Lab Safety Series: Safe Use of Filtration Glassware

by Trevor Neve

Welcome to the first edition of Lab Safety Fridays! Ollie the Lab Collie has dug up some information on the safe use of filtration glassware.


Treated with proper care, filtration glassware can offer long-term, satisfactory service in the laboratory.

First things first: always wear eye and face protection when working with a vacuum or pressure apparatus.

  • Inspect glassware for flaws such as cracks, scratches, deep scoring and etching marks before using vacuum apparatus.

  • Assemble the vacuum apparatus so as to avoid strain to glassware. The filtering flask should be supported from below as well as by the neck.

  • Tape the glassware to minimize projectiles due to unlikely event of an implosion. Use a crisscross pattern of filament tape and/or build an enclosure around the flask.

  • Use adequate shielding when conducting pressure and vacuum operations, such as a clear acrylic barrier.

  • Know the chemistry of the filter flask contents to make sure that they are appropriate for use under high vacuum.

  • Do not jar, strike, or drop a flask that is under vacuum pressure. Also, avoid exposing the flask to unnecessary vibrations from equipment on the same bench, loud music, etc. The flask should be anchored in place with a ring stand and clamp.

  • Use low-intensity vacuum. Do not use with equipment capable of producing vacuum greater than 25 microns Hg.

  • Before taking any actions with the flask (removing funnel/stopper, adjusting hoses), make sure to release the vacuum by disconnecting the hose at the vacuum pump end (as opposed to the flask end). If available, please use a shut off valve and bleeder valve installed between the flask and vacuum before disconnecting flask.

With these tips, you should be all set for safe, long-term use of your filtration glassware.



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