Ideally, the chemist wants a distillation kit with joints that are of the size 24/40(don't ask). This is the most versatile joint size for accommodating both large and small flasks. Speaking of flasks, the type one wants these days are flat bottomed flasks, not round bottomed flasks. Flat-bottomed flasks allow one to heat on flat surfaces such as a heating stir plate. In the first of many beautiful, hand-drawn sketches that will appear throughout this fine book one can see the components and proper configuration of a regular distillation set up in figure 1. Other pieces of glassware that are highly desirable but can be lived without or made (as shown later) are shown in figure 2.
Now, one is going to see most of the older chemical recipes calling for all reactions, solvents, acids and bases to be held in Pyrex (borosilicate) type glassware because anything else will melt or degrade when exposed to all these harsh chemicals and conditions. This is no longer true! Any reaction, addition or mixing in this book that does not require direct heating can be done in a polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) container. This is regardless of the chemicals involved. Polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) are very inert and chemically resistant to almost anything this book describes. Buckets, tubs, funnels, and all sorts of containers of this whitish, opaque, pliable plastic can be [Figure 2]
found for pennies at any discount or grocery store. These containers are stackable, easy to clean, never break and will save a chemist a fortune in glassware. As was mentioned earlier, plastic ware is starting to make its mark in biological and chemical labs. Buchner funnels, side arm flasks, graduated cylinders and even separatory funnels come in PP and PE. These glassware substitutes are the absolute choice for today's chemists as they are un-watched, versatile and 1/10 the cost of glass. If the chemist is unsure what plastic a container is then she can look for the letters PP or PE somewhere on the product.
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