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Daniel Knauer
Daniel Knauer used Ask the Experts™
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We recently purchased an ICP instrument from thermo-fisher.  My question has to do with the Argon gas supply.  We purchased one of the very large Argon dewers, and it it lasted for only two weeks.  I was told this has to do with the venting of the dewer, and that this short life was expected.  Is it better to buy the smaller cylinders that do not vent?
I was also told that they recommend keeping the instrument in stand-by mode, and thus constantly Argon purged for the sake of the internal optics of the instrument.  Any experience out there?  Need to get this resolved quickly.
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Do you have a model number for the instrument?

Does it require liquid argon or dry gas?  
I think all dewars need to vent.  Are compressed gas bottles an option?
How long would a standard gas bottle last?  Have you done those calculations?
Have you talked to the manufacturer about your requirements, including an operating scenario, and availability?

What are the consequences of not purging?  Is the instrument destroyed or does it require some warm-time or recalibration when you bring it back on line?
Mechanical Engineer
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Commented:
I know absolutely nothing about inductively coupled plasma instruments, but found some specs for an instrument on line and did some calcs its Argon consumption. If my naive understanding is correct, you would be far better off with a gas cyclinder.

A Thermo Fisher model iCAP RQ ICP-MS (bench top unit) uses a maximum of 10 mL/min of Argon for cell gas supply. If you keep the system in standby mode, that is a consumption of 0.6 L/hr. A size T cylinder holds 9290 L of Argon at STP, while a size K cylinder holds 6880 L. Those correspond to 92 and 68 weeks at 10 mL/min, respectively.
Reasonable research and suggestions for this abandoned question.

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