What is a Test Tube Used for in Science?

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Matter: Physical and Chemical Properties

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Handling Scientific Samples
  • 0:48 What Is a Test Tube?
  • 1:50 Test Tube Usages in Science
  • 4:01 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
You've surely seen them - test tubes - but did you know that they are used for many different things across the sciences? This lesson gives you several examples of what test tubes are used for in science.

Handling Scientific Samples

You wouldn't stick your hands into a vat of strong acid, would you? Of course not. Neither would you want to touch dangerous bacteria. You probably wouldn't want to run experiments on your body either!

So how do people in science then ensure their safety while running all sorts of experiments and tests? Sometimes, they wear gloves. Other times, gas masks. Face shields, gowns, and many other protective measures also exist. One other way they protect themselves in science is through the use of appropriate lab equipment to handle dangerous material. One of those pieces of equipment is called a test tube.

What Is a Test Tube?

A test tube is a clear glass or plastic container that is much longer than it is wide, commonly has a U-shaped bottom, and has an open top. It's essentially a cylinder-like piece of equipment with one open end. There are many reasons for why test tubes are made out of glass or special types of plastic. That's because they possess some advantageous characteristics, such as being leak proof (so long as the tube doesn't break, of course). Compare that to a tube made out of mesh wire. That wouldn't be very leak proof, now would it?

Glass and special plastic test tubes are also non-reactive. Many metals react with all sorts of chemicals in either dangerous ways or in ways that would ruin an experiment or sample. Test tubes are also clear. It's kind of hard to see what you're doing with an experiment if the tube is made out of wood, metal, or stone, isn't it?

Test Tubes Usages in Science

Test tubes have many uses across the entire spectrum of science. Let's quickly tour a university lab facility to find out more.

First, we meet Dr. Crazy. Dr. Crazy is a chemistry professor. His last name is befitting considering all the fumes he's inhaled in his life running wild chemical experiments. Dr. Crazy explains that he uses test tubes to hold all sorts of dangerous chemicals that would otherwise burn his hands. He also uses tests tubes as containers where he mixes compounds in a safe manner. Sometimes, he heats up his experiments within a test tube using a Bunsen burner.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account