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Laboratory Techniques - Basic Chemistry Lab Techniques

Brush up on basic chemistry lab techniques such as reading a meniscus, cleaning your glassware, making dilutions, and performing a recrystallization.

How to Write a Lab Report
Lab reports are an essential part of all laboratory courses and usually a significant part of your grade. If your instructor gives you an outline for how to write a lab report, use that. Here's a format for a lab report you can use if you aren't sure what to write or need an explanation of what to include in the different parts of the report.

How to Read a Meniscus
The meniscus is the curve seen at the top of a liquid in response to its container. When you read a scale on the side of a container with a meniscus, such as a graduated cylinder or volumetric flask, it's important that the measurement accounts for the meniscus. Here's how to read a meniscus.

How to Clean Laboratory Glassware
Cleaning laboratory glassware isn't as simple as washing the dishes. Here's how to wash your glassware so that you won't ruin your chemical solution, laboratory experiment, or the glass.

How to Perform a Recrystallization
Recrystallization is a laboratory technique used to purify a sample based on the different solubilites of its components. Learn how to perform a recrystallization and get tips on how to avoid common problems and improve your product yield.

Cutting Glass Tubing
Learn how to cut and fire polish glass tubing for the lab.

How To Bend and Draw Glass Tubing
Bending and drawing glass tubing is a handy skill for managing laboratory glassware. Here is how to do it.

Calculating Solution Dilution
Here is a worked example of how to calculate a dilution of a stock solution.

Perform the Mohs Test
The Mohs test is one way to determine the hardness of a rock or mineral. You can use the Mohs hardness to help identify an unknown specimen. Here's how you can do the test yourself.

Volumetric Flask
Find out what a volumetric flask is and how to use it to prepare a chemical solution.

Using Material Safety Data Sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) aren't just for chemists! From your About Chemistry Guide, this tutorial for the non-technical consumer defines MSDSs, describes why you should know how to use them, tells how to find them, and outlines typical uses. Links to related topics are included.

Flame Tests
A flame test is an easy experimental technique used to help identify a metal or ionic salt based on its emission spectrum when it is heated in a gas flame. Here's how to perfom a flame test and interpret the results of the test.

Ammonia - How to Prepare Ammonia Gas
These are instructions for preparing ammonia gas from ammonium chloride and calcium hydroxide in water.

Carbon Dioxide - How to Prepare Carbon Dioxide Gas
These are instructions for preparing carbon dioxide gas from calcium carbonate and hydrochloric acid.

Chlorine Gas - How to Prepare Chlorine Gas
These are instructions for preparing chlorine gas from potassium permanganate and hydrochloric acid.

Phosphate Buffer
A phosphate buffer is a handy buffer solution to have around, especially for biological applications. Because phosphoric acid has multiple dissociation constants, you can prepare phosphate buffers for any of the three pHs.

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