“Why do lab tables vary so wildly in price?” you wonder as you search to organize your lab with sufficient furniture. The reason is that, even though the tables may look similar in picture comparisons, some table tops are made of a mixture of materials and cured into a solid, which makes them more resistant to chemicals and elements.
Because the experiments and equipment of each lab will differ, the surface of a lab table is one of the most important aspects to consider. For a middle school or high school lab, your standard plastic laminate table tops will usually hold up just fine in the conditions of those lower-level experiments, but at the collegiate level, or in an independent lab, a surface with a higher resistance to chemicals may need to be considered.
Let’s take a look at what surface options are out there.
Due to its low chemical resistance, plastic laminate may not be the best option for a chemistry; however, they are more cost-effective for dry labs such as a technology lab. In labs with chemicals and high levels of moisture, you should instead consider one of the following types of resin.
These table tops are light, solid, long-lasting and have pretty good resistance to chemicals, being highly resistant to acids and solvents but weak against alkalis. Phenolic resin can handle up to 350°F (176°C) and is difficult to burn; it produces little smoke if burns do occur.
Epoxy resin is the gold standard when it comes to lab table surfaces because of its high chemical resistance and increased ability to handle heat even better than phenolic resin. It is best utilized in wet lab conditions since it is non-porous and resistant to water and moisture, ensuring long-lasting durability.
As you can see, picking the right surface for your lab tables requires careful consideration of type of lab, types of chemicals used in the lab, cost-effectiveness and level of heat and moisture. Make sure you are picking the one that fits best with the conditions of your lab, and also consider the durability of each table so you can calculate future replacement costs.