LABORATORY DIGITAL AND ANALOG DRY BATHS
20 June 2022
A Dry Bath is a type of laboratory equipment that is used to heat samples. They contain a heating element connected to a removable, machined metal block designed to hold microplates, test tubes, ampules, or vials. They are commonly found in molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and genetic laboratories.
The term dry bath is meant to distinguish from other methods of heating through a liquid medium. Today’s modern dry bath is equipped with microprocessors and digital display which make it easy to set and confirm temperatures. For the utmost in precision, it is recommended that they user purchase a temperature probe or external thermometer since the digital reading only reports the temperature of the block and not the liquid being heated.
There are two main types of dry baths including digital dry bath and analog dry baths. Digital dry baths incorporate a microchip into the model which allows the temperature of the bath to be controlled through the digital interface while analog dry baths do not use microchip technology.
ANALOG DRY BATHS
Before the introduction of digital dry baths, laboratories relied on analog dry baths, also known as incubators or block heaters. These machines allowed users to heat their samples, but it was difficult to control the temperature of their samples. The temperature of the incubators was controlled by incremental knobs that the user could turn to change the temperature. This system made it exceedingly difficult to determine the actual temperature of the sample. It was necessary to use a thermometer in order to get an accurate temperature reading.
DIGITAL DRY BATHS
Digital dry baths include a digital controller mounted to the front of the unit that defines temperature and shaking speed parameters and alerts user of completed runs. They incorporate a microchip that provides the user with the ability to accurately control the temperature of the bath. These baths also have the digital screen that displays the temperature. The temperature can be adjusted by pressing the up and down buttons.
In molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, many researchers encounter the issue of needing to agitate samples while they are being heated. In the past, many researchers had to remove a sample from the dry bath, agitate it, and place it back in the bath. This unexpected change in temperature can damage the sample. In order to prevent damaging the sample, may companies have begun to manufacture lab baths that can heat and agitate at the same time. Some of these baths also have the ability to cool samples in addition to heating and agitating them. Visit us next week for our blog on heating and cooling circulating baths.
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