Professionals or students working in a lab should have at least the basic equipment available and right there at their fingertips. Having the proper equipment will ensure the accuracy of results when it comes to performing an experiment, collecting data, or taking measurements.
While some equipment depends on the type of lab work being performed, there are certain basic items necessary for any lab. Here is a list of items needed whether you are setting up a new lab or replacing equipment in an already established lab.
Balances & Scales - Balances and scales are used for measuring the mass of liquids and solids. These include analytical & precision scales and balances, bench scales, counting scales, and mechanical balances and scales.
Bunsen Burner - Bunsen Burners are attached to a gas line and provide heat for experiments.
Buret - Burets have a stopcock at the bottom and are used to measure volumes of reagents.
Clamps - Clamps are used to hold things in place like test tubes.
Clay Triangle - Clay triangles are used to hold crucibles while they are being heated. The clay pipe is mounted on heavy gauge twisted galvanized steel wire. They come in various side lengths.
Condenser - Condensers transition vapor into liquid when it comes into contact with the inner surface of the condenser. This is a method for collecting vapors.
Crucible & Tongs - Crucibles are used to heat chemicals since they can sustain high temperatures. Crucible tongs are used to handle the hot crucible. They come in different sizes and volumes.
Erlenmeyer Flask - Erlenmeyer flasks are used to hold liquids. The small neck slows evaporation. It’s also good for swirling and mixing liquids during titration. They come in different volumes.
Funnel - Funnels when used with filter paper, filter sediments out of solutions. They come in different sizes and shapes.
Graduated Cylinder - Graduated cylinders are used to get precise measurements of volumes. They come in different sizes and volumes.
Microscope - A microscope is a lab instrument that is used to examine cultures or samples with qualities that are too small to be seen with the human eye.
Mortar & Pestle - A mortar & pestle is used to grind chemical compounds and comes in different sizes to hold various volumes.
Pipette Bulb - Pipette bulbs are used to transfer precisely measured amounts of liquid from one container to another. They vary in length, capacity, tip type, and build drawing.
Rubber Stoppers - Rubber stoppers are used to seal off flasks and test tubes to prevent liquids from evaporating and gases from escaping. They come in different sizes depending on the size of the opening.
Test Tubes - Test tubes are shaped like a cylinder and open at the top. They are used to hold cultures or samples and come in different units.
Thermometer - Thermometers usually contain liquid mercury and are used to measure temperature. Thermometers come in different sizes, temperature ranges, and some are digital.
Watch Glass - A watch glass is a round piece of glass used for evaporating liquid. Watch glasses come in different thicknesses and sizes.
Wire Gauze - Wire gauze is used as a resting place for a flask or beaker when it is being heated by a Bunsen burner. Wire gauze comes in different dimensions.
Beakers - Beakers are used to hold samples such as powders and liquids, heat corrosive materials, and catch samples when filtering. These beakers are made out of glass, plastic, or stainless steel.
While this may seem like a pretty comprehensive list of lab equipment, no lab is complete without safety equipment. Unfortunately, injuries can occur in a lab setting. Some of these injuries include burns from flames or high temperatures, lacerations from sharp objects, and chemical inhalation and irritation.
To protect you from these hazards, every lab should be equipped with the following safety supplies:
Goggles - Goggles protect against chemical splashes and contaminants. They come in splash-resistant and impact-resistant goggles.
Eyewash - Eyewash is saline drops that can be applied to the eye in case of accidental chemical exposure.
Masks - Masks help prevent inhaling dangerous chemicals.
First Aid Kit - A first aid kit will have all the basic supplies needed in case of an emergency.
Gloves - Gloves will prevent accidental exposure of dangerous chemicals to your hands.
Safety Glasses - Safety glasses protect from UV light and contaminants. Lab glasses are shatterproof and scratch-resistant.
Different disciplines call for user-specific equipment. However, there’s always more equipment you can add to a science lab but these are some of the staple items for any lab setting.
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