Test tubes are very important for conducting experiments in the scientific world. They are used to store various chemicals, and are used extensively in research to monitor chemical reactions that occur when chemicals are mixed together or when chemicals are exposed to certain conditions over a period of time. Most test tubes are clear, so that changes in color that might take place during a chemical reaction can be observed, but there are also some test tubes that come in different colors, to assist with color-coded organization in a laboratory. Test tubes are also used in the medical industry to store and test blood samples for blood type and various blood-borne diseases. Although most test tubes are made from glass, there are also plastic test tubes as well. If you are operating a laboratory at a small elementary school, or a chemistry lab where you work, you need to know whether plastic test tubes or glass test tubes are right for you. In this article, I will highlight some of the advantages and pitfalls of both plastic test tubes and glass test tubes so that you can decided what is best for your laboratory. Then, I will discuss some of the many different uses for plastic test tubes, and where you can get them.
Advantages Of Plastic Test Tubes Versus Glass Test Tubes
Cheap And Unbreakable
Plastic test tubes have a few advantages over glass test tubes. Plastic test tubes are generally less expensive than glass test tubes, which can be very important if you are operating on a shoestring budget. Some of these plastic test tubes can be purchased for as little as 30 cents apiece. Plastic polypropylene test tubes are unbreakable, especially ones with thicker walls, where glass test tubes are easily broken. If you accidentally drop a glass test tube, not only do you have to deal with the mess produced from the chemical that it was holding, but also with glass shards that have the potential of hurting someone, as well as contaminating other chemical mixtures. If you drop any plastic test tubes with caps, or plastic test tubes with corks, then you don’t have to worry about spilling your mixture either. You can do your work using plastic test tubes with caps and not have to worry about making a mess.
Most cheap plastic test tubes are disposable and designed for one-and-done applications, where you throw them away after use. This is good if you don’t have a lot of storage space, or you just need the test tubes for one experiment. With disposable test tubes, you won’t have to worry about storing them in a bulky or expensive plastic test tube rack. Plastic beakers and test tubes are used extensively in biology in handling cultures, where there is no contact with corrosive materials or high heat. In these instances, you would have no choice but to go with the glass test tubes.
Advantages Of Glass Test Tubes Over Plastic Test Tubes
Glass test tubes have a number of advantages when compared to their plastic counterparts. As mentioned before, glass test tubes last longer than plastic test tubes as most plastic test tubes are designed to be thrown away after just one use. Glass test tubes can be used under high heat, where plastic test tubes might melt. Because of this advantage, glass test tubes give you more flexibility with regard to the types of experiments that you can conduct. Glass test tubes can be used around corrosive materials, while plastic test tubes cannot. These two advantages help to make glass test tubes the test tube of choice for use in chemistry and in physics. Finally, glass test tubes are much easier to clean, where with plastic, chemicals and bacteria may become trapped in the porous walls of the test tube. This is one of the reasons why plastic test tubes are only supposed to be used once before being discarded.
Now that you know the key differences between glass test tubes and plastic test tubes, you can decide which ones you should use in your laboratory while working on your projects.
Key Uses Of Plastic Test Tubes
Before you decide whether or not to purchase any plastic test tubes, you should be aware of the many different things that you can do with plastic test tubes. Here, I will outline some of these key uses in order to give you some added perspective.
Kids’ Experiments And Other School Projects
I can remember some of the science projects that I had to do while in middle school, and some of them involved the use of plastic test tubes. In one of them, I grew several different plants. In another project, I used them to compare densities of different materials. The neat things about these plastic test tubes was that I didn’t have to worry about breaking them, and I could just throw them away when I was done with them, instead of having to clean them. These plastic test tubes are still used today in children’s projects, because they are safer to use than glass test tubes.
Storage Of Smaller Items
Plastic test tubes can also be used in storage applications, particularly with smaller items. At one time, my father used them to store tiny nuts and bolts that he used in his fishing reel repair business. He would label each tube according to the sizes of the items that he kept within the tubes. Girls can also use plastic test tubes to store small jewelry items, like earrings.
Plastic Test Tube Shot Glasses
Believe it or not, plastic test tubes can also be used as shot glasses. Just go to your local watering hole and ask for a test tube shooter of your favorite alcoholic beverage. Plastic test tube shot glasses can normally hold up to two ounces of your favorite drink, and can then be thrown away. So, while plastic test tubes are used in a lot of applications that involve work, they are also involved in a little bit of play.
Where You Can Buy Plastic Test Tubes
At this website, you can buy plastic test tubes that are also known as “baby soda bottles.” This is because the test tubes are threaded on the top to allow for a screw-on cap, just like on a soda bottle. They can be used by children to conduct a wide variety of projects. In fact, if you order test tubes on this website, then you will also get an activity guide that will give the user an idea as to the many different experiments that they can conduct. Right now, you can get 120 plastic test tubes with caps along with the activity guide for just $65. The order will normally ship out on the day after you make it, so you can rest assured that you will be getting your product quickly.
Amazon.com is an online marketplace where you can buy thousands of different items at relatively low prices from the comfort of your own home or office. On this site, you can currently buy packs of 25 plastic test tubes for sale at the price of $7.25. On orders of over $25, you will also qualify for free shipping. These test tubes are 16 millimeters in diameter (approximately 5/8″) and 125 millimeters in length (about 5 inches). They come with press-on plastic caps that fit very snugly. They are produced by Lake Charles Manufacturing, the largest American manufacturer and distributor of plastic test tubes.
Need some plastic test tube shot glasses? Then, head on over to PartyCity.com. Their plastic test tube shooters can hold up to two ounces of your favorite beverage, and come in a wide assortment of colors. Right now, you can get a dozen of these shot glasses for just four dollars. On top of such a good price, they give you peace of mind with a customer satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like their product, then visit one of their 600 nationwide stores and exchange or return the item hassle-free without any questions asked.
Mountain Home Biological
These folks sell a wide variety of high-quality scientific supplies that are used by schools, laboratories, and chemists everywhere. They offer plastic display tubes along with smoke-tinted, thick-walled, and unbreakable plastic test tubes that come with a screw-on cap. In addition to high-quality test tubes, they also sell plastic beakers and funnels, flasks, and plastic test tube holders. They also offer digital scales and filtration equipment. You can find them online at www.pelletlab.com.
Fisher Scientific sells plastic test tubes, both polystyrene tubes and polypropylene tubes. The polystyrene tubes offer the best in optical clarity, but are prone to cracking (although not as much as glass test tubes) and cannot withstand high speeds on a centrifuge (only up to 1500 rpm). The polypropylene tubes don’t have quite the optical clarity, but won’t crack. They can withstand higher speeds in a centrifuge and can also contain more acidic solutions, where polystyrene tubes are only suitable for aqueous solutions. At Fisher Scientific, you can get 1000 polypropylene tubes for just $66, while you can get 1000 polystyrene tubes for $113. These guys have been around for a long time, and are backed by a solid reputation. Visit them online at www.fishersci.com.
You should now be familiar with the many benefits that plastic test tubes have to offer, especially when compared to glass test tubes. They can be used for a wide variety of different purposes, and can be found at plenty of places on the internet at reasonable prices.