Richard Lab:anaerobic chamber

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We use a COY anaerobic chamber. The main function of this chamber is to keep things anaerobic (obviously). As this function is very basic, a little common sense goes a long way it getting things to work properly. This system uses two gas-tanks: one containing pure nitrogen, and the other containing a nitrogen and hydrogen mix (usually 10% hydrogen).

General Guidelines

  1. Proper airlock operation is the key to success.
  2. Don't open the outer door and the inner door at the same time (this should be obvious but apparetly it's not).
  3. If the outer door has been opened (and closed), run the purge cycle (PRESS START) before opening the inner door. It will beep when it's done, and the screen should say "ANAEROBIC"
  4. If the screen does not say "ANAEROBIC", then don't open the inner door. EVER!
  5. If you're placing a container in the chamber, the container shouldn't be airtight the airlock during the purge cycle (i.e. pop the lid). If you forget to do this then you're just using your container to import oxygen into the chamber.
  6. The gloves are the most likely place to get a leak. Treat them nicely.
  7. The hydrogen concentration in the container will always be going down. The is just a fact of anaerobic chamber life. But be assured that this thing NEEDS HYDROGEN to operate.


  1. To place an object in the chamber:
    1. Open the outer door.
    2. Place the object in the airlock (if your object is a container then unseal the lid).
    3. Close the outer door.
    4. Press "START".
    5. Wait for the BEEP and the airlock should now read "ANAEROBIC"
    6. Open the inner door.
    7. Bring the object into the chamber.
    8. Close the inner door (Retighten the container if it is one).
  2. To remove an object from the container:
    1. See if the airlock says "ANAEROBIC". If it does then skip the next step.
    2. If it doesn't, then press "START" and wait for the automatic purge cycle to complete.
    3. Open the inner door.
    4. Place your object in the airlock.
    5. Close the inner door.
    6. Open the outer door and remove the object from the airlock
  • It's not necessary to purge on the way out, unless you're bulemic haha.

Oh crap there's Oxygen in there

  1. Good job idiot, you screwed up (probably true but maybe not).
  2. If the oxygen is low (<1000ppm) then the chamber should be able to take care of itself given enough hydrogen. Give it some time, and see it the oxygen goes down. Be more carefull next time.
  3. If the oxygen is really high then either you really messed up, or there's a leak. First check for leaks. If there's no leak then perform a chamber purge (maintainance section).
  4. To detect a leak:
    1. Find the leak detector and turn it on ALL THE WAY. It will make a horrible noise, so just put it in a drawer and let it go for 2-3 minutes.
    2. Take the leak detector out of the drawer and turn the knob down until it only beeps 1-2 times per second.
    3. Take the microphone looking part and probe for leaks by placing it wherever you think a leak could be. Start with the gloves.
    4. If a leak is detected it will start beeping really fast.
    5. If no leak is detected then congratualtions, you are airlock illiterate. Purge the chamber.


  • Repairing Leaks
  1. Find the leak
  2. If the leak is in a glove then you will have to remove the glove and retape a new one in.
  3. If the leak is in the airlock seal then just clean the seal and the door really well with ethanol. It may also help to apply a thin coat of vacuum grease and then wipe it off. Use a rag to do this and not a paper-towel (that is a complete mess).
  4. If the leak is in the actual body of the chamber (i.e. the chamber has a hole) then call COY customer service. Also go buy a new pillow to cry into, because that's really bad.
  • Purging the Chamber
  1. Turn off the airlock (If your oxygen contamination is only minor, you will want to purge the airlock before you turn it off).
  2. Open the inner door (the outer door should remain closed).
  3. Run three to five cycles of the following:
    1. Deflate the chamber with the vacuum.
    2. Inflate the chamber with the gas (use the mix for the last cycle, but pure nitrogen for all other cycles).
    3. Repeat until the oxygen concentration is below 1000ppm.
  • Changing the Gas-tanks
  • Changing the Catalysts