Monthly Archives: March 2014

5 Surprising Laboratory Creations That Changed the World

5 Surprising Laboratory Creations That Changed the World.

One of the most enduring human traits is a constant need to tinker. From an early age, this might manifest with building blocks or crayons, but as we get older the tools become a little more advanced and some of those children become scientists with laboratory equipment that leaves the toys of childhood far behind…

When it comes to finding yourself standing in the laboratory, many scientists and technicians are faced with a similar need to create, innovate and, essentially, tinker with the mechanics of anything available.

This curiosity has meant that the lab has become home to some things you might never have expected. While many members of the general public assume laboratories to be producing new, clearer brands of headphones, or picture them with exciting perfumes being held in a vial crimp, there are actually a great many things created in many different laboratories which you might never expect. Here are five of the strangest:

1. Meat

Lab Grown Meat

Lab Grown Meat – Future cure to hunger?

It might seem strange to you now, but for many years futurologists have predicted the rise of lab grown meats. The quest to create a burger in a petri dish might be closer to conclusion than you had previously thought. As recently as 2013, scientists were demonstrating a hamburger made from mincemeat grown in a lab in Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Costing nearly a third of a million dollars, the patty was reported to have looked and smelled incredibly close to that alluring odour, but the taste might not be quite right just yet.

2. Diamonds

Laboratory-made Diamonds

Laboratory-made Diamonds

With the continuing troubles regarding the source of many mined diamonds, finding an ethically sound means of procuring the precious stones could lie in a laboratory. While lab-created diamonds have existed for many years, traditional diamond producers and salesmen have claimed that they lack the imperfections which distinguish them from the real thing. However, it could be the next step which is the most unexpected. A Swiss laboratory has claimed that they will soon be able to take a cremated person’s ashes and convert them into a diamond. Rather than a traditional burial, it could well be that we receive the diamond treatment when it comes to future remembrance ceremonies.

3. Viruses

Viruses created in a laboratory

Viruses created in a laboratory

While it is long held that laboratories are one of the very best weapons in our fight against disease, there is often no means of telling what is actually in all of the glass vials similar to the ones we provide to lab workers. One of the most worrying possibilities must surely be a virus. While we may not quite be at the stage where evil scientists are knocking together a super plague, there have been recent concerns over the experiments performed on the H5N1 virus and how this research could lead to future trouble. With so many cures being developed in the lab, it could well be a disease which is the next leap forward.

4. Drugs

Drugs created in a laboratory

Drugs created in a laboratory

When saying that drugs have been developed in a laboratory, many people will simply nod and assume that you are referring to medicine. However, some of the most potent forms of narcotics have been created from scratch by those working in laboratories. Usually, people think of all drugs as being similar to marijuana or cocaine; naturally occurring substances which are manufactured into the mind altering. However, LSD is perhaps the most famous example of an entirely scientific creation. On April 16 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman administered the first dose of a drug he had been working on for some time. He recorded his findings and found the chemical to induce quite the effect. Whilst originally conceived for medicinal purposes, every batch of LSD since created is based in some way on his initial laboratory findings. Responsible for much of the psychedelic happenings of the Swinging Sixties, it may well surprise some to find that the substance was created in a laboratory.

5. Big Bang

Big Bang

In the beginning…

Posited as the very beginnings of the universe itself, a huge and seismic event which shaped everything which surrounds us, it might well seem that trying to create a similar circumstance in a laboratory might be a bad idea. But perhaps not. Whilst we might be more comfortable with beautifully organised vial seals and incredibly accurate balances, other labs seem to prefer the option of taking two very, very small objects and hitting them together in a very, very fast manner. This is a gross over simplification of the Large Hadron Collider, a tool in a lab whose circumference is measured in miles and lurks under the ground along the French/Swiss border. Within, scientists are trying to recreate the Big Bang on a smaller scale, observing the incredibly detailed occurrences surrounding such an event. Though there was widespread public mumblings regarding a possible apocalypse, scientists have now begun to make incredibly discoveries based on the results from the large, underground, circular, atom-smashing laboratory. Who knew that a simple lab might be able to one day recreate the beginning of the universe?

Choosing a Laboratory Equipment Supplier

Questions To Ask When Choosing a Laboratory Equipment Supplier

The laboratory equipment you use is vitally important, so it makes sense to ensure you have the best possible supplier. But with so many suppliers out there, how do you decide which one is right for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make your choice:

How long have they been operating in this market?

Although every company has to start somewhere, it is well acknowledged that working with a business that has only just started trading a particular type of product is more risky. Any teething problems that the company encounters as it nails down its supply chain are likely to be reflected in the service you receive as a customer. For a stress-free experience when buying laboratory equipment, it is normally advisable to look in to how long the business in question has been operational, and choose a well established company. Laboratory Precision Ltd has been established and trading for over 25 years.

Laboratory Vial Seals

What is the availability of the items you require?

It sounds simple, but one of the first things to check is whether the company actually provide the service you’re looking for. There’s little point doing further research in to them, only to find that you can’t actually buy the thing you set out to!

Do they have a website?

In this day and age it is extremely unusual for a consumer-facing business not to have a website. Explore their website and check that there are easy ways to get in touch with them – an email address and phone number should be readily available.

What are their working hours?

It’s important to find a supplier who will be contactable during the hours that you need them to be – so make sure that you’re aware when they will and won’t be contactable.

Are their products quality checked?

All good laboratory equipment suppliers will be able to explain their quality checking procedures to you very clearly. This is a crucial way for you to be assured that you are purchasing high-quality equipment.

Laboratory Glass Vials

Do they have knowledge of what they offer?

You should be able to get in touch with the company to check that they have a thorough understanding of the equipment they are selling, and can answer any questions you have relating to the product you are looking to buy.

Will they give you an official documented quotation?

This is another sign of a trustworthy business, and don’t forget that this quote can be extremely important for your financial records!

How long will they hold their quoted prices?

Most companies will guarantee a quote for only a certain length of time. Check how long you have before your quoted price runs out to ensure you don’t get any unwelcome surprises!

What are their payment terms and what product warranties do they offer?

Both of these are important facts to know at the outset, before you commit to making a purchase with any new supplier.

Lab Equipment

Laboratory Equipment Supplier

Questions To Ask When Choosing a Laboratory Equipment Supplier

The laboratory equipment you use is vitally important, so it makes sense to ensure you have the best possible supplier. But with so many suppliers out there, how do you decide which one is right for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make your choice:

How long have they been operating in this market?

Although every company has to start somewhere, it is well acknowledged that working with a business that has only just started trading a particular type of product is more risky. Any teething problems that the company encounters as it nails down its supply chain are likely to be reflected in the service you receive as a customer. For a stress-free experience when buying laboratory equipment, it is normally advisable to look in to how long the business in question has been operational, and choose a well established company. Laboratory Precision Ltd has been established and trading for over 25 years.

Laboratory Vial Seals

What is the availability of the items you require?

It sounds simple, but one of the first things to check is whether the company actually provide the service you’re looking for. There’s little point doing further research in to them, only to find that you can’t actually buy the thing you set out to!

Do they have a website?

In this day and age it is extremely unusual for a consumer-facing business not to have a website. Explore their website and check that there are easy ways to get in touch with them – an email address and phone number should be readily available.

What are their working hours?

It’s important to find a supplier who will be contactable during the hours that you need them to be – so make sure that you’re aware when they will and won’t be contactable.

Are their products quality checked?

All good laboratory equipment suppliers will be able to explain their quality checking procedures to you very clearly. This is a crucial way for you to be assured that you are purchasing high-quality equipment.

Laboratory Glass Vials

Do they have knowledge of what they offer?

You should be able to get in touch with the company to check that they have a thorough understanding of the equipment they are selling, and can answer any questions you have relating to the product you are looking to buy.

Will they give you an official documented quotation?

This is another sign of a trustworthy business, and don’t forget that this quote can be extremely important for your financial records!

How long will they hold their quoted prices?

Most companies will guarantee a quote for only a certain length of time. Check how long you have before your quoted price runs out to ensure you don’t get any unwelcome surprises!

What are their payment terms and what product warranties do they offer?

Both of these are important facts to know at the outset, before you commit to making a purchase with any new supplier.

Lab Equipment

Laboratory Equipment Supplier

Guide to Calibrating Laboratory Balances

The true Importance of Calibrating your Balance

One of the most commonly-asked questions that accompany the purchase of a new balance is ‘When should I calibrate it for the first time, and how often should I calibrate it afterwards?’ 

– Although this is technically two questions, they are both absolutely vital for achieving the most accurate readings from a new balance or a set of scales – any operating manual would be remiss if it didn’t mention the need for calibration within the first section.

By following a few relatively simple steps during the lifetime of the equipment, it will remain in optimal working condition for the longest possible period of time.

The bottom line is: How important is the level of accuracy your application requires?

 

How important is Regular Calibration?

laboratory calibration weights

Calibration Weights For Precision Balances

The obvious answer to this is dependant on application that the balances will be used for but as a rule of thumb, regular calibration is vitally important. Some applications require the highest degree of accuracy: gloves and tweezers should be used as even the grease from the users hands can cause inaccuracies along with other external contaminants such as dust or water vapour for example.

Regular calibration with precision calibration weights s vital. Correct weights must be used: conforming to Mass Standards E2, F1 and M1 for example to ensure that accuracy is maintained

There are a number of external factors than can affect the calibration of this type of device and as a rule of thumb, any unwanted factors that adjust the internal mechanisms of a balance or scale should be counteracted with a form of calibration.

Moving the device from one place to another, unpacking it after shipping, accidental knocks or damage, and even changes in air pressure can alter the accuracy of the equipment. If you are working in a lab where other users have access to your scales and balances, you should perform calibration on a regular basis for your own peace of mind – after all it is usually impractical for you to keep a personal watch over all of your equipment on a permanent basis.

 

When Should I Calibrate?

As mentioned above, there are a number of situations which should act as a ‘trigger event’ for you to consider performing some kind of calibration process.

When you are unpacking your brand new scale or balance, you have in effect arrived at the first opportunity to undergo calibration. Bearing in mind that the measurement product could have been manufactured a great distance away from your laboratory or place of work, the factory conditions could be very different to your working environment – its new surrounding air pressure, temperature and environmental conditions need to be factored into the measurement process in order to get an accurate reading.

Aside from this, the actual shipping process could have led to the device receiving a number of knocks through rough handling and transportation, and each impact could have had a minor effect on the measurement mechanisms. With multiple impacts, there is a good possibility that the balance would have become significantly inaccurate. When dealing with equipment that is extremely sensitive, a change in location will also lead to a difference in the surrounding levels of gravity due to its relative position from the North or South Pole, and this is another reason why it is vital to perform calibration.

 

Types of Calibration

It can be advantageous to invest in a balance that comes equipped with internal motorised calibration, and this feature provides a convenient and automated process that allows the balance to adjust itself to new surroundings with the press of a button. The convenience of this type of calibration means that users can in effect perform the process each and every time the machine is switched on.

Apart from this method, it will also usually be possible to perform external calibration for the balance, and this involves taking a weight that has already been assigned a pre-determined value – this could be 1000g or a similarly-round value. Once the balance or scales is aware of this value, it can then measure other masses against this initial reading. For absolute peace of mind in situations where external calibration needs to be used, scientific professionals should consider obtaining pre-determined calibration weights that have already been weighed and certified.

 

Considerations

Anti-Vibration Table

Anti-Vibration Table

When calibrating and using electronic balances and scales, there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into consideration – these will all increase the overall effectiveness of the equipment.

Users of sensitive equipment may already be aware that the device needs to be placed in an area that has little surrounding activity, and you should bear in mind that industrial machinery can often emit vibrations that will affect the weighing device. By ensuring that the device is resting on a surface that is completely flat (you can adjust the feet of the scales accordingly), you can also check to see that the device has been grounded by coming into contact with another metal surface to prevent static electricity from affecting the reading.

 

Our range of Laboratory Balance Accessories such as the anti-vibration table, covers and hard cases are ideal for aiding the accuracy and performance of your weighing equipment.

 

The Adam Equipment Range

Adam Equipment Laboratory Balances

Adam Equipment Laboratory Balances

Within the Adam Equipment Range of scales and balances, all of the above features have been taken into consideration to allow users to obtain accurate measurements – this applies to both their portable/compact and conventional models. Their precision balances are supplied with a high standard of automatic internal calibration for the convenience of the user, while other scales can be supplied with the certified weights that make external calibration as accurate as possible.

In this range of equipment, moisture balances are also available that are specifically designed to analyse the unique properties that accompany moisture and liquids.