Laboratory glassware is a term that refers to different equipment used in scientific experiments, most of all in chemistry and biology laboratories. Traditionally, it is made of glass, since it is reasonably inert, transparent and more resistant to heat than plastic, which is also used for some laboratory equipment. There are diverse kinds of laboratory glassware because a different kind of function requires a different type of equipment. No laboratory is complete without every piece of glassware they need. The Laboratory glassware is mass-produced, but some large laboratories still have their own glass blowers that construct specialized pieces of glassware.
Types of glass used in Laboratory glassware
Laboratory glassware is made out of Borosilicate glass or Flint glass. Borosilicate glass has very low coefficients of thermal expansion and glassware made of this type of glass can stand through severe temperature changes that are necessary with a lot of experiments, without breaking. This is more expensive than flint glass, but most often it is the better alternative because of its more suitable properties. If the temperature and shock resistance and the chemical durability are not of a great concern, flint laboratory glassware is the better choice since it is less expensive than the borosilicate glass. This type of glass is used in glass tubing.
The most commonly used laboratory glassware instruments are pipets. They are used for transporting a measured volume of liquid. The laboratories use three types of glass pipets: volumetric, mohr and serological. Each piece of laboratory glassware has its name and a specific purpose. Glassware can be divided into the following two groups:
- Non-volumetric laboratory glassware
– Beaker – an instrument used for measuring and mixing, and transferring liquid into another piece of laboratory glassware;
– Flask – comes in a different shapes and sizes, has a wider vessel body and a narrower section at the top, which is called neck. It has many different uses in the laboratory.
- Volumetric glassware
– Volumetric Flask – this piece of equipment is used for very precise measuring of one specific volume of liquid. It is used to prepare a solution that has a precisely known concentration.
– Graduated cylinder – a piece of equipment used for quick measurement of liquid volume. It is more accurate for measuring than the flask.
Care of laboratory glassware
You need to wash all laboratory glassware before and after use. There is a specific lab detergent and a regular dish detergent shouldn’t be used, because it may leave residue. The final rinsing should be made with distilled water, or deionized water, which is less expensive. Do not use tap water for the final rinsing pf the laboratory glassware. If you notice water droplets bead on the inner surface, the glassware is not clean yet. Invert the glassware on a drying rack and let it dry without using a towel or air-blower. Keep the laboratory glassware away from direct heat source. Always use the appropriate type of glassware.