Why do scientists use a mortar and pestle in the laboratory? The mortar and pestle are two separate tools that are being used as one. The mortar is a durable bowl that is usually made of wood, ceramics, stainless steel, or stone.
The mortar is the bowl-like base in which is used to hold what is being crushed in place. While the pestle is a rounded bottom stick-like tool that is used for crushing substances in the mortar.
Mortars usually have a wide mouth and smooth and round bottom The pestle is also made of either wood, stone, or ceramic. Usually, when you buy the mortar and pestle usually comes in the same material.
You may think that the Mortar and pestle is an ancient or old-fashioned kitchen tool that is used to crush and grind kitchen ingredients. It may be old fashioned, but it still does the crushing better than some blenders out there.
The mortar and pestle are used not just in the kitchen to crush ingredients, it can also be used in the laboratory for preparing drugs, let us explain why scientists use mortar and pestle in the laboratory.
Why do scientists use a mortar and pestle in the laboratory?
Mortar and pestle have been used in ancient times to prepare substances by crushing them to a fine paste or powder texture. Scientists make use of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory in order to turn their ingredients into paste and powders. This will allow for an increased surface area activity of their solvents and solutions. The scientists tend to pulverize solutions in order to increase surface area.
The increased surface area will increase the reaction rate and the dissolving rate will also increase. Scientists use the mortar and pestle because the mortar and pestle are capable of making a solute go from bulk to smooth powder.
The mortar and pestle do it so well that is why scientists do not use blenders in place of mortar and pestle in the laboratory, the blender usually generates heat which makes it not suitable to be used in the laboratory.
Some others may want to make use of the blender to replace the mortar and pestle, but you cannot completely replace the mortar and pestle with a blender, this is because the mortar and pestle crush the ingredients, while the blender slices.
The blender has blades while the mortar and pestle does not, when you crush your substances with the mortar and pestle, it crushes it and extract all the essential oil that is needed.
The blender is not capable of completely extracting all the essential oil from the substance that you are blending that is because the blades slice through it, it does not crush. When a blender slices, it generates heat because of the electric motor, this is why you do not get the essential oil when you make use of the blender.
What are the uses of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory?
The mortar and pestle can be used in different places, such as in the kitchen, laboratory, etc. In this segment of this article, we will be focusing on the uses of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory.
The mortar and pestle are one of the tools used in pharmacology, they are humankind’s most used tool, especially in the laboratory.
The mortar and pestle are used to crush solid substances
This is one of the most important uses of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory. It is not just used in the laboratory, but also in the pharmacies. They are used to crush powder.
The mortar and pestle that may seem old fashioned by some people out there are what is being used in many laboratories to grind their substances. Most times, they are used to grind or crush drugs into a powder form or texture.
The mortar and pestle will keep the texture powdered and smooth, this is because it is manually done, not automatic like that of the blender that seems to slice substances and does not give it the smooth texture that the mortar and pestle are capable of doing.
Take note that the mortar and pestle are best for crushing a substance from solid to powder form especially in the laboratory. The results that you will get will be so smooth and satisfying.
The mortar and pestle are used to increase the surface area of a solute
In the laboratory, there is a need to increase the surface area of a solute, this is because it helps to increase the rate at which the solute dissolves, or we can also say that it helps to increase the reaction rate of the solute.
Increasing the surface area of the solute still has something to do with crushing, this is because for you to increase the surface area of a solute, you will have to crush the solute from bulk or solid to powder.
The reason for increasing the surface area of the solute is so that it will be very easy to consume. Crushing solids and increasing the surface area of solutes is very important and helpful especially when you are conducting medical tests in the laboratory.
We just highlighted the uses of a mortar and pestle in the laboratory, these are the major uses of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory and from reading it, you should have known by now that despite the fact that some people might consider the mortar and pestle as an old fashioned tool, it is still very much relevant not just in the home, but also in the laboratory.
Things began to advance and blenders came into existence, but they have not completely taken over the mortar and pestle. The major reason why the mortar and pestle are still relevant in this age, despite how old it is, is that the mortar and pestle do not slice substance like the blender, due to the absence of the blades in the mortar and pestle.
The pestle crushes the substance in the mortar, which helps to give a fine finished texture and if you want a powdered texture, the mortar and pestle will do it perfectly well.
Why the mortar and pestle are still relevant is also because it does not generate heat like the blender, it is manual and does not have a motor. This is one of the reasons why people still use the mortar and pestle to this day.
How to clean mortar and pestle in the lab
After you are done making use of your mortar and pestle in the lab, the next thing that you need to do is to clean it. Cleaning is one of the best practices to help your mortar and pestle last long for you.
When you do not clean your mortar and pestle, it may not last as long as it is meant to, as a result of lack of proper care.
If you want to enjoy the mortar and pestle that you have spent some amount of money on, then you need to follow these steps on how to clean your mortar and pestle in the laboratory.
But before we get into the points, one thing that you need to know about cleaning a mortar and pestle in the laboratory is that cleaning a mortar and pestle in the laboratory is quite different from cleaning the kitchen.
In the laboratory, you are dealing with chemicals, while in the kitchen you are dealing with most foods, ingredients, and spices, so, the cleaning methods may be a little bit different because you are dealing with different substances.
Step 1: Remove all the debris
This is the very first thing that you need to do when you want to clean your mortar and pestle after using it in the laboratory. You should make use of a dry towel. Because you must have used the mortar and pestle with chemicals, it is very important that you make use of hot soapy water to wipe the surface of the mortar and pestle.
Step 2: Scrub the debris from the surface
After you have rinsed the surface of the mortar and pestle with hot soapy water. Making use of a detergent may not be advisable because they have fragrance and when you make use of the detergent to wash the mortar and pestle, it leaves a perfume residue. If at all you want to make use of detergent, you should use one without fragrance. After that you need to scrub it with a gentle scrubber, so that you will be able to completely remove the debris that has been stuck in the mortar and probably on the pestle.
Step 3: Let the mortar and pestle air dry
When you are done scrubbing and rinsing the mortar and pestle in hot water, the next thing you need to do is to let it air dry. You should not use a towel to dry it, you should let it air dry instead.
Step 4: Rinse with Isopropyl alcohol
After allowing the mortar and pestle to air dry, what you need to do next is to rinse it with some Isopropyl alcohol. It contains deionized water and also alcohol which helps to remove dirt, dust and to keep the mortar and pestle looking like new.
The methods of cleaning a mortar and pestle may seem a little bit tedious, but it is for the betterment of the mortar and pestle, for it to last long for you. The more often you do it, the better, this is because the methods will begin to get less tedious for you.
How to sterilize a mortar and pestle in the Laboratory?
How to sterilize your mortar and pestle in the laboratory is by putting some alcohol in the mortar and on the pestle and flame it for a couple of minutes.
What this does is that it helps to kill those germs instantly, they cannot survive such temperature, when you flame up the mortar and pestle, the living organisms will die and the mortar and pestle will be germ-free.
Sterilization is a process that helps to remove or kill all forms of life such as bacteria, fungi, etc., from any surface. Sterilizing your mortar and pestle in the laboratory is quite different from sterilizing your mortar and pestle in the kitchen.
The reason for this difference in methods of sterilization of because in the laboratory you are dealing with chemicals, while in the kitchen you are dealing mostly with ingredients, spices, and foods, etc.
Sterilization is more like a fast way to keep your mortar and pestle germ-free
What type of mortar and pestle is suitable for the laboratory?
There are mortar and pestles that are very good and suitable for the laboratory, let us take a look at this mortar and pestle that you should check out.
The ChefSofi Mortar and pestle
This mortar and pestle are a must-have, if you are looking for a mortar and pestle to use for your laboratory, this one is a very good one. It has a versatile function, what this means is that it can be used not only in the laboratory.
It can also be used in the kitchen as well to crush ingredients and spices. It is also very effortless to use, it was designed with your convenience in mind. The pestle also feels comfortable when you are holding it, about to use it.
- Versatility of use
- Comfortable pestle
- Easy to clean
- Effortless use
- A little bit heavy
This mortar and pestle are a good one to use in the laboratory, you will have no cause to regret it after purchasing it. It comes with a risk-free purchase, what this means is that if you are not satisfied with the purchase after buying, you can always return the mortar and pestle. the effortless use and the satisfaction you get after using this mortar and pestle are the reasons why you should consider this mortar and pestle among the others.
Final words on why do scientists use a mortar and pestle in the laboratory?
We made it clear at the beginning of this article that mortar and pestles are still being used in the laboratories even up to this day, even though people may consider it as old-fashioned. Well, it may be but it does something that the modern blender does not, which is, it crushes and does not slice ingredients.
It helps to give the perfect powdered texture that you need. Scientists make use of the mortar and pestle in the laboratory because the scientists want to increase the surface area of a solute. The scientists use the mortar and pestle because the mortar and pestle are capable of making a solute go from bulk to smooth powder.