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Laboratories are known for the specialized equipment they contain that allow scientists to do their jobs. What many people don’t realize is that laboratories also have a great deal of furniture in them that is specially designed for lab use. This laboratory furniture is designed to both withstand the rigors of the lab environment and assist with the unique situations that occur around them. The exact pieces of laboratory furniture contained in a lab often vary depending upon the lab’s specialty. Some of the different types of laboratory furniture include:
Apparel Dispensers. These specialized holders are located at or before the entrance to the main lab. They contain clean clothing such as gowns and scrubs that need to be worn in “clean” lab environments.
Balance Shields / Mini-Hoods. Balance shields are clear boxes that go over the top of balances. They allow for accurate weighing and protect samples from being disturbed by air flow and physical bumping. Mini-hoods are similar to balance shields, but are clear boxes with a closable opening that the balance is placed inside of.
Laboratory Benches. Laboratory benches are the long tables on which experiments and tests are done. These workbenches are almost always resistant to the hazards common to experiments, including corrosion and heat.
Forensic Cabinets. Forensic cabinets are storage units that are designed to hold and protect evidence and samples used in forensic investigations. They have multiple storage sections (chambers) to store individual pieces of evidence. Forensic cabinets almost always have locks on each individual chamber. These cabinets may also have specialized drains and venting systems built into them.
General Cabinets. Cabinets are one of the most common storage units in a lab. These cabinets can be specialized or of the general storage variety. Short cabinets are often topped with special laminates so that they can act as laboratory benches.
Chemical Cabinets. Chemical cabinets are used to store exactly what their name implies. The chemicals may be volatile or corrosive, so the cabinets are usually specially designed and chosen to deal with possible complications. Chemical cabinets may be made out of fire-retardant materials, lined with glass, attached to ventilation systems, or have additional safeguards installed in them.
Mobile Drawer Cabinet. Mobile drawer cabinets are wheeled, boxlike structures that contain storage space and drawers. Multiple small tools or heavier pieces of equipment are usually stored in these cabinets so that they can easily be moved between workstations.
Carts. Carts are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture found in a lab. They allow large pieces of equipment, fragile items, or volatile substances to be moved with ease throughout the area.
Casework. Casework is a word used to describe built-in cabinets.
Cubbyholes / Coat Hooks. These items are sometimes used to store clothing in a lab. Lab coats and safety equipment can be stored in them before procedures are begun, and unapproved clothing can be placed on them once the scientist begins work.
Drawers. Drawers are used to store small items. Many drawers are sectioned off or have special inserts to protect their contents.
Fume Hoods. Fume hoods are an important piece of lab equipment used to vent the air around experiments.
Glove Dispensers. Glove dispensers hold the protective gloves that are often worn during experiments and testing. They can either be loaded with the glove themselves or boxes that contain gloves.
Holder, Notebook and File. Record books are sometimes not allowed to be removed from the lab. These holders are placed on walls so that important notebooks and files can be easily stored and found.
Shelves. Simple pieces of lab equipment are often stored on shelves.
Emergency Showers. Emergency showers are pieces of laboratory furniture used when accidents occur. They are available if those using the lab accidentally set themselves on fire or expose themselves to dangerous chemicals. Emergency showers will often activate an alarm when used.
Stools. Stools are one of the most common pieces of laboratory furniture. They allow scientists to sit down while working in the lab, but do not usually have backs or armrests that can catch on things and cause accidents.