Lab dishes are shallow containers commonly used for culturing cells, evaporating substances, or weighing samples in a scientific setting. They may be round, square, rectangular (boat shaped), or hexagonal in shape, depending on their application. Lab dishes may be sterile or autoclavable for sterilization, and they come in a wide variety of capacities, including small cell culture dishes from 1mL to larger 3,500mL drying pans. Reusable dishes are often designed to stack neatly for storage in a biology, microbiology, or chemistry laboratory.
Petri dishes and agar (sometimes called Petrie dishes, Petri plates, or cell culture dishes) are typically used in microbiology laboratories or other scientific environments to culture microorganisms for research. They may be made of materials such as porcelain, glass, borosilicate glass for heat resistance, or plastics such as polystyrene or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) for chemical resistance. Lids or covers help contain or protect the substance in the dish. Petri dishes may come with absorbent pads that can be saturated with nutrients or other media to help facilitate cell growth. Some cell culture dishes, often called TC-treated dishes, are treated with a tissue culture (TC) that increases oxygen on the surface of the dish to facilitate cell growth. TC-treated dishes are often sterilized and commonly made from polystyrene for single use. Dishes with a center well may be used with in vitro fertilization or organ culture techniques.
Aluminum and paper weighing dishes are lightweight, usually round, and typically used in chemistry laboratories or other scientific environments to weigh liquid or solid samples and prepare specimens. Plastic weighing dishes may be square or boat shaped, and they may be flexible or have a contoured spout to facilitate pouring materials into another container. Some weighing dishes have antistatic properties to resist buildup of static electricity.
Another type of lab dish is the evaporation dish, commonly used to dry substances to create a concentrated solution or precipitate in a scientific laboratory. Evaporation dishes are often made of borosilicate glass or porcelain for heat resistance and ease of cleaning. Others are made of plastics such as PTFE, PFA (perfluoroalkoxy), or polypropylene for chemical resistance and durability. They usually have a spout at the edge to facilitate pouring.