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Technical Blog

Temperature control in laboratory applications

Temperature control is important in laboratories because many chemical reactions, biological processes, and physical measurements are sensitive to temperature changes. Even small changes in temperature can affect the accuracy and reproducibility of experiments. Materials, such as enzymes and proteins, often have specific temperature requirements for proper function and so ensuring a consistent and controlled temperature in the laboratory environment, instrumentation and materials is crucial for obtaining reliable and meaningful results.

Ambient temperature in laboratories

The ambient temperature has to be maintained within a specific range, depending on the type of work being done. In general, for most laboratory environments, this is between 20-22°C to ensure optimum performance of equipment and the comfort of personnel. However, some specific experiments, tests or processes may require different temperatures such as hermetically sealed and climate controlled cold rooms, which allow the technician to adjust temperatures to a minimum of 0°C. Ambient temperature stability is achieved through the use of temperature probes incorporating measuring technologies such as NTC and RTD, which can be integrated into heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems to control temperature in buildings.

Temperature-critical laboratory applications

Depending on the specific field of research or application, there is a wide variety of equipment used in a laboratory where temperature is a critical parameter to maintain constancy of testing samples, accuracy of results and reduce the risk of sample spoiling. Examples include:

  • Centrifuges – to separate particles of different densities in a liquid by spinning them at high speed (both refrigerated and non-refrigerated)
  • Incubators – to maintain a specific temperature and environment for growing cells or culturing microorganisms
  • Refrigerators and freezers – to store samples and reagents
  • Autoclaves – to sterilise equipment
  • Hot plates – to warm up specimens, reagents and other materials
  • Cryostats – to allow rapid evaluation of histological slides

More often than not, laboratory equipment manufacturers require a bespoke NTC thermistor that offers extremely high accuracy. Our engineering team can design a temperature sensor that meets the operating temperature range, size, tolerance, response time, resistance values and connector requirements of any given application, with the end-product being manufactured in-house by our team of skilled technicians.

In addition to temperature sensors, there are a variety of other sensors used in laboratory instrumentation and equipment to measure different physical properties or conditions, for instance, pressure, flow, load cell and position sensors, and these are available from companies within Variohm Group. As a Group we can also design and manufacture switching solutions for equipment, and complete positioning and motion control solutions for laboratory automation, working closely with customers from initial concepts through to design and on to system realisation.


Article published on: 02/02/2023

Article last updated on: 02/02/2023