What are Laboratory Jacks & what are their uses in a Lab?

What are Laboratory Jacks & what are their uses in a Lab?

What are Laboratory Jacks?

In a laboratory, chemical processes require a stable working base to place objects on, and to have these objects placed at a specific height. Laboratory Jacks largely cater to this need by providing a lifting stage for laboratory apparatus. Also referred to as scissor jack, scissor lift or simply lab jack, a laboratory jack acts as a lifting stage for a flask, beaker, water bath, stirrer, or other lab apparatus.

The laboratory jack consists of metal pieces connected together in a scissor-like shape between a top and a bottom platform. The metal pieces act as an adjustable lift using the scissors mechanism or pantograph, to varying heights of 5 to 15 cms, and can withstand various weights, based on it’s make. The lab jack has a knob at the side which can be rotated to adjust the height level of the top platform.

Laboratory jacks can be made with Mild Steel, Aluminium or Stainless Steel. The Mild Steel/Aluminium make can be used for basic laboratory work, while the stainless steel is more suitable for heavy-duty applications. Most lab jacks are manually operated, but there are also some which are motorized and powered by stepper motors.

The laboratory jack works mechanically by having a central screw connected to the central piece of metal between two layers of crossing metal pieces. The screw supports the metal pieces in withstanding the oppressing weight. Turning the screw increases and decreases the angle between the metal pieces, which results in extension and contraction of the platform height.

Uses of laboratory jacks:

  • Laboratory jacks can act as a support for hotplates, flasks, baths, magnetic stirrers, or any other objects that need a precise height setup.
  • They are used to stabilize sensitive objects.
  • Being lightweight and compact, they are portable, and can be moved around in a large laboratory setup.
  • They can securely elevate and support lab objects
  • Lab jacks are suitable for benchtop glassware or equipment.

Based on their features, the uses of laboratory jacks are typically in chemical, biomedical, pharmaceutical and university laboratories.

Using a laboratory jack the right way:

It’s important to use the lab jack the right way, to avoid spillage or breakage of apparatus, and ensure long life of the lab jack.

  • Make sure that the surface that the lab jack is placed on, is flat, stable and even.
  • Place the apparatus, right on the center of the jack platform, so that the jack is able to take the load evenly.
  • Check the weight limitions provided by the manufacturer, and do not overload. Typical lab jacks have a weight capacity starting from 10 to 30 kgs, and can go upto a 100 kgs.
  • Avoid changing the height level when you already have an object placed on the platform. If you must, hold the object while you turn the knob, to avoid accidental spillage.
  • Clean the scissor lift with a soft dry cloth, to keep it free from debris.

Also Read: Hydrometer Vs Alcoholmeter: What's The Difference?

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