Vacuum ovens are an essential component of removing absorbed water from solvents and other extracts. Heat combined with the pressure change of a vacuum creates a powerful drying mechanism that can fully dry substances at relatively low heat.
The benefits of vacuum drying have been around for ages. A vacuum oven is a contained chamber that decreases pressure, which in turn reduces the temperature it takes for water to vaporize from a liquid to a gas. The pressure change allows moisture to evaporate and the extract to dry at minimal heat.
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Vacuum Ovens Vs. Conventional Ovens
Beginners often ask, "Why would I spend money on an advanced vacuum oven when I could just use my conventional oven?” The answer is that you could use your conventional oven - if you wanted sub-par throughput. Therefore, you really shouldn’t use a conventional oven. The control over pressure you can have with a vacuum oven is leaps and bounds above what you get with a conventional oven, which is not manufactured with specific processes in mind.
In addition to managing pressure and saving cooling time, a vacuum oven is effective at generating the right environment for curing. The following elements are essential to the function of a vacuum oven:
Removal of moisture
A vacuum oven is most effective for expelling moisture. Sensitive materials have to be dried at the end of the production process to preserve their integrity. In the case of BHO extractions, the heat solidifies terpenes and helps them stay intact.
Outgassing refers to the release of the butane or propane solvent gasses from the extract. A main concern for high-vacuum environments, it also releases chemicals from sealants, lubricants, and even some metals. Outgassing creates and maintains a completely clean environment at high pressures.
Keeping these outgassing outputs contained is also a safety feature. Exposure to solvent gases - whether ingested or in contact with the body - have serious health risks: nausea, vomiting, fainting, and even damage to the liver, lungs, or kidneys if exposure is frequent and/or protracted. When also dressed in correct safety gear (lab coats, goggles, gloves), a vacuum oven keeps workers safe from harmful contaminants.
A bake-out is used to accelerate the outgassing process. The activity and expansion rates of these molecules are highly temperature-dependent. The added heat forces volatile chemicals out of products that would hinder its purity.
Even heating to prevent reactions
In many areas, an even coating is the most advantageous. Painting half a house or more doesn’t signal a quality job done; covering its whole surface area with the appropriate layers completes the look and prevents wear. The same principle can be applied with heat in a vacuum oven. Being able to precisely control the pressure and temperature of the vacuum oven keeps the process uniform and consistent, reducing overall heat loss and amplifying the product’s features. Plus, vacuum ovens have multiple sheeted racks to ensure direct heat is applied to each square inch of the product.
These capabilities give technicians the ability to prevent surface reactions like oxidation. Oxidation occurs when materials are exposed to oxygen for prolonged periods of time and leave an oxide coating, like rust, on metals. For nonmetals, exposure to elevated levels of oxygen will change their composition, similar to the electron exchange that happens when transforming acids and bases. This, in effect, dismisses the point of a closed-loop extraction.
Vacuum ovens have diverse practical uses that transcend industries. In a more scientific, laboratory setting, vacuum ovens have been used in the production of implantable medical devices, satellite and space hardware, and food analysis. The construction industry uses vacuum ovens to wholly cure metals before welding, and the cosmetic/beauty industry benefits from a vacuum oven’s ability to draw essential oils from botanical ingredients.
Which Best Value Vacs Vacuum Oven Would Work for Me?
Best Value Vacs has vacuum ovens that suit multiple curing environments and needs. All BVV vacuum ovens come with a two-year parts and labor warranty. Ovens should be used for legal purposes only and in a well-ventilated area.
Our Lab Series Ovens are designed for those looking to deploy full-scale, sustained drying operations. All Lab Series ovens (offered in .9, 1.9, 4.2 and 7.5CF) are the most accurate ovens, each with modified heating coils to improve temperature uniformity by over 30 percent. Improved powdered-stainless interior, oven rails, and a touchscreen controller for more specific time and delay start runs completes each oven’s simple operation.
Additional features of Lab Series ovens include:
- Guaranteed industry standards of losing less than 1” Hg over a 24 hour period
- Welded steel vacuum lines for highest possible vacuum level
- Two percent temperature uniformity across all shelves with offering ±1⁰ stability in temperature
- Oil-filled vacuum gauge for high accuracy and reliability
- Maximum number of newly designed shelves for easy removal and insertion
- Necessary clamp, adapter, and gasket with a female flared HVAC hose, USA power cord and the oven operation manual
The most extensive list of ovens and oven accessories can be found under Best Value vacuum ovens. The Best Value ovens help create a reliable, deep vacuum that reaches below 0.1 torr and features stainless steel compression fit tubing and valves. Maximum shelving options are available, which offer heat at seven percent temperature uniformity across all shelves and ±1⁰ stability in temperature. Individually heated shelves also work to create consistency. With a well-lit interior and remote control pressure capabilities, the process is again made simple.
As with all BVV vacuum ovens, included in your kit is: a KF-25 clamp, adapter, gasket, am5' 37⁰ female flared HVAC hose, USA power cord, and oven operation manual.
Our Pro Series Degassing ovens utilize advanced PID temperature controllers that deliver consistent and accurate heat for your application. The ovens’ accuracy is +/- .5C temperature stability under vacuum, with a +/-3°F temperature stability when not under vacuum and in a room that is 77F during operation. The absence of air molecules within the chamber provides little heat conduction, giving the user optimal temperature stability. This oven is vacuum tested for leaks and is put through a set of rigorous temperature ramps to verify temperature stability.
Some additional key features of these ovens are the following:
- Stainless Steel Interior
- Instrumentation Valves
- Gas Inlet Port
- KF25 Vacuum Port (Hosing, Clamp, and Valve Included)