I was asked to start writing a science blog for work. I’m not sure how much interest there will be, or how interested any of my current readers might be in this info, but I thought I might start sharing them here as well.
A few fun facts and some science knowledge never hurt anyone after all! Currently, the plan is that I’ll post for work weekly. That might taper off, but we have some events coming up and we wanted to drum up some interest and talking points with some customers before the events. I will also be keeping up on my “personal” blog posts….which I have been bad about but hopefully all of this extra blogging will keep me on a schedule!
So….without further ado….I present my new blogging topic–
Common Calibration Conundrums and Other Laboratory Queries
I’m coming at you to discuss some common science questions and issues I get asked in the lab frequently. I thought I would start with a little mini-series on calibration issues, and then hopefully we can move on to other issues and questions you face in the lab on a daily basis.
If there is a specific topic or question you liked me to address, just leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you!
Part 1: When to Calibrate
You should calibrate as often as practically feasible for your laboratory process and timelines! It will not hurt your instruments to calibrate them too often, but it will hurt your results if you do not calibrate often enough.
I know you might think that calibrating often is a waste of time…….and you’re busy…and the plant operators want their results…and the results seem fine so you’ll just ignore recalibrating your instruments until something bad happens.
Just take a minute and think about all the parameters around your instruments that change….even weekly.
Did you consider factors like-
- Did you change mobile phase?
- Standards will gradually degrade over time.
- Wear and tear on the instrument components themselves
Even one of those small changes can compound and lead to catastrophic effects on your results over time.
Calibrating an instrument is a bit like potty training a new puppy. Puppies only know what you tell them. Imagine you tell the puppy one day to go outside. The puppy might remember that knowledge for a day….maybe two. Eventually, if you don’t remind the puppy what good behavior is, that puppy is going to forget. When that happens, you’re going to come home to a disaster zone!!
Instruments only know what area counts corresponds to want concentration because you tell them….with standards and a calibration curve! The instrument might be able to hold onto that curve and that knowledge for a day….or two, but eventually it’s going to drift too far to be accurate. When that happens you wouldn’t be able to supply anyone with valid data, and you’ll end up behind a backlog of samples trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
I’ll be covering more about calibration data in the next couple posts so be sure to keep an eye out for those! In the meantime, if you have any specific questions or you would like me to cover another lab related issue you find yourself facing, don’t hesitate to contact me about it!