Chemistry, Physics, Science Experiments…
Laboratory operations are the totality of procedures made useful in chemistry, biology, physics, and other natural sciences in conducting an experiment. They all follow the scientific method. Furthermore, some laboratory operations involve the use of various laboratory equipments from laboratory glassware to electrical devices. Others, however, need not these supplies for such operations to be carried out effectively.
There are a lot of laboratory operations, ranging from simple to complicated ones. Though the level of complexity differs among a collection of laboratory operations, all laboratory operations share the common feature of having to be done carefully and attentively in order to achieve desired goals and to bring about success to the ongoing experiment being carried out, either by an individual or a group.
Here are some common laboratory operations:
Cleaning the Laboratory
The term “clean laboratory” must be redundant since any area couldn’t actually be considered a laboratory if it is messy. Tidiness of the laboratory entails safety – no chemical spills or bits of broken glassware that may cause harm. Cleaning the laboratory, before and after conducting experiments, is a must and so is following the rules and guidelines in doing so. For instance, it is important to ask for assistance when uncertain of the nature of a spilt substance.
Measuring and Estimating Liquid Volumes
Laboratory apparatuses such as graduated cylinders, burets, and pipets are all commonly used to measure liquids. A liquid’s surface is noticeably curved. This curve is referred to as the meniscus. Using the bottom of the meniscus in taking a reading is the common practice for most liquids. It is important to have the meniscus at eye level because, if otherwise, the reading will not be accurate.
One technique, which also helps prevent spills, is pouring the liquid down a glass rod. Moreover, it is not advisable to attempt liquid transfer of small amounts, say seven milliliters, from wide-necked Winchester bottle to a ten-milliliter graduated cylinder. It is helpful to use a pipet in transferring the liquid.
There are several heating apparatuses found in the laboratory. There’s the Bunsen burner and alcohol lamp, to mention a couple. The liquid may also be contained, during the heating process, in several glassware apparatuses such as the beaker and test tube. When heating a liquid contained in a test tube, the glassware should be tilted in a 45-degree angle, with the open point of the tube not pointing to a person. Heat first the upper portion of the liquid, then, slowly move it back and forth from the flame. Heating other glassware, such as a beaker, needs a tripod and wire gauze or other set-up to place it into. The length of time in heating the liquid must be according to what is being directed, else the water boils too much or the glassware breaks – either way would be harmful for everyone in the lab.