Design for Safe Reuse of Labware: Investigating Methods for Quality Assurance

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Van Loon, Joren; Du Bois, Els
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Antwerp
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 1247-1256
DOI number:


The problem of plastic waste in research laboratories is a significant one, with an estimated 5.5 million tonnes generated annually worldwide. Reusable labware has the potential to reduce this waste significantly, but the design of such products must take into account quality assurance to guarantee the accuracy of experiments. Insights were gathered through the generation of an overview of the available techniques for verifying labware after use and decontamination. As during different design cycles verification of prototypes is needed, these techniques were evaluated and translated to be applicable in the specific context of a design lab. Therefore, this study presents a protocol which can be used as a verification tool while designing safe, reusable labware for chemical laboratories. This protocol consists of four different steps: (i) visual inspection, (ii) mass & size comparison, (iii) leak test, and (iv) chemical stability test.

Keywords: Quality assurance, Circular economy, Labware, 3D printing, Design process

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