The departmental planner envisions a building whwh will operate dfiriently and economically for the staff. This means. &nning individ"a1 laboratories,...
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teaching Some Trends in Planning Chemical Laboratories, Part 111 by M. G. Mellon Non-Structural Items The departmental planner envisions a building whwh will operate dfiriently and economically for the staff. This means &nning individ"a1 laboratories, one by one, for the projected ohiectives and providing.them with the necessary. su~porting .. facilities. This section is concerned with trends in planning for these non-structural items, with emphasis on teaching a A research laboratories for relatively large numbers of both underpraduate and graduate students. ~aboratoriesin small instituiions are generally reduced versions of a large laboratory, but without elaborate facilities for research. Laboratories Broadly speaking, new laboratories are of two kinds. The more common one provides for both undergraduate and graduate students. The other, generally differently arranged, has separate parts for each type. Each will he illustrated by means of floor plans. Individual laboratories for undergraduate or graduate work usually have rather different requirements. There may he less than 20 to more than 50 undergraduates in a room, whereas the graduates are likely to numher from 2 to 10. Compared to the undergradunte student, the graduate usually needs more desk working space, a study desk, more utilities, and more flexibility to change facilities as the experimental work progresses or chanees direction. Recngnition ;;i these dlfftrent requirements has resulted The\, ranee in a varietv oiattemoted sdutions of the ~10hlem. from compromises in a single building tb two or more huildines. In the latter case the work is usuallv. seereeated and the b;ldings interconnected.





Undergraduate Laboratories Conventional undergraduate laboratories often include facilities for various divisional courses, such as general, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Biochemistry, geochemistry, nuclear chemistry, radiochemistry, and others may be added. Items of concern here are the nature of the desks and their arraneement within a laboratorv. Size. The sizes of undergraduate laboratories have varied considerably. In 1927 freshman laboratories ranged from those holding less than 30 to 256 students per section. Now a section small enoueh for su~ervisionbv one teaching assistant. usuallv 20-25 studknts, is i n favor. The total number of such indl'. vidual laboratories needed may have to be large enough to accommodate several thousand students just in general chemistry. Desks. There has been little discernable trend to standardize laboratory desks. In fact, equipment catalogs list a much greater variety than a few decides ago. One finds few cases, if any, in which all the desks have the same kinds and sizes of drawers, cupboards, sinks, and working space for the different kinds of courses. Also provision for utilities for each A

454 / Journal of Chemical Education

student usually differ. Diversity among institutions is even more marked. This lack of uniformity in a given institution makes interconversion of laboratories difficult and expensive. It would he convenient, for example, to be able to change from general chemistry to analytical or organic chemistry, or the reverse. The incipient trend to abandon current divisional orpanization of courses, presumably with restructuring of all iaboratory work, raises questions about the adaptability of nearly ~ newest laball present desks to the new situations. E V the oratories may he embarrassingly out-of-date or poorly designed for change. Portable Desks. Fixed laboratorv desks for course work remain nearly universal practice. lngeneral, this means that the utility lines are fastened so that the desk units cannot be moved by themselves. To make this possible one must have a free-standine utilitv installation. If this were done. and if all desk types were made to fit the spacings of the utility islands (or peninsulas), interchanee of desk units would be verv pra&cal. Or anend unit i n a row of desks could he replaced temoorarily with a portable instrumental assemhlv. ~nrtahlriingledesk units hare had some rcrtntadoptim. In the analvtical instrumentation lahoratorv ut the Universitv of Illinois there are fixed utility installatkns. The portah; units, mounted on rollers, mav be locked in place in desired locations. Orhrr equipment, similarly mounted, ran he readily interchanged. Such a laboratory is really an adaptation of ones used for egperimental physici. Three new general science laboratories may be mentioned. They are a t Earlham College (Indiana),St. Andrews College (North Carolina), and The Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington). Earlham and St. Andrews have a series of small utility islands regularly spaced, those at St. Andrews being 16 ft on center. As noted elsewhere, the islands at Earlham may be moved fairly easily. Instead of the usual type of student desk, with locker drawers, tables on castors are used. They may be arranged in various ways. Equipment and supplies for a given experiment are brought in tote trays by each student from open bins or the dispensing room. The one large room a t St. Andrews (80 X 248 ft) is used in this wav for bioloev. n.. chemistry, and physics. I t has a self-service wall along much of one side. At Evergreen State Colleee the fixed services. storage and hoods are located on exterror walls. Tables with electrical provisions droodne .. - from the ceiline can be arraneed " in a number of configurations. Arrangement of Desks. The common arraneement of working desks in undergraduate laboratories has-been rows of single desks, hack-to-back, with the utilitv lines s u ~ ~ o r t e d between the desk backs. There is a trend toward the halfwidth or wall-type desk, with all students facing the same direction. The State University of Iowa instituted this change as early as 1962, as did Purdue University at its regional campus in Indianapolis. Cornell University has converted a very large laboratory to a number of one-way rooms accommodating 20 students each.

. Modular dimension 5 it

Data for Four-Man Research Laboratories

Modular Unit l f t l

Tom1 Area Ifr'i

Square Feet oer man


20 X 30 20 X 31'

600 620

150 155

Duke; illinoir

20 X 40 22 X 27.5

800 605

200 151.2

Virginia A rearonable

22 X 24 24 X 30 24 X 28 24 X 24


132 180 168 152

Chicago; Cincinnati 5. Carolina ~urdue

169 176

Florida cornell

Michigan State ,. . .........

5% i t

6 it

111 x

6% f t 8 ft


26 X 26 22 X 32


672 576 33 676 704


m,,,,,..,,. t"!m,,m at. BUT. standards


aA190 Widths of 15. 25. and 30 f t for 3. 5. 6 students, respectively. bone-eithth o f an instrument room for eight rtudents.

Figure 5. Portable 48-in. research desks.

It may be noted that laboratories for quantitative chemical analysis have usually had some protected areas, such as an adjoining room, for balances. The space shown in Figure 1is essentially an adaptation of the balance room intersecting the analvtical laboratorv in Sterline " Laboratorv at Yale Universitv (igi2). Preparation Areas. Some provision for preparing solutions, secure storage of special apparatus, reagent shelving and eeneral laboratorv suooort .. should be develooed near the undergraduate laboratory. A hood, flammable liquid storage, dishwasher. refrieerator. and hieb caoacitv balances can be provided. Actually using as much space as the small research laboratory, the preparation room and instrument rooms are architectural problems.


456 /

Journal of Chemical Education

High Purity Water. While the installation of high purity water systems has been reduced with the availability of plastic (PVC) lines and valves, the cost of maintaining large stills and storage tanks is significant. Reverse osmosis and cartridge deionizer systems which have low maintenance costs and can be simply installed, are now marketed commercially by Culligan, Milipore, and Barnstead. Research Laboratorles Few new laboratories, even those containing several sciences, are so small as to be without some corne;set aside for research. In many small laboratories each office of a member of the permanent staff has a small adjoining research laboratory to be used by the instructor or by senior students for their oroiects. sizk. +he working space and facilities needed per graduate student depend upon the project involved and particularly upon the instrument(s) employed. Some work can be done in 100 ft2 if 10 to 12 linear feet of desk top and oull-out writing drawer are available. The general trend is to provide 150-200 ft20er student. with a separate study desk. Even more space may be invo1;ed if special instruments are kept in an adjoining room. The table contains data for representative possibilities. The overall size of a room depends upon the number of students involved. Some laboratories have small rooms accommodating two students each. In others ten to twelve students, usualfi in the same subject division, work in a large room. The general trend is four-student laboratories. Desks. Although fixed laboratory desks are still common in new buildings, their use seems questionable. More and more the nature of exoerimental oroiects chanees from student to student, even during the tenureof the sam; student. T o make desired changes readily, portable equipment insures flexibility. Examples are desks, tables, distillation units, vacuum racks, and various kinds of instrumental assemblies. Convenient lengths of portable units are three and four feet. Sinzlv. or in combination. these two orovide for maces of 3. 4, 6; 7; 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, . .. , ft. Figure 5 illustrates the ned portable 4-ft desk units at Purdue Universitv. Thev contain H variety of wide, narrow, shallow, and deep drawkrs and a cupboard. The com~anion3-ft units do not have the tall cupboards. Portable tables of different heights and lengths, with electrical provisions, are also very useful for various kinds of work. I t is probably preferable to finish all desk and table units with about an inch of overhang for the tops. When placed end to end, the joint between units of the same height may be sealed temporarily with aplastic which does not harden (such as Silastic). The next section deals further with arrangements of laboratories and support facilities. M. G. Mellon Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana 47907