Some people are not really aware of the different uses of glassware in chemistry. Knowing about the different varieties of glassware can help you in selecting which is right for your situation. So, if you're thinking on doing any chemistry work it is important to be able to tell the differences between measuring cylinders, burettes, and measuring cylinders.
Graduated cylinders are great for the measurement of bulk volumes. They have many advantages compared to burettes and pipettes. Burettes allow for dispensing larger volumes than a pipette. The purpose of measuring cylinders is not the dispensing of liquids but they can contain a larger volume than the aforementioned two. They are designed to indicate exactly how much liquid the cylinder contains. This is why they are calibrated from the bottom to the top. A burette, on the other hand, is designed to display how much liquid it is dispensing. This is why it is calibrated from top to bottom. Pipettes can only measure a very specific volume, whereas graduated cylinders and burettes are capable of measuring any volume up to their maximum capacity.
A negative aspect of pipettes is that due to their calibration they are read from top to bottom. The fact that they are read from top to bottom makes them slightly more susceptible to human error. This is why it is a good idea to be aware of what glassware you're using and pick the glassware that best suits your need. If you're having trouble using burettes you can use a graduated cylinder in order to more easily read the amount of liquid being measured. The marks on the cylinder are also generally considered easier to read.
There are a variety of different sizes of graduated cylinders. The most typical sizes are 10ml, 25ml, 100ml, 500ml, and all the way up to 2 liters. Measuring cylinders are sometimes used in order to handle the volume of liquid required. If accuracy is what you're after you should use a measuring cylinder. So, in any case that you can a graduated cylinder is generally regarded as more desirable, but if the situation doesn't call for the most extreme of accuracy, or if other means may be suitable you can always use a pipette or burette.
Knowing the difference in glassware is important for anyone that intends to study in the field. Everyone from students to professionals needs to make sure that they're familiar in order to be successful. This is why chemistry classes test their students in the differences between all of the equipment early on in their studies because it is vital information that is important to have memorized.
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