Information on Vycor® Glass





Vycor® is the registered trademark of Corning, Inc.   More information is available at their website. Click here for their info-page on Vycor® glass.

Small quantities of Vycor® glass, suitable for use as frits for reference electrodes or auxiliary electrode bridge tubes are available from Gamry , PAR (as G0100 or G0070) or from BAS (as MF-2064). These kits also contain lengths of teflon heat-shrink tubing. Vycor® rods can be obtained from Koslow Scientific. There is also more technical information about Vycor® on that web site. 

Small quantities of Vycor® can also be economically purchased through Advanced Glass and Ceramics.

Notes about replacing a reference electrode (or other) Vycor frit are available from Gamry.

Vycor® glass is much more prone to attack by base than is soft glass. For prolonged exposure to base, porous polyethylene frits are available from PAR (as G0194). Care must be taken, however, to keep the polyethylene from melting (and closing the pores) when the heat-shrink tubing is heated!

A Substitute for Vycor Frits in Basic Solutions?

A substitute for Vycor has been proposed. Yee and Chang (Ref 1) suggest using a cylindrical piece of molecular sieve instead of Vycor. The same heat-shrink tubing can be used to affix the molecular sieve to the glass body of the reference electrode. Many commercial molecular sieves are available as 1/8 inch diameter pellets -- the same size as the commonly used Vycor frit.

According to the authors, the molecular sieve is stable in strong base, strong oxidizing agents, and organic solvents. However, continued exposure to strong acids should be avoided. The authors also tested the impedance of molecular sieve-frits and found it to be 500-1000 ohm in 3 M KCl, low enough that potentiostat stability is not compromised. The leak rate is said to be 2 uL/h. It appears to be nearly the ideal solution to the problem, without polyethelene's problem of melting!

I have tried this type of frit recently and it seems to work well. It has the added advantage that it re-wets easily after it has been stored dry. That makes it an excellent candidate for a frit at the end of a bridge tube or salt bridge. Unlike a reference electrode, these are often stored dry.




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(1) "A simple junction for reference electrodes'", S Yee, O-K Chang, J. Chem. Educ. 65 (1988) 129.






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