The oven is one of the most ubiquitous laboratory instruments. Laboratory ovens are commonly used for evaporation water or residual solvents from glassware or samples prior to analysis. Some laboratory ovens can reach very high temperatures and, to do so, require high voltages. Certain samples or improperly rinsed glassware may produce hazardous atmospheres upon drying. Therefore, laboratory ovens have the potential to present physical, electrical, and chemical hazards.
- It is important to know the nature of the samples being placed in the oven. It is possible to reach the melting or auto-ignition temperatures of some substances in a laboratory oven. Materials can begin softening well before reaching their melting temperature. Do not allow materials to ignite or melt in the oven. It is expensive to replace damaged or contaminated insulation.
- Rapid changes in temperature can induce stresses in brittle material which can lead to the fracture or even explosion of containers. Whenever possible, do not rapidly quench samples at high temperature.
- Gases produced in laboratory ovens are free to enter the atmosphere of the room. For this reason, all laboratory ovens should be placed under a fume hood.
- Do not use an oven to evaporate volatile chemicals.
- Do not dry glassware that was rinsed with an organic solvent without being subsequently rinsed with distilled water.
- Do not use mercury thermometers to measure temperatures in laboratory ovens. If a mercury thermometer breaks. Immediately turn off the oven and close the door and any vents. Remove to a fume hood if not already there. Refer to the Mercury section of the Lab Safety Manual for additional information or Contact EHS.
- Do not remove samples or glassware until the material has been given time to cool to near room temperature.
- When removing samples or glassware, wear padded gloves. Note, padded gloves only provide heat detection when dry, do not use them if they become wet.
- Take care when opening the furnace. Do not stand directly in from of the door and open it slowly to avoid coming in contact with potential spills or broken glass.
PP chapter 7