The basics on a volumetric pipette: things to remember before using it
A volumetric pipette is a device used for measuring volumes of liquid accurately. As the name pipette suggests, it is similar to a long pipe except that it is smaller, and it is open-ended both ways. It is typically used along with a pipetter or suction for containing, dispensing, or measuring various types of liquid. It comes in different sizes.
This tool is most often found in laboratories where it is an essential part of many research studies, experiments, and manufacturing tests. Knowing how to properly care and use a volumetric pipette is essential in order to maintain its quality and functionality.
Basically, proper care just involves sterilizing it well. One has to be sure if the pipette can withstand autoclave heat and pressure, where it can be fully sterilized for later use. Moreover, it has to be kept in a secure and sanitized place.
As for using a volumetric pipette, it can be quite simple and easy. If it is an operator’s first time, he or she will get used to it eventually. Here are some basic things and simple steps to follow and to practice on which one has to learn before actually using them for measurements.
- Start with small-size pipettes. A small one is easier to handle and it does not look overwhelming.
- Although it is tempting and exciting to start measuring or mixing different liquids or substances, it is best to begin some initial exercises using plain, distilled water. With water, one can practice loading and dispensing liquid quite easily and safely.
- Ideally, before commencing or continuing work in a laboratory when using pipettes, it is best to check each one. Sometimes, small insects or particles get in while they are being kept. Other times, small damages are made without anyone knowing, like small cracks or chips. In this basic practice, perhaps one can proceed to checking a number of other small-size pipettes just to get the habit started. Oftentimes, some chips may be ignored, but if there are too many or there is a big crack, that pipette may need to be discarded.
- Once the pipettes have been checked and the usable ones are lined up and ready, they can be used for obtaining and dispensing liquid. When filling the pipette, a suction device has to be used. This device has to be attached to the pipette. One example of this suction device is a rubber bulb. Take one and check for any holes or breaks.
- The rubber bulb is not simply attached to the pipette. One has to press the bulb before attaching it to the end of the pipette so that it is tightly sealed.
- Once the rubber bulb is attached to the pipette, the pipette may be dipped into the liquid, which in this practice case, is water.
- While the tip is immersed in the water, one has to slowly release the rubber bulb so that the water goes up the pipette. This part is quite challenging for many as it requires control and stable handling.
- The pipette now contains the water, which can be measured or tested for any purpose.
The above are just the basic steps one needs to know and practice before actually using the pipette for measurements and other laboratory functions. Once an operator gets used to it, the rest will be easier to learn and to follow.
It may feel quite unusual to handle and use a volumetric pipette especially for first-time users, as it may look and feel quite delicate and intended for very serious use. However, by practicing using the steps above, one may eventually get the hang of it and feel more at ease when using the instrument on actual studies and experiments in the laboratory. Soon enough, the volumetric pipette is just one of the regular tools one uses, and he or she can focus mainly on the task that needs to be done, and no longer worry if he or she is handling the instrument correctly.