COMMON LABORATORY APPARATUS
Beakers are useful as a reaction container or to hold liquid or
solid samples. They are also used to catch liquids from titrations
and filtrates from filtering operations.
Bunsen Burners are sources of heat.
Burets are for addition of a precise volume of liquid. The volume
of liquid added can be determined to the nearest 0.01 mL with
Clay Triangles are placed on a ring attached to a ring stand as a
support for a funnel, crucible, or evaporating dish.
Droppers are for addition of liquids drop by drop
Erlenmeyer Flasks are useful to contain reactions or to
hold liquid samples. They are also useful to catch filtrates.
Glass Funnels are for funneling liquids from one container
to another or for filtering when equipped with filter paper.
Graduated Cylinders are for measurement of an amount of
liquid. The volume of liquid can be estimated to the nearest
0.1 mL with practice.
Hot Plates can also be used as sources of heat when an
open flame is not desirable.
Pipets are used to dispense small quantities of liquids.
Ring stand with Rings are for holding pieces of
glassware in place.
Test Tubes are for holding small samples or for containing
ll - scale
Test tube holders are for holding test tubes when tubes
should not be touched
Tongs are similar in function to forceps but are useful for
Volumetric Flasks are used to measure precise volumes
or to make precise dilutions.
Wash bottles are used for dispensing small quantities of
Watch glasses are for holding small samples or for
covering beakers or evaporating dishes.
Wire Gauze on a ring supports beakers to be heated by
Balances are used to determine the mass of a
reagent or object.
Spectrophotometers are used to measure the
absorbance or transmittance of a liquid sample.
Fume Hoods are used to ventilate noxious or harmful
COMMON LABORATORY TECHNIQUES
Reading a Meniscus
In all volumetric glassware (pipet, buret,
volumetric flasks, graduated cylinder, etc.), it is
necessary to read the level of a liquid. A liquid
in a small-diameter container will form a meniscus
or curve at the surface of the liquid. Usually this
meniscus curves downward to a minimum at the
center. To read the level of the liquid properly,
the eye should be at the same level as the bottom
of the meniscus. Sometimes a white card or a white
card with a black mark on it will help a person to
see the meniscus clearly. For volumetric flasks
and transfer pipets, the volume of the glassware is
exact when the bottom of the meniscus is even with
the etched line. In a graduated cylinder or a
buret, the volume is read from the graduations
etched on the glass. To read the volume correctly,
visualize the distance between the tenths of
milliliter marks as divided into ten equal amounts.
The volume is then found by reading the number of
tenths of milliliters and estimating hundredths of
Care of Reagents
The reagents used by all of the students can be
contaminated by one careless student. Never put
anything back into the reagent bottle. A certain
amount of liquid can be obtained in several ways. 1)
Pour from the reagent bottle into a beaker and draw up
the liquid into a pipet from the beaker. 2) Pour from the
beaker into a graduated cylinder to within 0.1 ml of the
desired amount, adding the last drop with an eyedropper
filled from a beaker. Only use appropriately labeled
spatulas for each reagent bottle. Pour the solid into a
beaker, onto weighing paper, or into a weigh boat. Never
pour excess back into the bottle. Reagents are to remain on the plastic on the center
bench. This will 1)prevent spills and accidents from occurring at your work area, 2)save
time for everyone because all of the chemicals will be relatively easy to find in a central
location, and 3)make clean-up easier if a spill does occur. When you are finished using
a chemical, replace the lid! A mix-up of lids could also contaminate an expensive
Care and Use of Balances
Each of the balances you will be using costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000 to
$2500. Therefore, care must be exercised in using them. Below is a simple outline that
will help you to use the balance more effectively, safely, and will assist in reducing the
speed at which the Stockroom Manager’s hair is turning prematurely gray.
Select a suitable container (usually a weigh boat, weigh paper, or glassware) to
weigh the chemical in.
Remove the balance cover.
Place the container on the balance pan and replace the balance cover. Replacing
the balance cover will greatly reduce fluctuations in the balance reading!
Allow the balance reading to stabilize. Zero the balance by pressing the TARE
button or bar which is located at the front of the balance. DO NOT hold down the
tare button/bar! This will cause the balance to change units and you may end up
weighing your chemical in units other then grams which will cause your data to be
Remove the balance cover and carefully transfer the desired chemical to the
container. If you use a spatula, use only a clean, dry spatula for obtaining dry
chemicals. If you should spill a chemical on the balance pan, use the brush that is
attached to the balance to clean the balance pan IMMEDIATELY! Chemicals left
on the balance pan will corrode the pan.
Replace the balance cover and allow the balance reading to stabilize. In the event
you weigh out too much chemical, remove the excess to a secondary container.
NEVER return a chemical to its original container! There will always be some left
over. Try to find someone else who needs it before disposing of it.
Discard chemicals as directed in each experiment (See the Safety and Disposal
section for each experiment).
Record the balance reading in your notebook.
Remove the container from the balance pan and replace the balance cover.
Replace the appropriate lids on all reagent bottles when finished.
The titration procedure is accomplished by adding
small amounts of one reactant to a beaker or flask
containing the other until the reaction is completed. In an
acid-base reaction, the reaction is complete when the
amount of acid equals the amount of base. The
experimenter is aware of this condition by the change in pH
that occurs. The change in pH is indicated by a color
change of an indicator or by a pH meter. In other types of
reactions, the completion of the reaction is usually also
indicated by a color change. Titrations are often
accomplished using a buret. A small amount (~ 5 - 10 mL)
of the solution is used to rinse a clean buret. The rinse
solution is discarded. The buret is filled to just below the zero
mark. The liquid level is read and recorded as the initial volume. A
buret has zero at the top as shown in the figure on page 12. Small
amounts of the solution are allowed to flow out of the buret into the
flask by turning the stopcock. Often localized color changes will be evident for a short
period of time. Mixing the solution by swirling the flask will usually cause the color to
return to the original color. As the color lasts longer, the next addition of solution needs
to be smaller. Close to the endpoint (reaction completion), the additions are one drop at
a time. When the endpoint is reached, the liquid level is read and recorded as the final
volume. The volume added is the final volume minus initial volume.
Using A Bunsen Burner
Lighting the Bunsen burner - Make sure the
rubber tubing is connected to the Bunsen
burner and the gas jet. Turn the gas valve
until it is parallel to the gas jet. You should be
Cool Inner Region
able to hear the gas flow. Use a flint striker to
cause a spark and ignite the gas.
Adjusting the Bunsen burner - First, adjust
the height of the flame using the gas valve at
the bottom of the burner. For a clean burning
flame, more air is required than is available
from the gas exhaust. The air vents can be
adjusted to produce an inner blue cone in the
flame with no yellow tip. Too little air produces
a sooty, orange-yellow tipped flame that is
To Gas Outlet
quite noisy. Too much air supply may cause
the flame to separate from the burner and
even blow itself out. The ideal working flame
is bluish-green with a light blue cone and it