Chemistry Lab Safety

Chemistry Lab Safety

A science program has certain possible dangers. With careful planning, most dangers can be avoided in an oriented

Kids at Lab

Kids at Lab (Image Credit –

science program. It is essential to develop a positive approach to a safe and healthful environment in the laboratory. Safety and health should be an integral part of the planning, preparation, and performance of any science program. Safety and health considerations are as important as any other materials taught in high school science.

The chemistry laboratory can be a place of discovery and learning. You are expected to learn and remain to the following general safety guidelines to ensure a safe laboratory environment for both yourself and the people you may be working near.

Apparel in Lab

  1. Safety goggles must be worn at all times provided by the chemistry department in the laboratory. This rule must be followed whether you are actually working on an experiment or simply writing in your lab notebook.
  2. Contact lenses are not allowed. When worn under safety goggles various odors may collect under the lens and cause serious injuries or blindness.
  3. Closed toe shoes and long pants must be worn in the lab.
  4. Long hair must be tied back when using open flames.
  5. Do not wear valuable jewelry while working in the lab.


  1. Eating, drinking, and smoking are strictly illegal in the laboratory.
  2. No illegal experiments are to be performed.
  3. Never taste anything. Never directly smell the source of any vapor or gas; instead by means of your cupped hand, blow a small sample to your nose.
  4. Coats, backpacks, etc., should not be left on the lab benches and stools.
  5. Always wash your hands before leaving lab.
  6. Learn where the safety and first-aid equipment is located. This includes fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and eye-wash stations.
  7. Inform the instructor immediately in case of an accident.

Proper Handling of Chemicals and Equipment

  1. Consider all chemicals to be dangerous unless you are instructed otherwise. Material Safety Data Sheetsare available in lab for all chemicals in use.
  2. Carefully read the label twice before taking anything from a bottle.
  3. Load reagents are never to be returned to stock bottles. If you take too much set out of the overload.
  4. Many common reagents like alcohols and acetone are highly flammable. Do not use them anywhere near open flames.
  5. Always pour acids into water.
  6. If chemicals come into contact with your skin or eyes, flush immediately with abundant amounts of water and consult with your instructor.
  7. Never point a test tube or any vessel that you are heating at yourself or your neighbor–it may erupt like a geyser.
  8. Dispose of chemicals properly. Waste containers will be provided and their use will be explained by your instructor.
  9. Clean up all broken glassware immediately and dispose of the broken glass properly.
  10. Contact the stockroom for clean-up of mercury spills.
  11. Never leave burners unattended. Turn them off whenever you leave your workstation. Be sure that the gas and counter frame is shut off the when you leave the lab.
  12. Beware of hot glass it looks exactly like cold glass.

Safety Equipment and How to Use It

  1. First Aid kit

One first aid kit is located in each laboratory at the middle bench on the top shelf. It contains gauze squares, small, adhesive bandages and antibiotic cream.

  1. Broom and Dust Pan

In the Chemistry lab we use a lot of glassware. Glassware usually winds up getting broken some time during the semester. It is unsafe to pick up the broken glass with your hands. You should use a broom and dust pan to collect the broken glass. The broken glass should then be disposed of in the specially marked container. There is a little broom for sweeping the bench top, and a big broom for sweeping the floor.

  1. Fume Hoods

The fume hoods are large cabinets which have sliding glass doors in front. Fume hoods are used to protect you from harmful fumes, gases and odors. The fume hood has an air pipe maximum which is attached to a powerful fan. When the fan is turned on, the air in the fume hood is pulled up through the duct, carrying away any harmful fumes or smoke. Any time your experiment will produce harmful or bad-smelling gases or smoke, you will perform the experiment in the fume hood. Our fume hood is on at all times and they can only be turned off by authorized personnel.

  1. Sink

While the sink is used for cleaning glassware and many other tasks, it is also a part of our safety equipment. If you happen to get chemicals onto your hands or forearms, you must move quickly to the sink to rinse the chemicals off. The treatment for any chemicals which get on the body is to rinse the affected body area for 15 minutes under cold running water.

  1. Safety showers and eye wash stations

Safety showers and eye wash stations are located in each laboratory. When you are in the lab, make sure you locate the safety showers and eye wash stations and look very carefully at them. You should know where they are and how they operate before an accident happens.

  1. Fire extinguishers

There are fire extinguishers in each laboratory. While you are in the laboratory please look carefully at the fire extinguishers. Read the instructions on the side of the fire extinguisher so you will be familiar with their use. If you ever need to use a fire extinguisher remember the following (A) pull the pin, (B) aim to the side at first, (C) lower the handle and (D) remove the spray from the BASE of the fire extinguisher.

  1. Fire alarm:

If a fire alarm sounds you must empty the building. There are alarm switches in the laboratory. It is unlikely that you will need to use them, since the laboratories are all equipped with several smoke detectors.

8. Gas shutoff valve

Each lab has a master regulator which shuts off the gas supply to the entire lab. If you cannot locate this valve, ask your instructor. This valve is especially useful in case of a fire in the lab. In case of a fire, students as well as instructors are authorized to shut off the room’s gas supply.

9. Student Health Services (SSB 210)

The SHS office can provide treatment for any minor injuries or illnesses. There are also trained medical personnel there Continue Reading »

Cool Physics Experiments

Liquid Light

Material Required

  • Baking soda
  • Dish detergent
  • Food colour
  • Warm Water
  • White Vinegar


Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

1 teaspoon dish detergent

Add 10 drops of food colouring in 1 cup warm water.

Pour quickly into a glass containing 1/2 cup white vinegar

It works best with white tablecloth so you can really see the glow.

Make a Telescope



Telescope is an instrument that the observation of distant objects by collecting visible light. A telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses 2 lenses. The larger lens is placed on one end and the smaller lens at the other end. The objective collects light and focuses it as a sharp image.

Material Requirement

  • 2 Lenses
  • Plastic Tube or Paper
  • Glue gun
  • Masking tape


  1. Prepare all the needed materials.
  2. Get your first lens and place it inside (1 inch) in the first end of the plastic tube.
  3. Make sure it is placed properly and tape it into position with your masking tape.
  4.  Once it is properly taped, use a glue gun to stick the lens to the first end.
  5.  Do the same with the second lens to the other end of your plastic or paper tube.

Hole in Hand Trick

It shows you how to do a cool optical trick by putting a hole in your hand.


To understand how your eyes combine images.

Materials Needed

  • You’re Eyes
  •  Your Hand
  •  Paper Towel Tube


  1. Place a paper towel tube or a toilet paper tube up against one of your eyes.
  2. Place your hand and the end of the paper towel tube or in the middle of a toilet paper tube and slowly move your hand towards your face.

How Does it works :

The light passes through your eye it actives the leasing cells. These cells take light waves and turn it into electrical energy. This signal is sent down a cord known as the optic nerve. This information passes through a part of your brain known a corpus Col lo sum a portion of the brain that connects both sides of your brain as well as where eye signals cross over to the other side of the brain. The strong image from your left eye and the strong image from your right eye over lap each other which is why you see a hole in your hand. This upside down single image is sent to the back of your brain to an area known as the visual cortex. Here the electrical signals from the bottom of the eye are interpreted as up and the images you see are right side up.

Coin balance on Bill


To understand equal mass distribution

Materials Needed

  • Paper Bill
  •  Coin(s)

Get a hard paper bill and fold the bill in half and then put it on the table like a triangle.

Start with one coin and place this coin at the point edge of bill.

Slowly pull the edges of the bill apart until you get the coin to balance perfectly on the opened bill.
Repeat with 2 coins, then 3 coins and 4 coins.

How does it work :

Balance is the equalization of a push or pulls force where the mass of an object or force on an object equals the mass or force counting the object. Gravity is a force that pulls down on everything here on earth. It doesn’t matter whether you use one coin or four coins, as long as the coins mass is equally distributed on both sides of the bill the force of gravity will pull on both sides equally.
This happens because more of objects mass such as the coins are on one side of the bill then on the other side. This means that gravity will pull slightly harder on that side of the coin then it does on the other side of the coin crating an unbalanced force causing the coin to fall to that side.

Float an Egg in The Middle of Water


To understand how density works and how you can change the density of a liquid.

Materials Needed

  • Cups
  • Eggs
  • Salt


  1. Fill 3 glasses with 250ml of water and place a fresh egg in one of the glasses, watch as it sinks.
  2. Put 4 tsp of salt into one of the glasses stir it up and place an egg in the water. Watch as it floats.
  3.  Put 4 tsp of salt into the final glass stir it up and pour out some of the salt water. Now place an egg in the water.
  4. Slowly and carefully pour fresh water into the glass of salt water and watch as the egg sinks down till the middle.

How it Works :

Density is the amount of space something takes up per volume and when you add more mass to the same amount of space being taken up you can change the density of a liquid. When you drop a raw egg into fresh water the egg doesn’t move Continue Reading »

Biology Experiment Ideas

Science fair projects give you the opportunity to experience biology through practical activities. To make a great biology project it is important that you first understand biology and the logical method. Biology is the study of life. We use the scientific method as a means of studying biology. We can get ideas for biology science fair projects from almost anywhere.

1. Animal Project Ideas

Animal science projects allow us to understand various aspects of animal life. They provide information about animal

science fair projects with dogs

science fair projects with dogs

composition, behaviour and even provide insight into human biological processes. Some science fairs do not allow animal experiments while others have strict regulations for animal practice. Animal projects are important to understanding various biological processes in animals and even humans.

Scientists study animals to learn ways to improve animal health for farm production, wildlife protection and human company.  They also use animals to discover new methods to improve human health. Animal studies give us a better understanding of disease development and prevention for normal and abnormal behavior. The animal project ideas introduce areas of animal studies that can be explored through testing. Animal Project Ideas are the great ideas for projects involving insects, birds, amphibians, fish and mammals.

Amphibian and Fish Project Ideas:

  • Does temperature affect tadpole growth?
  • Does water temperature affect amphibian respiration?
  • Does magnetism affect limb regeneration in newts?
  • Does water temperature affect fish colour?
  • Does the size of a population of fish affect growth?
  • Does music affect fish activity?

Bird Project Ideas:

  • Which types of plants attract hummingbirds?
  • What factors increase egg-laying in birds?
  • Do different bird species prefer a particular colour of bird seed?
  • Do certain bird species prefer to eat in a group or alone?
  • Do certain bird species prefer one type of habitat over another?

Insect Project Ideas:

  • How does temperature affect the growth of butterflies?
  • Do different colours attract or repel insects?
  • How does pollution affect insects?
  • Do magnetic fields affect insects?
  • Does soil acidity affect insects?
  • Does colour affect insect eating habits?

Mammal Project Ideas:

  • Does light variation alter animal sleep habits?
  • Do cats or dogs have better night vision?
  • Does music affect an animal’s mood?
  • Do bird sounds affect cat behaviour?
  • Does animal saliva have antimicrobial properties?
  • Does colour water affect animal drinking habits?

2.  Science Fair Ideas: Zoology

The animal project ideas include projects with insects, crayfish and rodents.

  • What colours are birds attracted to?
  • Digestion and cat food
  • Do turtles recognize colours?

3. Human Body Project Ideas

The body works on the biological processes that keep the body functioning and you should consider a science project on the human body. These projects allow you to gain a better knowledge of how the body functions and also provide close into human behaviour.

1. Behavioral Project Ideas:

  • Does your sense of smell alter your sense of taste?
  • Does music affect blood pressure?
  • Does the weather affect a person’s mood?
  • Does playing video games affect a person’s heart rate?
  • Do colours affect a person’s mood?
  • Does gender affect reaction time?

2. Biological Project Ideas:

  • Does a person’s BMI affect blood pressure?
  • Do all people have the same normal body temperature?
  • Which type of exercises increase muscle growth the most?
  • Does a person’s heart rate and blood pressure vary during the day?
  • Does exercise affect lung capacity?
  • Does blood vessel elasticity affect blood pressure?

4. Plant Project Ideas

Plants are important to life. They provide everything from food, clothing, and shelter to medicine and fuel. Plant projects are popular because plants are rich, cheap, and easy to study during testing. These experiments allow you to learn about plant processes and environmental factors that blow plant life. Plants are extremely important to life on earth. They are the foundation of food chains in almost every ecosystem. Plants also play a major role in the environment by influencing climate and producing life giving oxygen. Plant project allow us to learn about plant biology and potential usage for plants in other fields such as medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. The following plant project ideas can be explored through experimentation.

  • Do different colours of light affect the direction of plant growth?
  • Do sounds affect plant growth?
  • Do household detergents influence plant growth?
  • Can plants conduct electricity?
  • Does cigarette smoke affect plant growth?
  • Does seed size affect plant height?
  • Do vitamins or fertilizers promote plant growth better?

5. Plant Cell Science Project

This plant project deals with plant cells and plasmolysis. The different salt concentrations affect the cytoplasm of plant cells. Use this project to come up with ideas for your own experiments. The purpose of this sample plant cell science project experiment is to determine how different salt concentrations affect the cytoplasm of plant cells.


Suggested microscopes: Includes slides, cover glasses, dyes, and eye droppers.

  • 2 Graduated Cylinders (100 ml or more)
  • Balance
  • red onion
  • tweezers
  • safety goggles
  • small knife
  • table salt
  • distilled water (grocery store)
  • paper towels
  • spoon
  • paper
  • pencil

1. Gather materials needed for your plant cell science project experiment. Put on safety goggles.

2. Use the knife (ask an adult for support to cut the onion into hold shaped pieces.

3. Use an eye dropper to place a drop of distilled water in the centre of a microscope glide.

4. Use the tweezers to peel a thin layer of skin tissue from the thick part of the onion wedge and place it in the centre of the microscope slide.

5. Add a drop of distilled water and a drop of stain over the onion tissue on the slide.

6. Carefully lower a cover glass slip at an angle over the stained tissue, allowing air bubbles to escape.

7. Examine the prepared slide under the compound microscope at 100X enlargement

8. Prepare a 5% salt solution by adding 5 grams of salt (measure with balance) per 100 ml of     distilled water in a graduated cylinder. Gently shake until dissolved. Also prepare a 10% solution by adding 10 grams of salt per 100 ml of distilled water in another graduated cylinder.

9.  Use a dropper to add a few drops of the 5% solution to one side of the cover slip of our prepared slide. The 5% solution should mix with the fluid already on your onion tissue slide.
10. Carefully slide the triangle shaped end of a paper towel under the opposite end of the cover slip. This will cause the liquid to mix more with the fluid on the slide. Use additional drops of 5% solution as needed to complete the introduction of the new solution.
11. Repeat steps 7 and 8.
12. Use a dropper to add a few drops of the 10% solution to one side of the cover slip of your slide with the 5% solution. The 10% solution should mix with the fluid already on your onion tissue slide.
13. Carefully slide the triangle shaped end of a paper towel under the opposite end of the cover slip. Use additional drops of 10% solution as needed to complete the introduction of the new solution.
14.  Repeat steps 7 and 8 for your plant cell science project.

6. Plant and Soil Chemistry

Plants or soil chemistry are very popular. These projects are great from an educational standpoint because they mix concepts from different areas of science. Some relate botany and chemistry, some have an environmental science slope and others are soil chemistry.

  1. How do different fertilizers affect the way plants grow?
  2. Does using coloured mulch have an effect on a plant?
  3. How do different factors affect seed germination?
  4. How are plants affected by the distance between them?
  5. How are different soils affected by erosion?
  6. How does the pH of soil relate to the pH of the water around the soil?

7.  Experiments with Popcorn

Popcorn is a food that has been around for many thousands of years ever since people in America discovered that if corn was left next to a fire it would pop into fluffy and delicious shapes. Popcorn has become one of the most popular foods on Continue Reading »