Pipettes are common and so useful in chemistry, biology, and medicine. Sure, you can find them in labs all over the world, but they are also in pharmacies, schools, and even your spice cabinet! These wonderful little tools use suction, created by a partial vacuum, to suck up a specified amount of liquid from one place to another. Sometimes, this is a step in gel electrophoresis. Other times, it’s how you get a couple of drops of medicine into a baby’s mouth.
Types of Pipettes
The first pipettes were made of glass, such as an eyedropper. The rubber bulb at the top of the dropper is what creates the partial vacuum. Eventually, as technology advanced, micropipettes were invented. These types of pipettes could suck up tiny amounts of liquid. We’re talking microliters of liquids that are so small that their units of measure include some kind of Greek letter. In today’s market, there are over ten different types of pipettes out there. Some are cheap and easy to obtain and others cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
How to Pipette
Back in the day, people used to mouth pipette. Basically, instead of using a bulb to suck up liquids, they would use the pipette like a draw and suck up the desired amount. This is fine if you’re drinking juice, but when you’re mouth pipetting corrosive acids and bases in a chemistry lab, things can get dangerous. Today, this is considered a big no-no in all labs. And now that we think of it, don’t mouth pipette any non-food liquids in your life.
For some pipettes, the pipetter must make repeated movements all day long, holding onto the instrument, pushing with the thumb or squeezing with fingers, and transferring the liquid. Electronic pipettes make it so that a little computer inside the pipette automates all the sucking and squeezing. There are even pipetting robots that are much more precise than any human. Perhaps someday in the future, no one will need to pipette in the lab!
What do you think happens to someone who does the same repeated motion day in and day out? They get hurt. Pipetting injuries, and silly as they sound, are a serious problem. A winged elbow posture when pipetting can strain shoulder and arm muscles. Over-rotating the arm can cause carpal tunnel pressure. Another injury that comes from bad posture and repeated motions is tendonitis. So, despite their small size, pipettes can hurt you!
Non-Injury Prone Pipette
So maybe pipetting for a living isn’t for you. Or maybe you have robots at your lab pipetting for you (lucky person!). But we’ve got the perfect pipette for you – it’s stylish and injury-free! Our pipette necklace comes in silver and gold and makes a perfect gift from you, to you. They also make a great gift for lab technicians, pharmacists, nurses, and wet lab scientists.
written by Science with Evie