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What do you know about Water Baths?

01 July 2020

Water bath is a system for the control of temperature in which a vessel containing the material to be heated is set into or over one containing water and receiving the heat directly.

Water bath is a laboratory equipment that contains water or special liquid that can maintain the temperature under certain conditions during the specified time interval. A water bath generally consists of a heating unit, a stainless steel chamber that holds the water and samples, and a control interface.

Water baths are used in industrial clinical laboratories, academic facilities, government research laboratories environmental applications as well as food technology and wastewater plants. Because water retains heat so well, using water baths was one of the very first means of incubation. Applications include sample thawing, bacteriological examinations, warming reagents, coliform determinations and microbiological assays.

Water baths are ideal for maintaining temperature set points over a long period of time. Different sizes and depths of the bath chamber are available to meet your application. Utility baths are available in analog or digital temperature control with ranges from ambient to 100 degrees C. Different types of water baths offer additional functionality such as a circulating water bath that keep a more even temperature or a shaking water bath that keeps the samples in motion while they are heated. Shaking water baths combine the features of standard baths with the ability to agitate sample containers. Options with high-temperature and low-level cutoff features protect samples.

What to consider when choosing a water bath?

Things to consider include the bath’s temperature range, capacity, stability and control whether there is a cooling option, how easy it is to clean, and whether it is a shaking or circulating water bath.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a water bath is the electronics. Digital control systems provide greater temperature uniformity, stability and control. Constant temperature digital water baths are suited to a host of applications, including bacteriological examinations, food processing/QC procedures and microbiology assays, just to name a few.

Analog systems offer easy-to-use control and are best suited to fixed set-point applications.

Most general laboratory water baths go from ambient temperatures of + 5°C to 99.9°C, with temperature uniformity as tight as ± 0.2°C at 37°C. Many vendors offer temperature preset buttons for quick selection of frequently used temperature set points.

Choosing the right size water bath depends on the volume and size of samples. Water bath sizes can range from 1.5 to 43 liters. To compare different bath volumes, it is best to compare internal tank dimensions.

If there is concern with outside contaminants, it is important to consider a water bath cover. Clear covers allow researchers to see inside. Attached covers eliminate problems with condensation, and gabled covers accommodate glassware of varying heights and permit easy loading and removal of samples. Some manufacturers provide hinged covers that stay open 90 degrees or remove completely. Others offer lid fins that protect hands from hot vapors. Covers are also essential if the lab is operating the water bath above 60ºC, in order to maintain temperature.

Rounded, seamless stainless steel reservoir construction resists rust, chemical damage and contamination. An epoxy-powder-coated exterior simplifies cleanup. The exterior also needs to remain cool, to prevent accidental burns even after extended use.

Safety features may include secondary thermostats that automatically disconnect heater power should the bath temperature get too high or the liquid level drop too low, as well as alarm indicators.

The water baths of the LAUDA Hydro series are optimally equipped for every application in the laboratory and ensure homogeneous temperature distribution without local overheating. LAUDA Hydro water baths with precise temperature distribution and optional circulation are designed for the needs of biological, medical or biochemical laboratories.

LAUDA Hydro water baths made of high-quality stainless steel offer the right bath depth and opening for every application with bath volumes from 4 to 41 litres. All water baths offer a temperature range of up to 100 °C with a temperature constancy of ±0.1 K, so that applications in the boiling range are also possible. A TFT colour display ensures intuitive operation with a temperature display in °C and °F.