As a chemical researcher, you’re invested in some pretty exciting stuff. Research can be invigorating and exciting, but it can also be stressful and unsettling. If you’re not taking care of yourself and your research area then you might run the risk of experiencing some problems.
Learning the ins and outs of lab safety, preserving chemicals, and cleanliness will help to ensure that you stay on the right track. Follow these general laboratory safety rules and tips to make the most out of your research.
1. USE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
If you’re going to be doing any sort of chemical research then you absolutely need to have the right equipment. If you’re not properly equipped then you’ll face a greater likelihood of danger. Fortunately, we offer a good selection of lab equipment for chemists both new and old.
Some of the things that you’ll probably want to invest in are:
- Scales. A good scale is vitally important for anybody who is dealing with potent chemicals. It’s generally recommended that you use a lab-grade milligram scale for this sort of research. You can also use lab balances. Lab balances use physical calibration weights and are the most accurate scales that you could possibly find.
- Safety gear. Safety equipment like gloves and goggles can help you keep the sensitive parts of your body protected. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need safety gear because nothing would ever go wrong. Unfortunately, things do go wrong. So it’s best to be prepared.
- Cleaning products. If you’re doing lab research it’s important to make sure that all your surfaces and equipment are properly cleaned before and after your sessions.
2. LEARN HOW TO PRESERVE CHEMICALS
For the most part, preserving chemicals is fairly simple. Keep them in a cool, dark place and minimize their exposure to both light and oxygen. Following these simple tips will ensure that your chemicals last as long as they can.
If you’re wondering why preserving chemicals is important, there are plenty of reasons. First and foremost, you’ll save yourself money. Oxidation causes chemicals to degrade and thus lose their potency so if you don’t know how to preserve them, they’ll expire more quicklky.
What is oxidation? It’s the reaction caused by oxygen. Oxidation breaks apart molecular bonds and should be minimized as much as possible.
3. CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF
You should only do chemical research when you’re in a good state of mind. This means that a serious portion of your research protocol should involve researching yourself. Make sure that you’re in a good head space before you engage in chemical research. If you’re not, you’re more liable to have an unpleasant experience.
4. PLAN YOUR DAY
Sometimes your research can take up much more time than you initially expect it to. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan your days ahead of time. Make sure that you have a block of time set aside specifically for your research. If you don’t have the time of day, don’t commit to something that you won’t be able to finish.
It’s also important to include any sort of preparation that you might have to do prior to your research. If you need to take time to go for a walk and clear your head, for example, include this in your day plan so you don’t get pressed for time.
5. LOG YOUR RESULTS
Researching chemicals is a fascinating experience, partly because many of these chemicals are new. The research that you’re doing might produce results that nobody has ever seen before and it’s important that you log your results.
Logging your results allows you to compare one day’s research to another. You can also record the interactions between different chemicals, as well as the results that you produce when you’re in a certain state of mind.
6. KEEP YOUR RESEARCH SPACE CLEAN & ORGANIZED
You should make sure that you keep any of the areas that you perform your research in good shape. This means keeping them clean and clutter-free. A congested space can lead to a congested mind and this can interfere with your research.
It’s also a good idea to keep things organized. You should always know where your equipment and chemicals are located. If something goes awry, you don’t want to be caught unawares and struggling to find the right chemical or piece of equipment.
7. PRACTICE GOOD STOCK CONTROL
Stock control means managing your stock of equipment and chemicals so that you don’t ever completely run out. Keep at least a loose inventory of everything that you have. When you’re starting to get low on something, say 10%, you should consider ordering more so that you don’t have to worry about going without.
8. STANDARDIZE YOUR RESEARCH HABITS
When you’re researching chemicals there are already a lot of variables. No two research experiences are going to be the exact same and that can make it difficult to quantify certain results.
One of the things that you can do to improve your consistency is to standardize your research habits. Make sure that you follow the same protocol every time you engage in research.
This might mean doing a quick meditation or walk to clear your head and ensuring that you’re not dealing with any emotional strain. It might mean measuring out a number of the exact same dosages so that you know you’re working with the same amount.
The result of this is that you decrease the number of variables involved in your research, thereby increasing the accuracy of your results. Remember to write all of this down, including any changes that have taken place if you need to undergo research without being able to follow your regular protocol.
9. KEEP THINGS LABELED
Anything you purchase from Realchems will already be labeled. However, if you’re keeping things in different vials or containers it’s incredibly important that you label them.
It can seem easy to justify skipping this process. When you swap something into a new container you know exactly what you’re working with. However, weeks or months down the road you might not have a clue what chemical you’ve stored so it’s good to label things right away.
When you’re labeling, don’t just include the name of the chemical. Include the date that it was purchased as well as any variables that might affect its quality.
10. TAKE BREAKS
If you’re studying research chemicals then it’s incredibly important to take breaks. Lots of them. It’s easy to convince yourself that it’s important to be hyperproductive but when it comes to research chemicals you should take a lot of breaks.
Ideally, you should space out your study sessions by several days. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too much information. You may also expose yourself to unwanted interactions between different chemicals that could otherwise have been avoided.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON LAB TIPS
Following the tips in this article will help ensure that you get the most out of your research. Follow good safety and cleaning procedures, take breaks in between studies, and make sure that you keep track of your chemicals and the results of your research.
Following all of these suggestions will help to improve safety in your lab and decrease the risk of safety hazards.