a repair service for quartz torches that can restore them to their original condition. Repairing is a cost-effective option that can extend the life of your torch and reduce waste.

To learn more about Precision Glassblowing’s repair service, click here. You can also talk to your sales representative for more information.

Torch repair by an expert glassblower at Precision Glassblowing.
Torch repair courtesy of the expert glassblowers at Precision Glassblowing of Colorado.

Trust Precision Glassblowing

Precision Glassblowing is committed to providing the highest quality glassware available for analytical chemistry applications. We use only the best quartz and borosilicate materials and never compromise our quality standards for the sake of saving a few dollars. Our dedicated R&D staff and glassblowers are constantly researching new production methods, ensuring that their quality remains among the highest in the industry.

When you buy glassware from Precision Glassblowing, you can be sure that you are getting the best product for your instrument. Check with your glassware distributor to make sure that you are receiving Precision Glassblowing glassware. For additional information about our quality standards, materials, or product information, please call or email us.