Plumbing & Fleet Farm

This week was devoted to fixing the leak in the MiniStat used to control the temperature for the liquid cell. There was a leak emanating out of the connection between the thermal coil (the big copper thing) and the tubing connecting it to the MiniStat. The liquid emerging was yellowish in hue, so we thought it had to the thermal fluid from the liquid bath. I spent Saturday morning disassembling the entire contraption (sorry, I mean instrument), and cleaning it, managing to make a little bit of a mess (I also learned firsthand that Styrofoam cannot be used as a container for thermal fluids, it was an awesome time). As I was taking of the piping from the thermal coil, I noticed that the connecting nosel on the thermal coil rotated as I attempted to unscrew it from the tubing, and to my surprise came off readily from the thermal coil. Assuming this was the source of the leak, I continued to clean the piping, and tried to think of a way to reattach it. I decided using gorilla glue would do the job, and went on a lunch time break to acquire the material I needed. I had the wondrous joy of maddeningly searching through the agricultural industrial complex that is a Mills Fleet Farm for such obscure items such as sand paper, glue, and zip-ties. After about an 1h and 30min I managed to exit the Fleet Farm, deeply saddened, and emotionally exhausted, and returned back to the lab.

I sanded the piping and cleaned it, attaching the nosel to the thermal coil with the gorilla glue. I let it sit until the next day to dry. I then attempted to reattach the piping and replace the fiberglass insulation. To my horror, while attaching the pipe to the reattached nosel, the seal broke. I proceeded to finish attaching the piping and then reapplied the gorilla glue, and again let it sit for 24h. I tested it today, letting the pump run for 5 hours at 5C, and found no leakage. I hope the same applies for a high temperature bath! I would highly advise against removing or unscrewing the piping from the reattached nosel in the future for fear that the seal would break again. Given this, we could find more secure ways to ensure the attachment.

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