Using Deionised Water for Lab Experiments
If you’ve ever spent time in a lab, you’ll have noticed that while regular tap water is usually healthy to consume, it isn’t used at all with highly sensitive lab equipment. This is because all ionic impurities and minerals need to be removed from the water in order to encourage precise data from any tests, formulas, calibrations or cleanings.
Certain impurities, like suspended particles, dissolved organic and inorganic solids, dissolved gases, microorganisms and more, can interfere with chemical processes and render lab activities useless. Especially when almost all lab specific purposes are to prepare various solutions, which require the purest of water as a base.
Distilled or Deionized Water?
There are two common processes used to remove these impurities from water for labs. These methods are known as distillation and deionisation. Distillation is when liquid is purified through the process of boiling it and then capturing the steam in order to condense the cleansed vapours. It takes approximately 5 gallons of water to create 1 gallon of distilled water. Deionisation, on the other hand, removes minerals and ions through a chemical process.
So when do you know which one to use in the lab? It’s easy:
- Distilled water should be used when performing reagent preparation, as a calibration standard or analytical bank, as well as cleaning testing equipment and to make High Purity Water.
- Deionised water for lab use is more practical when an application requires a soft solvent. For example, cooling applications due to the lack of mineral deposits left behind by deionized liquid. It’s also considered best for cleaning glassware.
It’s important to know when they can or can’t be substituted. For example distilled water can be substituted for demineralised water, but not vice versa under any circumstance. It’s also critical to partner with a trusted supplier of demineralised water, who has a proven record for a reliably pure supply, for all of your lab requirements. These biotechnical service technicians can easily advise on the best solution for your needs and the most cost-effective approach.
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