How to equip your home lab

Where to start learning chemistry at home

If you are in­ter­est­ed in chem­istry, then a home lab­o­ra­to­ry is a must. It’s not hard to build one, un­like a school lab­o­ra­to­ry, or a lab­o­ra­to­ry at an in­sti­tute or fac­to­ry. It takes only a lit­tle ef­fort and mon­ey. A home lab­o­ra­to­ry is the first step on the path of a se­ri­ous in­ter­est in chem­istry.

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So, to or­ga­nize the lab­o­ra­to­ry you need to show imag­i­na­tion and dar­ing. Start by pre­par­ing a place to hold chem­i­cal ex­per­i­ments. You need to make a work space where you can car­ry out chem­i­cal re­ac­tions. The area for the lab­o­ra­to­ry should be well ven­ti­lat­ed.

Above all, pre­pare the ta­ble. A cof­fee or kitchen ta­ble won’t be suit­able: the first is very un­sta­ble, and the sec­ond will quick­ly be dam­aged from ag­gres­sive chem­i­cal com­po­nents. The ta­ble must have a sur­face of at least three square me­ters, prefer­ably with small ledges on three sides. Then you should buy fire-re­sis­tant fab­ric. This will pro­tect the ta­ble from the ef­fects of high tem­per­a­tures and ag­gres­sive chem­i­cal com­po­nents. Along with a ta­ble, the fu­ture chemist also needs equip­ment for per­son­al pro­tec­tion: a lab coat, gloves, plas­tic gog­gles – all of this is in­ex­pen­sive and is not hard to buy.

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House­hold items which will come in handy for fu­ture ex­per­i­menters

  1. Half-liter and 200-gram jars will be use­ful for stor­ing dry sub­stances and for dis­solv­ing nec­es­sary reagents These jars can be used in­stead of test tubes, but they shouldn’t be heat­ed up, as they were not de­signed for this. For heat­ing, you should buy spe­cial heat-re­sis­tant flasks.

  2. For a fire-re­sis­tant base, ce­ram­ic tiles are suit­able. It’s bet­ter not to use an open flame for heat­ing. An elec­tri­cal stove, which can be found in al­most ev­ery home, will be suit­able for this.

  3. To mea­sure dry sub­stances, or­di­nary spoons are suit­able, but they shouldn’t be used for eat­ing af­ter­wards. Re­mem­ber that a tea­spoon can hold 5g of a dry sub­stance, a desert spoon 10g and a ta­ble­spoon 15 g. To mea­sure liq­uid, a pipette or dis­pos­able sy­ringe will be suit­able. Re­mem­ber that sy­ringes are dan­ger­ous, throw away the nee­dles, and nev­er use them twice!

  4. Also re­mem­ber such items as fun­nels, pa­per fil­ters, pin­cers and tweez­ers from a man­i­cure set. A tube from an or­di­nary glass drop­per and a rub­ber band will also be use­ful. If there are small chil­dren in the apart­ment or home, it’s bet­ter to make sure they can’t get into your home lab­o­ra­to­ry, to avoid un­pleas­ant in­ci­dences of the unau­tho­rized use of your pri­vate prop­er­ty.

Chem­i­cal ex­per­i­ments are im­pos­si­ble with­out the nec­es­sary reagents, which should al­ways be at hand. You should make a list of nec­es­sary sub­stances which can be pur­chased at phar­ma­cies and hard­ware stores.

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Here is a list of the most im­por­tant of them that are avail­able at phar­ma­cies:

  • ethyl al­co­hol 96%;
  • liq­uid am­mo­nia 10%;
  • io­dine so­lu­tion 3%;
  • hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide;
  • glyc­erin;
  • potas­si­um per­man­ganate;
  • cal­ci­um chlo­ride so­lu­tion;
  • mag­ne­sium sul­fate pow­der;
  • char­coal in tablets;
  • hy­droperite.

Items from hard­ware stores:

  • ace­tone;
  • dis­tilled wa­ter;
  • elec­trolyte so­lu­tion (con­tains sul­fu­ric acid);
  • slaked lime;
  • un­slaked lime;
  • potas­si­um alum;
  • sil­i­cate glue;
  • caus­tic soda.

Here we rec­om­mend you to look for ex­per­i­ments you can do at home with the most triv­ial com­po­nents.

At shops spe­cial­iz­ing in gar­den­ing sup­plies you can find:

  • su­per­phos­phate;
  • potas­si­um ni­trate;
  • am­mo­ni­um ni­trate;
  • cop­per sul­fate.

It will also be easy to find the fol­low­ing reagents:

  • acetic acid;
  • house­hold soap;
  • soda;
  • con­cen­trate for wash­ing dish­es;
  • wash­ing pow­der.

And of course, don’t for­get to have a sep­a­rate cup­board for stor­ing the reagents, which you should keep locked. You should also strict­ly ob­serve safe­ty rules in work­ing in your home lab­o­ra­to­ry.