What are the recommended steps to take to prepare a laboratory pH probe for first use?

Document ID

Document ID TE3859

Version

Version 5.0

Status

Status Published

Published Date

Published Date 04/10/2019
Question
What are the recommended steps to take to prepare a laboratory pH probe for first use?
Summary
Things to check and conditioning steps for pH first use.
Answer
For IntelliCAL™ refillable probes check for an remove any tape on the probe that covers the filling hole. See also: When should the filling hole on a refillable electrode be open or plugged?
IntelliCAL™ PHC101 electrodes also have tape covering the open junctions that needs to be removed. See also: Why is there Orange/Amber colored tape on the IntelliCAL™ probe?

For all pH probes it is recommended that the probe be conditioned before first use. This is especially important for probes that have porus junctions. During the time between manufacturing and when the probe is received the porus ceramic material that makes up the junctions of the electrodes have electrolyte on both sides of the junction (both inside the probe and outside in the storage solution). Normally this is not an issue because during use the electrolyte will flow though the junction keeping the pores clear, however during this time between manufacturing and when the probe is used for the first time there is no flow of the electrolyte to keep the pores of the junction clear. Over this time it is not uncommon that some salt crystals will build up inside the pores of the junction which then restrict the flow of electrolyte so when the probe is used for the first time it will be slow to stabilize, or possibly not stabilize at all. When this happens it's recommended to soak the pH probe in warm pH buffer for 2 hours which helps to dissolve out any salt crystals that may have built up as well as prime the junctions with fresh electrolyte and get the electrolyte flowing through the junctions properly.

See also: How long can a pH probe be stored before first use?

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