The standard heating devices used in scientific laboratories include hot plates, Bunsen burners, hot oil baths, heating mantles, and so on. What device you will use depends on the applications available. Then, you should use lab equipment with care because heating leads to burns and injuries resulting out of contact with heated hot plates and mantles. You should also be careful with boiling fluids, flames, and vapors. Burns related to heated surfaces affect only individuals but fires or explosions lead to widespread injuries and damages. Therefore, you should use lab devices carefully to avoid accidents. Read on to learn more about the precautions you must take while using them.
Safety with hot air ovens
When it comes to hot air ovens, these devices are used for drying studies as well as for drying cleaned lab glassware. Avoid cooking food on lab ovens because the device may have contaminants and lead to serious health hazards. Use volumetric flasks and keep them un-stoppered. Else, it may result in breakages owing to the expansion of heated air inside. Wear heatproof gloves for removing glassware kept for drying. Avoid heating explosive organic fluids in the lab as that might result in the formation of volatile and poisonous vapors inside the hot air oven.
Safety with hot plates
Hot plates are commonly used in labs. You must test them before using them for your personal safety. First things first, check the power switch is on or off before you use. Watch out because the plate may be hot if the power has been switched off recently. Make sure that the hot plate does not have cracks, spills, and things like that. While using the device, ensure that the power supply connection is away from the plate. Take the right precautions if you use old hot plates because of sparks resulting from worn out switches, wires, and bimetallic thermostats. Make sure that you use hot plates away from flammable stuff that may lead to a fire breakout or an explosion.
Precautions using heating mantles
These devices are used in labs for heating round-bottom flasks for extracting solvents or distillation purposes. The process used is called rotary evaporation. Before you start using heating mantles, you must check for any damage to the insulation material, water spillage, and the presence of any other solvents on the heating mantle. If you find any issues with the device, use the mantle only after you have cleaned and examined thoroughly. While using heating mantles, make sure you do not go over the input voltage as that may result in damage owing to overheating.
Precautions with muffle furnaces
Did you know these devices could reach temperatures up to 3272 degrees Fahrenheit? Therefore, these are installed in separate rooms away from combustible or flammable stuff. Avoid putting standard glassware inside. Make sure you remove all heatproof crucibles with proper tongs and handle them with care. Always wear heat-resistant mittens for your safety.
Now that you know about the safety measures of handling lab devices, take steps to use them safely.