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Author: Subject: Buying my first real lab equipment
Aperturescience27
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Buying my first real lab equipment

I've been meaning to buy some real, professional lab equipment for a while, and I think I've got a pretty good idea of what I want, but I thought I'd better ask people with experience.

I'm thinking about buying this glassware set http://www.laboyglass.com/list.asp?id=7089 it looks good, the Vigreux column looks kind of short, is that going to be a problem? I also want to get some vacuum filtration equipment, and I don't know if I should get the sintered glass buchner funnel or the kind with holes. Obviously I'd also need a vacuum filtering flask. I might also get a bubbler. If there's any other glassware you think I should get, let me know because I'd like to order it all together from one place (probably laboy) so I don't have to pay too much for shipping. On a side note, is it generally OK to buy used glassware? I'm worried about built-up stresses. Is it easy to anneal glassware?

I also want to get a vacuum pump, both for filtration and distillation, but I really have no idea what to buy. PTFE would be great, but I don't want to spend too much, no more than a couple hundred, ideally. I might get an air compressor (for other stuff), so a compressed-air powered one would be great if it's cheaper. Can a vacuum pump also be used as a compressor? I know it can in principle, but I want to know if it's possible in practice with most vacuum pumps.

For a hotplate/stirrer, I think I'll just keep checking ebay for good deals. If you happen upon one for a good price ($100 or less), and you don't want it for yourself, would you mind telling me? Edit: What about ultrasonic cleaners? Harbor Freight Tools has one http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-955... but it looks pretty small. [Edited on 5-9-2012 by Aperturescience27] BromicAcid International Hazard Posts: 3112 Registered: 13-7-2003 Location: Wisconsin Member Is Offline Mood: Legitimate Glassware can be useful for many things but the exact utility is always going to depend on intended purpose? What kind of reactions do you plan on running? A 200 mm Vigreux is kind of small in my opinion but do you intend to distill for product purity? If you're just flashing away water or solvent then it's never going to really matter. Do you intend to fraction? You mention a vacuum pump, do you really intend to do vacuum distillations? If so I might look into purchasing a higher quality glassware, but then again that depends on how long you plan to stay in the hobby. I'd love to say that if you invest in a nice$350 setup from United Glass Tech that it will last you forever but glass isn't like that, one day it's here and the next it's in a pile on the floor. Still, when I first started I saved for nearly a year to buy the best kit I could afford, aside from one broken piece the remainder served me well for years until I had to give it up.

With regards to used glassware you get what you pay for. We have thick glassware in the lab that sees use weekly from companies that have been out of business for 20 years or more. I have never seen any issues with stress or fatigue that haven't been obvious by examining the glass beforehand save the poor glassware dedicated to work with SF<sub>4</sub>.

Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
sargent1015
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Just curious, do you have all the basic glassware already? Beakers, Erlenmeyers, pipets, etc. If not, make sure you factor that stuff into your budget.

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Dr.Bob
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 Quote: Originally posted by Aperturescience27 On a side note, is it generally OK to buy used glassware? I'm worried about built-up stresses. Is it easy to anneal glassware?

I am a bit biased, perhaps, but used glassware that is not cracked or otherwise visibly damaged is fine. I have items that I have used for 20 years and after the first day I use them, they were used and continued to work fine. If a piece is well made to start, it should last until cracked or broken, both of which will happen but can be mostly avoided if careful.

Unless someone has done repairs to an item, or heated it with a torch, it will not have built up stresses. Annealing glassware is only done to pieces that have been repaired or thermally abused, which is rare, Most thermally stressed glass will break immediately if it is going to break. Remember, it is a super cooled liquid, over time, it will flow to a very small degree, so it does not accumulate stress.
Hexavalent
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With regards to what Dr Bob said about the glassware being under stress if it had been heated under a torch or otherwise reached very, very high temperatures, this is why, on YouTube, particularly with the Raging Nurd small disposable glass vials are used to heat the crap out of something as opposed to glass beakers, in addition to the fact that if they *do* break, they're cheap enough to toss out and try again repeatedly.

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
Aperturescience27
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Sorry it took me so long to get back to you guys on this, I've been busy lately.
 Quote: What kind of reactions do you plan on running?

A pretty wide variety of simple stuff; I want to get some general-purpose glassware.
 Quote: Do you intend to fraction?

Probably. It seems like it would be useful. My question is, is a 200 mm column going to be any use at all?
 Quote: You mention a vacuum pump, do you really intend to do vacuum distillations?

I'd like to, but I don't think I'll buy a pump now. I should probably wait until I've got more experience and get into more complex stuff. I guess I can get one of the hand vacuum pumps for filtration.
 Quote: If so I might look into purchasing a higher quality glassware,

What would be higher quality? Corning?

I'm going to finish this some other time, I'm tired.

Aperturescience27
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Okay, I'm having trouble editing my last post so I'm just going to make a new one.
Sorry for leaving this thread for so long, I haven't been on here for a while, I've been a bit busy. Thanks so much for all your help so far.
In continuing response to BromicAcid, from what I've heard, Laboy glass is actually pretty good quality (according to this thread). Do you know of anyone who's had problems with Laboy specifically? I can't help but wonder why the glass is so cheap, but no one on that thread is complaining. Maybe American manufacturers are just charging so much because big companies are willing to pay. I hope so.
BromicAcid and Dr.Bob, thanks for the reassurance regarding used glass.
sargent1015:
 Quote: Just curious, do you have all the basic glassware already? Beakers, Erlenmeyers, pipets, etc. If not, make sure you factor that stuff into your budget.

No, I don't. I've been using mostly tupperware and water bottles for about 2 years (I'm currently 18) mostly doing electrochemistry with a wonderful DC power supply, a gift from a really cool uncle, but now I want to get into fancy stuff .
Hexavalent, thanks for the advice, that's really good to know.

Magpie
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I've been doing home chemistry for quite a few years now and both my columns, a Hempel column and a West condenser, are 200mm coming with my Kontes 19/22 kit. 95% of the time these are of adequate length. Only when attempting difficult separations have I wanted a longer column for fractionating.

The downside of a longer column is that it requires more heat input (or insulation) and has more holdup. So if you are using a 25mL pot and only have a few mls to distill that long column is going to be next to worthless.

[Edited on 25-8-2012 by Magpie]

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
ScienceHideout
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Before you get the advanced distillation stuff, get the basics... All labs MUST have regular old beakers and flasks! Look on expediglass and buy 100 mL, 250 mL and 600 mL beakers along with some 250 mL conical flasks... You won't be sorry!

hey, if you are reading this, I can't U2U, but you are always welcome to send me an email!

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition » Buying my first real lab equipment Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues