High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Tubes

Fine Tubes manufactures a range of specialist stainless steel tubes used to produce high-performance and ultra high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC and UPLC) columns. Our tubes are components in both liquid and gas chromatography columns which are used for analytical and preparative processes across the fields of biochemistry and analytical chemistry.

The control process during manufacture of these tubes is critical in order for them to meet the highest specifications demanded in this area. The percentage Cross Section Area Reduction (% CSAR) through pilgering and drawing is specific to each product’s dimensions and specifications. This is the driver for tolerance control, OD and ID surface finish control, inclusion levels and final grain size. ID surface finish is further refined by passivation, polishing or electro polishing processes. OD surfaces are finished down to 0.1μm (0.25μ") and ID down to 0.2μm (0. 5μ") and 0.1μm (0.25μ") with electro polishing.

We can control the finished temper using a range of work hardening methods which you can specify. Product definition commences at the point of raw material engineering, which is specific to how the tubes will be applied.

Applications

High-performance liquid chromatography tubing made by Fine Tubes offers efficient performance at high operating pressures, in exacting environments. Our tubes are suitable for a full range of analytical applications including:

  • Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC)
  • Hydrophobic Interactive Chromatography (HIC)
  • Ion Exchange Chromatography (IEC)
  •  Affinity Chromatography (AFC)
  • Reverse Phase Chromatography (RPC)

Size Range

Our HPLC products are manufactured using a seamless cold drawn process, and size ranges are typically:

  • Standard bores - 1.0 mm to 4.6 mm (0.079” to 0.182”) ID
  • Semi-preparative bores - 6 mm to 20 mm (0.36” to 0.79”) ID

Profiles and supply form

Tubes are made in round or section profiles, and generally supplied in straight lengths which are precision cut (ECM, laser, radial saw) to lengths you specify.

Surface finish

The condition of the inside surfaces in analytical columns is critical to the performance and peak symmetry achieved. Interaction or drag created by the tube surface during the mobile phase will slow down molecules near the surface while those further away from it accelerate. This ‘wall effect’ can increase band broadening and decrease the efficiency of the column.
The manufacturing techniques we apply to the HPLC/UPLC column tubes are specifically designed to produce an internal surface that minimizes variable migration rates at the packing/column interface. Further benefits are achieved in areas such as column efficiency, tailing and front peaks, avoiding band broadening, small ID sensitivity and increased column length performance.

Cleanliness

The relationship between inclusion metallurgy and product application is clearly understood by Fine Tubes. Inclusion level assessment is also of utmost importance when manufacturing grades to the most demanding standards. Products provided by Fine Tubes far exceed the general assessment standards of ASTM E45 method A, JK and SEP1570 procedures.

Electro polishing

Electro polishing the inside surface of an HPLC or UPLC tube improves the performance of the column. The procedure develops the nature of the surface so that there is optimum performance at the surface interface and surface migration (the wall effect) is kept to a minimum. Other benefits include the removal of residual energy from the tube’s surface and heightened passivation. This further reduces friction or drag in the mobile phase through the column at the interface of the column’s internal surface. Electro polishing achieves surfaces of 0.1μm (0.25μ") and there’s a corresponding improvement in cleanability and corrosion resistance alongside the optimum column efficiency.

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