Caring for your Laboratory Glassware

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Caring for your Laboratory Glassware

Laboratory glassware is one of the most basic items found in most laboratories, but it is an essential for everyday work. Taking care when working with and cleaning your glassware will ensure that its quality and lifetime is preserved.

 

How hot can I heat my glassware?

Pyrex and Quickfit glassware can by heated to 500°C but for short periods of time only. Do not heat volumetric glassware to high temperatures, as this will affect it’s accuracy.

Heat and cool vessels slowly to avoid thermal shock which will crack the glass.

How should I heat my glassware?

Always heat gradually from room temperature and ensure you are using the correct heater for the vessel.

For flat based vessels such as conical flasks or beakers, use a hotplate with a surface larger than the base of the vessel. For round bottomed flasks (also known as boiling flasks) use a heating mantle of the correct size.

A heating mantle is shaped to ensure uniform heating of round bottomed flasks

 

Using the incorrect equipment to heat the vessel can lead to some areas being significantly hotter than others, which makes the glass more prone to crack.

How should I clean my glassware?

Select a cleaning fluid which is appropriate for the contaminant you’re removing – for example 50% hydrochloric acid can remove stains caused by iron, or a weak sodium carbonate solution removes grease.

When cleaning by hand use a cleaning brush shaped for the glassware you are cleaning to allow you to easily reach inside and ensure thorough cleaning.

Cleaning with an ultrasonic bath ensures that all traces of contaminant are removed. Specialised cleaning fluids can be used which are specific to the contaminant to be removed.

A glasswasher can be used in environments where a lot of glassware needs cleaning – these can be customised to the type and amount of glassware being cleaned, as well as the contaminants you are looking to remove.

An autoclave can be used to sterilize glassware – ensure that lids and stoppers are removed beforehand and open any valves or stopcocks. Volumetric glassware can be sterilized in an autoclave for 15 minutes at 121°C with no effect on it’s accuracy.

How often should I check my glassware?

Check glassware for chips, cracks or other faults before each use. Any faults will make the glassware more prone to break during use, which could be hazardous. Discard and replace any faulty glassware.

To discuss your requirements for glassware and its care or cleaning just contact us

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