Application of Water baths in A Science Laboratory


A laboratory water bath is primarily used to heat samples in the laboratory. Some applications comprise heating inflammable substances or maintaining cell lines that may ignite when exposed to open flame.

A water bath is made up of a heating unit, a chamber (stainless steel) that holds the samples and water, and a control interface. Thawing water baths are extensively used in various research and testing laboratories for daily bacteriological and different laboratory applications that require incubation, general tests, and procedures.

Water baths come in different types. They provide additional functionality like;

  • A circulating water bath for maintaining a more even temperature or
  • A shaking water bath for keeping the samples in motion when heated.

Application Of Water Baths In A Science Laboratory

The application of water bath lab equipment includes warming reagents, melting substrates, or cell cultures incubation. It is also used to aid specific chemical reactions to take place at high temperatures.

Nearly all laboratory water baths come with a digital interface to permit users to set the necessary temperature. An indicator light usually turns on to show that the water bath functions. After the correct temperature is reached, it turns on and off to keep the temperature constant.

Some water baths, called shaking water baths, offer added controls that permit the users to control the frequency and speed of the movements. It is primarily used to mix two substances; therefore, it can be used in place of a normal water bath by just turning off the shaking mechanism.

Lab water baths don’t essentially contain water. The liquid used depends on different aspects, including the required range of temperature and fluid thickness. At times oil is used in a water bath, in place of water. A water bath is the preferred heat source for flammable heating chemicals rather than an open flame to avoid ignition. Diverse water baths are used, but it depends on the application. However, all water baths can be used up to 99.9 °C. For temperatures beyond 100 °C, other methods like sand bath, oil bath, or silicone bath might come in handy.

Water baths might turn dangerous, especially when working with flammable substances like oil. Therefore, safety precautions should be taken, including using the water bath on a steady, level surface.

Why is Water Bath Used?

In laboratories, water baths usually heat flammable substances that might burst into flames if exposed to open flames and maintain cell lines. A circulating water bath keeps the sample moving to keep the temperature constant while heating. Samples requiring heating above 100°C will be prepared in the sand, oil, or silicone bath.

The Working Principle Of Water Bath

A water bath contains a sensor. This is a temperature sensor that transmits water temperature to the resistance value. Additionally, this sensor strengthens and compares with its in-built amplifier. The control signal discharges as the output, and the heating tube power of a water bath is controlled. This will give the operator a constant temperature for laboratory use.

How To Prepare A Water Bath

To use a laboratory water bath, fill it with distilled water up to the required level. Turn on the water bath and then set the temperature on the switch controller. Wait for the water to reach the preferred temperature. A thermometer will measure the temperature of the water. When the water reaches the preferred temperature, the water bath is ready to be used.

General Precautions When Using a Water Bath

  • Be careful while using water baths.
  • The water level must be monitored regularly and filled with distilled water only to prevent salts from depositing on the heater.
  • Disinfectants may be added to avoid the growth of organisms.
  • The temperature should be raised to 90 °C or higher once every week for at least half an hour to decontaminate.
  • Markers are likely to come off in water baths; thus, use water-resistant ones.
  • If application comprises liquids that emit smoke, operate the water bath in a well-ventilated area or in a smoke hood.
  • The cover is closed to avoid vaporization and to help reach high temperatures.
  • Set upon a stable surface away from inflammable stuff.
  • Avoid using a water bath with pyrophoric or moisture-sensitive reactions.
  • Never heat a bath liquid beyond its flashpoint.

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