Have you ever wondered why we have different pieces of glassware?
After all, they are all used to contain liquids and have similar gradations to measure them.
This assumption is partly correct.
All these devices might be used to contain various liquids. But their specific function and level of accuracy in calculating the volume differ according to their shape and graduations. While some glassware provide precise readings during experiments, others are used as vessels to store and transport liquids in use.
Therefore, considering the fact that the science of chemistry is all about accuracy let's dive further into learning about the precision and usage of each type of major glassware.
Here are some of the most commonly used glassware in the laboratories, according to their level of accuracy and use.
Without further ado, let’s take a look:
1. Beakers and Flasks
Beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks are some of the most often used equipment in a science lab. The flasks can be recognized by their conical base and long narrow necks. On the other hand, the beakers are nothing but large glass jars with a spout used for pouring.
What are they used for? Due to their large capacities, the vessels are mainly used to store and mix solutions to carry out chemical reactions.
The vessels might be larger than others on this list but they provide nothing but crude readings. In fact, sometimes beakers and flasks don’t even have graduated markings on their sides. Hence, they’re used solely as containers.
2. Graduated Cylinders
Graduated cylinders are tall narrow vessels. Like the name suggests this type of glassware contains proper markings that are generally present on the sides. In addition to that, it has a glass bottom that functions as a spout to pour the liquid out.
What are they used for? Unlike the beakers, they are specifically made for measuring liquid volumes. The cylinders come in a size range of about 5 ml to 2000 ml.
What’s the level of accuracy? Fairly high. The level of accuracy of a graduated cylinder is slightly better than beakers and flasks. They measure liquids within 1%. This means that a 100 ml graduated cylinder has 1 ml divisions on them. And a 10 ml graduated cylinder will give out readings as precise as 0.1 ml.
Burettes are one of the most accurate glassware for measuring volumes. They fall under the category of volumetric glassware. They are cylindrical in nature like the graduated cylinders with their calibrations printed on the side. The only difference is that their designs are narrower. Plus, they have a valve at the bottom which is usually referred to as the stopcock. This feature functions as a tap that allows the contents of the burette to flow out of the vessel.
What is it used for? Burettes are generally used in titration experiments where an accurate volume of liquid is needed for successful results. The glass tubes are used to transfer these liquids in the required solution.
What is the level of accuracy? Highly accurate. This type of volumetric glassware is found in three different sizes 10 ml, 50 ml, and 100 ml. Their precision is within 0.01 ml.
Pipettes are a kind of volumetric glassware that is designed as very long and narrow glass tubes. It has a little rubber bulb at the center, a narrow tip and a hash mark that tells you when it is full. The bulb is used to create a vacuum of sorts that helps to suck air and then draw the liquid into the device.
What is it used for? Pipettes are primarily used as media dispensers. That means that they help chemists/experimenters to transfer liquids from one container to another during lab a procedure.
What is the level of accuracy? Highly accurate. Their accuracy is partly dependent on their size which comes in a range of 12 to 24 inches. The graduations on a pipette can measure liquids within a 0.02 ml range.
Which Glassware Should You Use for Accurate Measurements?
On the whole, all the different glassware have a level of accuracy that works in specific cases. So you’ll probably use devices that won’t necessarily be the most accurate glassware for measuring volumes in a certain situation. They key to chemistry experiments is to use high-quality products that are tolerable to the hazardous chemicals in use and provide accurate readings.
For over 40 years, Lab Pro has been committed to delivering the most accurate glassware for measuring volume to our customers worldwide. Come visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in the Bay Area, or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.