What Is a Science Lab Table?
A science lab table is a piece of furniture specifically built to accommodate the unique needs of science classrooms or laboratories. Science lab tables have durable surfaces, are made of chemical-resistant materials, and have solid legs, sinks, power outlets, white boards, and storage drawers to work well in lab environments. Different types of lab tables are ideal for different science purposes.
What Are the Most Common Tabletop Materials Used for Science Tables?
Science table materials must be extremely resistant to chemicals, heat, and wear. Most science tables use high-pressure plastic laminate, or a basic black laminate with superior scratch resistance. Others use ChemGuard laminate, which is black laminate and offers chemical resistance. Welded fiber with black powder coating is also a common material for chemical resistance and superior scratch resistance. Two other options are phenolic resin and solid epoxy resin, which are impervious to many common chemicals found in high school labs. Solid epoxy resin is the gold standard in science table materials.
High-Pressure Plastic Laminate Lab Table Top
This is the most basic surface, a classic black laminate with superior resistance to scratching from every day use. While this surface is the most economical, it has limited resistance to the high temperatures and severe chemicals found in the lab. Science tables with this surface are best used for lecture, study, or harmless non-liquid experiments.
ChemGuard Laminate Lab Table Top
This laminate has all the features of standard black laminate but has outstanding chemical resistance and much better wear rating than standard laminate. ChemGuard science tables are excellent value for high school chemistry classrooms using a variety of weaker chemicals and heat sources. If you need a dual-purpose table for lecture and lab experiments, this is a good fit.
Welded Fiber with Black Powder Coat Lab Table Top
Because this is a chemically resistant finish, there are no seams to collect harmful chemicals or contaminants. In addition to superb chemical resistance, this lightly textured surface provides significant improvement in scratch resistance over standard ChemGuard laminate. Black powder coated surface table tops are made of a thick, 1" welded fiber (Gemweld) base with sturdy fiberboard core and have rounded safety edges. Twice powder coated, these tables will not stain, etch or show effects when subjected to these standard lab chemicals:
- Sulfuric Acid 70%
- Nitric Acid 25%
- Phosphoric Acid 75%
- Sodium Hydroxide 25%
- Ammonium Hydroxide 25%
Phenolic Resin Lab Table Top
Phenolic Resin science tables are impervious to many chemicals found in high school and college chemistry labs. In addition to superior chemical resistance, this surface is usually thermofused, creating a seamless surface where the top meets the sides for ease of cleaning and disinfecting which is a plus for biology labs. If you need a table that will see full-time laboratory use, such as a dedicated chemistry lab, or teacher's demonstration desk, this is a prime choice. Phenolic resin will not stain, etch or show effects when subjected to these standard lab chemicals:
- Nitric Acid 30%
- Phosphoric Acid 85%
- Sulfuric Acid 33%
- Methyl Ethyl Ketone
- Acetic Acid 98%
- Hydrofluoric Acid 48%
Solid Epoxy Resin Lab Table Top
The gold standard of science tables, solid epoxy resin surfaces are impervious to normal chemicals and heat. Rather than a laminate surface, superior Epoxy Resin is solid, homogeneous, molded from modified epoxy resins, and completely oven cured during processing. Its soft, low glare surface is simple to clean. Solid epoxy resin is extremely durable and completely impervious to moisture, eliminating any future chance of swelling, delamination or exposure of the substrate. Solid epoxy tops are heat and char resistant to the point of being considered self-extinguishing. It shows even more resistance to chemicals than phenolic resin as it is not damaged by the following:
- Nitric Acid 70%
- Acetic Acid (glacial)
- Hydrochloric Acid 20%
- Sulfuric Acid 60%
- Methyl Alcohol
What Are the Common Considerations for Buying Laboratory Science Tables?
Purchasing the perfect laboratory science tables takes answering questions about the purpose of the tables. Ask what the specific needs of the laboratory are, as well as the needs of the people who will be using the lab. If the students or employees need tables that prioritize storage, for example, look for science lab tables with shelves, drawers, and cabinets. Look at the storage area needs and available space in the lab as well. Purchase science lab tables made from the correct materials to withstand the projects or experiments planned for them.
Laboratory Need Considerations
If you’re planning to host many experiments in your laboratory, think about the types of tools and resources you’ll need. It might be best to purchase a number of basic tables and also a few tables equipped with sinks, power outlets, and white boards.
Needs of Students Considerations
To remain compliant with ADA standards, it’s helpful to have science tables designed to increase accessibility for disabled individuals. Most ADA compliant lab tables are mobile and feature abundant storage, a sink, and optional mirrors.
Laboratory Storage Area Considerations
A wide selection of science tables with storage compartments is available. From drawers and shelving to book nooks and cabinets, adequate storage can make a lab environment more safe and comfortable. Take inventory of available storage in your lab; if space is lacking, choose science tables equipped with additional storage as a supplement.
Consider Your Available Lab Space
For some labs, rectangular science tables are not ideal due to space constraints. In this case, consider round lab tables or those with risers to maximize work space without taking up additional floor space.
What Are the Typical Customization Options for Laboratory Tables?
Customizing a laboratory table can be the best way to ensure it meets a lab’s specific needs. Many customization options are available for science laboratory tables, including leg types, surface materials, heights, storage options, and power outlets. Customizing your science table can help you get the most out of your investment for the long run.
Science Table Legs Selection
Science tables generally come with solid wood legs that are a fixed height of 29" or 30" high. However, most tables are also available with 36" high legs that are a more comfortable standing height and for use with taller lab stools. Look for the adjustable height science table by Diversified Woodcrafts with legs that individually adjust to create unique table angles; perfect for physics class. Black plastic, vinyl or rubber boots are commonly used on the bottom of all wooden table legs to protect the wood from liquid spills or routine mopping. Most science tables will ship with these boots included or can be additionally ordered.
Additional Storage Options
Some science tables are available with optional book boxes, which give students a safe location to place books and supplies while not in use. For laboratories where potentially harmful chemicals are used, a secure book box may be the best splash-proof storage area in the room.
In-Table Power Outlet Needs
Typically needed in middle school and high school laboratories, optional power outlets can be added to customize most science tables. Add up to two outlets per table for optimum functionality in a lab setting.
What Are the Core Considerations When Looking at the Long-Term Durability of a Laboratory Table?
Laboratory tables must prioritize durability. Otherwise, regular use could mar, damage, or destroy science tables within the first several uses. The core considerations when determining the long-term durability of a lab table is the material on the outside of the tabletop, the frame, and the legs. Look for a table made from laminates, epoxies, or other materials specifically designed to withstand lab chemicals and heat. The frame should be hardwood or metal for long-term durability, and the table legs should be sturdy.
What Are the Core Uses of a Laboratory Table?
People use laboratory tables for a variety of purposes. The most common are for educational purposes, such as high school chemistry and biology labs. Laboratory tables are also useful in clean rooms and industrial and commercial laboratories, as well as testing facilities and medical labs. Lab tables use specific materials and designs for optimal functionality in science laboratory settings.
How Should You Clean the Table Top of a Laboratory Table?
The unique materials of laboratory tables mean they stay looking like new without a lot of cleaning or maintenance. The best cleaning practices will depend on the material of the outer surface of the tabletop, as well as the chemical that spilled on the table. For the most part, however, it’s easy to clean laboratory tables. They have seamless, durable tops that are scratch-, chemical-, and heat-resistant for easy cleaning. Read user’s manual for specific instructions on how to clean the materials of your lab table.
What Are Common Accessories for a Laboratory Table?
Additional accessories can make your science laboratory table more useful and functional for your specific space and users. The most common accessories include hand and eyewash sinks or stations, safety signage, fire extinguishers, drawers, shelves, swivels, monitors, whiteboards, and keyboard trays. Customize your laboratory table with special accessories for optimal functionality in your lab.