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What are Laboratory ovens and why are they used?



Laboratory ovens are multi-purpose appliances primarily used in scientific and manufacturing industries. They provide pinpoint temperature control and uniform temperatures throughout the heating process. The functions performed by laboratory ovens are essential for the processes of baking, curing or drying substances which are then used in labs and various other production procedures.

Sonic Supply offers a full selection of laboratory heating and cooling equipment for a variety of needs. View the full range here.

What are the different types of ovens in the laboratory?

Types of laboratory ovens include standard digital ovens (which are mainly used for drying and heating processes while providing temperature control and safety), vacuum ovens, forced air convection ovens and gravity convection ovens.

What is a Gravity Convection Oven?


Gravity convection ovens are designed for applications where a fan or other air flow would disturb the thermal process, like processing lightweight materials or powders. They require less temperature uniformity than other types of mechanical convection lab ovens.  Gravity ovens generate a unique natural air convection supply through perforated stainless-steel shelves to achieve temperature uniformity without the use of blowers. 

What is a Forced Air Oven?


Forced air ovens work by forcing warm air around the oven chamber with the assistance of a blower fan. Similar to a furnace, hot air travels through a duct system which creates a uniform distribution of warm air within the chamber.

Gravity Convection vs Forced Air

The main differences between the two are that gravity convection ovens don't rely on a blower fan to move air around.  Hot air naturally rises as it expands, becoming less dense than the air around it and losing heat energy. A forced air oven, also known as a mechanical convection oven, works by forcing warm air around the oven chamber with the assistance of a blower fan.  Like a furnace, hot air will travel through a duct system creating a uniform distribution of warm air within the chamber.  


What is a Vacuum Oven?

Vacuum lab ovens are used to remove moisture, gas, and other possibly volatile chemicals from items while preventing reactions. The primary mechanism for drying in a vacuum oven is actually the vacuum chamber. The chamber reduces pressure, which reduces the boiling point of most substances and allows liquids to evaporate at lower temperatures.

Choosing your Laboratory Oven

When choosing your laboratory oven, be sure to understand the different functions and their purposes in determining which type of oven will suit your needs. Gravity ovens, mechanical convection ovens, vacuum ovens and high-temperature ovens can be of help, particularly within the pharmaceutical industry and laboratories. Forced air ovens and other multipurpose ovens are used in glassware drying, while vacuum ovens can dry delicate materials and remove flammable solvents. 

  • Drying or Dehydrating – Removing moisture from samples. Often performed in environmental, biological and clinical laboratories.
  • Sterilizing – Removes or destroys bacteria or microorganisms from something. Commonly used to sterilize lab equipment.
  • Annealing – Used to remove internal stresses and toughen from metal or glass. Metal or glass is heated and allowed to cool slowly.
  • Evaporating – Used to evaporate excess solvents, such as water, from a solution to produce a concentrated solution or measure their melting point.

Sonic Supply offers a collection of the best-selling laboratory oven series by Quincy Lab.  We offer options for both analog and digital controls on many different models.

The Quincy Lab 40AFE is designed to meet the laboratory needs of industry, research organizations and schools. Well-crafted and versatile, this digital air-forced oven is used for drying, baking, and sterilizing. evaporating, heat treating, annealing and testing.  This energy-efficient model utilizes low-watt density Incoloy sheathed elements, engineered into a compact design for quick run-up and recovery times. The AFE models offer forced-air circulation, allowing for uniform distribution of heat throughout the chamber, facilitating dehydration and evaporating.  Sonic offers numerous models that offer exceptional value and reliability.


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