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Things to Consider Before Buying a Microscope

Young girl looking in microscope One of the most vital pieces of any lab is the microscope. Most labs have multiple types of microscopes, but perhaps the most frequently used one is the compound light microscope. So how do you know what makes one microscope better than the others or what to even look for in a microscope? If you need to purchase school chemical supplies and don’t know where to begin, review the tips below to find the right microscope for your needs. (more…)

The Importance of Wearing a Lab Coat

Scientist buttoning up lab coat   The laboratory coat is an underrated, unsung hero for anyone who works in a laboratory environment. It is almost impossible to visit your local laboratory or laboratory chemical suppliers and not see dozens of lab coats being used all over the facilities. Here are just a few of the many reasons that is the case.

It Is a Barrier

Just like laboratory glassware supplies, a lab coat is a barrier that protects you from the chemicals you work with. Your lab coat makes sure your street clothes and body are protected from spills, splashes, drops, and even unanticipated reactions. It is a barrier that keeps you from being exposed to accidents in the lab and, in some cases, might save you from injury or even save your life.

Fire Protection

Good lab coats are semi-fire retardant. The best mixture of materials is 35/65 poly-cotton. That is a good ratio between polyester (35%) and cotton (65%) because the polyester resists chemicals and is easy to maintain, while the cotton provides fire-retardant properties.

Fast Removal

If you get into a situation where you need to remove your lab coat, it comes off seamlessly, unlike other articles of clothing. For example, if a caustic chemical was spilled and got on your lab coat, or if a fire broke out that started to ignite the coat, getting out of it before you got burned is quick and easy, while still containing the hazard.

Sleeve and Arm Protection

Your arms are the most vulnerable part of your body when working in a lab if you are wearing appropriate safety clothing. Arms are the most exposed to hazardous materials and, without a lab coat, most shirt sleeves tend to hang a little loosely, making them ideal for brushing up against chemicals or fire. A lab coat protects the clothing beneath, as well as the arms.

Cross-Contamination Avoidance

You leave your lab coat in the lab when you take off for the day. Everything that is outside of the lab is kept from the coat, and everything on the coat is kept away from the outside. If you are wearing the full complement of lab safety clothing and equipment, as recommended by most laboratory supplies companies, the only way cross-contamination could occur is via your hands or other exposed skin.   Scientists looking at computer screen in lab

Clothing Protection

If you are like most laboratory workers, researchers, students, professors, or scientists, you probably do not have a lot of cash lying around for new clothes. A lab coat can help protect what you do have for clothes. More importantly, with the variety most laboratory supplies distributors offer, you can tailor your lab coat to meet your clothing style to ensure your clothes are protected at all times.

Professionalism

A sharp, clean, and professional-looking lab coat creates an aura of seriousness and competence that speaks well for you and your organization. Coupled lab coats have to be well maintained to pull this off, but their sense of professionalism is unmistakable. With most vendors of laboratory equipment supplies, you can negotiate to have your coats replaced and/or cleaned periodically to keep up the look and feel of a top-notch organization. Lab coats are the unsung heroes of laboratory safety equipment. Without them, just about every part of the lab would be affected, from cross-contamination to injuries to staff. For more information on lab coats, please visit Hi Valley Chemical.

How to Properly Store Chemicals in Your Lab

Labeled chemical bottles in storage   If you work in a lab, chances are you will be using chemicals. Unfortunately, accidents caused by the improper storage of chemicals are all too common. No matter what kinds of chemicals you use or how much you have in the laboratory, proper handling and storage of chemicals is absolutely vital. Keep reading to learn some essential safety tips to put away your lab chemicals appropriately.

Safety Guidelines

Protecting yourself is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when you are planning to reorganize your laboratory. Before you begin moving bottles of chemicals around the lab, it is crucial to have the right personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes eye protection, chemical-resistant gloves, closed toe shoes, and a lab coat or chemical apron. Next, look around the lab and try to identify any potential tripping hazards and busy workstations. Ensure the walkways, exits, and emergency equipment are accessible and easy to get to. Lastly, make sure you have a full spill kit on hand, complete with absorbent materials, neutralizing agents, cleanup tools, and waste containers. Once you guarantee the area is prepared, you can begin moving and organizing the chemicals so that they are stored properly.

Chemical Storage Dos

Whether you are setting up a lab for the first time or simply reorganizing, you must be attentive and careful throughout the process. Use these tips to store your chemicals safely:
  • Create a specific storage area for every chemical and make sure it is returned to the same spot after it has been used. Separate the chemicals according to their compatible groups. If you must store incompatible materials together, follow all the related safety precautions.
  • Only store flammable liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets. Store volatile toxics and odoriferous chemicals in ventilated cabinets.
  • Make sure all of the containers are in good condition, so you don’t experience any leaks in the lab. If you notice that a bottle is broken, visit a chemical supplies store near me so you can replace it with a functional one. Seal every container tightly so vapors do not escape. Be sure to label all the chemical containers as well.
  • If a chemical needs to be refrigerated, only use a designated refrigerator. Label this fridge with a sign that says “Chemical storage only, no food.” Avoid storing flammable liquids in a refrigerator unless the appliance was specifically designed for this purpose, as with a spark-free refrigerator.

Organized chem lab

Chemical Storage Don’ts

Here are a few things you should avoid doing when you are storing chemicals in your laboratory:
  • Don’t store chemicals in direct sunlight or close to heat sources.
  • Avoid storing heavy or unwieldy containers on high shelves or in high cabinets. Store them instead at arm level or below.
  • Don’t store chemicals on top of cabinets. Don’t store any bottles on the floor either.
  • Avoid storing chemicals indeterminately. Over time, liquids can evaporate, and powders can harden. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturers’ suggested expiration dates. If you come across a chemical that is expired or has degraded in any way, dispose of it properly.
If you need new supplies for your lab, be sure to reach out to us at Hi Valley Chemical today.

Laboratory Glassware: Everything You Need to Know

High school students in chemistry lab   Laboratories around the world use glass in nearly all of their equipment as well as for storage and testing. This is because glass has a lot of attributes that makes it perfect for containing chemicals, acids, and various liquids. If you’re running your own laboratory, or if you’re thinking about opening up a new one, you may find that glass works substantially better and has a longer lifespan than some of its plastic counterparts. Additionally, if you’re running an educational science lab, you’ll find that glassware is a better option for you. If you aren’t sure which laboratory tools to choose when it comes to containers, testing methods, and storage, check out these 3 things you need to know about laboratory glassware.

1. It’s Better Than Plastic

While there are some new plastic alternatives to laboratory glassware, glassware still holds up better. It has components that allow it to hold volatile chemicals that certain plastics just don’t have. Its resistance to chemicals is what gives glass so much more potential in any laboratory. According to NextDayScience.com, “The only substances that can destroy glass are hydrofluoric acid, strong alkalis used at high temperatures, and concentrated phosphoric acid.” That means that the majority of the tests you run won’t harm the glassware that you use in your lab. Glass is a great material for resisting chemicals. It takes a long time to break down, unlike plastic and plastic alternatives.

2. Take the Proper Precautions

When you use laboratory glass for experimenting or testing, it is important to take the proper precautions. While glass can stand up to chemicals, there are other things that can break it. For example, glass at extreme temperatures or exposed to rapid temperature changes can change. If the temperatures are too hot, the glass will melt, and if the temperatures are too cold, the glass can become brittle. Additionally, glass is subject to break under a lot of pressure. For these reasons, it’s essential to purchase tempered laboratory glass that can withstand higher degrees of these dangers. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to properly train your staff or students on the properties of laboratory glass, what it is capable of, and what it is not capable of.   Glass test tubes filled with liquid

3. Keep It Clean

While many may think that cleaning glassware in hot water is the best, it is important to clean your laboratory glassware in cold water. This will remove any protein residue that is on the glass. You can use disinfectant solutions to soak your glassware to help you clean off any chemicals or biological residue. Additionally, you can use a brush to scrub away any additional particles from the glass. Keeping your laboratory glassware clean will ensure that you don’t have any cross-contamination in your testing or experiments. When it comes to purchasing laboratory glassware, it is essential to consider the properties of glass. It is more chemical resistant than most plastics, but it still has limitations. Also, be sure to keep your glassware clean. If you are looking for quality laboratory glassware, contact Hi Valley Chemical, one of the leading school chemical suppliers around.

5 Chemical Supplies Every Educational Lab Must Have

  Supplying your educational lab is one of the most important things that you can do. To ensure that you are giving your students the best materials to use while they work on experiments and learn is an essential way to help them learn in a hands-on manner. While there are many laboratory supplies distributors available, it’s important to find ones that deliver quality goods to your laboratory. If you aren’t sure exactly what your education lab needs, check out these five must-haves before you begin placing your order.

Buffer Solutions

Buffer solutions are necessary for chemistry labs, because they’re the base for many experiments you will be doing with your students. These solutions are great, because they resist changes in pH when acids and alkalis are added to them.

High Purity Solvents

Distilled and high purity solvents are another chemical that you’ll need for your educational lab. They’re great for many different experiments, and they help you teach your students. When purchases high purity solvents, it’s important to know how the supply distributor has prepared them. Make sure you do your research to find the best high purity solvents available for your lab.

Hot Plates

Experiments that involve heat either need alcohol burners or hot plates. These essential tools are staples in nearly every laboratory and in all educational labs. If you currently have hot plates in your lab, be sure to inspect them regularly to ensure that they’re up to safety regulations. If you have some hot plates that aren’t up to state and local standards, replace them as needed. This will help you make sure that your hot plates are safe for you and your students to use during experiments.

Glassware

Your educational lab most likely already has a supply of glassware to help you conduct your experiments. This glassware can include beakers, droppers, bottles, vials, and much more. Just like with the hot plates, be sure to inspect your glassware regularly to ensure that it is not weakening and that it doesn’t have cracks or breaks. If you need to purchase more glassware for your educational lab, Hi Valley Chemical offers a line of quality glassware products for any lab and any experiment.

Safety Supplies

As you know, all labs need high-quality safety equipment to ensure that, should an experiment go wrong, those involved in the lab accident are protected. This safety equipment can include goggles, gloves, and protective garments. Additionally, should an experiment go wrong, you should have safety supplies to help those in your lab apply first aid. When taking inventory of your laboratory, be sure to inspect your safety equipment. If any of your safety equipment is outdated or needs to be restocked, be sure to order more immediately in order to keep up with safety regulations in your area. When it comes to stocking the inventory of your educational lab, there are a lot of things that you will need. For all of your laboratory needs, make sure you contact Hi Valley Chemicals to get high-quality equipment and chemicals for your lab.

The Necessity of Gloves in Chemical Experiments

  Whether you’re a chemistry student working with your school laboratory equipment or a scientist, you understand the proper steps of testing a hypothesis. After forming a theory, it’s time to test it. Various experiments will help you to determine whether or not your original formulation was correct. In many cases, you’ll test and retest many different hypotheses before finally coming to a valid conclusion. In order to achieve exact and reliable results, the proper steps must be taken to safeguard your experiment. This includes understanding when is and isn’t an appropriate time to wear protective gear.

The Importance of Gloves

When working with chemicals, it’s crucial that gloves are always worn. While it may not seem important, these gloves can prevent disaster from occurring. The chemicals you’re working with could prove harmful if they come in contact with skin. Even if the substance seems relatively harmless, there’s no telling how your body will react. Prevent any issues from occurring by consistently wearing gloves each time you perform an experiment or work with chemicals. Some prefer to wear one-time use gloves. These are beneficial as they’re easy to put on, easy to remove, and easy to throw away. However, others prefer the durability of gloves that can be reused. In the end, there’s no right or wrong glove to wear when working with chemicals. As long as you’re protecting yourself and your hands, it’s all a matter of preference.

Caring for Gloves

Heavy-duty gloves, while not disposable, still require attention. After each use, inspect the glove for any holes, breaks, or tears. If the glove appears to be intact, clean it according the manufacturer’s recommendations. It’s also smart to wash your gloves after extended use. Your gloves shouldn’t be cross-contaminated. If your gloves have been exposed to dangerous elements, throw them away and put a new pair on before working with a different chemical. Not only does this protect the reliability of the experiment, but it prevents any unwanted reactions from occurring.

When to Remove the Gloves

As important as it is to wear gloves while working with chemicals, it’s equally as important to understand when to remove them. When you’re hard at work, it’s difficult to remember to take the gloves off when performing certain tasks. However, touching phones, equipment, hair, or even your face while wearing gloves could lead to contamination. Always remove your gloves before touching anything that isn’t related to your experiment. It’s also vital that gloves are only removed and cleaned within your laboratory as it prevents outside contamination. To remove your gloves, grasp the cuff at the back of the wristband. Peel the glove off of your hand. If done properly, your glove will be inside out. You should never touch the outside of the glove with your hand. Once removed, wash your hands thoroughly. Because protective equipment is so important when dealing with chemicals and conducting experiments, it’s imperative that you always have enough on hand. Whether you’re looking to replenish your school chemical supply of disposable gloves or you’re looking for a pair of sturdy gloves that can be reused, make sure that you have plenty in stock before beginning your project. Contact the team at Hi Valley Chemical today for more information!

Plastic vs Metal Containers: The Best Way to Store Chemicals in Winter

  When winter rolls around,you’re not likely to want to spend much time outside looking into your chemical storage situation. This logistical step is something you’ll want to have squared away before the colder months hit. If you’re using chemicals for outside activities like pool treatment or to rid your property of insect infestations, you’ll need to have a plan to store these substances as the weather gets colder and you’re no longer using them.

When Winter Comes

Your timeline for this process will vary, depending on where you live. Winter hits some areas of the country as early as late October, while others bask in warmer temperatures until early December. Either way, if you need to store chemicals, you must decide whether to put them in metal or plastic containers. Read on for some information regarding the pluses and minuses of both materials.

Factors to Consider

First, you need to determine if the chemical you are storing is corrosive. Look at the label to see what ingredients it contains. Common corrosive acids include hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, and sulfuric acid. You may encounter corrosive bases like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Many corrosive chemicals can destroy metal over long periods of time, so plastic is often the better choice for these substances. You should consider stackability when deciding between metal and plastic for your chemical storage needs. Because of their rounded construction, most plastic containers are not as conducive to stacking as their metal counterparts. Therefore, if you have limited space and lots of chemical to store, and you are planning on using a stacking method, see if the chemical is safe to store in metal barrels. On the flipside, if your containers do get upended somehow, you’ll find that plastic generally can withstand impact a little better and is more resistant to puncturing. If factors like noise play a part in your choice, be aware that something hitting a plastic container is going to be far less noisy than would an object bouncing off a metal container. Sound echoing through a large space like a warehouse can become a significant factor for consideration if you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors around your containers in the winter. If your chemicals are safe to store in metal, you may want to consider using it so you can save a little money. You’ll find that it is slightly less expensive than most plastic containers. If you’re planning to recycle your containers eventually, you should be aware that metal is generally the more reusable  material. Because of this fact, it’s generally considered to be more friendly to the environment than plastic. You may not be thinking about recycling on the front end of your chemical storage decision, but when it’s time to dispose of these containers, chances are you’ll be disappointed if you have to throw a bunch of them away when the circumstance could have been avoided.    

Making the Decision

Now that you know a little bit more about plastic versus metal storage for chemicals, you can make an informed decision when it’s time to store your unused substances during the winter. One of your key deciding factors will be whether or not your chemical can be safely stored in metal without corroding it. When you’re trying to make this decision, it may help to check with laboratory chemical suppliersbefore making a purchase. Visit hvchemical.com for more information as you make this important decision.  

5 Facts You Should Learn about Hydrochloric Acid

  Hydrochloric acid is found in a wide variety of products that range from fertilizer products to textiles. It also has domestic uses, and it can even be found within the human body. This versatile substance is useful in a wide variety of industries and products today, but it’s not without its unique drawbacks. It can be very harmful to humans if used without proper safety precautions. The following list is a short primer on five essential things you need to know about hydrochloric acid.

Five Facts

  1. Hydrochloric acid appears in the human body as an integral component in the digestive system. Secreted by the parietal cells, it enters the lumen of the stomach, where it functions as a significant portion of gastric acid. Hydrochloric acid works to activate pepsinogen, thereby forming an enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin works to break amino acid bonds during the proteolysis process, an event that, in a nutshell, amounts to protein breakdown.
  2. Its physical presentation can be recognized in several ways. This acid is generally colorless or slightly yellow, and it presents with a distinct and irritating odor. The same things are true of hydrogen chloride, the gas that forms when hydrochloric acid comes in contact with water.
  3. Humans have known about hydrochloric acid for a long time. Originally produced from green vitriol and rock salt, and later a combination of sulfuric acid and common salt, it’s also known as muriatic acid, acidum salis, and spirits of salt.
  4. Its uses range from domestic cleaning products in the United Kingdom to the large-scale production of the dichloroethane and vinyl chloride used in PVC manufacturing around the world. It’s also used to ready metals like iron or steel for processes like extrusion or rolling by removing iron oxide or rust. Once free of these impurities and blemishes, metal can be shaped more quickly and smoothly.
  5. Due to its highly corrosive nature, great care must be taken when handling hydrochloric acid. Skin contact can result in serious burns, while inhalation can irritate the respiratory tract. Swallowing this type of acid can corrode mucous membranes, stomach, and esophageal tissues. Long-term exposure for people working with hydrochloric acid can result in chronic health conditions like dermatitis, bronchitis, and photosensitization. Safety protocol has been established in conjunction with this acid in its industrial and domestic uses so that humans may employ it for its benefits without being harmed in the process.
 

Recognizing Hydrochloric Acid

Now that you know a little bit more about hydrochloric acid, you should be able to see that it’s present in a plethora of applications around the world. So, the next time you visit a chemical supplies store and you see containers with the various names for hydrochloric acid, you’ll have a better idea of their uses. Often, domestic projects can present the most danger for those utilizing hydrochloric acid because those embarking on do-it-yourself projects usually don’t use this type of acid on a daily basis. Therefore, to prevent injury or improper usage, a little education can go a long way for those embarking on a home improvement project involving this type of acid. A visit to hvchemical.com will help to clarify questions you may have and provide you with information you might find useful in your future applications of this and other acids and chemicals.

Tips to Build Efficient Science Laboratory in Schools

  There are a few things in school that compare with a science lab. A well-designed lab adequately stocked with school laboratory supplies can provide just the learning environment to allow students to explore science safely. Best of all, it can open the doors of science to students and help them understand difficult concepts in a way reading about those concepts can never accomplish. Here are the essentials that make a good lab.

Location

A school science lab has to be located in a space that gets adequate natural light. Natural light is key to many different science experiments and can help achieve more accurate results than using artificial lights. The location should also be central to most school traffic. Additionally, a school lab should have outside access directly not only for quick evacuation should there be a chemical or fire hazard, but also to allow first responders instant access.

Safety Focused

Young scientists will handle a number of chemicals and substances that can be deadly or at least make people very sick if the environment is not tightly controlled. That means it has to be well ventilated with constant flow of fresh air. It also means that safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers are located near school lab supplies and exits are clearly marked.

Well Equipped

A superb school lab will have enough school laboratory equipment and supplies to allow every student the opportunity to complete a laboratory assignment. That means it will also have excess supplies for breakable objects or equipment and substances that routinely will get used up. If the school’s science personnel is savvy, they can probably work out an agreement with the school laboratory suppliers to get equipment repaired or maintained in a timely manner and sufficient supplies so that they never run out.  

Layout

Much like location, the layout of a school lab can ensure the safety of participants. Making sure exits are clearly marked and unobstructed as well as easy to get to is key. So is making sure that safety equipment is easily accessible as teenagers frequently will choose expediency over safety. A lab with good flow will reduce and even eliminate the possibility that chemicals will be spilled because of obstruction or tight spaces. It also will allow for moving experiments without running the risk of a spill or fall. When it comes to learning about science, a school lab is a powerful learning environment. It must have adequate school laboratory supplies, be focused on safety, and have a good layout to be effective. Now that you’ve read about tips on building an efficient science lab, visit Hi Valley Chemical to help you equip your lab with school laboratory supplies.

An Overview of Laboratory Tubes

Working in a laboratory setting requires you to have one of the most useful glassware of all, which is the test tube. Laboratory supplies companies produce a lot of these finger-like glasswares or tubing for various reasons. They are open at the top and closed at the bottom to primarily hold an amount of liquid or solid inside for storing, heating, mixing, and observing. Here are some fascinating ideas you should know about the test tubes.

Used for Storing and Heating

People use test tubes to contain various substances in general chemistry. They resist heat and corrosion because they are made with borosilicate. This material is highly expansion-resistant, and thus, makes the test tubes a suitable receptacle for substances that you want to heat. You can do this by holding it using tongs over an alcohol lamp or a Bunsen burner. You can also use them to store bioscience cultures and samples. Laboratory chemical suppliers can provide you with tubes that come with rubber stoppers for this purpose.

Used in Experiments That Capture Gas

With the help of a rubber stopper with a hole in the center, you can insert a glass or plastic tube for capturing gas and vapor in electrolysis experiments. For example, you can use test tubes to produce small distilled samples of a substance or to isolate solid parts from liquid and gas.

Different Shapes and Sizes

Test tubes also come in different sizes. The diameter and the length of the glass tube vary, along with the type of lid that you need for a project. There are also types that have flared lids to allow you to pour substances while minimizing wastage. If you’re a lab scientist, you might want to invest in test tubes that have similar lengths (150-200mm) for convenience and to make them all fit in a rack uniformly.  

Centrifugation

A laboratory equipment supplier can also provide you with test tubes that you can use to separate particles from a solution using a centrifuge. These tubes specifically fit the type of centrifuge that you have in the lab and are used in various kinds of laboratories as well.

Lab Culture

Scientists also use test tubes to culture tissues, bacteria, living organisms like plants (as in cloning), fungus, and more. People typically use test tubes horizontally to maximize the surface for this type of purpose. These tubes are usually made of PP (polypropylene) plastic or high-grade borosilicate material so that they can undergo pasteurization and sterilization procedures without a hitch.

Hold Samples of Physiological Fluids

Vacutainers or small glass tubes with color-coded caps are used to hold physiological fluid samples. Each glass is designed to collect and contain a specific type of additive to ensure the integrity of the sample. Some laboratory glassware supplies may also end up as pieces of arts and crafts projects. People use test tubes in many ways, and these are only some of the interesting uses for them.

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