Exploring the Utility of Paper Filters in Laboratory Procedures

Paper Filters

Exploring the Utility of Paper Filters in Laboratory Procedures

Posted on the 11th of Jul 2023 by Westlab

Scientists come across many tools and equipment in a laboratory, whether for research, clinical diagnostics, or educational purposes. In these fields, filtration is one of the standard practices in all laboratory procedures. Paper Filters may seem relatively simple but they are required in many laboratory processes.

What are Paper Filters?

Filtration papers are specialty products that separate fine solids from liquids or gases. These filters come in various grades, sizes, and forms to meet the diverse needs of laboratory processes. They can be essential for maintaining sterility, preparing samples for analysis, or even safeguarding expensive lab equipment.

Filtration Papers promise the best result leaving the slightest stain on the surface. Many experts use these filters to test the purity of compounds like petrol, pharmaceutical solutions, etc.  These filters can provide better results, long-lasting and economical.

The most common industries that use these Laboratory Filter Paper are food & beverage, water treatment plants, pharmaceutical, cosmetics & fragrance industry, chemical laboratories, research & testing, microelectronics & semiconductors. 

Types of Paper Strainers

Labs have developed a few kinds of filtration papers that can efficiently fulfill all sorts of laboratory needs. Here is the list of important types that can be used for filtration purposes. 

  • According to the Nature of Experiment

Scientists can use one according to their needs and the nature of the experiment. With each experiment, the nature of the paper required may change. Scientists must also consider the paper's density, pore size, folding, and size.

  • Qualitative Filters

These filters have ash in them, commonly used for regular filtration procedures. They are not used in the process where burning is required. The pore size of such papers is large and the density is less. 

  • Quantitative Filters

These papers are commonly known as ashless papers. These Chemistry Filter Papers are mostly used in complex acidic solutions like filtrations that include hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid. Their size and density are more, and their pore size is less.

According to the Unique Requirements of an Experiment

Some filter papers are dedicated to a certain kind of experiment only. They are made to process a specific chemical or solution. Some of them are as follows. 

  • Glass Microfiber Filter Papers

These filter papers are made up of 100% borosilicate glass and are used in applications that require fine filtration and high loading capacity. They are often used in water testing, air pollution monitoring, and the collection of fine particles.

  • Chromatography Filter Papers

These filter papers are commonly used to separate two solutions. It has more density and proximity than a standard filtration paper. 

  • pH Indicator Paper Filters

These papers change their colors when a particular solution is poured down on them. They identify the strength of the chemical produced after the reaction.

According to Shapes of Filter Paper

Paper filters come in many shapes and sizes. In such papers, shape decides the result of the experiment. Because the more easily the paper fits in a funnel, the more clear result will be drawn. 

  • Round Shape Paper Filters

Round Shape paper is the most commonly used filtration paper in lab experiments. They are convenient to use, easy to fold, and economical. They can vary in size and density according to experiments. This shape is widely used because of how convenient it can fit in a funnel. 

  • Extraction Thimbles

These papers are shaped like a rod for dense and delicate reactions. These papers are commonly used in food and environmental monitoring. You can find these thimbles in high-quality on our Labware Australia website.

  • Square Shape Filtration Papers

These papers are square and commonly used for simple chemical solutions and filtering simple combinations like water and sugar. They have big pours and cannot extract small components from the solution. 

Common Uses of Filter Papers

In laboratories, these filters are used in many ways and methods. Some of the common ones are discussed below. 

  • To examine the fermentations and titration procedure in fruits and vegetables.
  • To check the authentic drug formulas and chemical compositions
  • To test and try cosmetics and fragrances. It is used to dilute dangerous chemicals that can ruin delicate skin. 
  • To check the status of adulteration. It is the process where chemistry filter papers are used to indicate whether two substances are properly mixed or not. 
  • In the food industry, these filtration papers play a vital role. They check the components of beverages and drinks in detail. It helps them to change the composition or dilute the formula of a liquid. 
  • In biochemistry labs, these filters can be used to examine different reactions. 
  • Different colors are separated with this technique. Example- It's used to separate the various colors from the dye.
  • In addition, it is also employed in the separation of medicines from blood.

Steps to Use Paper Filters in Labs

These Laboratory Filter Paper are widely used in labs for various purposes, such as filtering solid impurities from liquids, performing qualitative or quantitative analyses, or protecting laboratory equipment. Here are the general steps for using Paper Filters in a lab setting.

  • Choose the Correct Paper Filter

Ensure you select the correct type of filter paper suited to the experiment that needs to be carried out. Consider factors such as the pore size of the filter paper, the density of the substance you are filtering, and the procedure you conduct during selection.

  • Prepare the Filter Paper 

If scientists use circular filter papers, they fold the filter paper in half, then fold it in half again, resulting in a quarter-fold shape. Hold the paper at the folded point and slightly offset the folds to create a cone shape with three thicknesses of paper on one side and one thickness on the other. It will not ruin the quality of the paper, and they can use one filter paper up to 3 times. 

  • Set Up the Filtration System 

Place the folded filter paper in a funnel and ensure that it fits the funnel securely and conforms to the shape of the funnel. The funnel should be mounted 90 degrees to avoid any spill. 

  • Moisten the Filter

If you use a water or liquid solution, wet the filter paper with some solvent to help it stick to the funnel and seal the pores, allowing liquid to flow in the desired direction.

  • Add Your Mixture 

Slowly pour your mixture into the filter paper cone, ensuring the liquid does not overflow. The mix should be hot to get more effective results.

  • Filter Your Mixture 

Allow gravity to draw the liquid through the paper and funnel, separating the solid substances from the fluid. Do not rush the process by applying pressure or heat; it can alter the result’s efficacy.

  • Analyze or Store Your Sample 

After filtration, you can analyze the filtrate or the residue (solids left on the filter paper) per your experiment or test requirements. You can also shift both in different beakers or parts so that you can experiment with them simultaneously. 

Meanwhile, Paper Filters are one of the primary tools in science labs. They help eliminate unnecessary particles and generate a pure fluid. Their wide range of applications, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use make them a staple of labs worldwide.

To get the best filtration papers, you can place your order online at Westlab Australia and get them delivered right to your doorstep.

2023-07-11 09:20:00
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