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How to Choose a Lab Bench Work Surface Material

Let’s face it: the lab tables and lab benches you choose for your laboratory work environment are crucial. They are the foundation of every laboratory.

Because you’ll be doing the majority of your work there, it’s critical that you have functional and effective lab tables, lab benches, and laboratory work surfaces for taking notes, conducting experiments, and other lab-related tasks. Each lab has its own set of needs, so knowing your options when it comes to choosing materials for your workspace is critical.

Today, we’ll look at some of the most popular lab workbenches and their materials to help you decide which one is right for your lab renovation project. Continue reading below to learn more, and contact LabTech Supply Company today to find out how we can help you get the most out of your laboratory.

Epoxy Resin Lab Bench tops

Epoxy resin bench tops are made up of various materials mixed together and then cured into a solid continuous product. In terms of features and benefits, it’s a solid choice for a variety of labs.

Epoxy bench tops are also attractive, long-lasting, and cost-effective. Epoxy bench tops have a sleek appearance that works well in both modern and traditional labs. Epoxy bench tops come in any color you can think of.

The quality of the epoxy bench top is often a determining factor in how well it performs. With minimal upkeep and maintenance, a high-quality epoxy bench top will provide you with years of productivity.

Furthermore, it is non-porous and resistant to water and moisture, and is commonly used around sinks and other areas that get a lot of moisture. It is also heat and chemical resistant, resists discoloration, and only experiences blistering and cracking under extreme conditions. It can take a beating and still look brand new after years of use.

Strengths of Epoxy Resin Bench Tops

Let’s take a look at some of the strengths of epoxy resin bench tops:

Durable

Resin bench tops were created with laboratories in mind. These bench tops were designed to withstand the rigors of a lab environment. Epoxy bench tops are shock resistant, chemically resistant (to a degree), and UV resistant.

Epoxy bench tops can also withstand heat, but hot pots should not be placed directly on the bench top. Epoxy bench tops are long-lasting bench top that can withstand the wear and tear of a busy household.

High Gloss Finish

Epoxy bench tops have a high-gloss finish that looks great. The bench top’s glossy finish not only reflects light but also makes it easy to clean. For a sleek, smooth finish, every pore of the bench tops has been sealed.

Nontoxic

Once the epoxy has fully cured, the bench tops are nontoxic. Nothing can penetrate the epoxy bench top’s surface, which means that microbes can’t get inside and contaminate your bench tops, including bacteria, germs, molds, and mildew.

Weaknesses of Epoxy Resin Bench Tops

Here are some of the strengths of epoxy resin bench tops:

Quality Issues

To make pristine epoxy bench tops, you’ll need an expert craftsman. Air bubbles can get trapped in the surface of the bench top because the epoxy dries so quickly.

Manufacturers use vibrating machines to help level the epoxy and remove bubbles, but flaws can still occur. Furthermore, because epoxy cures so quickly, if the bench top specialist tries to smooth out the surface as the epoxy hardens, the bench top may have smears and imperfections.

Stain Friendly

Although epoxy bench tops are incredibly durable, they are susceptible to staining. A stain can form if a food item or liquid is left on the bench top surface for an extended period of time.

All spills should be cleaned up as quickly as possible to avoid stains. Once the spill has been cleaned up, wet the bench top and wipe it down again. To remove any remaining traces of a substance, mix a drop or two of dishwashing liquid with some hot water and wipe the bench top, including all soapy residue.

Scratch Friendly

Although epoxy bench tops are incredibly durable, they are susceptible to scratches. Fortunately, many surface scratches can be removed, but you’ll need to use a polishing paste explicitly made for epoxy bench tops.

To remove scratches from your epoxy bench top, attach a diamond polishing pad to your grinder and buff the surface. Polish the entire surface of your epoxy bench top, then wipe away the excess polish with a soft, absorbent cloth and water.

Phenolic Resin Bench tops

Phenolic resin has 90% of the same properties that epoxy resin has but costs a fraction of the price. Phenolic resin bench tops are light, hard, long-lasting, and chemically resistant, as well as moisture-resistant, bacteria, and fungus resistant.

Phenolic resin is a great choice for many types of laboratory environments that are subjected to constant heat up to 350°F (176°C). For environments where lab experiments must be completed in a contamination-free environment, phenolic resin bench tops are an excellent choice.

Bench tops in these types of laboratory environments are particularly vulnerable due to the variety of chemicals used in experiments and must be made of materials that can withstand spills, resist scuffs and abrasions, and withstand cracking. These bench tops will last for many years, keeping your lab looking clean and running smoothly.

When compared to epoxy, phenolic resin is a simple material to work with from a manufacturing standpoint, and it lends itself well to customization. It is readily available, resulting in shorter project lead times.

Pros of Phenolic Resin Lab Work Surfaces

Let’s take a look at some of the pros of phenolic resin lab work surfaces:

Chemical-Resistant

Phenolic resin lab furniture is resistant to chemicals, high temperatures, and other harsh conditions, making it ideal for use in volatile environments. They are also flame resistant and non-conductive, making them ideal for laboratories that must adhere to fire safety, combustion, and toxicity regulations.

Meets Lab Requirements

Phenolic resin-based lab furniture is the most common material that meets these requirements. It can withstand extreme temperatures and won’t warp or stain and is also water-resistant, scratch-resistant, and has a long-lasting aesthetic appearance. It’s also an excellent option for lab experiments that require a contamination-free environment.

Cons of Phenolic Resin Lab Work Surfaces

Here are some of the cons of phenolic resin lab work surfaces:

Less Durable

The primary disadvantage of phenolic resin is that it provides a less durable overall surface. Phenolic resin should be used for light-duty tasks, and chemical-grade phenolic resin should be used for heavy-duty jobs that require more durable surfaces.

Stainless Steel Tables

If you’re in the market for commercial lab equipment, you might be wondering what the advantages of stainless steel equipment are over equipment made of epoxy resin, phenolic resin, or other materials.

Stainless steel has an unrivaled level of durability, and the material is quite strong and holds its shape over time. It is also incredibly resistant to heavy impact and structural damage, and the steel’s rigidity is maintained over a wide temperature range of up to roughly 1400 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can expect stainless steel to last a very long time if you buy it. Replacements are rarely necessary (assuming proper maintenance) unless the business requires new equipment to expand its capabilities.

Furthermore, unlike other common materials such as wood, grooved plastic, and various metal alloys, stainless steel easily maintains a smooth and even surface. There will be very few grooves, crevices, and cracks in the steel as long as it is properly maintained, making it much easier to keep the steel clean because there are fewer opportunities for dirt, dust, and bacteria to collect.

Maple Wood Block

Maple wood block’s popularity stems from its smooth and lustrous appearance with few grains but because of its natural strength, maple wood block is a popular choice for lab environments.

If you’re looking for a dependable lab work surface, look no further than maple wood block. Maple wood block has a Janka hardness score of 1450 lbs., which is higher than most woods, indicating how tough and long-lasting maple wood is.

When it comes to aesthetics, maple wood flooring is hard to beat. The beauty of maple is that it comes in a variety of colors, including beige, reds, browns, and chromatic grays. Additionally, maple wood block features a smooth and clean appearance due to its minimal grain.

Maple wood block is also a cost-effective work surface option due to its widespread availability and comes in a variety of styles and grades. As a result, finding the right one that meets both your laboratory needs and budget will not be difficult.

High-Density Polyethylene Sheets

High-density polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer with a variable crystalline structure and many uses. With tens of millions of tons produced each year, high-density polyethylene is one of the most widely used plastics on the planet.

Polyethylene comes in a variety of forms, each of which is best suited for a specific set of applications. In general, high-density polyethylene is much more crystalline than low-density polyethylene and can be used in a variety of different situations.

ESD Workbench

Electrostatic discharge is a term that refers to a sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects and can occur as a result of contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown. Because of the basic motive that it safely guides static electricity to the ground, ESD workbenches are an ideal way to provide protection from electrostatic discharge.

This is made possible by grounding all work area components, including work surfaces, people, and their equipment, to the same electrical ground point. Because of the nature of the equipment used in electronics assemblies, the use of a workstation is critical in laboratory work environments.

Wilsonart Solid Surface

Wilsonart solid surfaces could be your best bet if you want high-quality, aesthetically pleasing bench tops. Solid surface bench tops, made by Wilsonart, are an acrylic-based product that resembles Corian, quartz, and Formica in appearance but differs in physical properties.

Solid surface bench tops are versatile, cost-effective, and hygienic, making them ideal for all kinds of laboratory environments, and solid surfaces will not support the growth of bacteria, making it ideal for healthcare environments such as hospitals, medical labs, and more.

Where to Find Customized Ergonomic Laboratory Workstations

At LabTech Supply Company, we don’t believe in cutting corners when it comes to customizing your laboratory workstations.

With over 30 years of sales and design experience in the custom laboratory workstation industry, we remain committed to maintaining the highest industry standards to drive our company forward. From start to finish, we ensure that our laboratory furniture performs as expected in your lab.

Are you looking to outfit your lab with customized ergonomic laboratory workstations?

Contact LabTech Supply Company today to learn more about customized ergonomic laboratory workstations that will improve your laboratory’s work environment.

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