Reagent label

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Reagent labels are sheets of paper or plastic which display written or printed information about the chemical from the reagent bottle they're attached to. It is a very important safety rule to always have labels: your laboratory should never contain any "mystery fluid" or "I-can't-remember-what's-that-powder" bottles. If a bottle of mystery reagent is ever found in your lab, it should be either carefully analyzed and labeled, or equally carefully disposed of.


Labels generally contain the name of the chemical, the "fire diamond", information about composition (purity, impurities), sensitivity to air, light, moisture, physical properties (melting/boiling point, density, flash point, autoignition point, sometimes solubility/miscibility), chemical compatibility, disposal method, expiration date, etc.

The name of the chemical is not always written in very large characters, but it's generally positioned on the label for easy finding.

DIY label

While simply writing the name of the chemical on a piece of paper and gluing it on the bottle with duct tape is the simplest method, one can also create more complex labels, using various software like MSPaint of MicrosoftWord and then printing the resulting label. To protect it from corrosive chemicals or solvents, the label can be covered with transparent duct tape.

You can also use various online tools for making reagent labels, such as Mysafetylabels.

Various label templates for chemicals have been uploaded on the SM forum by many users. To find them, check the links below.

Another "quick and dirty" method of making labels is writing them directly on the glass by a sharpie marker or a special crayon for writing on glass. To protect the writing, cover them in transparent adhesive tape.

Foolproof labels

A special kind of label can be required if the laboratory has bottles resembling food products or ingestible drugs, and/or people with no background in chemistry enter it often. This kind of label has one requirement: it should be comprehensible for people who never studied any chemistry. For example, a foolproof label on a bottle with sulfuric acid should read: "H2SO4. SULFURIC ACID, CONCENTRATED. 98%. DANGER: STRONG CORROSIVE ACID. AVOID SKIN CONTACT." Do not use hazard diamonds on foolproof labels: even some proper amateur chemists cannot read them, let alone the muggles. The skull and crossbones symbol is very useful for foolproof labels, as its meaning is universally known.


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