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Uwe: We degas the aqueous buffer and also use an in-line degasser on our HPLC.
Yes, it is true that we do get pH drift but I would think that this would only effect RT, if anything, and RTs are relatively stable.
What I am concerned about is the short lifetime of our columns. We've busted 3 columns in three months and each one shows the same characteristics - peak shouldering, followed by pressure increase. In one case, we've had to replace a column after only one week of use. Since then we've switched from Xterra to Xbridge and the situation is still problematic. I can only conclude that it is the buffer or maybe incompatibility between buffer and analyte.