Chemistry Laboratory Glassware Gallery

Glassware used in a chemistry laboratory is special. It needs to resist chemical attack. Some glassware has to withstand sterilization. Other glassware is used to measure specific volumes, so it can’t change its size appreciably over room temperatures. Chemicals may be heated and cooled so the glass needs to resist shattering from thermal shock. For these reasons, most glassware is made from a borosilicate glass, such as Pyrex or Kimax. Some glassware isn’t glass at all, but inert plastic such as Teflon.

Each piece of glassware has a name and purpose. Use this photo gallery to learn the names and uses of different types of chemistry laboratory glassware.

Beakers

Chemistry labs have beakers.

No lab would be complete without beakers. Beakers are used for routine measuring and mixing in the lab. They are used to measure volumes to within 10% accuracy. Most beakers are made from borosilicate glass, though other materials may be used. The flat bottom and spout allow this piece of glassware to be stable on the lab bench or hot plate, plus it’s easy to pour a liquid without making a mess. Beakers are also easy to clean.

Boiling Tube – Photo

Boiling Tube

A boiling tube is a special variety of test tube that is made specifically for boiling samples. Most boiling tubes are made of borosilicate glass. These thick-walled tubes are usually about 50% larger than average test tubes. The larger diameter allows samples to boil with less chance of bubbling over. The walls of a boiling tube are intended to be immersed in a burner flame.

Buchner Funnel – Photo

A Buchner funnel may be placed on top of a Buchner flask (filter flask).

 A Buchner funnel may be placed on top of a Buchner flask (filter flask) so that a vacuum may be used to separate or dry a sample. Eloy, Wikipedia Commons

Buret or Burette

Student science fair projects can make a difference.

 Chemistry Laboratory Glassware Jenny Suo and Anna Devathasan test the vitamin C content in the Ribena drink at Pakuranga College, March 29, 2007 in Auckland, New Zealand. They are using a buret to titrate into an Erlenmeyer flask. Sandra Mu/Getty Images

Burets or burettes are used when it is necessary to dispense a small measured volume of a liquid, as for titration. Burets may be used to calibrate the volumes of other pieces of glassware, such as graduated cylinders. Most burets are made of borosilicate glass with PTFE (Teflon) stopcocks.

Burette Image

A buret or burette is graduated tube of glassware that has a stopcock at its bottom end.

 A buret or burette is graduated tube of glassware that has a stopcock at its bottom end. It is used to dispense precise volumes of liquid reagents. Quantockgoblin, Wikipedia Commons

Cold Finger – Photo

A cold finger is a piece of glassware used to form a cold surface.

 A cold finger is a piece of glassware used to form a cold surface. A cold finger is most commonly used as part of a sublimation procedure. Rifleman 82, Wikipedia Commons

Condenser – Photo

A condenser is a piece of laboratory glassware used to cool hot liquids or vapors.

 A condenser is a piece of laboratory glassware used to cool hot liquids or vapors. It consists of a tube within a tube. This particular condenser is called a Vigreux column. Dennyboy34, Wikipedia Commons

Crucible – Photo

A crucible is a cup-shaped piece of glassware used to hold samples which are to be heated.

 A crucible is a cup-shaped piece of laboratory glassware that is used to hold samples which are to be heated to high temperatures. Many crucibles come with lids. Twisp, Wikipedia Commons

Cuvette – Photo

A cuvette is a piece of glassware that is intended to hold samples for spectroscopic analysis.

 A cuvette is a piece of laboratory glassware that is intended to hold samples for spectroscopic analysis. Cuvettes are made from glass, plastic, or optical-grade quartz. Jeffrey M. Vinocur

Erlenmeyer Flask – Photo

Chemistry Demonstration

An erlenmeyer flask is a cone-shaped container with neck, so you can hold the flask or attach a clamp or use a stopper.

Erlenmeyer flasks are used to measure, mix, and store liquids. The shape makes this flask very stable. They are one of the most common and useful pieces of chemistry lab glassware. Most erlenmeyer flasks are made of borosilicate glass so that they can be heated over a flame or autoclaved. The most common sizes of erlenmeyer flasks probably are 250 ml and 500 ml. They can be found in 50, 125, 250, 500, 1000 ml. You can seal them with a cork or stopper or place plastic or paraffin film or a watch glass on top of them.

Erlenmeyer Bulb – Photo

An Erlenmeyer bulb is another name for a round bottom flask.

Eudiometer – Photo

A eudiometer is a piece of glassware used to measure the change in volume of a gas.

 A eudiometer is a piece of glassware used to measure the change in volume of a gas. It resembles a graduated cylinder, with the bottom end immersed in water or mercury, the chamber filled with gas, and the top end closed. Skiaholic, Wikipedia Commons

Florence Flask – Photo

A Florence flask or boiling flask can withstand temperature changes.

 Chemistry Laboratory Glassware A Florence flask or boiling flask is a round-bottom borosilicate glass container with thick walls, capable of withstanding temperature changes. Nick Koudis/Getty Images

A Florence flask or boiling flask is a round-bottom borosilicate glass container with thick walls, capable of withstanding temperature changes. Never place hot glassware on a cold surface, such as a lab bench. It’s important to inspect a Florence flask or any piece of glassware prior to heating or cooling and to wear safety goggles when changing the temperature of glass. Improperly heated glassware or weakened glass may shatter when the temperature is changed. Additionally, certain chemicals may weaken the glass.

Freidrichs Condenser – Diagram

A Freidrich condenser or Freidrich condenser is a spiralled finger condenser.

 A Freidrich condenser or Freidrich condenser is a spiralled finger condenser that offers a large surface area for cooling. Fritz Walter Paul Friedrichs invented this condenser in 1912. Ryanaxp, Wikipedia Commons

Funnel – Photo

A funnel is a conical piece of glassware that terminates in a narrow tube.

 A funnel is a conical piece of glassware that terminates in a narrow tube. It is used to transfer substances into containers that have narrow mouths. Funnels may be made of any material. A graduated funnel may be called a conical measure. Donovan Govan

Funnels – Photo

Cornell Student Taran Sirvent prepares dried St. John's Wort for chemical analysis.

 Chemistry Laboratory Glassware Cornell Student Taran Sirvent prepares Hypericum perforatum for chemical analysis. A glass funnel directs the plant matter into an Erlenmeyer flask. Peggy Greb/USDA-ARS

A funnel is a conical piece of glass or plastic that is used help transfer chemicals from one container to another. Some funnels act as filters, either because of their design of because filter paper or a sieve is placed on the funnel. There are several different types of funnels.

Gas Syringe – Photo

A gas syringe or gas collecting bottle is used to insert, withdraw, or measure a volume of gas.

 A gas syringe or gas collecting bottle is a piece of glassware used to insert, withdraw, or measure a volume of gas. Geni, Wikipedia Commons

Glass Bottles – Photo

Glass Bottles with Ground Glass Stoppers

 Chemistry Laboratory Glassware Glass Bottles with Ground Glass Stoppers. Joe Sullivan

Glass bottles with ground glass stoppers are often used to store stock solutions of chemicals. To avoid contamination, it helps to use one bottle for one chemical. For example, the ammonium hydroxide bottle would only ever be used for ammonium hydroxide.

Graduated Cylinder – Photo

Chemistry class at King Edward VI High School for Girls (October 2004).
 Chemistry Laboratory Glassware Chemistry class at King Edward VI High School for Girls (October 2006). Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Graduated cylinders are used to measure volumes accurately. The can be used to calculate the density of an object if its mass is known. Graduated cylinders usually are made from borosilicate glass, though there are plastic cylinders, too. Common sizes are 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 ml. Choose a cylinder such that the volume to be measured will be in the upper half of the container. This minimizes measurement error.

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