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UNIT 8 : LAYOUT OF SCIENCE LABORATORY

UNIT 8 : LAYOUT OF SCIENCE LABORATORY

Concept mapping

Layout of science
laboratory

Designing the laboratory Different between the type


of science laboratory

8.1 Objective

1. To know what is the laboratory science needed.

2. To know the different between physic, chemistry, biology and general science

laboratory

8.2 Introduction

The special needs of teaching laboratories arise from the fact that they are heavily

populated by persons undergoing training. Because the students have reached different levels in

the instruction, no two teaching laboratories, even though they may be used for teaching the

subject, are exactly alike in design or equipment. For these reasons they differ considerably from

non-teaching laboratories. Certain basic needs are, however, common to all teaching

laboratories.

Each type of laboratory has its own special problems connected with the installation of

equipment, and the best opportunity of overcoming them occurs when the laboratory is designed.

Difficulties invariably present themselves in later years, however, when items are purchased to

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UNIT 8 : LAYOUT OF SCIENCE LABORATORY

provide for new techniques and the natural expansion of the department. One of the major

problems which arise is that of space. When new equipment is positioned the adverse effects it

may have on equipment already in existence, and conversely any which the existing equipment

may have on the new, are important considerations. In many cases special provision must be

made for supporting either delicate or weighty items. The effects of local conditions such as

humidity, temperature, and the effect of sunlight, dust, draughts, noise and vibration, must also

be given attention.

8.3 Designing the laboratory

First, consider the laboratory in terms of its main features such as the walls, ceilings,

floors and benches; then think about the other requirements which will give it life. This include

heating, lighting, ventilation (including fume extraction), drainage, and the supply services to

benches and other furniture. The designer must incorporate these component parts of the

laboratory into a plan and must indicate clearly that he requires and the amount of money to be

spent on the concerned. There have a lot of things that need to be think and do for design the

laboratory.

8.3.1 Laboratory Benches

The laboratory benches can be categorized into fixed benches, and mobile

benches. Whether the benches are fixed to the floor or are mobile depends on the use

made of them. Fixed benches are adequate for the present curriculum. But the newest

curriculum often demands mobile benches. The obvious advantages of fixed benches are

that water, gas and electric supplies can be fixed onto them and thus giving convenience

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to the users; the benches are always horizontal and they should be vibration-proof. On the

other hands mobile benches allow new bench arrangements to be carried out whenever

the teachers feel that a particular arrangement permits better communication between

students. But mobile benches do not carry electric power supply. Electric supply, running

water and gas mains, if fitted, must be on the wall or side benches. To use these services,

the mobile benches have to be pushed against these wall benches making the drawers or

cupboards on the wall benches inaccessible to all. This disadvantage can be overcome by

distributing the services through overhead booms.

Whatever the situation, the bench should be of sturdy design with a good

horizontal surface, which can be easily achieved by making the table-top adjustable.

Generally, because of microscopic work, the benches in the biology laboratories are

lower than that in the physics or chemistry laboratories. The height of the benches in the

physics or chemistry laboratories may be 75 cm for students doing the experiment in the

sitting position or may be 90 cm for students working in the standing position.

For safety in the laboratory, a high table with the students performing the

experiments in the standing position is preferable. The students can easily move away

from the bench if something should go wrong with the experiments thus avoiding

personal injury.

a. The Fixed Benches

• Most of the laboratories in the South-East Asian region have benches that are

fixed to the floor. The water pipes, gas pipes electrical conduits are permanent

features and they form part of a laboratory bench, which is usually made of

wood.

• The benches can be of the island type. Often they are long and eight students can

occupy a single bench with four students on each side facing one another. Note

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the cupboards built into them. Gas and water pipes and electrical wiring are

permanent attachments. Gas in this example comes from a portable tank. Student

may in the sitting or standing position when experiments are performed. Island

type of benches can be shorter with two benches instead of one.

i. Peninsular Benches

• This type of benches is quite rare in this region. The bench services i.e. running

water, gas and electric supplies, are obtainable in this type of bench arrangement.

i. The side or wall benches

• The side or wall bench is found in all laboratories with fixed benches and in most

of the laboratories with mobile benches. It is a long bench running from one wall

to the next. It has gas, water and electrical supplies besides the large number of

drawers and cupboards for storing equipment. Students can make use of the side

bench for experiments. Shelves are sometimes built above these wall benches for

displaying preserved biological specimens. Sometimes, cupboards with glass

fronts are built above them for the storage of equipment.

b. The Mobile Benches

• In laboratories with mobile benches, the water and gas pipes, if any, and electric

conduits are to be found only in the side or wall benches, which are fixed.

• Mobile benches are generally light without cupboards or drawers. A shelf may be built

under the bench-top for students to put their books and papers.

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• Laboratories with mobile tables will be useful to teachers and students trying to

implement the newer curriculum projects where every lesson may be held in a science

laboratory. A pattern such a lesson may be as follows:

1. Students, either in small groups or individually, through an experiment or

experiments, endeavor to find out for themselves a science principle or

law. The tables, in this case, would be separated with perhaps four students

working on each bench.

2. When the experiments have been conducted the teacher may start a class

discussion on the experiments. In this case benches may be arranged

together and around the teacher.

3. Recapitulation by brief talk or film strip may necessitate another

arrangement of the benches.

In such a lesson, it will be very inconvenient to both teacher and students if the benches

are fixed.

8.3.1 Bench Services

Science experiments may require one or a combination of these services:

i. Water

ii. Heat

iii. electricity

In science laboratories, water is usually obtained from taps connected to water pipes or

from aspirators.

a. Heat is obtained by burning:

i. gas from the mains

ii. gas from portable tanks called bottled gas

iii. solid chemical fuel

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iv. liquid fuel i.e. a spirit lamp.

b. Electricity is obtained from:

i. dry cells

ii. lead acid accumulators

iii. 80-ampere low voltage unit

iv. Direct from the mains.

c. In the laboratory with fixed benches, the student’s benches may have:

i. Either, running water or 3-litre aspirators; gas from the mains or portable tanks

or, running water or 3-litre aspirators; gas from mains or portable tanks;

electricity from cells, batteries and mains or, none of these services.

ii. The side benches usually have all the services.

iii. The teacher’s bench usually has all these services.

d. In a laboratory with mobile benches:

i. The student’s benches have none of these services. Aspirators, cells and batteries

are normally placed on the side benches.

ii. The side benches usually have all these services.

iii. The teacher’s bench may have none of these services.

8.3.1 The design of preparation room

There is no specific design for a preparatory room for its design and what it

contains depends mainly on the type of main laboratory or laboratories it services. That is

its size, type of design, location the kinds of equipment and apparatus it contains depend

on the purpose and function of the main laboratory.

So before embarking on any design, it is necessary to consider the purpose. If for

instance the purpose is to service laboratories used for general science then the usual

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activity will be preparation for experiments, like preparing solutions or media,

assembling apparatus, and washing ups. Other activities might include the repair and

construction of equipment apparatus (1G Nov 2001). So the requirements would include:

i. Sufficient storage for daily use

ii. Services – gas outlets, electric points water supply for washing up.

iii. Access for heavy pieces of equipments and methods to transfer the goods

iv. Escape in case of fire (Ia Nov 2001)

But in general, each preparatory room should contain the following:

i. A water distillation or de-ionizing plant

ii. A wet bench with running water and draining board

iii. A balance

iv. A large dry bench for dry work

v. Small hard tools

vi. Adequate shelving and cupboards to be used for storage of apparatus equipment and chemicals

vii. An area for office work where the teacher or laboratory attendant could do paper work

viii. Adequate electrical outlet sockets

ix. Gas supply

x. An efficient waste disposed system (I G Nov 2001)

Whatever your requirement which as mentioned earlier should be in line with your

purpose, these requirements should be well arranged in the preparation room to make movement

easy

8.3 Laboratory design for science class

Different kinds of laboratories require different types of services.

8.3.1 Physics Laboratory

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i. Require main electricity, some heating and very little water.

ii. The things should be supplied are that a large number of mains sockets, a 40-

ampere low voltage unit, dry cell and batteries, a few Bunsen burners connected to

gas mains or portable tanks or a few spirit lamps and a few 3-litre aspirators.

8.3.1 Chemistry Laboratory

i. Require a lot of heating, moderate amount of water and very little

electricity.

ii. The things should be supplied are that sufficient number of Bunsen burners

connected to mains or portable tanks or sufficient number of spirit lamps,

running water or several aspirators and a few of batteries.

8.3.1 Biology Laboratory

i. Require small amount of water, very little heating, electricity for lamp in

microscope work and perhaps water bath.

ii. The things should be supplied are that sufficient number of mains sockets

along the side benches, a few 3-litre aspirators and a few spirit lamps or

Bunsen burners connected to a gas supply.

8.3.1 General Science Laboratory, Integrated Science Laboratory

i. Require mainly electricity, a lot of heat and moderate amount of water.

ii. The things should supplied are that sufficient number of spirit lamps or

Bunsen burners connected to supplies, running water or several 3-litre

aspirators sufficient to mains sockets, cells and batteries.

8.3 Conclusion

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A laboratory is a space devoted to education, analysis, research, experimentation,

and production. Laboratories handle a variety of different materials, from gases and

chemicals, from drugs to living materials. Laboratories vary significantly depending

upon several factors, including their intended function, the types of materials that will be

handled in them, and how many people they will accommodate. To that end, the design

of a laboratory is extremely important. The first consideration when designing a

laboratory is selecting a site. When siting a lab, it's important to review important

criteria such as the health and safety of the population in the surrounding area of the

laboratory, public perception, and environmental concerns, as well as engineering and

operations plans. The impact of both building and operating the laboratory should be

examined carefully. Sites should be chosen so that accidental contamination will have

the smallest effect possible and will be able to be dealt with expediently.

Question

1. Which of the following is not the bench service?

A Water

B gas

C electric supply

D chemical material

2. The laboratory benches can be categorized into___________ types.

A 2

B 3

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C 4

D 5

3. Which of the following is not the advantage of fixed benches?

A Water

B chemical supply

C gas

D electricity

4. Most of the laboratories in the South-East Asia region have___________ benches.

A Peninsular

B Mobile

C Fixed

D island types

5. How many students can occupy a single bench of island types of bench?

A 6

B 7

C 8

D 9

6. Which of the following is not the peninsular benches service?

A chemical material

B electricity

C gas

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D water

7. Which benches can be found in all laboratories?

A mobile benches

B fixed benches

C peninsular benches

D side or wall benches

8. Which benches are generally light without cupboards or drawers?

A mobile benches

B fixed benches

C peninsular benches

D side or wall benches

9. Which of the following is not the source of heat?

A burning of gas

B 80-ampere low voltage unit

C solid chemical fuel

D spirit lamp

10. All of the following are the source of electricity except?

A 80-ampere low voltage unit

B lead acid accumulator

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C Solid chemical fuel

D dry cell

Answers

1.d 2.a 3.b 4.c 5.c 6.a 7.d 8.a 9.b 10.c

References

Amritage, Philip and Fasemore, Johnson. (1977). Laboratory Safety: A Science Teacher’s

Source Book, Heinamann Education Books, London.

Chisman, Dennis (1987) Preliminary Issues, Practical Secondary Education: Planning for

Cost- Effectiveness in less Developed Countries, Commonwealth Secreteriat, London.

Fahkru’l-Razi Ahmadun, Chuah Teong Guan and Mohd Halim Shah. 2005. Safety:

Principles & Practices in the Laboratory, Penerbit Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang.

Hegarty-Hazel, Elizabeth (1990), The Student Laboratory and the Science Curriculum: An

Overview, The Student Laboratory and the Science Curriculum, pt.1, pg.3.

McGrath, Dennis M. (1978), Some General Considerations, Laboratory Management and

Techniques For School and Colleges, Anthonian, Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh-Singapore.

Woolnough, Brian E. (1991). Setting the scene, Practical Science, pt.1, pg.6. Woolnough,

Brian E. (1991). Setting the scene, Practical Science, pt.1, pg. 13.

Woolnough, Brian E. (1991). Setting the scene, Practical Science, pt.1, pg. 14.

K. Guy. Laboratory organization and administration. London Butterworths

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