When thinking about a refrigerator you would think that they are all the same, but this is not true. There is a difference between commercial refrigerators, those used in the home, and those in laboratories. They all do have one main essential function and this is to keep things cool or frozen.
A freezer that is used in a laboratory needs to store samples at a lower temperature than most freezers. Some labs use special equipment to get their freezers to a lower temperature. They often use cryogenic freezing. While cryogenic freezing can get the freezer to an extremely low temperature it does take special equipment. When an extremely low temperature is needed dual compressors are used. The first compressor takes the freezer down to a certain level such as -40 degrees Celsius. Once it gets down to its required temperature the second compressor starts and takes it down to an even lower temperature. The dual compressor freezers are not only more expensive but should they break down the repair bills are high. It takes a technician who is experienced in these this type of equipment.
Along with storing samples of vaccines lab equipment is also used to store medical and pharmaceutical supplies. Blood banks and plasma donation centers also use refrigerators and freezers to store the blood and plasma. The equipment that stores the blood products have to meet all federal rules and regulations as a tainted pint of blood could cause injury to the person receiving it. The equipment that is used in this situation usually has an alarm that will go off should the temperature start changing drastically.
Lab refrigerators are also used to store enzymes along with biological samples which they use in experiments. As some of these samples can be very dangerous the equipment may be fitted with a lock. Some of the refrigerators may be insulated in order to keep flammable material from electrical sparks. The lab refrigerators and freezers can come in various sizes and shapes. Some may be even made to fit under the counters.
Some labs may also work with chemicals that are flammable yet may also require refrigeration. When a chemical is considered flammable it has a flash point of 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C. The equipment that is used to store flammable materials have to be specially designed and UL approved. The refrigerators and freezers have to have nothing that will cause a spark. Some of the equipment may also have an inner shell that will keep the damage from getting out of hand, should a reaction occur while the flammable material is being store in the refrigerator. If there is such a refrigerator or freezer in the lab it has to have a label. The label should state “Flammable Material Refrigerator”. The refrigerator should be in a room that does not have any sort of explosive vapor. Vapors from the stored material and explosive vapors in the room could cause a reaction that would blow the room up. It is important to follow all safety precautions when working with this type of material in order to minimize danger.
While all refrigerators and freezers work in the same general way there are differences in designs and prices. Commercial refrigerator and freezers such as those used in labs and restaurants have to more durable than those used in the home. Since they have to be more durable they cost more to make thus it costs more when purchasing one. When purchasing one how it is going to be used needs to be taken into consideration. Doing research before purchasing one should also be completed in order to ensure that you are getting what you need for your money.
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