Types of Laboratory Equipment and Their Uses

Laboratory equipment is defined generally as any kind of laboratory equipment and material utilized for the analysis, collection, preparation, preservation, testing, or presentation of biological, medical, and other chemical information. The term “lab” refers to a place where scientific procedures are carried out or information is recorded under controlled conditions. Examples of laboratory equipment include chemistry analyzers, centrifuges, chemistry analyzers, blood banks, diagnostic test kits, and medical equipment such as MRI machines and laboratory robotics systems. These may also be considered as computer software or computer hardware, lab equipments, laboratory services, and laboratory supplies.

PPE refers to personal protective equipment that is specifically designed for protection purposes. The most common PPE in the laboratory includes gowns, gloves, masks, and safety goggles or eye protection. Laboratory safety equipment like gowns and gloves are made from materials that are durable, lightweight, and resistant to chemical action and penetration. Gowns and gloves are often coated with antimicrobial solutions or chemicals that inhibit growth of bacteria and provide increased resistance against acids, alkali, and vaporized fats. Gloves and masks are also often fabricated from materials that protect users from airborne particles.

Another kind of PPE is laboratory respirators, respiratory protective clothing, and other safety apparel that is required by law in the United States and in many other countries. Respirators are basically full-body suits that include sleeves, a face mask, chinstrap, and an adjustable fastening belt. They can also have additional features such as hoods, earmuffs, and a chin strap. The purpose of respirators is to prevent airborne particles from entering the user’s lungs and damaging them. A full-face mask, commonly used for laboratory or construction personnel, can provide better protection than any kind of nasal mask or disposable nose masks. The respiratory protection provided by respiratory protective clothing and PPE is especially important for workers whose exposure to hazardous substances is high, such as laboratory assistants, chemical agents, and those who work with blood and body fluids.

Besides respiratory protection, safety gloves, masks, gowns, and respirators, laboratory workers may also need to wear other types of protective clothing, such as coveralls and disposable gloves, as well as work boots and shoes. Some laboratory equipment may require that the worker wear protective clothing to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth. Lab safety apparel is generally made from vinyl, polypropylene, and other materials that provide the right amount of abrasion, puncture, and tear resistance.

There are different kinds of laboratory “gauntlets” used in the laboratory. General purpose laboratory gloves are made from a variety of materials that are lightweight, stain repellent, and impact resistant. Examples include polyethylene glove pads, latex glove pads, and cotton glove pads. These gloves provide better abrasion resistance than those that are made from cotton because of the rubber composition of the former. This material also makes them easier to wash.

Latex gloves are the most common of all glove materials. Latex has excellent water permeability properties and is frequently used as a replacement for leather or vinyl because of this benefit. The reason for this type of glove being so good for permeation is that latex contains naturally occurring rubber proteins called peptides. The molecules of peptides are very small, which allows them to be easily penetrated by water. When a chemical like peroxides is placed in these pores, these molecules form a strong layer of ozone that breaks down the permeation barrier, allowing the chemicals in the outermost layer of the skin to pass through the gel layer to the lower levels of the skin, where they compete with airborne pollutants.