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Why Reusing Flash Cartridges is Bad Science

04 December 2014

Regardless of the cartridge brand used, repeated use of silica flash cartridges results in loss of compound resolution and fraction purity.


To save money on consumables, many chemists choose to reuse silica flash cartridges. This risks purification results because chromatographic separation performance will change from run to run, which reduces purification quality, especially in normal phase flash systems.

Claims are often made that cartridges can be reused. This is true if the separations are relatively simple. Though reusing a silica flash cartridge may reduce the overall cost per purification, the quality of those second and later purifications will not be as good as the first thereby reducing separation efficiency and fraction purity. Biotage® SNAP Ultra silica appears to degrade less than conventional irregular and spherical silica over the same elapsed time.

Chromatogram showing retention and separation loss over three consecutive runs on a Biotage® SNAP Ultra 10 g (left) and a competitor (right). In this case, Brand R  loses the separation between peaks 3 and 4 by the third run.

Related Documents

Why Reusing Flash Cartridges is Bad Science

Part No: PPS356 Published: 2014 1.19 MB Format: pdf