Tips for Working Safely with Pressure in the Lab

Many applications within the laboratory environment require products to be subjected to pressure or to vacuum conditions.

However, not all products are designed to withstand this and only those whose design includes the appropriate geometry and wall thickness, and which are explicitly designated as such, are suitable for working under pressure and/or vacuum.

Examples of such products include filtering flasks, desiccators, and flat flange vessels, as well as products like the DURAN™ pressure plus+ range of bottles. These bottles provide guaranteed vacuum and pressure resistance from –1bar to +1.5bar due to modified geometry and a greater wall thickness than standard DURAN™ borosilicate 3.3 laboratory bottles.

"When used under positive or negative pressure, especially when also working with differential temperatures, additional measures must also be taken."

For example, glass apparatus that is under pressure or vacuum should only be subject to further stress, such as significant temperature changes, with extreme caution. The individual resulting strains are additive and could readily result in failure.

To guarantee optimum user safety when working with pressure in the lab, the following points should also be kept in mind:

  1. To avoid stresses in the glass, evacuated vessels or vessels under pressure should not be heated on one side or heated with an open flame.
  2. When working under pressure, the maximum values indicated in the product literature should not be exceeded.
  3. Before using glass equipment under vacuum or pressure, it must always be visually inspected to check that it is in perfect condition and does not contain any serious scratches, micro-cracks or abrasions. Damaged glassware should not be used for work under pressure or vacuum.
  4. Never subject glassware to sudden pressure changes. For example, always repressurize evacuated glass apparatus slowly.
  5. Laboratory glassware with a flat bottom (e.g., Erlenmeyer and flat-bottomed flasks) should not be used under pressure or vacuum.
  6. The plastic coating of laboratory bottles has no influence on pressure resistance. These products are not designed for use under pressure. For pressure applications using laboratory bottles, products such as the DURAN™ pressure plus+ bottles should be used.
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