Michael Scott Long
Received a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Penn State.
Updated on: July 31, 2018

Compatible Chemicals For Your Syringe

Chemyx programmable syringe pumps are widely used in modern materials, pharmaceutical, and energy research. We want you to obtain consistent, reliable data from our pumps. To do so, you will need to properly care for your syringe; in particular, ensure that your solvent/media is fully compatible. Using incompatible solvents may contaminate your solvent, introduce error into your experimental results, and reduce the lifetime of the syringe.

Here, we have prepared a brief solvent-compatibility guide for common syringe assemblies. These are only general guidelines; we recommend checking online resources to confirm compatibility with your specific media. The following is a thorough chemical compatibility resource here.

Syringe Assembly Components

Syringe assemblies consist of a plunger, barrel, and needle/hub. Additionally, an adhesive joins the hub of the needle to the needle shaft. Your solvent must be compatible with all of these components.

 

Plunger

The plunger uses a pressure differential to help expel or draw in your solvent. Common plungers are constructed of stainless steel or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE; e.g., Teflon). Both of these materials are generally chemical-resistant.

Note that the head of the plunger may consist of rubber. If your plunger head consists of rubber, we recommend that you avoid contact of the head with your solvent, since common solvents (e.g., acetone and hexane) generally corrode common rubbers.

Syringe Barrel and Needle/Hub

The syringe barrel holds your solvent until expulsion from the syringe. Common syringe barrels are constructed of glass, acrylics, or stainless steel. Glass barrels have no common chemical incompatibility issues, aside from prolonged exposure to strong bases (e.g., sodium hydroxide).

Acrylic-based syringe barrels/needles are not as robust to solvent exposure compared to glass. Any solvent that dissolves acrylate (or acrylic acid) should be avoided. Common incompatible solvents include tetrahydrofuran (THF) and methanol/ethanol. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, stainless steel (syringe barrel and needle/hub) is generally chemical-resistant.

Adhesive

An adhesive joins the hub of the needle to the needle shaft for a tight seal. The choice of adhesive (commonly epoxy- or acrylate-based) depends on the composition of the hub (e.g., PTFE, glass, and so on). Typically, to obtain a strong bond that resists high push–pull forces and chemical attack, manufacturers UV-cure the adhesive. However, the adhesive may not withstand prolonged exposure to chemical solvents. Halogenated solvents (e.g., chloroform) are particularly problematic.

Storage

Syringe assemblies are commonly compatible with many substances on short-term exposure. When your syringe is not in use, we may recommend a thorough rinse in water or a fully compatible organic solvent, to avoid deposition or corrosion.

Syringe Assembly ComponentConstituent MaterialChemical Incompatibility Notes
PlungerStainless SteelGenerally compatible
PTFE (e.g., Teflon)Generally compatible
RubberReadily corroded
Syringe barrel and needle/hubGlassAvoid strong bases (e.g., sodium hydroxide)
AcrylicsAvoid substances that dissolve acrylate/acrylic acid (e.g., tetrahydrofuran, methanol, ethanol)
Stainless SteelGenerally compatible
Hub/barrel adhesiveUV-cured epoxy or acrylate derivativeAvoid halogenated solvents (e.g., chloroform)

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