How is nitrogen used in pharmaceutical products and laboratories?
The quality and effectiveness of pharmaceutical products is critical to the industry and its' users. To ensure the quality stays intact, nitrogen is used for both packaging purposes and other processes inside of laboratories.
Because nitrogen is an inert gas, it is often used to exclude or push oxygen out of certain areas, packages and containers.
Pharmaceutical products are no exception. Nitrogen is flushed into the packaging of various medicine to extend the shelf life and to ensure the quality of the final product. Having a nitrogen generator on-site is ideal for pharmaceutical packaging to always have constant access to high-purity nitrogen. This prevents downtime and also ensures that the necessary purity level (99.999% in this application) is readily available.
Often in pharmaceutical or medical facilities, certain areas are blanketed with nitrogen to force out the majority of the oxygen. This greatly reduces the risk of combustion and fire, as well as preventing any equipment from rust, corrosion and oxidation in an industry where sterile and cleanliness is crucial.
Laboratories In labs, nitrogen is often used for more complex processes such as analyzing chemicals, or the transportation of certain chemicals. Chromatography is a laboratory analytical technique used for the separation of a mixture. It is used for establishing the presence or measuring the relative proportions of analytes (sample of interest) in a mixture. Liquid chromatography (LC) is a separation technique in which the mobile phase is a liquid. Liquid chromatography is often combined with another process called mass spectrometry (MS), which is an analytical chemistry technique that helps identify the amount and the type of chemicals present. The combination of these two processes is referred to as LC-MS. Nitrogen is used for 3 phases during LC-MS:
As a nebulizer gas to produce a mist of charged droplets which result in the separation of the solvent and the ionized sample.
As a carrier gas to spray the sample solution into a heater where ionization occurs
As a curtain gas to facilitate the separation of sample and solvent ions and to prevent passage of solvent into the vacuum chamber of MS.
This LC-MS process requires a minimum of 95% nitrogen purity and sometimes up to 99%. Nitrogen is beneficial in this process because impurities in your gas can significantly compromise the accuracy of your analysis and cause major inaccuracies and problems with analytical equipment. Nitrogen also reduces the levels of oxygen and water significantly, thus extending the working life of chromatography columns. This saves on column replacement cost and downtime.
Nitrogen is crucial to the quality, shelf-life and processes within pharmaceutical facilities and laboratories. Pneumatech's onsite gas generators are ideal for providing constant access to high-purity, high-quality nitrogen. You can browse our full range of nitrogen generators HERE.