A hotplate stirrer is a laboratory instrument used for mixing, heating, or cooling small quantities of liquids or solutions. It consists of an adjustable platform upon which the vessel containing the substance to be heated or cooled can be placed. A magnetic bar or hands with gripping clips are often used to hold the vessel in place. Here are some of the common uses of a hotplate stirrer:
1. Heating or Cooling Solutions
You can use a hotplate stirrer to quickly heat or cool small quantities of liquid. Disposable polypropylene cuvettes are normally used for this purpose, which must be placed on top of a magnetic stirring bar attached to the hotplate stirrer. It allows the cuvette to be held in place while the solution is stirred.
2. Mixing Solutions
You can use a hotplate stirrer to mix different liquids or solutions quickly and efficiently. It enables substances that cannot be easily mixed with a spatula to be combined within minutes, saving plenty of time in the laboratory.
3. Measuring Out Solids for Solutions
Hotplate stirrers can measure out small quantities of solid for solution accurately. This is particularly useful in the pharmaceutical industry, where there are strict regulations about how much active ingredient must be put into medicine to make it effective. Ideally, this should not be more than the minimum required, which in some cases is difficult to measure out using a spatula.
4. The Heat Source for Melting Agarose Gels
A hotplate stirrer can be used as the heat source when melting agarose gels. The temperature of the solution mustn’t exceed 80°C, which means that a hotplate stirrer is preferable to an oil bath.
5. Testing the Activity of Enzymes
Laboratory individuals can also use a stirring hotplate in enzymology, where it is important that all reactions take place at precisely controlled temperatures and the enzyme reaction takes the least possible time to occur. A hotplate stirrer can help ensure that this occurs as quickly as possible.
Hotplate stirrers can be used for various tasks in the laboratory. They are particularly useful when rapid heating or cooling of solutions is required and when mixing substances that cannot easily be done with a spatula. They also enable precise measurements to be taken out and ensure that enzymes take place quickly.