Glassware is found just about everywhere in the lab and it comes in a huge range of shapes and sizes. Of course, in recent years it has become way more favourable to change out glass vessels for much cheaper models. This is because a lot of lab work involves dealing with liquids such as acid, and when glass is dropped it has a tendency to shatter. This can cause you a world of problems when you are dealing with such corrosive liquid, and it is one of the many reasons why glass is now not used as much when compared. Some applications do call for glassware to be used however this is only really when the liquid is not suitable for plastic. Glass is inert and this means that it will not react at all with any chemicals that are used. On top of this, it is transparent as well. This makes it very easy for the user to see the results that are present. With glass being heat resistant as well, it really was the number one choice for any laboratory tests and the properties of glass mean that it can be moulded into just about any shape or size. Now however, new plastics have been created that have the exact same properties as glass but without the fragile nature and this has really advanced the world of laboratory testing.
The Types of Glassware
There are a lot of different types of glassware products used in a laboratory and it is more than possible for glass to be manufactured according to the purpose. For example, if you were to use quartz glass then you’ll soon see that this is very resistant to very high temperatures. It is also transparent in various areas of the electromagnetic system. Heavy-walled glass on the other hand is designed to handle pressurised elements. Another type of glass is amber glass, and this has a much darker appearance. This helps to block out any UV rays and even any infrared radiation. If you are storing fluids for long periods of time then this makes it the ideal choice and it can even be moulded to come with a plastic or rubber airtight pipette as well.
So how is glass used in laboratories? It can be used in bulbs and it can also be used in pipettes as well. This is normally utilised when liquids need to be transported from one area to another. Burettes are used to dispense very precise amounts of liquid into another type of vessel. Then you have the most common glass container, which is the beaker. This is usually used to hold samples and even reagents as well. Another type of beaker is the volumetric flask. It has the same properties as a beaker, and the only difference is that it comes in a conical form, which has a tapered neck.
If you were to heat or dry liquid, then a condenser would be used and for distillation, a retort. A lot of people think that the beaker is the only type of glassware used in a laboratory but this is not the case at all, and even some petri dishes are made out of glass. It is far more common however to get a petri dish that is made out of plastic as this is much cheaper to manufacture and it is also much safer should the specimen be dropped on the floor.
With such a huge range of extensive glassware available, it is safe to say that it is easily the go-to material in regards to lab gear. With any testing, it is important that the equipment used is kept in very top condition. Glass may be resistant to very high temperatures and it may also be resistant to chemicals as well, if you expose glass to certain elements over a long period of time, it will need replacing. This is especially the case with beakers, because the glass may get discoloured and it may even show signs that it is losing its transparency as well.
All About Beakers
Beakers are used for various purposes throughout the lab. At their most basic use, they are designed to hold samples however they can be used to contain a very small chemical reaction as well. Beakers are usually made out of tempered glass and the very wide mouth has a spout which can make pouring solutions very easy. Beakers are also widely used in experiments such as chromatography as well. The design alone has a very high level of balance and it has a high level of thermos resistance as well. This ultimately means that it can be controlled to have the same thickness at the walls, the sides and even the bottom as well.
The History of Beakers and Glassware
The history of glassware dates all the way back to the Phoenicians. They found that when they fused obsidian together over a campfire, that it created a solid structure. This was the very first piece of glassware, and ever since then, it has gone on to create things such as beakers. Glassware also evolved during the ancient civilisation as well, when the Romans and even the Egyptians worked to refine the art of glassmaking. In Venice, glass was made into varying shapes. Before the 19th century, laboratory glassware was manufactured in Germany and this happened all the way up to the first World War. Glass producers in the US had a very hard time competing with the Germans and this is because the glassware itself and the art of it was classed as being educational material. This ultimately meant that it was not subject to any importation taxes. During the World War, Germany cut off the US so that they could not have any glassware at all.
In 1915, Corning Glassworks developed something called Borosilicate glass and this was a really big boost for the war effort. After the war, a lot of countries turned back to importing it and soon after, glassware flourished. A lot of efforts were made to try and make sure that the glassware that was being created could withstand heat and it also became much more inert as well. Important technologies then impacted the development of glassware and this included polytetrafluoroethylene. This ultimately dropped the price of laboratory beakers and it also made it more economically viable to throw the products away rather than reuse them.
Laboratory glassware is normally selected by the person who is in charge of the lab. The glass needs to match the given task that is required. It is even possible for the task to require glass that is made out of a specific material as well. It is more than possible for certain types of glass to be made out of glass that is mass produced or even glass that has been made by hand, by a glassblower. Some beakers are also designed to control the flow of the fluid.
Types of Glass
Laboratory glass beakers can be made out of several types of glass, as mentioned above. Everyone has varying capabilities and it can even be used for a huge range of purposes as well. For example, you have borosilicate glass and this is completely transparent. This can be used to withstand a huge range of different capabilities but the main one is the fact that it is very heat resistant. Quartz glass on the other hand can withstand a very high range of temperatures and it is transparent in certain areas as well. Darkened glass is resistant against both UV and infrared radiation and if you have glass that is heavy-walled then this means that it can withstand a lot of pressure. Fritted glass on the other hand is porous and gas and even liquid can pass through it. It is more than possible for you to find beakers that are made out of coated glass as well, and this helps to stop the beaker from breaking if it is dropped.
Glass blowing is practiced in some of the bigger laboratories. The main reason for this is because in scientific experiments, sometimes the glass needs to be a certain shape or even a certain dimension. Glass blowing can also be used to fuse glass together and it can also repair glass as well. A lot of parts come with glass tubing fused onto the beaker and this is a highly specialised piece of scientific equipment.
When you look at glass, you’ll see that one of its purposes is to stop the flow of fluid. This is most commonly done with a stopper. Types of components that can be used include Y connectors, T connectors and even adapters as well. if you want to have a connection that is completely leak tight then it is important to have a glass joint. This is reinforced by using some kind of clamping method. Flexible tubing and even hose barbs can also be used to fuse the glassware together and valves that are made of glass entirely may even be able to restrict the flow of fluid as well.
Laboratory glassware can be used to take very precise measurements and this is especially the case with glass beakers. When you have high precision measurements, you can then make sure that every single experiment is done the same. It’s important that glassware such as beakers have a metrological grade as this helps to make sure that the traceability of the calibration and even the total measurement that it is taking is correct. Sometimes the laboratory technician may have to check the glass to make sure that it is still calibrated and to also make sure that the beakers are in good condition.
A lot of beakers and even laboratory glassware is actually made up of silica. This is actually insoluble and there are only a couple of exceptions to this, one of them being hydrofluoric acid.
Laboratory glassware and beakers can be cleaned in many different ways. One of the more popular ways involves soaking the glass in some kind of solution. This is designed to try and remove some of the grease and it is also designed to remove some of the contaminants as well. When this has been done, the contaminants are then scrubbed away with a scouring pad or even a brush. This helps to remove some of the particles that cannot be washed away. Sturdy glassware and thicker beakers can even be put through sonication and this is a great alternative to scrubbing. Some, sensitive equipment can be soaked in aqua regia and acid to try and dissolve any trace quantities that might be present. This is designed so that it does not interfere with any lab equipment.