Working in a laboratory means you need a place to perform all your hands-on experiments. That’s why all labs need to be fitted with one or more laboratory workbenches. However, not all workbenches are created equal. When custom designing a new workspace, you’ll need to select the right work surface. Here are some of the most common options.
Unless you’re trying to cultivate a bacteria, you don’t want to harvest any germs on your worktop. This is one reason why so many laboratory workbenches are constructed with stainless steel countertops. Stainless steel is a non-porous material Which does not allow anything to penetrate it. Therefore, fungus, bacteria, and mold don’t stand a chance. It’s also highly resistant to heat and can withstand temperatures up to 1500 degrees.
High Pressure Laminate
If you’re looking for something that’s easier on your budget, then high-pressure laminate may be a good option. This type of work surface is also decorative, and you can pick a design that matches the aesthetic feel of your laboratory. However, it only works well in dry applications. While it can withstand temperatures up to 275 degrees, it’s not mold or bacteria resistant.
If your lab conducts a lot of chemical experiments, then you need something that can withstand this type of activity. Epoxy resin is one of the most durable surfaces for laboratory workbenches. It’s made from a variety of materials that are bonded together into a solid piece. This surface is highly resistant to a variety of chemicals and corrosive behaviors. It also resists mold, fungus, and bacteria. Epoxy can stand up to continuous heat exposure that is over 350 degrees.
Labs that do a moderate amount of work with chemicals should consider getting a phenolic resin worktop. These counters are very lightweight, yet highly durable. Phenolic resin is corrosion and chemical resistant. It also has a high fungal, bacteria, and moisture resistance. If you do a lot of heavy work, you don’t have to worry. This material holds up to heavy impacts very well. Even though it can resist temperatures up to 350 degrees, it’s not fire retardant. Therefore, it’s not recommended for use around open flames.
High Density Polyethylene
Although a soft material, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is also very strong. This material is great for laboratory workbenches because it’s resistant to moisture and UV rays, and holds up against impacts. If you work with acids or other chemicals, this material may be a good investment. HDPE is also bacteria resistant. You can even purchase HDPE that is FDA good compliant.
Constructed from solid pieces of wood, often hard maple, butcher block worktops are common in many laboratories. However, it’s important to note that wood is highly porous, which means it doesn’t hold up well against chemicals. It can also breed bacteria if not cleaned properly. Butcher block is very strong, and even if it gets damaged, it’s easy to restore to like-new condition. You’ll mainly see butcher block in physical testing facilities or food laboratories.
Choose the Right Work Surface for Your Lab
Every lab serves a different purpose. Therefore, all laboratory workbenches require a different work surface. The right material depends on the type of experiments or work you conduct daily. Do you use chemicals or liquids? Do you need something that can withstand an open flame? By working with a professional, you’ll be able to select the perfect work surface material for your lab. Click through to learn more about the different workstation options available for your laboratory.