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Evaporating Dish: Definition & Functions

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  • 0:00 What is an Evaporating Dish?
  • 1:10 Common Functions
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nissa Garcia

Nissa has a masters degree in chemistry and has taught high school science and college level chemistry.

The science laboratory is full of equipment and glassware that enables us to perform experiments, make observations, and analyze different samples. In this lesson, we will discuss an important piece of laboratory glassware, the evaporating dish.

What is an Evaporating Dish?

In our kitchens, we have special pots, pans, bowls and little cooking tools for specific purposes that make it easier to cook and help us make good food. A large bowl might be ideal for mixing, while a teaspoon works well for measuring. In the same way, in a science laboratory, we have different laboratory equipment and glassware that helps us perform experiments and yield good results.

One of these very helpful and essential pieces of glassware is the evaporating dish. The evaporating dish is a small bowl with a spout, usually made of porcelain or borosilicate glass. As its name suggests, it is commonly used to evaporate solvents in a sample.

Evaporating Dish: Porcelain and Borosilicate Material

The evaporating dishes we encounter in a chemistry lab usually accommodate small samples. However, bigger samples can be accommodated using larger capacity evaporating dishes - these are less shallow and more hemispherical in shape to accommodate larger volumes of liquid. The shape of the evaporating dish makes evaporation easier due to a large surface area with which the solvent is exposed to the atmosphere.

Common Functions of an Evaporating Dish

The material of an evaporating dish can withstand higher temperatures without breaking. This allows for some common functions such as the evaporation of solvents. The evaporation of solvents is a process that removes the part of the solution that is more easily evaporated. This results in a solvent that has a higher solute content -- in other words, by evaporating the solvent, we are left with a more concentrated solution. The following is a simple laboratory set up that shows how we commonly evaporate solvents using an evaporating dish:

Evaporating Solutions Setup

In this setup, the solution we want to evaporate is placed in an evaporating dish on top of a wire gauze with a Bunsen burner flame situated underneath. The solvent evaporates and results in a more concentrated solution.

Another common function of evaporating dishes is to dry samples. In some chemistry experiments, we have precipitates that are results of a chemical reaction. These precipitates are not usually dried when they are produced and still contain some solvent in them.

Measuring the experimental yield correctly in chemistry is very important. For this purpose, we need to dry the precipitate in an oven at the specified appropriate temperature, as shown in the following illustration. The evaporating dish, which is designed to withstand high temperatures, is the commonly used glassware for drying samples.

Drying Samples Using an Evaporating Dish

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