Vernier Ships Mini GC for In-Class Chemical Analysis

Students studying chemistry can now analyze compounds using the same technology the pros use. Vernier has introduced the Mini GC, a scaled-down version of a professional gas chromatograph priced to fit school budgets.

Using an advanced MEMS "chemi-capacitive" microchip developed by Seacoast Science, the Mini GC can separate and identify the components of an unknown compound using ordinary room air as a carrier gas (or, optionally, helium or nitrogen). Students can use the product to detect standard molecular structures, including Alcohols, Aldehydes, Ketones, Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Carboxylic Acids, Chlorinated Hydrocarbons, Esters, and Nitriles.

A company spokesperson noted that gas chromatography, while extremely useful as an instructional tool, was generally out of reach for high school chemistry courses, and colleges would have to spend upwards of $10,000 for a professional gas chromatograph. The Vernier Mini GC retails for $1,749 and includes the following:

  • Restek MXT-1 Stainless capillary column;
  • Two spare septa;
  • Hamilton syringe;
  • Power supply;
  • USB cable;
  • Carrying case; and
  • GC lab manual with five tested chromatography experiments.

The Mini GC connects via USB cable to any Mac OS X or Windows computer. Data can be downloaded, analyzed, and recorded using Logger Pro 3 software, sold separately.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.