Lecture bottles are small compressed gas cylinders, typically 12-18 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter.
Inspect the lecture bottle and regulator prior to use. Never use lecture bottles or regulators that are damaged or corroded. (See the Disposal Section for disposal of damaged lecture bottles.)
Corroded valve on a hydrogen chloride lecture bottle.
Only use regulators and tubing that are appropriate for the gas. For example, stainless steel regulators and tubing must be used for corrosive gases. Using the wrong regulator can compromise the gas purity, cause equipment failure and cause injury to laboratory personnel.
Lecture bottles must be properly secured during use and lecture bottles containing hazardous gases (corrosive or poison) must be used in a fume hood or gas cabinet.
Lecture bottle stand available from Sigma Aldrich.
LECTURE BOTTLE STORAGE
Lecture bottles must be stored in an upright position. Lecture bottles stored on their side are more susceptible to damage, corrosion and leaks.
Segregate incompatible gases, such as flammable and oxidizing gases.
Store poisonous gases in a fume hood or a ventilated gas cabinet.
Regulators must be removed during storage. It is a good idea to label the regulator with the gas it is used for to prevent accidental misuse in the future.
Lecture bottles must be properly labeled. Re-label the lecture bottle if the label becomes illegible or falls off.
Example of proper lecture bottle storage:
Lecture bottle holder available from Fisher Scientific or Sigma Aldrich.
Examples of improper lecture bottle storage:
LECTURE BOTTLE PURCHASE AND DISPOSAL
Unlike other gas cylinders, lecture bottles are not refillable and are purchased outright by the laboratory. Most gas manufacturers do not take back lecture bottles.
Lecture bottles are costly to dispose of. Costs for disposal can range from $100 for a non-hazardous, properly labeled lecture bottle to over $1000 for a hazardous or unlabeled lecture bottle. Contact EHRS for disposal of old or unneeded lecture bottles.
Two manufacturers will take back lecture bottles, if they meet certain criteria. Matheson Tri-Gas and Sigma-Aldrich will take back lecture bottles for a fee. The gases must have been purchased from those companies and must be in good condition. The laboratory must have the original purchasing information. EHRS will assist laboratories in returning lecture bottles.
EHRS encourages laboratories to purchase lecture bottles from these vendors, whenever possible.
Contact EHRS immediately if there is a leak involving a hazardous lecture bottle. Evacuate the laboratory if the lecture bottle is not in a fume hood or gas cabinet.
EHRS can be reached at 215-898-4453 (24 hours).
SAFETY ALERT CONCERNING ANHYDROUS HYDROGEN FLUORIDE
Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride reacts over time with the iron in the steel to form iron fluoride and hydrogen. The hydrogen pressure can build up to the point where it ruptures the cylinder.
Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride lecture bottles must be disposed of within 2 years of purchase.
Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride lecture bottle exploded in a chemistry laboratory. Photo courtesy UC Santa Barbara.