Is my LC instrument generating high pressure by itself?

We have had several blog posts and articles that discuss high backpressure observed in LC systems. Much of this discussion involves how to determine if the problem is in the column and what to do about it. Here are links to several of these:

The Clog Blog

Building up pressure on HPLC?

Technical Service Red Flags- LC

BUT, wait – what if the problem is not the column? Where is it coming from? Our Technical article here does a great job of discussing all of the possibilities: Diagnosing and Preventing High Back Pressure in LC Systems.

One common source of high backpressure mentioned in the above article is instrument “wear and tear”. Components like pump seals and rotary valves can shed materials, often in the form of what I would call “shavings” that may get into the flow path and become lodged at some point downstream.  A common place for this material to be lodged is on the front of your guard cartridge or (if not using a guard) the inlet of your column. This is one of the reasons it is important to have a preventative maintenance schedule. Something that is also often overlooked is the possibility that this type of particulate may break loose right after a maintenance procedure is performed, such as a seal replacement, valve repair or valve replacement. For that reason, the analyst should completely flush all tubing in the flowpath and check the system pressure before connecting the column. It is also a good idea to inject a series of solvent blanks before connecting the column to ensure everything is working properly.

You might also find the following related resources helpful:

Routine LC Maintenance: Simple Steps to Preventing Unexpected Downtime

Preventing LC Column Clogs (Video)

Do I need an LC Guard Column? (Video)


I hope you found this helpful and thank you for reading.

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