How to obtain precise measurements and accurate results when measuring mass.
When you are conducting research, precision is paramount. Whether you’re working in a chemistry lab, a pharmaceutical facility, or a research institution, accurate measurements provide reliable results. Lab balances are one type of lab equipment that must remain accurate to help you obtain precise measurements of mass. To optimize a lab balance’s performance, it’s beneficial for you to understand the various features and options available.
Key features and options to optimize lab balances:
Choosing the right calibration method for your needs
Internal calibration is a feature where the balance can automatically perform its own calibration and can sometimes be set to calibrate at user-defined intervals. External calibration is completed manually using external mass standards placed on the balance weighing pan. Internal calibration is more ideal if conditions vary such as temperature, humidity, movements, etc., or if manual calibrations are not able to be performed. Internal calibration will take care of any changes due to environmental factors (drift). However, it’s best to regularly calibrate your balance with a certified weight to prove traceability of measurement. External calibration requires optimal settings and due diligence to maintain both the balance and the weights for optimal calibration performance.
Mitigate environmental effects with draft shields
Draft shields are often used with analytical balances and precision weighing instruments to reduce the effects of drafts and air currents on your sample. Some balances come with built-in draft shields, while others offer optional shields that can be added to surround your entire weighing instrument. Never weigh your samples near fans or vents or heavy traffic areas in the lab.
Size of weighing surface
The size of your weighing pan or surface also plays a role in the performance of your scale. The larger the weighing surface area, the more susceptible your balance or scale is to drafts. Square weighing pans have more surface area than round pans. Always select the smallest pan size that fits the material being weighed.
Benefit of a balance table
Vibration forces can affect the readings on your balance, so consider weighing on an antivibration platform or table to minimize the effects of vibration. They can reduce the risk of errors and maintain the integrity of your results, enhancing the performance of your balance.
Advantages of touch screen interfaces on weighing equipment
If you need precision, accuracy, saved data for audits, or want a balance you can customize with features to make your weighing easier with just a touch, then consider a touch-screen balance. Some of the features can include a capacitive touchscreen for easy use; customizable menu screen to match your everyday needs; touchless feature to minimize contamination; statistics working mode to automatically calculate and quickly analyze data from a series of measurements; a built-in memory to automatically record measurements, preview, copy and archive data; easy-to-adjust filter settings depending on your working environment and more.
Types of heating elements in moisture balances
Keep in mind the heating element when choosing a moisture balance for your needs:
- Halogen lamp heating elements are suited for applications that require accelerated temperature regulation during sample drying. However halogen lamps heat and cool quickly sometimes causing the sample to scorch.
- Infrared heating lamps are an economical alternative to halogen-lamp models. Infrared lamps take longer to heat, so they are optimal for samples prone to scorching due to rapid temperature changes.
- Quartz heating elements look similar to the heating element in your oven at home. Heat is transferred from a coil wire to a material which distributes the heat providing consistent heating.
Data connectivity for recording and analyzing measurements
Many lab balances often come equipped with USB or RS-232 ports for data connectivity, so you can automatically transfer data from your balance to your computer. This eliminates the need for manual transcription, reducing the risk of errors and saving you valuable time.
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