Glassware is an integral part of a chemistry laboratory since it involves low cost and precision. Even though some lab-ware seems to be supplemented with everyday kitchen materials and plastic, glass is still the right choice and standard material preferred by laboratories to get the work done well. Though there are very few glassware rules, there are certain best practices for glassware use which would be setting the right foundation for brilliant techniques in the chemistry laboratory.
The Role of Glassware in a Chemistry Laboratory
The glass is supposed to be omnipresent in the chemistry laboratory environment. However, all glassware cannot be the same.
Float Glass or Soda Lime is a high-quality consumer-grade glass for several applications because of contraction and expansion.
Borosilicate Glass is made with little amounts of boron and borosilicate glass. It is known for the relatively lower coefficient of expansion that is effective in preventing internal stresses. The most common and popular trade name associated with borosilicate glass is none other than Pyrex. This is actually the same kind of glass that is usually, used in some kinds of kitchen bake-ware.
Laboratories have a wide collection of glassware that comes in various sizes and shapes. Even though in recent times, in some labs plastic is replacing glass as plastic is relatively cheaper, less fragile, and more durable, there are still numerous applications and experiments that would be necessitating the exclusive use of laboratory glassware.
The glass is supposed to be relatively inert as such it would not be reacting with lab chemicals that are placed inside. Hence, the results would not be compromised. Glassware is transparent so it is far easier to monitor what is happening in the lab. Moreover, glassware is heat-resistant and can withstand high temperatures.
Types of Glassware
- Bulb & Graduated pipettes: These are used for transporting precise amounts of fluids/liquids from one place to the other.
- Beakers: These are simple containers for holding reagents and samples.
- Burettes: These are used for dispensing precise quantities of liquid directly into some other vessel.
- Condensers: These are used specifically for cooling heated gas or liquid.
- Desiccators: These are containers that are designed for absorbing moisture from any substance.
- Petri dishes: These are shallow dishes that are used for the purpose of doing a culture of living cells.
- Retorts: These are used for the purposes of distillation.
- Volumetric Flasks: These are just like beakers and are used for holding samples but they generally are spherical or conical in shape and have a tapering neck.
- Funnels: These have tapered necks for allowing easy pouring of any liquid directly into some narrower orifice.
- Vials: These are quite small bottles used for storing reagents and samples.
- Graduated Cylinders: These are just like beakers but have volumetric markings to monitor volume and are cylindrical in shape.
- Drying pistols: These are just like desiccators but the pistol is supposed to be a far more direct method that removes moisture from a given sample.
- Stirring Rods: These are used for mixing samples and solvents together.
- Slides: These are used for holding items under your microscope to inspect and study.
With such an elaborate range of lab glassware and maximum accuracy needed in all experiments, the glassware must be kept in top-running condition Even though glass is highly resistant to most chemicals and very high temperatures, prolonged use would be leading to a certain degree of degradation. So glassware necessitates proper care and attention, proper handling, scrupulous cleaning, and timely replacements.