Tools designed to scrape, manipulate, chop, or transfer materials; products are available in several sizes, material compositions, etc.
Laboratory spatulas are utensils that help with mixing, scraping, and other tasks related to transferring materials and samples from one place to another.
Commonly, spatulas are used to transfer samples or chemicals from their original containers to weighing paper, weighing boats, weighing bottles, weighing funnels, or other vessels or containers for weighing.
Reusable spatulas are typically made of stainless steel, which is resistant to heat and cold, acids, bases, solvents, and other chemicals. Metal spatulas may also have permanent or removable wooden or polymer handles and may also be coated in PTFE or plastic for greater non-reactivity. Types of stainless steel spatulas include:
- Microspatulas: Thin, pointed ends help to transfer materials to small tubes or microplates
- Trough-shaped spatulas: Usually have one rounded and one pointed end; can be used to dislodge or loosen materials in a container
- Double-ended spatulas: May have ends of equal or slightly different sizes and shapes
- One flat and one bent end
- One rounded and one tapered end
- One rounded and one scoop or spoon-shaped end
Disposable plastic and paper spatulas are also available. Disposable spatulas can help eliminate the potential for cross-contamination that may occur with poorly cleaned reusable spatulas. Disposable plastic spatulas are also ideal for performing lyophilization or handling lyophilized products.
Sterile sampling spatulas have a V-shape and a pointed end. These are used to pierce paper or plastic wrapping to collect samples of a product or food material for pre-production or post-production quality control testing.