Common laboratory glass equipment and their uses

In school, a lot of us have learned the different equipment used in the laboratory but I’m pretty sure not everyone knows the specific function of each and every science instrument. Let’s talk about the common laboratory glass equipment and their uses.

  • Beaker – one of the most popular science instrument in a laboratory. It is used to measure liquid substances since it has a measurement of milliliter or liters. This cylindrical equipment is also used to mix or stir chemicals for experiment. It is also available in plastic material but unlike the glass beaker, it can’t be used in heating. Beakers come in different sizes and not all has a small spout.
  • Graduated cylinder – like beakers, it is used to measure the quantity of liquids but this equipment is proven to be more accurate. It is also cylindrical in shape but taller and narrow compared to a beaker.
  • Erlenmeyer flask – One of the most commonly used instruments in chemical experiments. This glass tool is used for heating and boiling liquids. The quality of this glassware is safe for direct heat and perfect storage for some substances.
  • Test tubes – may be the most affordable laboratory equipment and can be found easily in most lab tool suppliers. Test tubes are used to measure volumes of liquids, burn or heat both liquid and solid solutions and can also hold and store substances or samples temporarily when it has a screw cap that serves as cover.

These are just some of the popular laboratory apparatuses and not everything is made of glass. Some are made of plastic but not used for heating or strong chemicals. Nowadays, most laboratory glassware are made of borosilicate glass which is resistant to thermal stress. Meaning, this type of glass cannot easily break when being heated or when chemicals react.

How to maintain laboratory freezers

Freezers, chillers and refrigerators are important in a laboratory. These appliances are used to store specimen and samples to be preserved. Not all samples collected for instance as blood can stand room temperature so it is necessary to be kept in a cold storage like a blood bank refrigerator.

Laboratory refrigerators must be checked once in a while in order to maintain the appropriate temperature needed for medical use. The condition of the freezer or ref is vital to the safety of the samples stored. Therefore, hiring professionals to monitor the laboratory equipment such as the refrigerator regularly is highly recommended.

Vaccines, blood products and pharmaceutical stocks must be stored properly. The laboratory refrigerators are not ordinary appliances we use at home or other establishments. These freezers and chillers are hygienic and continually maintain a constant temperature even if you open the door. These also have compartments for appropriate keeping of samples, medical supplies and vaccines to avoid contamination.

In some laboratories, they use “Explosion Proof” fridge for risky chemical and flammable substances. This kind of refrigerator is designed to prevent destructive burning and outburst by using less electrical hardware which can cause accident since fire hazard chemicals and solutions are stored.

Designs and sizes of lab fridges vary. Some has a single door but the bigger ones has sliding doors. Most of the refrigerators are made of metal and can be mounted on the wall or under the existing cabinets. Small clinics or laboratories can choose the smaller freezer or chiller that would fit the area but the standard or large refrigerators are more recommended in order to avoid lab ref failure.

How to ensure safety in the laboratory

Working in a laboratory looks fun and interesting but most of us do not know how hazardous it is to deal with chemicals and other substances. Here are some laboratory essentials that we must use to protect ourselves from any danger in case of accident:

  • Safety glasses or goggles – These are used to shield your eyes from any chemical splashes, explosions or tiny particles that may irritate during experiments. The goggles are good substitute to the glasses since it is safer to use due to enclosed sides and has adjustable straps for more comfortable movements.
  • Gloves – These are important to protect your hands from corrosive substances. You have to choose a chemical resistant pair that fits you very well. Some gloves are made of latex which are okay but not as thick as other materials. It is necessary to wash hands after handling solutions even if you are wearing a pair of gloves. Used gloves must be disposed properly too.
  • Respirator / Vapor Mask – Some chemicals are harmful when breathe in and may cause fainting. In order to not inhale any substance or the smoke during chemical reaction, always wear a mask. It doesn’t matter if it is disposable or washable.
  • Safety clothing – do not underestimate the purpose of lab gown or coat, aprons, hoods, footwear or the coverall suits. You may think it is exaggerated but wearing the complete or at least any of these laboratory outfits will save you from any harm.
  • Spill tray liner or lab mats – these are used to prevent spilling on the counter or floor since it absorbs the liquid substances. Most tray liners are made of paper and disposable while lab mats are made of silicone which is reusable. Laboratory mats are easy to clean and stain resistant.

Different Types of Laboratory Ovens

Aside from the refrigerator or freezer, you can also see an oven inside of some laboratories and pharmaceutical clinics. Another important piece of Lab Equipment is the oven although you may not realize just how many different types there are:

  • The dual purpose ovens – these ovens can be used as incubator or sterilizer in the laboratory or even for general purposes. You can convert it into either incubator or sterilizer by simply clicking the switch. Many laboratories choose this type because of its price and durability.
  • Standard Digital Ovens – these ovens are known to be accurate, safe and easy to control. The device includes a controller and a built in fan that makes the oven overheat resistant.
  • Drying Ovens – These ovens are also called moisture extraction ovens used for quick drying. This is different from drying cabinets.
  • Heavy Duty Ovens – These sturdy ovens are usually made of stainless steel and has adjustable layers or shelves. It can reach a temperature as high as 250 to 300 degrees Celsius.
  • Drying cabinets – unlike other ovens or sterilizers, this type can only work on 60 degrees Celsius maximum temperature. Drying cabinets are for glassware or plastic apparatus since its temperature is not too high. These are perfect to remove moisture quickly.
  • Hot box ovens – these ovens are proven to be durable. The exterior part is made of stainless steel and it has a safety thermostat and temperature control system. For functions that do not need or require exact and stable heat, this type of oven range is highly recommended.