Basic Laboratory Skills

Students will be taught the following modules about working in a Laboratory:
1) Measuring volume
  • Types of equipment available
  • Markings on equipment used for volumetric measurements
  • Selecting a suitable piece of equipment
  • Cleaning glassware
  • Checking the accuracy of the volume of liquid contained in/delivered by the equipment
  • Checklists for making measurements of volume
2) Measuring mass
  • Mass versus weight
  • Types of balance available
  • Selecting a suitable balance
  • Checking the balance accuracy and set up
  • Correct use of balances for different applications
  • Checklist for making measurements of mass
3) Measuring pH
  • What is pH?
  • Equipment for measuring pH
  • Choosing a suitable electrode
  • Care of electrodes
  • Calibration of pH meters
  • Measuring the pH of the test sample
  • Checklist for making pH measurements using a pH meter
4) Preparing solutions of known concentration
  • When are solutions of known concentration used?
  • Calculating the concentration of solutions
  • Selecting a suitable material to prepare the solution
  • Practical steps in preparing solutions of known concentration
  • Labeling and storage of solutions
  • Checklist for preparing solutions of known concentration
5) Preparing reagent solutions
  • Calculating the concentration of reagent solutions
  • Preparing reagent solutions
  • Labeling and storage of reagent solutions
  • Checklist for preparing reagent solutions
6) Carrying out a titration
  • Principles of titration
  • Carrying out a standardization experiment
  • Detecting the end-point
  • Carrying out a titration
  • Titration calculations
  • Checklist for carrying out a titration



7) Centrifugation
  • What is centrifugation and when is it used?
  • rpm versus g
  • Different types of centrifuge
  • Correct operation of a centrifuge: safety and quality issues
  • Checklist for using a centrifuge
  • Definition of quality
  • Quality management, quality assurance and quality control
  • International quality standards
9) Calibration and traceability
  • Documenting test methods
  • Introduction to control charts
  • Proficiency testing and external quality assessment
  • Scoring systems in PT schemes
  • Evaluation of performance scores
10) Errors and uncertainty
  • Random errors
  • Systematic errors
  • Evaluating measurement uncertainty
  • Why is measurement uncertainty important?
  • Essential statistical terms
  • Units of measurement
  • Concentration expressed as a percentage
  • Concentration expressed as m/m or m/v
  • Concentration expressed as parts per million or parts per billion
  • Reporting results
12) Decimal places and significant figures
  • Rounding rules
  • Deciding the number of significant figures to report
  • Checking data