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Are You Armored?

Are You Armored?

Are you tired of having to clean dingy, moldy waterbaths? Or tired of babysitting the heat block to make sure the temperature stayed where you set it? Well there is a new solution to this problem.

I just recently discovered something called Bath Armor by a company called Lab Armor. I was walking by my co-workers bench and couldn’t help but notice that his heat block was full of these shiny silver raisinette looking beads. I asked what he had and he told me it was a free sample of something called Bath Armor.

Bath Armor replaces water in a heat block or waterbath, doesn’t get moldy, and doesn’t evaporate. It looked really convenient and it covered the microcentrifuge tubes well. And, because it is a pile of beads, it turns a 24 well heat block into a device that can hold many more tubes. I decided to request a sample and try it out.

My sample arrived and I emptied the bag of silver rocks into my small heat block and it was enough to fill it about 3/4 full. I decided to put it to the test and performed an FFPE tissue DNA extraction which has a 1 hr at 90C step that always gives me a trouble. Normally my heat block does not hold at 90C steady and I need to check and adjust it every 5-10 minutes. Invariably it falls below 85C or shoots past 95C during the hour incubation. These Bath Armor beads performed spectacularly.

The block maintained 90C perfectly for the hour and never varied more than 1 degree in either direction. I was actually able to get more work done because I wasn’t babysitting the heat block.

Besides the benefits of increased temperature stability and the cleanliness of using the beads over water, they also look great. The shiny stainless steel appearance provides a clinical look to the heating device. We all love the Bath Armor and plan to switch our baths over to this superior method for heating samples since it requires no maintenance at all.

Since I loved the Bath Armor so much, I ordered the Chill Bucket with their February promo code to get 20% off. What could be more convenient than a never-melting ice bucket that can accomodate any size tube and can hold -20C for up to 8 hours? It can even be used to maintain -80C.

It seems that you rarely come across really unique products that address actual needs in a busy lab and still have the cool factor. Lab Armor hits a homerun with these innovative and helpful products.

Check it out and request a sample of Bath Armor while they still have some left!

11 Comments

  1. Suzanne on December 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Spenyan,
    That was an email promotion they sent out last year to current customers. If you requested a sample of any products, you should be on their list.
    I haven’t received an email from them in a while. Give them a call and ask what promotions they are running right now.
    Best,
    Suzanne

  2. spenyan on December 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Where did you find the 20% coupon?

  3. Jon on July 15, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    What about stainless steel or copper BBs? I know they cost much less than $100/L, and are widely available in big box stores. Copper would be preferential because of it’s germicidal properties and heat conductivity. DK makes a good point for those of us that live near the beach; sand is free!

  4. Suzanne on February 14, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Hi DK,
    I am not so worried about the performance of my heat block since I don’t need it to heat in 30 seconds or less. I just need it to stay constant and it does that.
    We don’t use recirculating water baths either. I just want to warm some tubes. I don’t use fancy waterbaths for that. It depends on what you do I guess whether or not this product is right for you. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. DK on February 14, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Sheesh… What is wrong with filling the heating block wells with sand?

    And, whatever these magic beads are, only fool will believe that the “bead bath” can be comparable in performace to the recirculating water bath. Convenience – yes, uniformity of temperature and the time it takes to change it – no. Simple physics.

  6. Suzanne on February 13, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Hi Kurt,
    I’m not sure what they are made of- I suppose that is a trade secret. I didn’t find it on their FAQ page. I didn’t put them into the holes in the heat block. I took the inner block out (it should lift out) and then filled the holder with beads, so I now have a bed of beads. They are small enough that your tubes are nicely covered and get good heat contact. They are about the size of a raisinette, actually.

    • Scott on April 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Lab Armor is just polished aluminum shot marked up about 5000%. The only trick is finding a supplier that will sell you a kilo or two. Most want to sell you large quantities.

  7. Kurt on February 13, 2009 at 6:18 am

    What material does the Bath Armor consist of? Is it heat conducting, or isolating? The beads look big? Don’t they fill up the holes in the heatblock, so it’s difficult to get in a tube?

  8. Suzanne on February 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    According to their website FAQs, it warms up slower than water (1.5-2.5x slower).

    In our labs, we leave the blocks on all the time so the speed of warm up isn’t a major concern. When I changed my block from 55C to 90C for the FFPE protocol, it went up to speed within a few minutes so I didn’t notice a slower ramp time compared to water. Maybe it is slower for the big water baths.

  9. Theresa on February 12, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Sounds cool. How long does it take to heat up and cool down, compared to water?

  10. meggan wood on February 12, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Great article!! WOW! Great information!!! Thank you, Meggan

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