Working in various laboratories requires familiarizing oneself with laboratory equipment. Chemistry laboratory perform tests that help determine the chemical properties of different elements and compounds. The equipment required for the chemistry laboratory can be for both general purposes and particular purposes.
The general-purpose equipment required in the chemistry laboratory includes a bunsen burner, crucible, weighing balance, litmus paper, and glassware like test tubes, beakers, and funnels.
Particular purposes like gas preparation and titration require different laboratory equipment, including a gas jar, Wolff’s bottle, burettes, and pipettes. Other equipment used in the chemistry laboratory correlates to safety concerns, like gloves and goggles.
Table of Contents
General Purpose Equipment Used in Chemistry Laboratory
Every chemistry laboratory requires some equipment, no matter the tests being performed in the laboratory. The general-purpose equipment used in the chemistry laboratory includes a bunsen burner, tongs, test tube holder and rack, spatula, and droppers.
It is the laboratory equipment useful for heating materials. The burner produces a single open flame with the use of gas. The gas is either natural, like methane, or petroleum, like propane and butane. In chemistry laboratories, it helps to perform heating experiments like evaporation.
The material used for its construction is iron. Its purpose is to hold glassware during heating. The top part of the equipment can either be triangular or circle shaped. It is the part that holds the wire mesh gauge and glassware for heating. As the name suggests, the base of this laboratory equipment has three legs.
Wire mesh gauge
The material of the gauge is metal wires like iron, nichrome, or steel. The gauge is placed on top of a tripod for using a bunsen burner. It helps provide even heating while using glassware with a flat bottom surface. Some wire mesh gauge has a ceramic center, which helps in protecting the glass from breakage due to heat and provides much more heating.
These hold hot equipment like beakers, flasks, and crucibles after or during experiments. The shape of this equipment is like scissors. There are different types of tongs based on their purpose. Beaker tongs have rubber for easy gripping. Flask tongs have rounded ends for easy holding.
Test tube holder and rack
The holder helps in handling test tubes while heating or using harmful chemicals. One should only use test tubes with holders if they are dealing with acids and bases to avoid accidents in the laboratory.
The purpose of a test tube rack is to place the test tube upright. The stand helps in storing and transferring multiple test tubes at a time. The materials used for construction of the rack are metal, plastic, or wood. It comes in various sizes and shapes. The stand commonly used in chemistry laboratories is the classic type with 8-10 holes for test tubes.
The use of laboratory equipment is for drying wet substances. It is also applicable for storing moisture-sensitive substances. The equipment is used under vacuum pressure. There are various types of desiccators. It can be either manual or automated.
In chemistry laboratories, desiccators help store some chemicals and compounds sensitive to water, like sodium.
It is a piece of laboratory equipment useful to separate components of a mixture based on size, density, viscosity, and motor speed. The separation occurs due to the centrifugal force in the rotor where a sample is placed. There are different types of centrifuges benchtops, ultracentrifuges, high-speed, low-speed, and refrigerated centrifuges.
Blotting and filter paper
These are absorbent paper that helps in absorbing moisture from different objects. The use of a sheet of blotting paper in separation techniques like western blotting and chromatographic techniques. The material used for its construction is cotton cellulose instead of nitrocellulose. The filter paper is a round-shaped paper used for filtering purposes.
The use of a spatula in chemistry laboratories is to transfer solid materials or powder, mix materials, and scrap materials from surfaces. The material used for the construction of reusable spatulas is stainless steel. There are different styles of stainless steel spatulas; micro, double-ended, and trough-shaped spatulas are some types.
The thermometer measures different chemicals and substances’ room temperature, freezing, and boiling points. The room temperature measuring thermometer is glass and contains a long stem with alcohol or mercury. Freezing and boiling point measuring thermometers are infrared thermometers.
These are hinged tools that help to grasp and hold objects. Their main use is when hands and fingers are too big for things. There are various forceps like a thumb, locking, and kelly forceps.
Thumb forceps or tweezers are useful in chemistry laboratories. In chemistry laboratories, forceps help to hold chemicals and solids that should not be handled with bare hands, like sodium metal. The thumb forceps are held like pen style between the thumb and index finger.
The use of litmus paper or pH strips is to check the solution’s pH or acidity and alkalinity. The litmus paper determines the acidity and alkalinity of the solution, whereas pH strips determine the pH of the solution. Litmus paper changes to red when the solution is acidic and blue when the solution is basic or alkaline.
This laboratory equipment helps in weighing the mass of chemicals and objects. It can measure up to 0.01 mg. The balance is very precise equipment for measurement and comes in different varieties like single pan, double pan, electronic, and microbalance. In chemistry laboratories, this equipment makes solutions by weighing the right amount of substances (generally solid).
This equipment dispenses liquid substances from one container to another for various experiments. The droppers are plastic or glass and may or may not have graduation marks. The plastic droppers are for one-time use, and glass droppers are reusable. One end of the dropper has a bulb that helps dispense the perfect drop of solution.
Mortar and pestle
These are two pieces of laboratory equipment that aid in crushing and grinding objects. The shape of the mortar is like a bowl. Its construction is from durable materials like ceramic or stones. The pestle is a club-shaped grinding piece of equipment made of the same material as mortar. Mortar and pestle help grind various grains and food materials in daily life. Their use is in grinding massive solid particles into small sizes in chemistry laboratories.
Glassware used in Chemistry Laboratory
Although many pieces of equipment required in chemistry laboratories are made of glass, this section comprises general purposes laboratory equipment constructed of glass. These include test tubes, flasks, stirrers, etc.
These are used to perform various laboratory tests. In the chemistry laboratory, test tubes assist in testing different properties of organic and inorganic compounds. It is also helpful to study various properties of gases after laboratory preparation.
The tube has a cylindrical shape with closed rounded bottoms and open at the top. There may or may not be the presence of rims at the top. These come in various sizes and are the most common laboratory equipment.
Round bottom flask
The flask has a round bottom or base and is applicable in various experiments, especially gas preparation and distillation. RB flask is made of borosilicate glass and is available in multiple sizes, and the number of necks also varies.
The use of laboratory equipment is to hold chemicals or liquids in laboratories. It has a beak-like spout on the top of the flask, which helps quickly pour fluids, decreasing the risk of spilling. It is available in various sizes, like common form and tall form. Graduations marks are present in some beakers. However, these could be more precise.
It is applicable in stirring and mixing liquids. The equipment is made of borosilicate glass and does not have any openings. The rod comprises a single glass piece, and its length is 10-40 cm with a diameter of 0.5 cm.
Like glass rods, these are also made of single glass pieces that are cylindrical and hollow from both sides. Its use is for liquid dispensing tubes for transferring solutions from one place to another or delivery tubes for gas production.
This piece of laboratory equipment is helpful in the filtration and pouring of liquids or fine-graded materials from one container to another. Its neck is narrow, which allows only a certain amount of fluids to pass through. The use of funnels is also in other separation methods, like evaporation and condensation.
This piece of laboratory equipment is concave in shape and useful in evaporating liquid by placing it on top of a beaker with boiling water. It is also known as clock glass. It also holds solid substances and covers beakers.
The use of these bottles are to preserve and store chemicals and prepare solutions. These are generally made of borosilicate glass and have a stopper. Like beakers, these also have graduation marks, but the marks could be more precise.
Special Purpose Laboratory Equipment
Some equipment in the chemistry laboratory is essential only during experiments like gas preparation and distillation. The laboratory equipment required in chemistry laboratories for different purposes is as follows:
Titration is the method of slowly adding a solution of known concentration into another solution of unknown concentration until it reaches the neutralization indicated by the change in color. Specific equipment is used in titration: pipette, burette, cylinder, volumetric flask, etc.
This equipment has graduation marks for precise measurements. It helps in transferring liquids and drawing up chemicals. These are cylindrical tube-like structures. Some pipettes have bulbs in between with graduation marks at the top of the pipette.
The pipette bulb draws up liquid and attaches it to the pipette. The material used for its construction is rubber, and gentle pressure helps draw the liquid from the container.
The use of this laboratory equipment is to measure the volume of the liquids precisely. The shape of the equipment is cylinder and tall with a precise graduation mark at the 0.1 to 1 ml interval. The other term used for this equipment is measuring cylinder. Its top part is hollow with a spout for easy pouring, and the base is suitable for flat surfaces.
This laboratory equipment has a long cylindrical tube-like body with a slightly pointed bottom. The tube has graduation markings, and the bottom part has a stock clock that controls the liquid flow. It holds the solution and allows the control flow of the solutions for titration.
The other name of this flask is Erlenmeyer’s flask. Its shape is cone-like, with a flat bottom and a cylindrical neck. Its use is as a reaction flask. These also have graduation marks, just like beakers which could be more precise. It is available in various sizes or can hold different volumes. The flask is placed below the burette in the ring stand. It receives the solution from the burette. The flask is usually made of borosilicate glass.
Burette clamp and ring stand
Like all clamps, burette clamps secure the burette in the ring stand during titration. It has an adjustable cork for changing the width of the clamp. One should be careful not to break the glass burette while tightening the cork.
A ring stand is a metal stand with a long rod to attach different clamps. The base of the stand is suitable for placing a conical flask during titration.
This equipment helps measure/prepare precise solutions at a specific temperature. Its bottom is flat and pear-shaped. The equipment’s neck is long and cylindrical with calibrated markings. Its use is in preparing molar solutions and is available in different volumes. However, it lacks graduation marks.
Gas Preparation Equipment
The reason for gas preparation in the laboratory can vary. The type of gas prepared can vary greatly. Some specific laboratory equipment, like Woulfe’s bottle, beehive shelf, and gas jar, are designed for gas preparation.
Named after the scientist Peter Woulfe, this bottle prepares gases in the laboratory. Its shape is cylindrical with 2-3 mouths. The use of a double-mouthed bottle is common where one mouth is shut airtight with a thistle funnel attached to the cork, and the other is shut airtight with a cork with an attached delivery tube.
It is a porcelain or ceramic piece of laboratory equipment. It helps in collecting gas under the water. One end of the delivery tube is placed inside the opening present at the base of the shelf. Its top part has a circular opening from which the gas passes to the gas jar placed on top of it.
As the name suggests, the jar collects gas after preparation. Its shape is a cylinder with an end hollow, and another end closed. It is usually made up of glass. The jar has a lid to protect the gas from escaping.
It is glassware that is a cylinder shape with an end with a bulb. The blub has flared rims. It is placed inside Woulfe’s bottle with the help of a cork. Liquid materials like hydrochloric acid in case of hydrogen preparation, are poured through it. It helps in the slow pouring of fluids and prevents the liquid’s backflow during gas preparation. Its one end should be dipped inside the fluid to avoid escaping of prepared gas.
This apparatus aids in preparing gases in small volumes. A Dutch pharmacist, Petrus Jacobus Kipp, designed it. It helps in generating a continuous supply of gas during laboratory experiments. Nowadays, it is highly applicable in preparing hydrogen sulfide gas. It has three bulbs; bulbs A, B, and C.
The placement of the bulbs needs should be in the correct order. The base bulb is A, the middle bulb is B, and the final bulb C is placed at the top of bulb B. The C bulb has an inlet and long stem that reaches bulb A. Solution is poured through the inlet in bulb C, and gas passes out from the outlet present in bulb B. The outlet has a stopper that can control the passing of air.
It is made of rubber. Drilling a hole in the cork similar to the delivery tube and thistle funnel helps create an airtight seal while preparing gases. It is placed on the opening of Woulfe’s bottle and round bottom flask. It comes in various sizes depending on the gas produced and the apparatus used.
This piece of equipment is a container that holds water. It is an important piece of equipment for gas collection. A beehive shelf is placed inside it above the gas jar. It is also applicable in distillation to hold the conical flask and cool down the heated and separated liquid.
Distillation is the method of separating liquid components in a mixture by selective evaporation and condensation. Some pieces of equipment used in distillation are common, like a Bunsen burner, tripod stand, and wire gauge. Others, like glass retort and condenser, are uncommon.
This equipment aids in dry distillation. It has a spherical vessel where the substance to be separated is placed and a long neck that acts as a condenser. There is also an inlet in the cylindrical container for pouring the substance. Heat is provided in the vessel. Its use is in purifying water from dissolved minerals and substances.
This piece of laboratory equipment aids to separate two different liquids with varying boiling points. The bottom of the flask is round for even heating. It has a long neck and side arm for condensation.
Equipment for Lassaigne’s Test
Lassaigne’s test helps to detect foreign elements present in the organic compound. It requires some equipment that is not used generally, which are ignition tubes and crucible. Other pieces of equipment are common, like test tubes, burners, and beakers.
It is a glass tube similar in structure to generally used test tubes. However, the ignition tube is small in size. Its use is for heating sodium metal and an organic compound.
The use of this equipment is for crushing the heated ignition tube and making a solution for testing specific to particular foreign elements. The material used for its construction is porcelain or ceramic. It may or may not come with a cover.
Safety Equipment Required in Chemistry Laboratory
Safety should be of utmost priority in any laboratory. Chemistry laboratory deals with different chemicals and compounds that can cause harm to laboratory technicians and people dealing with these chemicals. The safety equipment includes:
Using goggles helps protect the eyes from the splashes of chemicals. These goggles are generally tight-fitting, with clear glass. Experts recommend the use of certified goggles.
Acids used in chemistry labs can damage clothes. Likewise, colored compounds like potassium dichromate leave permanent stains on clothes. So, safety protocols recommend the use of an apron in the chemistry laboratory.
Chemicals generally irritate the skin when frequently handled, so gloves can protect hands from being chemicals and heat related burns. Likewise, experiments relating to heating are also frequent in chemistry laboratories, so the use of gloves while handling hot equipment is necessary for one conducting the experiments.
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