A water bath is laboratory equipment made from a container filled with heated water. It is used to incubate samples in water at a constant temperature over a long period of time. Most water baths have a digital or an analogue interface to allow users to set a desired temperature, but some water baths have their temperature controlled by a current passing through a reader. Utilisations include warming of reagents, melting of substrates or incubation of cell cultures. It is also used to enable certain chemical reactions to occur at high temperature. Water bath is a preferred heat source for heating flammable chemicals instead of an open flame to prevent ignition. Different types of water baths are used depending on application. For all water baths, it can be used up to 99.9 °C. When temperature is above 100 °C, alternative methods such as oil bath, silicone bath or sand bath may be used.

What is the function of a laboratory water bath?

The application range of lab equipment water bath includes reagents warming, substrates melting or cell cultures incubation, as well as used to enable certain chemical reactions to occur at high temperature. Since almost all laboratory water bath has a digital interface to allow users to set a required temperature, usually, an indicator light turns on to indicate that the water bath is working. Once the correct temperature is reached, the laboratory water bath turns on and off to maintain a constant temperature.

Some water baths, known as shaking water baths, provide additional controls that allow users to control the speed and frequency of the movements. Used primarily to mix two substances together, a shaking water bath can be used instead of a standard water bath by turning the shaking mechanism off.

A lab equipment water bath does not necessarily contain water. The fluid used depends on various factors, including the required temperature range and necessary viscosity of the fluid. Sometimes oil is used in a water bath, instead of water. Water baths can be dangerous when working with flammable substances, such as oil, so safety precautions must be taken, including using the water bath on a stable, level surface.

Precautions of Laboratory water bath

  • Use with caution.
  • It is not recommended to use water bath with moisture sensitive or pyrophoric reactions.Do not heat a bath fluid above its flash point.
  • Water level should be regularly monitored, and filled with distilled water only. This is required to prevent salts from depositing on the heater.
  • Disinfectants can be added to prevent growth of organisms.
  • Raise the temperature to 90 °C or higher to once a week for half an hour for the purpose of decontamination.
  • Markers tend to come off easily in water baths. Use water resistant ones.
  • If application involves liquids that give off fumes, it is recommended to operate water bath in fume hood or in a well ventilated area.
  • The cover is closed to prevent evaporation and to help reaching high temperatures.
  • Set up on a steady surface away from flammable materials.

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