How do I Choose the Right Countertop Material for My Lab?

Laboratory countertops and workbenches are commonly used areas in laboratories. Apart from the commonly used black epoxy resin in many labs, there are more choices available. The correct material depends on the type of experiment or work you do every day. Does the surface need to withstand chemical substances, liquids, or open flames? A trend is to use reflective colors, which will reduce artificial lighting and make your lab brighter. Here are some options to consider:

stainless-steel-table-with-drawer

Stainless Steel Lab Countertops Advantages:

Stainless steel is a non-porous material that does not allow anything to penetrate. It is created for sterile laboratories as it does not allow fungi, bacteria, or mold to grow. It also has chemical resistance and high heat resistance, capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1,500°F. It can withstand the cleanliness requirements of sterile areas. In places where harsh cleaning solutions are required, always use 316 stainless steel.

Considerations:

It is prone to scratches and cannot handle bleach, as it will leach out nickel and cause pitting.

epoxy-resin-laboratory-countertops

Epoxy Resin Lab Countertops Advantages:

Epoxy resin has excellent resistance to almost all acids, alkalis, solvents, as well as mold, fungi, and bacteria. It has high temperature resistance up to 350°F and good resistance to regular physical abuse. There are several colors available depending on the supplier, including black, gray, slate, white, and brown.

Considerations:

It is a poured product and cannot be easily modified on-site; for example, drilling may be difficult. It is also prone to scratching and has poor impact resistance compared to phenolic resin countertops or stainless steel countertops.

Phenolic Resin Lab Countertops Advantages:

For laboratories working with medium-level chemical substances, phenolic resin should be considered. Phenolic resin lab countertops are beneficial for the use of chlorine gas and does not discolor. These materials are very lightweight, have high durability and processability on-site, and have corrosion and chemical resistance. It also has high resistance to mold, bacteria, and moisture, and can withstand impact. It can withstand temperatures up to 350°F. There are several colors and patterns to choose from.

Considerations:

Most varieties are not flame retardant, so it is not recommended for use near open flames.

Ceramic Lab Countertops Advantages:

Ceramic countertops are mainly made of natural silicate materials, with a special glazed surface treatment, and are fired at high temperatures. Ceramic countertops are highly resistant to strong corrosion, have good flame retardancy, and have higher scratch resistance than stone. They have advantages such as not absorbing moisture, not deforming, etc. Long-term high temperature resistance can reach 600 degrees Celsius, suitable for use under various special experimental conditions.

Considerations:

Not resistant to hydrofluoric acid, limited in size.

Butcher Block Countertops Advantages:

Butcher blocks are made from sturdy wood, usually hard maple. These workbench tops are very common in many physical testing facilities or food laboratories. Butcher blocks are easy to repair if damaged. One important application of this material is in high-impact testing equipment.

Considerations:

Wood is highly porous, which means it does not resist chemicals well. It can also harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly.

High-Pressure Laminate Countertops Advantages:

In dry areas where the use of chemical substances is limited, if you are looking for something that makes your budget easier, high-pressure laminate countertops may be an option.

Laminate countertops come in a variety of colors and patterns and have resistance grades to chemical corrosion. They are typically used for ESD (electrostatic dissipation) applications.

Considerations:

Although it can withstand temperatures up to 275°F, it is not moisture-resistant, mold-resistant, or bacteria-resistant.

Stone and Solid Surface Materials:

These cannot provide sufficient heat resistance and chemical resistance, so they are not recommended for regular laboratory use.

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