No Food or Drink is allowed in the NMR laboratory


NMR-Specific Hazards

  1. Strong, static magnetic fields are present at all times
    1. Health risks:
      No MRI means no NMR! If you have a medical condition that prevents you from getting an MRI, including, but not limited to, electronic and metallic surgical implants such as aneurysm clips, pacemakers, LVADs, cochlear implants, insulin pumps, screws, pins, plates, artificial joints, etc. do NOT enter the NMR rooms! Please contact facility staff to discuss how we can provide you with NMR access in a safe manner.
    2. Do NOT bring ferromagnetic objects into the room
      • Piercing hazard: small & pointy items like knives and screwdrivers
      • Crushing hazard: large & heavy objects like gas cylinders and carts
      • Personal injury: jewelry and piercings made with magnetic steel could be strongly attracted to the magnet
        • Test objects of concern with a small bar magnet before going near NMR magnets
    3. May damage electronic and/or magnetic objects
      • Likely to damage gift cards, traditional hard drives (both portable and inside laptops), and analog watches
      • Probably won’t damage credit cards, memory chips (sd cards, solid state drives, thumb drives, etc.), cell phones, smart watches and fully digital watches
      • Some keys and keychains may be attracted to the magnet but as long as you keep them in your pocket they pose no danger.
  2. Cryogens
    1. NMR magnets are cryogenic, persistent superconducting electromagnets that contain:
      • Many miles of superconducting wire
      • 30-150 A of electric current
      • 5-100 L liquefied N2 (expansion ratio 1:670)
      • 30-350 L liquefied He (expansion ratio 1:760)

      Under normal operation the cryogens represent minimal hazard because they evaporate very slowly.

    2. Magnet Quench
      A superconducting magnet quenches when it suddenly transitions from superconducting to resistive operation. A small portion of the wire becomes resistive, which generates heat, which causes more wire to become resistive, which generates more heat and the chain reaction continues until all of the energy stored in the magnet is converted to heat, usually in a matter of seconds. The heat generated by the quench leads to rapid release of large amounts of gases, primarily helium. A quench is a pretty spectacular event so if it happens, you will know. (Here is a video of a 600 quenching). Quenches are extremely rare, but when they do happen they can create a potentially deadly reduction in the oxygen concentration of the room leading to inert gas asphyxiation.
      If you are in the lab during a quench GET OUT, KEEP OUT, CALL US.
      1. Leave the room immediately. There is very little you could have done to cause a quench and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.
      2. If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of asphyxiation call 911.
      3. If you are feeling fine, stay in sight of the door and stop others from entering the room.
      4. Call us on our office phones or the emergency numbers listed on the lab door. If we don’t answer right away, keep calling until you get one of us. We may be able to save over $10,000 in recovery costs if we can get to the magnet soon enough after a quench.


NMR Facility Rules

  1. Access to the NMR facility is a privilege, not a right
  2. You may be temporarily or permanently banned from the facilities if your willful or neglectful behavior or actions endanger the safe and effective operation of the facilities
    These behaviors and actions may include but are not limited to:
    1. lying to us in any shape or form
    2. hiding relevant facts or information from us
    3. helping someone else hide relevant facts or information from us
    4. not informing us of such behavior or actions by others immediately after becoming aware of them
  3. TELL US!!!
    We are responsible for running the facility but we can’t do our jobs if we don’t know what’s going on. We are counting on you to keep us informed of problems and concerns in the facility.
    1. If you break something: TELL US!!!
      • You will not be punished in any shape or form if you are honest with us.
      • You will not have to pay for it.
      • Your advisor will not have to pay for it.

      We just need to know it’s broken so we can fix it.

    2. If something is broken: TELL US!!!
      • Don’t assume we already know. If you find it broken, tell us.
    3. If you think something may be broken but you are not sure: TELL US!!!
      • We would much rather check on something that isn’t broken than ignore something that is.
    4. If you want to break a rule: TELL US!!!
      • And we will gladly break the rule for you if it helps your research. All we ask is that you don’t go behind our backs.
  4. Be considerate to other users. Use the time you need, but remember that you are only one of about 200 people who rely on our facilities to do their research. What you do in the facility affects everyone else. Be kind, be courteous, and if you find someone who is not, let us know.
    A big part of our job—and the best part of our job—is talking to you about your chemistry. You will never “bother” us with your questions and you will probably get useful answers. NEVER hesitate to contact us if you think we may be able to help you with your research.


How to deal with broken sample tubes

Broken glass inside a magnet can cause catastrophic probe damage.

  1. Broken tube OUTSIDE spinner and sample changer/magnet
    This is the best (least bad?) case scenario. A common and easily avoidable cause of these breakages is laying the tube flat on a table top. If the table isn’t perfectly level the tube can roll right off the edge. Be sure to use the tube racks if possible.
    1. CLEAN UP spill and glass!
      Seriously, clean it up. Don’t be a bum and walk away from a mess you made. Glass disposal containers are provided in every lab but you will need to take chemicals over back to your lab.
    2. TELL US that you broke a tube especially if:
      • It’s one of our standards so we can give you a new standard
      • It stinks, so we don’t waste our time trying to figure out where the smell is coming from
      • It left a stain
  2. Broken tube INSIDE spinner but OUTSIDE sample changer/magnet
    The two most common causes of these breakages are sample and spinner rolling off the edge of the table, and a tight fitting tube breaking while being pushed into the spinner. If your tube fits too tight (or too loose) in the spinner, don’t force it. TELL US! We probably need to replace the o-ring in the spinner.
    1. CLEAN UP spill and glass!
    2. Wipe the spill off the spinner but do NOT try to clean the inside.
    3. Do NOT reuse spinner. Glass pieces inside the magnet can cause catastrophic probe damage.
    4. Do NOT leave spinner in the room. Email us or hand it to facility staff.
    5. Use a clean spinner for additional samples.
  3. Broken tube INSIDE a sample changer (Avance700, Avance600, NEO400)
    Broken glass inside a magnet can cause catastrophic probe damage. The two most common causes of these breakages are not adjusting the sample depth correctly (sample too low), and snagging the top of a tube with your sleeve as you reach over the sample changer.
    2. Do NOT attempt to clean or restart the sample changer
    3. TELL US, so we know we need to come in and fix it.
  4. Broken tube INSIDE a magnet
    1. DO NOT PUT ANYTHING INSIDE THE MAGNET! NO sample, NO spinner,  NO standard.
    2. Prevent others from putting anything inside magnet. Leave signs, hide the keyboard, whatever it takes.
    3. Do NOT attempt to clean inside the magnet
    4. TELL US, so we know we need to come in and fix it.
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