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Different Types of Laboratory Ovens and Their Uses

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Laboratory Ovens

Laboratory ovens are one of the most important tools in any laboratory. They come with various settings, which can be configured to suit specific needs. These can range from curing large batches of plastics to sterilizing medical equipment at the right temperature and time. Different types of ovens are used by different laboratories based on their requirement.

From Gravity Convection to Mechanical Convection and Vacuum Oven, there are different ovens on the market designed for use in different scientific purposes. However, before buying any random convection oven for the laboratory, it’s important to understand its basic features. Here’s a rundown of a few such convection ovens used in laboratories, their key features, and uses:

Gravity Convection Laboratory Oven

Gravity convection ovens are designed to be energy efficient. This Lab Convection Oven by Global Lab Supply is compact and used mainly in research and development (R & D) labs. It also comes with a viewport through which samples can be viewed during testing. These ovens can hold up to 12 standard-size Petri dishes at once. They usually have a shelf life of approx 3-5 years, but the quality of their performance decreases over a period.

Key Features

  • Low cost and requires low maintenance
  • A better alternative to mechanical convection ovens
  • Ideal for conditions where it’s not essential to have temperature uniformity

Uses – These ovens are mostly used for heating any substance in powder form. It protects against any disturbance caused by the airflow generated by the fan.

Mechanical Convection Laboratory Oven

Mechanically convection ovens are designed for high throughput in the production environment, which is one reason why these are used in industrial processes. These ovens have several advantages when compared to a gravity convection oven. Samples can be stored at elevated temperatures, where the environment is not temperature uneven.

Another advantage of these ovens is that they can heat to a higher temperature range than the gravity convection ones. These are also called drum ovens and only require one operator for operation. They are ideally used in plastic production environments, such as injection molds or extrusion lines.

Key features

  • Higher throughput and provides more uniform temperature across
  • Less expensive and requires less maintenance work
  • Provide long hours of output without any problem

Uses – These ovens are used in large-scale laboratories where the temperature must be uniform. These ovens maintain a temperature within ± 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Vacuum Laboratory Oven

Vacuum laboratory ovens are used for high throughput chemical analysis and testing products, especially those requiring long shelf life. These food-grade vacuum ovens were specially designed for use in chemical testing laboratories and are used to provide a safe workplace for both humans and machines.

They are energy efficient, as they operate at low temperatures, which increases the lifespan expectancy of these ovens by over 50%. They have also been used in the pharmaceutical industry, where they read high-level micro-organisms like bacteria etc.

Key features

  • Energy efficient, majorly due to low-temperature applications
  • It prevents any type of damage from contamination with air particles

Uses – These ovens are mostly used in small-scale laboratories where the temperature must be uniform. These ovens maintain a temperature within ± 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Microwave Oven

Microwave ovens are used for heating objects, materials, or samples on a microwave frequency range. They operate through electromagnetic radiation and have a high thermal transfer rate. These ovens can heat up to 2000 Watts of power and are usually found in laboratories with large volumes of samples to be heated up quickly. These are mainly used in industries like medicine and food processing etc.

Key features

  • Extremely high thermal transfer rate, excellent for heating large batches of samples
  • It operates on electromagnetic radiation and can be used to heat a variety of samples.

Uses – These ovens are often used in laboratory settings where the high temperature of samples to be heated up is essential. These are mainly used in industries like medicine and food processing etc.

Forced Air Oven

Forced air ovens are designed to use forced air circulation to maintain the constant temperature of a sample. They are commonly used in industries where the object to be baked needs to be provided with uniform heating. These are especially used in industries like baking bread and other products. They prevent dead zones from occurring and keep the product heated at the desired level.

Key features

  • Uniform heating over large samples reduces dead-zone areas, which allows for less re-work
  • Can maintain the temperature within ± 1 degree Celsius

Uses – These ovens are used in small-scale laboratories where there’s efficient temperature uniformity required across a sample.

Final Words

These ovens are used in laboratories to provide heat and maintain the temperature of a sample within an acceptable range. They ensure that samples remain within an optimal temperature range, which is crucial for research and development.

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