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Using Packaging For Scientific Research – The Packaging Doctor

By Carl Board • Monday 25th November 2013

The Surgery Is Now Open

Packaging Doctor

Dear The Packaging Doctor,

I am a research scientist currently exploring marine life. My study involves me collecting silt from the sea bed to survey the microbes and organisms that inhabit the silt. Currently I use a long funnel pipe with metal fingers that push in to the sea bed and push the silt in to the funnel. However, there is a problem with this method in that the silt is being lost from the funnel on retrieval.

I know this isn't exactly a typical packaging question but I have seen some weird things on here so thought I would see just how good you are!

Thanks and Best, Michael

Hi Michael,

I do love a challenge! Having not seen the instrument you use this is a tricky one however it seems that you need something that will protect the top of the funnel to stop the silt from falling out the top when you pull it back from the out of the sea.

I would suggest using lay flat tubing in the funnel, the material is flexible enough to push it around the conical shape and slightly inside the pipe. You can then use a heat-sealer to secure the top of the tubing, which will form a large and long bag. Now, when you start to collect the silt, simply tilt it to an angle - the majority of the silt will then flow down the pipe and in to the bag. This will effectively serve two purposes, the first solves your problem of losing valuable evidence and the second means you now have a transparent, strong bag which can be heat sealed at the other end. This is useful for furthering your research in terms of keeping samples of the silt, and transporting it to other laboratories or your office.

Challenge Accepted, The Packaging Doctor

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Carl Board

Carl Board

25th November • 2013