Several types of equipment are required for any functional laboratory to operate properly. Be it a school, research, or a medical laboratory, special equipment is required. We take a look at the common lab equipment names and their uses.
Laboratory equipment is used to carry out scientific experiments and range from simple tools to complex apparatus depending on the uses. While different types of laboratories need different types of apparatus, some are common to all.
Some science lab equipment is used for weighing objects, mixing and preparing solutions, and others for cleaning vessels.
Lab equipment refers to various gear used in a laboratory to perform different tasks. These tools are meant for use by scientists, pupils, teachers, and even medics.
While performing any experiment, you need to be careful to avoid getting hurt. To ensure safety and properly carry out an experiment, it is important to know common laboratory equipment and their uses.
Lab equipment names and pictures
Pictures help us visualize things. Interestingly, our brains interpret images quicker than text. This guide includes common types of laboratory instruments and their images to help you know how they look. Thereafter, when you get to the science lab, identifying lab equipment will be easier for you and you won't end up mistaking one instrument for another.
What are the 20 common laboratory apparatus and their uses?
Are you wondering what is used for heating, measuring, weighing, or holding substances in a laboratory? Here is a lab equipment list detailing their uses.
A microscope is a popular piece of lab equipment used to observe things that are too small and are not visible to the naked human eye. There are many different types of microscopes.
A light microscope uses lights and a series of magnifying lenses to observe a tiny specimen. On the other hand, an electron microscope uses a beam of electrons to form a magnified image and thus, is more powerful.
This is a common type of lab vessel used to hold and mix liquid substances. A test tube is finger-like and open on one end. Test tubes come in many different sizes, but the standard size is 18 x 150 mm.
3. Watch glass
A watch glass is a popular type of chemistry lab equipment. It's a concave piece of glass normally used to hold solids, evaporate liquids and heat small quantities of a substance.
This apparatus is a small receptacle usually made using porcelain. Not all laboratory glassware is appropriate for heating as they can get damaged or break.
However, a crucible is heat-resistant and is ideal for containing compounds when heated to high temperatures. It has a lid that is meant to contain particles of smoke.
5. Volumetric flasks
Volumetric flasks are another popular chemistry laboratory equipment. It is a type of glassware calibrated to hold exact volumes of a liquid at a precise temperature. In chemistry, it is used to prepare standard solutions and for accurate dilutions.
There are different sizes of this flask, and the volume is usually indicated. Depending on what amount of solution you want to prepare, you can use a 50ml, 125ml, 250ml, 500ml, or 1000ml volumetric flask.
Just like test tubes, beakers are used to hold, heat, or mix substances. Beakers are cylindrical with a flat base, have a spout, and do not have rounded bottoms. They also come in a variety of sizes.
7. Bunsen burner
Solid and liquid substances in the lab are often heated. A bunsen burner produces a single open flame. It is used for sterilizing objects and heating. The gas used could be natural gas or a liquified petroleum gas like methane.
This type of laboratory apparatus resembles the kitchen spatula, just that it is much smaller. Spatulas are small hand-held tools used to scoop and transfer solids. They can also be used to apply paste-like treatments. Most spatulas are resistant to acids and heat, making them suitable for use with a range of substances.
9. Magnifying glass
As a child, you probably played around with a magnifying glass. This common lab equipment produces a magnified image of an object. It's basically a convex lens in a frame with a handle.
Also referred to as a newton meter, this scale is used to measure the weight of an object by the tension of a spring. It consists of spring on one side and a hook on the other.
It works by the principle of Hooke's law, which states that the force applied to an elastic object is directly proportional to the extension provided the elastic limit is not reached. This force gauge only measures weight and not mass.
A dropper, also called a Pasteur pipette, is a short glass or plastic pipe with rubber on one side. It is used to deliver small amounts of liquids a single drop at a time.
12. Measuring cylinder
This common type of laboratories apparatus is used to measure the volume of a liquid. It is graduated, and every marking shows the amount of a reagent. Just as the name suggests, this glassware is cylindrical and is also narrow.
We all have come across thermometers as we frequently use them at home. Thermometers used in labs are almost similar as they also measure the temperature of substances (not body temperature) and have a high degree of precision.
This simple piece of chem lab equipment is used to deliver known volumes of a substance. It is often used during titrations. It is a long graduated tube with a stopcock on at the lower end. The most popular burettes are the 50ml, 25 ml, and 10ml varieties.
Solids are often weighed before use, as some experiments require exact amounts of substances. A balance is used to weigh objects. Analytical and toploading balances are the most commonly used types.
Funnels are yet another essential kind of lab apparatus. They are used to deliver substances into vessels with small openings. There are several types, each with a different function, such as filter, thistle, and dropping funnels. Büchner and Hirsch funnels are good examples of organic chemistry lab equipment.
17. Wash bottle
A wash bottle is a squeeze container with a long nozzle. It is used to rinse lab glassware and for sterilization. Wash bottles are mostly made out of polyethylene. Depending on the task you wish to perform, you can fill it with another solvent, for example, ethanol or deionized water.
When working in a lab, you often have to deal with chemicals, heat, and other hazardous substances. Tongs are used to grasp harmful objects and also hold hot vessels. Each type of tongs is designed for a particular use. Common examples are beaker, utility, and crucible tongs.
You will not miss this equipment in any physics lab. An ammeter is used to measure the amount of current in a circuit. The SI unit of current is amperes, hence the name.
20. Brushes for test tubes
Our laboratory equipment list cannot be complete without mentioning a tool used for cleaning. Brushes for test tubes are used to clean containers such as flasks, beakers, and test tubes. After use, an apparatus should always be cleaned and safely put away.
What are common laboratory equipment?
Common laboratory equipment includes basic tools used in any laboratory, whether it is a research or medical lab and in all science subjects. Such include beakers, magnifying glasses, spatulas, weighing balances, and heating appliances.
Knowing laboratory equipment names and their functions is not enough. You should also know how to practice safety in a lab. Usually, in such workspaces, there are rules pinned to the wall. Make sure you go through the rules.
Standard safety practices include not eating or drinking, avoiding eye and skin contact with chemicals, knowing exit routes, always having a lab coat on, and wearing closed shoes.
Lastly, keep all these tips in mind and remember the 20 common lab equipment names and what the function of each tool is. Be safe while discovering new knowledge.