Most Important Laboratory Plasticware And Their Uses
Laboratory Plasticware And Their Uses

Laboratory plasticware and their uses are very important to know for lab users, especially for medical and science students. Everyone who works in the scientific field must know about this laboratory equipment.

Plasticware is also a very important lab equipment like glassware in the laboratory. In this article, we will discuss about some common laboratory plasticware and their uses. 

Key Takeaway Of This Article

  • Laboratory Plasticware Definition
  • Types Of Plasticware in Laboratory
  • Common Laboratory Plasticware List
  • Laboratory Plasticware and Their Uses
  • Laboratory Plasticware Safety
  • FAQs

What is Laboratory Plasticware?

Laboratory plasticware is a range of laboratory tools and instruments that are made from plastic material. These plastic tools are used in scientific research and experiments. In a Laboratory setting, there are various types of plastic tools and equipment used in work and these are called Laboratory Plasticware

Types Of Plasticware in Laboratory

We already know that a range of plasticware is used in the laboratory for various purposes. Here are some common types of laboratory plasticware include:

  • Beakers: Used for mixing, storing, and heating liquids.
  • Centrifuge tubes: Centrifuge tubes are Used to separate particles in a suspension by spinning them at high speed.
  • Cuvettes: Used to measure the absorbance of light by a solution.
  • Flasks: Used for storing, mixing, and heating liquids.
  • Funnels: Used to transfer liquids from one container to another.
  • Pipettes: Pipettes Used to accurately measure and transfer small volumes of liquids.
  • Test tubes: Used to hold small samples of liquids or solids.
  • Vials: Used to store and transport small samples of liquids or solids.
plasticware list

Advantages of Using Plasticware in Laboratory

These tools are popular in laboratories due to their several advantages, including:

  • Cost-effective: Plastic is generally less expensive than glass, which makes it a more affordable option for laboratories.
  • Lightweight: Plastic is much lighter than glass, making it easier to handle and transport.
  • Shatterproof: Plastic is less likely to break than glass, which reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Chemical resistant: Many types of plastic are resistant to a wide range of chemicals, making them suitable for various applications.
  • Disposable: Some types of plasticware are disposable, which can save time and labor on cleaning.

Laboratory Plasticware and Their Uses

Here is a laboratory plasticware list and their uses:

Storing chemicals and samples:

  • Beakers: Used for storing and mixing liquids, often for short-term use. They come in various sizes and can be graduated for measuring volumes.
  • Bottles: Used for long-term storage of chemicals and samples. They often have screw caps to prevent leaks and contamination.
  • Test tubes and centrifuge tubes: Used for storing small samples of liquids or solids. Centrifuge tubes are specifically designed to withstand the high speeds of centrifugation.
  • Vials: Used for storing and transporting small samples of liquids or solids. They are typically smaller than test tubes and have screw caps.

Measuring and transferring liquids:

  • Graduated cylinders: Used for measuring the volume of liquids. They are more accurate than beakers because they have a narrower scale.
  • Pipettes: Used for accurately measuring and transferring small volumes of liquids. They come in various sizes and types, depending on the volume needed.
  • Funnels: Used to transfer liquids from one container to another without spilling. They are often used with filter paper to remove contaminants from the liquid.

Mixing and preparing solutions:

  • Flasks: Used for mixing and preparing solutions. They come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the application. Erlenmeyer flasks have a wide base and narrow neck, which is good for mixing solutions by swirling.
  • Beakers: As mentioned earlier, beakers can also be used for mixing solutions.

Cell culture:

  • Cell culture plates: Used for growing and studying cells in vitro. They have multiple wells, each of which can hold a small number of cells.
  • Cell culture flasks: Used for growing larger numbers of cells. They are similar to flasks used for storing and mixing liquids, but they have a larger surface area for cell growth.

Other Uses:

  • Petri dishes: Used for growing bacteria and other microorganisms. They are shallow dishes with a lid that can be used to prevent contamination.
  • Cuvettes: Used to measure the absorbance of light by a solution. They are typically made of clear plastic and have a rectangular shape.
  • Pipette tips: Disposable tips that are attached to pipettes to prevent contamination. They come in various sizes and styles.
Plastic Beaker

These are just a few common examples of the many uses of laboratory plasticware. The specific types of plasticware that are used will vary depending on the specific needs of the experiment.

Laboratory Plasticware Safety

Laboratory plasticware offers several advantages, but using them safely is crucial. Here are some key points to remember:

Chemical Compatibility:

  • Match plasticware to chemicals: Not all plastics are resistant to all chemicals. Check the chemical compatibility chart provided by the manufacturer or consult online resources to ensure the plastic can handle the specific chemicals you’re using. Using incompatible plasticware can lead to degradation, leaks, or even reactions.
  • Consider temperature: Chemical resistance can change with temperature. Check if the plasticware is suitable for the temperature range you’ll be using, especially for heating or freezing applications.

Heating and Autoclaving:

  • Never heat directly: Most plasticware cannot withstand direct heat from flames or hotplates. Use appropriate heating equipment like water baths or heating blocks.
  • Autoclave compatibility: Not all plasticware is autoclavable. Check the manufacturer’s specifications before autoclaving. Using non-autoclavable plasticware in an autoclave can lead to warping, melting, or even explosions.
  • Microwave with caution: Some microwave-safe plasticware exists, but use it with caution. Ensure it contains food or water to absorb microwave energy and avoid high temperatures.

Physical Handling:

  • Inspect for damage: Before use, always check for cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage. Damaged plasticware can break easily and potentially expose you to chemicals or biological agents.
  • Dispose properly: Follow proper disposal procedures for used plasticware, especially for contaminated ones. Consult your lab’s safety guidelines and regulations for appropriate disposal methods.
  • Cleaning: Plasticware must be cleaned properly and regularly because it can contain chemical substances that may harm the human body. 

Additional Tips:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): Always wear gloves, safety glasses, and other PPE when handling potentially hazardous chemicals or biological materials, regardless of the container.
  • Label everything clearly: Label plasticware with the contents, date, and any other relevant information to avoid confusion and ensure proper handling.
  • Train your personnel: Regularly train your lab personnel on safe handling practices for laboratory plasticware, including chemical compatibility, proper techniques, and disposal procedures.

By following these safety guidelines, you can minimize the risks associated with using laboratory plasticware and ensure a safe and healthy work environment in your lab.

Wrapping Up

Plasticware is a very important piece of equipment for every laboratory. There are various types of plastic ware and they have different uses. These uses depend on the purpose. Here we discuss a few common uses of the most common laboratory plasticware.

Hope you may find this information helpful for you. If you have any more queries about the laboratory plasticware and their uses please feel free to ask in the comment box.


What plastic is used in laboratory?

Polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are the workhorses of lab plasticware, chosen for their affordability, chemical resistance, and wide temperature tolerance. Other options like PET, PS, PC, and PTFE offer specific advantages like clarity, strength, or non-stick properties for specialized applications. Choose plastic based on chemical compatibility, temperature needs, and reusability goals.

What are three plastics that are used for labware?

1. Polypropylene (PP): Most common, versatile, good chemical resistance, autoclavable (e.g., centrifuge tubes).
2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): Affordable, lightweight, and good for chemicals (e.g., bottles, beakers).
3. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): Strong, clear, shatterproof (e.g., cell culture dishes).

Why are plastic containers used in laboratory?

Labs favor plastic containers for three key reasons:
1. Safety: Lighter and shatterproof compared to glass, reducing spill and injury risks.
2. Cost-effectiveness: Generally cheaper than glass, especially for disposable options.
3. Chemical resistance: Many plastics handle common lab chemicals well, offering versatility.

Why are most laboratory apparatus made of plastic?

It’s not entirely accurate to say “most” laboratory apparatus is made of plastic, as glass still plays a significant role. However, plastic is increasingly popular due to:
1. Safety: Shatterproof, reducing injury risk compared to glass.
2. Cost: Generally cheaper, especially for disposable options.
3. Versatility: Many plastics handle common lab chemicals well.
4. Weight: Lighter, easier to handle and transport.

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Zmshealthbio, is a leading supplier of innovative Healthcare Products, supplies and instruments. We are providers of Laboratory and Hospital equipment, Consumable Supplies from Plastic Disposables, Fine chemicals to Medical, Dental and Safety products.

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