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Why use a Sand Bath for Heating Substances in a Laboratory?

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Laboratory Equipment

A Sand Bath is one of the oldest known pieces of laboratory equipment. It was used in Latin and Arabic alchemy.

A Sand Bath consists of a container filled with heated sand. Nowadays, a hot plate is also used as a base and a steel container is filled with sand and fitted on top. A vessel / vessels are filled with the substance to be heated and placed on top of the heated sand.

Clean, dry silica sand should be used.

Advantages:

  • The main advantage of using a sand bath is that the sand conducts the heat evenly and gradually to all sides of the vessel
  • Vessels such as glass flasks have less risk of cracking through dramatic temperature changes
  • Another advantage is that less stirring is needed, as the heat is indirect
  • It is often a safer way of heating substances in the lab – if a substance boils over, it will boil onto the sand which you can dispose of
  • A Sand Bath is easy to clean afterwards, as you just need to dispose of the sand
  • You can also use a layer of aluminium foil between the bottom of the vessel and the sand, to keep the vessel clean
  • Can tolerate temperatures up to 400°C

If you are interested in purchasing a Sand Bath for a laboratory, view product: Sand Thermostatic Baths

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