Crucible tongs are one of the most essential instruments used in a laboratory. They are mainly used to hold hot equipment like crucibles, flasks, beakers, etc. Crucible tongs can also be used for handling other potentially dangerous chemicals that can cause severe injuries. Crucible tongs are shaped like a pair of scissors, the only difference is that a regular pair of scissors have sharp blades, while crucible tongs have a pair of metal blades that are blunt. The blades of the crucible tongs are curved to facilitate proper grip on the object. They are available in different sizes, thereby allowing the user to select the perfect pair as per the requirement. Crucible tongs are generally made up of metals including brass, steel, stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, cadmium-plated steel, platinum, etc. Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity, which is why the handle of the crucible tongs gets heated up soon after gripping the hot object. To reduce the inconvenience caused due to this property of metals, the handles of some of the crucible tongs are equipped with an insulation coating that eases grip and prevents the conduction of heat. In other words, crucible tongs are the safety instruments used in industries and laboratories to avoid accidents.
Types of Crucible Tongs
Charging tongs are mainly used in industrial applications such as to place the metals in hot containers for melting and refining purposes.
As the name itself suggests, latching tongs consists of a latching mechanism that makes use of latch bars to strongly grip heavy objects and lock the position, so the object does not slip or fall over. These are mainly used in large scale industries and are operated with the help of machines.
Non-latching tongs do not have an automatic latching mechanism; however, it consists of a manually adjustable clamp that facilitates the user to vary the grip of the tongs according to the nature of the load.
Locking tongs have a locking mechanism that locks the crucible in between the blades of the tongs. This helps to improve security and avoid mishappenings.
Uses of Crucible Tongs
1. Crucible tongs are widely used in biology and chemistry laboratories to hold and pick up various laboratory equipment including beakers, crucibles, and flasks.
2. Crucible tongs are the safety instruments that are generally used to hold hot objects and containers that contain toxic chemicals.
3. They are prominently used in metal industries to handle the objects placed in furnaces and ovens. Industrial crucible tongs are comparatively heavy and bulky in nature.
4. Crucible tongs are often used in glass factories to fuse the glass.
Safety precautions while using Crucible Tongs
1. Always wear safety goggles and gloves while using crucible tongs and working in an environment exposed to heat and chemicals.
2. Before use, make sure the crucible tongs are clean and dry.
3. After use, rinse the crucible tongs with a cleaning solution, soak them with a dry cloth, and store them in a secure and clean environment.
4. The crucible tongs are made up of metals, hence they may suffer corrosion and form rust. Suitable measures must be taken regularly to avoid it.
5. Crucible tongs must not be used for electrical applications as they are mostly made up of metals; therefore, they are not shock resistant.
6. To avoid spillage, make sure the container to be held by the crucible tongs is not completely filled.
7. The force applied by the user to the crucible tongs should be adequate, i.e., neither it should be too much nor too low. This is because too much intensity of the force might crack and break the container and too little force would not allow the user to have a proper grip on the object.