The primary difference between a lab refrigerator and a household refrigerator is that lab refrigerators are designed to withstand explosions, and a household unit is not. In the lab, various materials and samples need to be safely stored, some of which can be quite volatile. With that in mind, a lab refrigerator is designed not only to keep a constant temperature, but to keep their contents secure. Many come with latches or locks as well as external temperature monitors.
Many lab refrigerators come with a rapid recovery system which helps keep a constant temperature even with continuous door openings. This prevents delicate samples from suffering damage due to temperature fluctuations. They also allow for manual defrosting, rather than a house refrigerator’s automatic defrosting, which lets you determine when it is convenient for the process will take place. Some units also come with glass doors that allow you to see what is inside without having to constantly open the door to take inventory.
One of the most important features on a laboratory refrigerator is the alarm. Different companies offer different options, but the primary function of the alarm is to let you know the instant the temperature within the refrigeration unit has changed. An option some companies offer is a chart recorder, which allows you to track the performance of your refrigerator to ensure its efficiency.
One of the main uses today for a lab refrigerator is in the preserving of blood and plasma in blood banks. With refrigeration blood is able to be preserved for greater periods of time. These refrigerators are designed to maintain the blood at a constant temperature and often come with security measures such as password protection, automatic alarm systems, and temperature graphs that allow for 24 hour monitoring.
There are also laboratory refrigerators designed for pharmacies, which allow a patient’s medication to be properly stored and prevent spoiling. As with other lab refrigerators they come with electronic temperature controls, security systems, and warning systems in case of temperature fluctuations. They can be designed with additional shelves and drawers, glass doors for easy inventory, and access ports to prevent temperatures changing due to constant opening and closing of doors.
Morgues, too, have their own specially designed lab refrigerators. There are two variations of mortuary cold chambers, the positive temperature and the negative temperature. A positive temperature unit is similar to a lab refrigerator, keeping the contents at a stable 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. These allow a body to be kept for several weeks, though it does not prevent decomposition.
More recently refrigerators have been made available for personal use, and can be bought for home use, nursing homes and even schools. They are used to store delicate medications that require more care than can be given with a common, household refrigerator.
A combination of laboratory refrigerator and freezer can be found, though the cost increases with the greater complexity of the machine. There are many companies who can provide you with a laboratory refrigerator or freezer depending on your current needs, and come in a variety of sizes from uprights to counter sized to walk ins.
Source by Andrew K Long