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Schlenk Line - Installation


Setting up a Schlenk line is not as difficult as you may fear! Below are easy steps and some hints on how we set up Schlenk lines in the Inorganic facility at the Molecular Foundry. Everyone does this slightly differently and the order doesn't matter much, but these are the basics:


Step 1. Secure the manifold on a support lattice ("Monkey bars")

Tip - I like to screw these down using a piece of metal to help distribute the weight. I also like to use a piece of rubber to prevent the screws from scratching the glass. The rubber can be as simple as a cut pieces of rubber septa.









Step 2. Fully insert the black keys by twisting clockwise.


Tip - if you twist too tightly and the key continually moves instead of catching and stopping, you will need to replace it. This is a common cause of leaks within the set-up.



Fully inserting the keys by twisting clockwise will close that portion of the line. Unless the key is actively in use it should remain in the closed position. The key is opened by twisting slowly counter clockwise.





Step 3. Attach tubing

Tip - be sure to select the appropriate thickness! A thick wall is required for vacuum or else the tubing will collapse





Tip - when using Tygon or PVC tubing, hold the end in a vial of acetone for about five seconds, then immediately and carefully slide the softened/slimy tubing over your glassware and hold it in place until the tubing adheres to the glass of the manifold. This takes ~15 seconds and no clamps or ties are required.

(The standard black vacuum tubing degrades and doesn't work well with this trick.)




Step 4. Attach vacuum gauge and bubbler

It doesn't matter if the top or bottom of your line is set up as vacuum or gas, just BE SURE YOUR VACUUM GAUGE IS ON THE SAME LINE AS YOUR VACUUM PUMP ON THE OTHER SIDE!

A
t the Foundry we use heavy mineral oil in all of our bubblers. There are many choices for bubblers, but this one is the simplest to use.








Step 5. Attach vacuum trap, vacuum pump
, and tubing for the gas line

The vacuum lines are the trickiest part because the tubing required is wide and can be difficult to handle. Be extra careful when securing this tubing so that your hands don't slip and break the glass on the manifold.

Tip - be sure the two glass pieces of your trap are already connected before setting it up on your line. If not, you WILL break or crack the inner tube of the trap! It happens every time.





Step 6. Check gas flow
Close all keys/valves to the gas line and slowly turn on your gas (nitrogen, argon, etc.). You will know the set-up is okay when the gas is on and you see gas bubbles in your bubbler.

Step 7. Leak check
Securely close all keys/valves to the vacuum line and turn on your vacuum pump. Know that pump-down time varies between pumps, and in some cases the best vacuum will not be achieved for a good thirty minutes (when the vacuum pump is nice and warm). The lower the pressure the better your vacuum. Your gauge should read about 60microns or better without liquid nitrogen surrounding the trap.
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