The first and foremost rule of any laboratory is to be safe! This may seem obvious, but people often disregard safety protocols for one reason or another, putting themselves and those around them in danger. The best thing you can do is to make sure you follow all safety protocols at all times.
Safety goggles are required wear in all chemistry labs. Not wearing them puts you in danger of eye irritation and possibly blindness in the case of an accident. A small droplet of acid could splash out of the container at any time. Better safe than permanently blinded!
A beaker is a common container in most labs. It is used for mixing, stirring, and heating chemicals. Most beakers have spouts on their rims to aid in pouring. They also commonly have lips around their rims and markings to measure the volume they contain, although they are not a precise way to measure liquids. Beakers come in a wide range of sizes.
Also known as a conical flask, the Erlenmeyer flask was named after its inventor in 1861. It has a narrow neck and expands toward its base. This allows easy mixing and swirling of the flask without too much risk of spilling. The narrow opening also allows for the use of a rubber or glass stopper. It can easily be clamped to a ring stand (discussed below) as well as heated or shaken mechanically.
Also known as a boiling flask, the Florence flask has a round bottom and a long neck. It is used to hold liquids and can be easily swirled and heated. It can also easily be capped by rubber or glass stoppers.
A test tube is a glass tube with one end open and the other end closed. The closed end is rounded. Test tubes are used to hold small samples. They are primarily used for qualitative assessment and comparison. A common place to see these is the biochemistry lab. When a large number of samples need to be tested and compared, test tubes are used to make this easier. They are also easily capped with a rubber or glass stopper.
They are generally held in a test tube rack specifically designed for the purpose. If the test tubes become unsafe to touch with bare hands (whether due to heat or another reason), test-tube tongs can be used to move them.
A watch glass is just a round piece of glass that is slightly concave/convex (think of a lens). It can hold a small amount of liquid or solid. They can be used for evaporation purposes and also can function as a lid for a beaker.
A lab funnel is just like any other funnel except that it was designed to be used in a laboratory setting. They can be made of plastic or glass and can have either a short stem or a long stem, depending on what they are needed for. There are several sizes that can be chosen from based on the amount of liquid that needs to go through them quickly.
This is a primary measuring tool for the volume of a liquid. There are several markings up and down the length of the container with specific increments. Graduated cylinders come in many sizes. The smaller they are in diameter, the more specific the volume measurements will be.
When reading the volume from a graduated cylinder, you will notice that the liquid seems to have an indentation. The liquid around the edges will be higher than the liquid in the center, sloping down like the sides of a trampoline when someone is standing in the middle. This is called the meniscus. Line the lowest point of the meniscus up with the nearest marking, keeping the cylinder level to properly read the volume.
A volumetric flask is a round flask with a long neck and flat bottom. It is used to measure an exact volume of liquid. There is a small line on the neck that indicates how far to fill the bottle (use the bottom of the meniscus). They come with special caps that will not let anything in or out.
These are small glass tubes with narrow tips on one end and a rubber bulb on the other. They suck up liquid that can then be squeezed out in small drops. These can be used to add an indicator to a solution about to be titrated.
A buret is a glass tube that is open at the top and comes to a narrow pointed opening at the bottom. Right above the bottom opening is a stopcock that can be turned to control the amount of liquid being released. There are markings along the length of the tube that indicate the volume of liquid present.
A buret is used for extremely accurate addition of liquid. By adjusting the stopcock, the amount of liquid that is released can be slowed to a drop every few seconds. Burets are one of the most accurate tools in the lab.
To determine how much liquid is added, write down how much is initially in the buret. Then when you're finished adding, write down how much is left. Subtract the final amount from the initial amount and you have the volume of liquid added.
When using a ring on the stand, there are usually other pieces necessary to accomplish the goal. Wire mesh is laid across the ring to distribute evenly heat and support the beaker. A clay triangle with an open center is used to suspend crucibles.
A Bunsen burner is a mechanical apparatus that is connected to a flammable gas source. There is a knob to adjust the amount of gas flow and a rotating collar that controls airflow. These both must be adjusted to get an ideal flame for heating purposes. The burner is lit with a striker.
A balance is used to weigh chemicals. The chemicals are always in some form of container and never placed directly on the balance. It is important not to move a balance because they have been calibrated for the exact position they are in. Some balances have plastic housing with small doors to keep air currents from affecting the measurement. Close these doors whenever the balance is in use.
To use a balance to determine the weight of a chemical, first put the empty container that the chemical will be in on the balance. Once you have a reading, press the "tare" or "zero" button on the balance. Remove the container from the balance and add the chemical (never add chemicals to a container while it is on the balance). Reweigh after adding the chemical to find the weight of only the chemical.