Lab equipment makes the difference between a safe and hazardous work environment. They also determine the accuracy of your operations and the results you will get. The primary material used for lab equipment is glass. This is a nebulous material without a crystalline structure used in most household and industrial applications.
Even so, there is a specific glass type used for lab equipment. If you are none the wiser, it is easy to invest in the wrong type of glass for your beakers, pipettes, flasks, and other laboratory equipment. This might not hold up to most of the chemical reactions for the mixing of different materials, and some might change the chemical compositions of the materials.
These drawbacks pose a considerable risk of injuries to the equipment’s user and affect the accuracy of your results. Here are the ideal glass types for lab glassware.
This is the standard glass used for beakers, vials, test tubes, and flasks. This is because it has a low expansion rate, high resistance to the effects of chemicals, and a low expansion coefficient. Borosilicate glass is corrosion-resistant and can easily withstand the high temperatures it might be exposed to when boiling chemicals.
Though affordable and readily available, this glass is not resistant to damage caused by strong caustic, phosphoric, and hydrofluoric acids.
This is at times called silica glass. It is transparent and has superior optical and thermal properties. Its manufacturing involves the melting of sand at temperatures as high as 2, 000 degrees Celsius. Quartz glass has a low thermal expansion coefficient that makes it suitable for experiments that require a broad range of temperatures.
Its optical clarity makes it ideal for volumetric flasks and other measuring instruments. Quartz glass will also let high wavelengths of infrared light pass through it. This property suits it for experiments that involve UV and infrared radiation. Lab equipment made of this glass is, however, quite expensive.
This, unlike other glass types, is tinted amber or dark brown. This protects the sensitive compounds that will be placed in lab glassware made of this material from the effects of UV and infrared radiation and visible light.
As such, actinic glass is primarily used for light-sensitive experiments. It is also inert to chemicals and can be used to store compounds safely. The liner of the cap on glassware made of actinic glass should, however, be plastic-free for it to be inert.
This is a fragile glass with a low melting point. It is chemically stable, flexible, and highly inert. It is one of the popular materials for glassware since it is incredibly cheap. Test tubes, pipettes and measuring cylinders are often made from soda-lime glass since these are at times disposed of after single use to prevent cross-contamination.
The glass also suffices for volumetric flasks that will not be heated.
Making the right glass choice for your lab equipment is thankfully now easy with the tidbits above. To avoid getting fleeced and settling for substandard glass, get your equipment from a reputable supplier. If you buy all the equipment from one supplier, good discounts are guaranteed.