Tiny Teardrops™ Aluminum Thermal Beads
A replacement thermal-conductive media for water baths and aluminum heat blocks.
Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity properties and good corrosion resistance. With these properties, small aluminum beads have become a popular substitute for water in a laboratory bath. With this conversion, there are several advantages: Heated bead baths can be left on so they are always ready to use without monitoring and refilling the water. Similarly, cooling buckets can be left in a refrigerator or freezer until needed. Vials or tubes inserted into the aluminum beads are firmly supported and do not tip over or sink, risk of contamination from the water is eliminated, beads are easy to decontaminate and sterilize, and the energy efficiency of heating baths are improved by a factor of 2 to 3.
While spherical-, raisin- or cylindrical-shaped aluminum "beads" are available from other suppliers BioSpec' Products' Tiny Teardrops™ aluminum beads go a step further. Their unique shape permits higher packing densities and 10X greater bead surface-to-bead surface contact for improved heat conduction.
NOTE: Thermal beads are not always a perfect alternative to water. Pros and cons are discussed in an objective "advertorial" on thermal beads sponsored by ThermoFisher Scientific [BioTechniques, Vol 63, Issue 5, p.238-239 (Nov 2017)]. See also "Converting from Water to Aluminum Beads in Lab Baths or Ice Buckets" by Mike May [Lab Manager, Vol.11, No.3, p.63 (2016)]. To summarize: Unlike the uniform properties of a stirred water bath and despite the excellent thermal conductivity of aluminum beads, a stable, depth-dependent temperature gradient will be established in a bath filled with metallic beads. There will be a discrepancy between the bath's gauge temperature and the temperature of the inserted tube. This can be controlled by always keeping a thermometer inserted in the aluminum bead bath and located in the same position as the sample vessel.
- Tiny Teardrops™ Aluminum Beads have a shape similiar to teardrops or raindrops. One end is spherical and the other end comes to a point. The widest part is about 2 mm in diameter. Because of this non-sperical shape they pack tightly around tubes, microtubes, beakers, flasks and bottles, thus providing superior thermal transfer than spherical shaped aluminum beads.
- Packaged by volumes of 1 liter rather than by weight.
- Aluminum beads can be cleaned, dried and sterilized with drug-store 70% isopropanol or washed in DAWN dishwashing liquid, rinsed thoroughly, and dried overnight in a tray placed in a 50 deg C (120 deg F) oven.
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