AP Chemistry: An Overview of Common Lab Equipment
Part of the AP Chemistry For Dummies Cheat Sheet
You won't be directly tested on your knowledge of lab equipment, however the AP chemistry exam will often describe and/or diagram experimental setups so you will need to be able to recognize and understand the purpose of each of the pieces of equipment below. The following figure shows all of the lab equipment that an AP chemistry test-taker will need to be familiar with.
This list tells you how each piece of lab equipment functions:
Balance: Used for obtaining the masses of solid and liquid samples
Beaker: A flat-bottomed, cylindrical piece of glassware used for mixing and heating compounds
Bunsen burner: Attached to a gas line and lit to provide heat for your experiments
Buret: An extremely accurate device with a stopcock at the bottom used to measure volumes of reagents
Ceramic square: Used to avoid burning the surface of your lab bench and incurring your chemistry teacher's wrath
Clamps: Used to hold a variety of things in place, particularly test tubes
Clay triangle: Used to hold a crucible while it is being heated
Condenser: Used to collect vapors by condensing them into liquid as they contact the liquid-cooled inner surface of the condenser
Crucible: A cup-shaped container capable of sustaining high temperatures. It is used to heat chemicals.
Crucible tongs: Used to handle the hot crucible
Erlenmeyer flask: Used to hold liquids. The small upper opening slows evaporation, so for some volatile liquids, a flask is a better choice than a beaker. The shape also makes it suitable for mixing and swirling liquids during a titration.
Florence flask: A type of flask, generally round-bottomed, usually suspended and heated from below. Its shape makes it easy to swirl and mix liquids inside of it.
Funnel: Used together with filter paper to filter precipitates out of solutions
Graduated cylinder: Used to precisely measure volumes
Metal spatula: Used to measure out solid substances
Mortar and pestle: Used to grind sesame seeds for cooking and chemical compounds for chemistry experiments, though we recommend using a different set for each
Pipette bulb: Used to transfer accurately measured amounts of liquid from one container to another
Rubber stoppers: Used to close flasks or test tubes to prevent evaporation of liquids or escape of gases
Scoopula: Another instrument used to transfer solids from one place to another
Test tube: Cylindrical open-topped piece of glassware that comes in varying sizes
Thermometer: Used to measure temperatures. Thermometers generally contain liquid mercury.
Watch glass: A piece of glassware in the shape of a large contact lens used for evaporating liquids
Wire gauze: Generally used as a surface for a beaker or flask to rest when being heated by a Bunsen burner