2 March 2024

It is a professional who works in a laboratory, carrying out chemical analysis and tests, quality control, product development or industrial processes. Its main function is carry out chemical analysis using different techniques and laboratory equipment, in order to obtain accurate and reliable results.

What is a chemical laboratory?

It is a space designed to carry out research and experiments related to chemical reaction. Therefore, it is a controlled place where technicians work with substances and they use different equipment and procedures to perform tests, measurements and obtain results.

In a laboratory, various activities are carried out, such as the synthesis of compounds of substances, the comparison of samples, the study of reactions, the determination of physical and chemical properties, among others. Works on toxicology, environmental analysis, development of new products and quality control can also be carried out.

It must be taken into account that these spaces are equipped with a wide variety of specialized instruments, such as balances, microscopes, autoclaves, reactors, stirrers and other essential devices in chemical tests. Also, they take advantage substances and reagents laboratory to carry out investigations.

However, protection is a fundamental consideration in a chemical laboratory. Well, they owe strictly follow the ruleshow to use personal protective equipment (gloves, safety glasses, gowns), proper handling of chemical substances, hazardous waste management and compliance with warranty standards.

What does a chemical laboratory worker do?

A laboratory worker performs various tasks and activities. His work contributes to scientific research, the product development and the application of chemistry in different fields of industry. Some features include:

  • Sample analysis: is in charge of receiving and preparing the specimens to be analyzed. This implies the proper handling of the samples, their identification and the recording of relevant information.
  • Testing: It is given with laboratory techniques and equipment, where chemical analyzes are carried out to determine the composition, properties and characteristics of the samples. These tests must include physical and chemical studies, such as chromatography, spectroscopy, titrations, among others.
  • Calibration and maintenance: It is in charge of the verification and conservation of the laboratory equipment used in the analyses. This guarantees that the data collected is reliable.
  • Interpretation of results: Once the pertinent analyzes are made, the chemical laboratory technician proceeds to interpret the data obtained to compare them with the other types. Therefore, strong knowledge of chemistry and analytical ability are required.
  • Documentation and report: It is responsible for recording the analysis procedure, as well as the results obtained from any observation. In addition, prepare reports and briefs that communicate the product to scientists, researchers, or engineers.
  • Safety Maintenance: is responsible for maintaining high standards of protection in the laboratory. This implies the proper handling of chemical substances, compliance with safety protocols, the use of personal groups and the correct disposal of toxic waste.

laboratory equipment

In the world of chemistry, there is a wide variety of laboratory equipment used in different scientific disciplines. Now, chemical laboratory workers usually use the following:

  • Microscope: It is an optical instrument used to magnify small objects, where they are then analyzed.
  • Analytical balance: It is a high precision scale, used to accurately measure the mass of substances.
  • Spectrophotometer: It is used to measure the amount of light absorbed or transmitted by a sample, which makes it possible to determine the concentration of substances in solution.
  • centrifuge: a piece of equipment that allows the components of a liquid or solid sample to be separated by applying centrifugal force.
  • Autoclave: It is used to sterilize certain equipment and materials using steam at high pressure and temperature.
  • pH meter: instrument that measures the level of acidity or alkalinity of a solution, expressed in terms of pH.
  • Drying oven: It is used to dry samples or remove moisture from substances at controlled temperatures.
  • Magnetic stirrer: device that mixes liquid substances by means of a magnetic field generated by a magnet.
  • Chromatograph: It is used to separate and analyze the components of a mixture based on their retention properties and affinity for a stationary phase.
  • Spectrometer: It is used to determine the composition and structure of a substance by identifying the masses and charge ratios of its ions.

These are just a few examples, and the choice of equipment It will depend on the type of analysis or investigation. that is being done. So each scientific discipline has its own instruments adapted to its specific needs.

Physicochemical methods

They are techniques that combine physical and chemical principles to analyze and study properties and behaviors of substances and systems. These methods are used in various areas of science and research, including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and materials science. Some common cases are:

  • Spectroscopy: studies electromagnetic radiation with matter. It includes techniques such as absorption, emission, infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
  • Chromatography: It is a technique used to separate and analyze the components of a mixture. Some types of chromatography include gas (GC), high performance liquid (HPLC), and thin layer (TLC).
  • Electrochemistry: studies the relationships between electricity and chemical reactions. It includes techniques such as voltammetry, potentiometry and electrophoresis.
  • Calorimetry: Analyze heat changes in a chemical reaction or physical process. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and isothermal titration (ITC) are examples of these techniques.
  • Mass spectrometry: is one that allows to determine the volume and structure of combinations. So it is used in analysis of organic compounds, proteins, metabolomics and other fields.
  • Thermal analysis: It is useful for studying changes in the physical and chemical properties of a material as it is subjected to changes in temperature. It includes techniques such as thermogravimetry and differential thermal analysis.
  • Microscopy: allows you to examine samples at a very small level. With techniques such as optical, electron and atomic force microscopy, which is used to study structures and characteristics of materials and biological samples.

Chemicals and drugs

They are closely related, since chemicals play a fundamental role in the discovery, development and production of drugs. Therefore, when drug candidates are found, chemists work on expanding and optimizing them. This implies the evaluation of the activity and selectivity of the compounds, as well as the determination of their structure, the understanding of their mechanism of action and the optimization of their toxicological profile.

On the other hand, chemists are responsible for the large-scale synthesis of pharmaceutical compounds in their commercial manufacture. They develop and optimize efficient assimilation methods, safe and profitable for the large-scale production of drugs. They are also in charge of guaranteeing the purity of the products through analysis and quality control techniques.

In addition, chemicals also play an important role in the stability and formulation of drugs. Since they determine the best form of presentation and approach for its administration, either in tablets, capsules, injections, creams, among others. So they study the stability of medicines to ensure their quality and efficacy during their useful life.

In summary, chemicals play an essential role in the research, development, production and study of the medicines. In such a way that they are essential to discover new compounds, as well as optimize their pharmacological activity and guarantee the quality and stability of the products.

How long is the chemical laboratory degree?

It may vary depending on the country and the educational system in which it is taught. In general, it usually lasts between 2 and 4 yearsdepending on the level of studies and the type of training.

In some countries, technical education programs or short careers are offered that can be completed in about 2 years. Therefore, these systems are created to provide specific and practical training in laboratory techniques and chemical analysis.

In other countries, this degree can be part of higher education programs, such as a bachelor’s degree associated with a bachelor’s degree or be a manager. So they usually last 3-4 years and include a combination of theoretical and practical courses and laboratory experience.

It is important to note that the duration may vary according to the study plan of each educational institution and the specific requirements of the country or region. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the study plans of the student houses or universities of interest to obtain more precise information on the duration of the degree.

How important is the profession of laboratory chemistry in science?

It is of great importance in the scientific field, since chemical laboratory workers play a key role in research, new product development, quality control and safety in various sectors. Some of the reasons why this profession is relevant in science are:

  • Analysis and experimentation: It is useful when performing tests to understand the properties of chemicals. Their technical skills and knowledge allow them to carry out tests and obtain accurate and reliable results, which is valuable for the generation of scientific knowledge.
  • Development of new products: They are a relevant part in the creation of items, such as medicines, materials and food. In addition, they run tests to assess the efficacy and safety of these products, ensuring that they comply with established regulations.
  • QA: They are responsible for carrying out analyzes to ensure the excellence of products and materials. Therefore, they establish and follow control protocols to ensure that the merchandise meets the required standards before being launched on the market.
  • Security and environment: They help ensure protection in laboratories and compliance with environmental standards and regulations. In order to control toxic, dangerous or polluting substances.
  • Scientific Research and Technological Advancement: They help in the development and generation of knowledge in various fields of chemistry. Their discoveries lay the foundation for technological advances and contribute to the progress of science in general.

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