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A vast range of industries use laboratories, whether for testing, research, product design or manufacture. Each industry and application requires a different assortment of laboratory equipment, supplies and scientific products. The general classes of these products, however, tend to remain constant. There are cleaning supplies, for sterilization and cleanup; instrumentation, for study, detection and analysis; storage and containment equipment, ranging from beakers, microscope slides and test tubes to custom-made vacuum chambers; clean room devices, such as filters and decontamination supplies; handling and protective wear, including aprons, gloves and goggles; and operational tools and devices, which can be as advanced as robotic arms and centrifuges, or as simple as scalpels and prongs.

Within industries, also, there is laboratory equipment that finds use in most laboratories. For instance, chemical labs are likely to feature equipment like fume hoods and blowers, a large array of glassware and different storage cabinets and containers. In addition, most laboratory workers use similar types of protective wear. At the very least, this involves sterilized gloves and glasses, though it can also involve full length clothing and shielding. The basic requirements for most laboratory supplies are that they are as inert, stable and, in some cases, able to withstand various testing procedures. For this reason, silicone rubber and glassware are used extensively in laboratories. The glassware is often heat-resistant Pyrex, or some form of strengthened glass composite. Other widely used materials include stainless steel, plastics, aluminum and wood.

Instrumentation plays an integral role in laboratories. Microscopes are necessary equipment in the majority of biological and chemical facilities, as are leak detectors, temperature sensors and precision weighing devices. This equipment can range from simple thermometers to complex electron microscopes. Pressure gages, flow meters, spectrometers and a wide variety of other sensors and measurement devices are essential to many operations. Also used in many labs are heating and cooling devices, whether they consist of a refrigerator or freezer used for storage, an oven used to conduct testing, or a heater used to regulate the temperature of a biological specimen.

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