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Cold trap

  In vacuum applications, a cold trap is a device that condenses all vapors except the permanent gases into a liquid or solid. The most common objective is to prevent vapors from contaminating a vacuum pump. Cold traps also refer to the application of cooled surfaces or baffles to prevent oil vapours from flowing from a pump and into a chamber. In such a case, a baffle or a section of pipe containing a number of cooled vanes, will be attached to the inlet of an existing pumping system. By cooling the baffle, either with a cryogen such as liquid nitrogen, or by use of an electrically driven Peltier element, oil vapour molecules that strike the baffle vanes will condense and thus be removed from the pumped cavity.


Pumps that use oil either as their working fluid (diffusion pumps), or as their lubricant (mechanical rotary pumps), are often the sources of contamination in vacuum systems. Placing a cold trap at the mouth of such a pump greatly lowers the risk that oil vapours will backstream into the cavity.

Cold traps can also be used for experiments involving vacuum lines such as small-scale very low temperature distillations/condensations. This is accomplished through the use of a coolant such as liquid nitrogen or a freezing mixture of dry ice in acetone or a similar solvent with a low melting point.

Cold traps are also used in cryopump systems to generate hard vacua by condensing the major constituents of the atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water) into their liquid or solid forms.

Main article: cryopump
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cold_trap". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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